NIGERIA –  In a recent survey conducted by DAILY POST at the Dutse and Kubwa markets in Abuja, the price of rice in the country has seen a marginal decline in April, contrasting the ongoing rising food inflation.

According to the data, the price of a 50-kilogram bag of locally parboiled rice, particularly brands like Big Bull and Optimum,  has decreased from N84,000 (US$73) to N68,000 (US$59), representing a notable 19% decrease since February.

This decline in local rice prices occurs against the backdrop of rising food inflation, which hit 40.01% in March, causing concerns among Nigerians about the impact on household budgets.

Amaka Ubani, a trader at the Dutse market, explained that local rice prices have dipped to around N68,000 per 50kg bag, down from a range of N72,000 to N84,000 in March. She noted that while this drop is welcomed, customers still express concerns about affordability.

Meanwhile, foreign rice brands like Mama Gold and Royal Stallion remain scarce in the market due to their high cost, hovering around N90,000 (US$78) per 50kg bag.

Rice is the second most consumed cereal after corn in Nigeria.  The country, which produces around 70% of its consumption, imported more than US$2.3 billion worth of rice in 2022 to meet its needs, according to data compiled on the Trade Map platform.

In March this year,  data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicated 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.

According to  the NBS report, over the same period, the tariff for broken rice increased by more than 95% to 1,107 naira (US$0.70) while the price of imported rice increased by 78% to 1,322 naira (US$0.84). 

This sharp increase in rice prices on the local market is part of an economic context marked by an increase in annual inflation, which reached 29.9% in January 2024, its highest level in 28 years. 

Food inflation, the main driver of this growth, on the other hand, reached 35.41% in January, compared to 24.32% a year earlier.

Dr. Ayo Teriba, the Chief Executive of Economic Associates, however, shed light on the disconnect between the Naira’s appreciation in the foreign exchange market and consumer prices.

He suggested that the effects of currency fluctuations on prices may take three to six months to materialize fully.

For all the latest grains industry news from Africa, the Middle East, and the World, subscribe to our weekly NEWSLETTERS, follow us on LinkedIn, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.