NIGERIA – The Rice Processors Association of Nigeria (RIPAN) and other stakeholders in the sector have appealed to the federal government to save their businesses from collapse following the influx of imports into the country.

Speaking to reporters, Mohammed Abba Liman, an executive member of RIPAN, asked the government to provide serviceable loans to real and identifiable rice processors in each state of the federation to enable them to boost their processing capacity and, by implication, food security in the country.

In addition, Liman appealed to the government to discourage rice importation into the country, noting that it poses a big risk to the multi-billion-naira investments in rice production by local rice processors.

According to him, the importation of rice amounts to job exportation to the countries exporting rice to Nigeria and “job loss to our country.”

He stressed the need for the federal government “to interface with RIPAN members and form a strong synergy with other critical stakeholders if it wants to tackle the food crisis; if not, next year, the situation might be worse than what we are currently experiencing.

What rice processors need is a well-structured loan scheme accessible to every registered and recognized rice processor in every state,” he affirmed.

Liman also added that “the security agencies such as the military, Department of State Services (DSS), the police and civil defence should provide adequate security on the farms to prevent herders and criminal elements from interfering with the targeted objective of the scheme.

He underscored that if given adequate support, RIPAN and its members could feed the entire country, and the food crisis would be over.

The appeal comes at a time when the country has been grappling with food shortage amid inflation that hit a high of 35.41% in January, compared to 24.32% a year earlier.

Rice is the second most consumed cereal after corn in Nigeria.  The country, however, produces around 70% of its consumption with the rest covered through import.

According to the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), rice production in the 2024-25 marketing year is poised to decline by 7% due to rising insecurity in grain-producing regions and higher input costs affecting planting decisions.

Food prices have also been on the rise, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicating that the average price per kilogram of local rice sold in bulk reached approximately 1,022 naira (US$0.65) in February, double the rate a year ago.

However, the country is getting back to normalcy as a recent survey conducted by DAILY POST at the Dutse and Kubwa markets in Abuja has reported that the price of rice in the country has declined 19% giving relief to consumers.

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