Nigeria Loses $1.3b Annually To Rice Importation

Posted by By Adetutu Audu With Agency Report on 2009/01/20 | Views: |

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Nigeria Loses $1.3b Annually To Rice Importation

Nigeria is losing $1.3billion yearly to import around 2.2 billion kilogramme of rice in order to meet its domestic needs.

Nigeria is losing $1.3billion yearly to import around 2.2 billion kilogramme of rice in order to meet its domestic needs. This was revealed in a survey carried out last year by the Dutch Agricultural Development and Trading Company (DADTCO) and presented to President Umar Musa Yar’Adua at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between DADTCO and the Taraba State Government on the Taraba Rice Project, recently stated that it was wasteful for Nigeria to continue to deploy its scarce resources on rice importation.

Alhaji Sayyadi Ruma,Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources had announced last year that domestic rice farmers would have access to the N10 billion-rice development fund, a government package to help Nigeria achieve self-sufficiency in rice production.

Ruma had said that the major challenges facing local rice production were poor processing, storage, preservation, lack of credit facilities, decayed and inadequate infrastructure and poor quality of farm inputs.

PM News investigations revealed that presently a bag of 50kilogramme of rice goes for between N7,500 and N8,000 as against N6,500 and N6,800 sold last year.

According toPhillipines News Agency reports,the price of broken rice has gone up by 13 per cent in the last one week because of demand from Nigeria.The price per tonne is now $350, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Policy and Strategy Research Institute, Vietnam.

The institute attributed the rise to larger contracts from Nigeria and the Philippines, with the latter recently contracting to buy 500,000 tonnes of this kind of rice from the Southern Food Corporation.

Nigeria has already bought 250,000 tones from Vietnam, citing prices $80 to $90 lower than in Thailand. And the country is also expecting delivery of 15,000 tonnes each of non basmati rice from India. The new arrangement was disclosed through a trade ministry statement in India on Friday.

Basmati refers to the nutlike flavour and aroma of small, but long grained rice. It has been used in India and Pakistan for thousands of years and is excellent with curries. Several varieties are now grown in the United States. This flavour will, however, not be present in the consignment expected in the country.

Reuters reported that the sales would be directed through the India government-run trading firm, State Trading Corporation Limited.

The grains of basmati rice are much longer than they are wide, and they grow even longer as they cook. They stay firm and separate, not sticky, after cooking. Basmati rice is available both as white rice and a brown rice. Both of these cook in about 20 minutes. Due to the high amount of starch clinging to the rice grains, many cooks wash this rice before cooking it. Soaking it for half an hour to two hours before cooking makes the grains less likely to break during cooking.

According to the report, Nigeria, Senegal, and Ghana will each be shipped 15,000 tonnes, while 10,000 tonnes will go to Cameroon.India banned non-basmati rice exports in April to ensure supplies for its more than one billion people, but has agreed on limited shipments recently after diplomatic requests.

The price of rice could rise sharply, causing another shortage of the staple grain, the International Rice Research Institute has warned. The Philippines-based institute says the price of rice has risen recently.

Last year the price hit levels not seen in decades, which led to shortages and riots in many countries. “We don’t have a lot of buffers. We really need to produce another record rice crop to survive, to keep the price low,” the institute’s Sam Mohanty says.

There are concerns this year’s harvest may not live up to expectations because of poor weather and a lack of the credit that farmers need to buy fertiliser. The Thai Rice Exporters Association has increased the price of its benchmark white rice by 3% in the past week to $608 a tonne. It is the fourth consec

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