Okwe Obi, Abuja
Nigerians may now heave a sigh of relief as the Federal Government said it is considering reducing the price of rice, ahead of the Christmas celebration.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, stated this, on Thurdayu, when chairmen of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) across the country paid him a courtesy visit, in Abuja.
Local rice is currently old at N18, 000 while foreign rice goes for N17, 000.
To achieve this, Ogbeh said in the next two weeks, he will have a meeting with RIFAN and other stakeholders in order to come out with strategies on how to go about it.
“In two weeks time when we meet, between the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) and the millers, we will put in place a strategy to support rice milling so we can see what we can do to lower prices at Christmas.”
On the issue of flooding farmlands, Ogbeh disclosed that the Federal Government plans to purchase variety of rice that is flood-tolerant.
“We also acknowledge the fact that the floods have done a very terrible damage to rice fields, the water levels are so high, many rice farms have been flooded.
“We have taken into account the suggestions by farmers that we should look for varieties of rice that are flood tolerant, we will activate our contacts and research institutes to see what we can do quickly and we accept the commitments you have made as RIFAN that as soon as the rains go down, you will go into new cropping so that some of the residual water in land and irrigation facilities will give us another harvest of rice in about 90 days to 120 days.”
RIFAN president, Aminu Goronyo, promised to address journalists after the next meeting.