Buhari Rice Experiment, By Dr Franklin Akinyosoye

I did a little research and found out that rice now is scarce hence the high price. What former Agriculture Minister Dr Audu Ogbe told us and told President Muhammadu  Buhari about food security and rice sufficiency might not be completely true afterall.

We are trying in terms of production locally considering where we are coming from but we still can’t meet the demand. Because demand is more than supply the price will keep going up.

In the market right now the rice sellers are confused and running from village to village looking for rice mills, village sellers and planters; there are all sorts of rice in the market, even those that have not been destoned, the ones with chaff, even the ones that are supposed to be planted the next season and those who are not good at handling and processing are all in it, just to get the rice to the market to meet the demand, this exercise keeps pushing up the price of rice.

But I am just also finding out that rice importation was not banned but the dollars was made scarce by CBN. What this means is that importers can still import but have to source their dollars themselves.

These 2 angles have to be looked at seriously, we don’t want to have a mismanaged staple food scenerio. I dont have issues with the border closure, it only proved to us that we have been enriching our neighbors at our own detriment, but a lot have to be done by customs, they must wake up to new realities of international border watch.

For us and the govt to move in the right direction, industry watchers must be at alert to give candid and accurate report to govt on the reality on ground.

The President told the new economic team about our data deficiency, he is very correct, but what are we doing about it? With wrong or no data, decision will be wrong and the impact catastrophic at times, could lead to mismanaged economy which has actually been happening in Nigeria.

The data presented to govt on rice locally produced is wrong, the data on imported rice might have been over stated as well. Mind the word “might”.

On this case government should take a second and independent look at the quantity and quality of the locally produced rice and see if the record presented based on which decision was taken are correct and if they would want to revisit the issue to reassess their intervention in the Rice value chain to address current realities.

Dr. Franklin Akinyosoye is a Managing Consultant at Mecer Consulting Limited and a Business Development Strategist.

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