- The price of Nigeria's major staple food, rice, have gone up since the Nigerian government closed the border
- The government had a few weeks ago closed its land borders, a decision which generated mixed reactions
- Before now, foreign rice have been flooding the Nigerian market and they come through the land borders
A report by Business Day indicates that Nigerians may buy a 50kg bag of rice for as high as N50,000 in December 2019 if the land borders remain shut by the federal government.
The Nigerian government has closed its land borders for more than a month, a decision that made the price of rice by 86% to an all-time high of N27,000 per 50kg from N14,500.
Experts say this is an indication that local rice farmers do not currently have the capacity to meet local demand in Africa's most populated country.
According to the report, sellers of rice in Lagos are currently hoarding the commodity in anticipation of selling at a higher price during the festive period when demand for the product is usually higher.
Lagos is Nigeria's number one commercial city.
“We believe that the price will go as high as N50,000 per bag if the borders remain closed,” a trader who gave her name as Adegoke said.
Interestingly, the price of local rice hs gone up. A 50kg bag of Lake Rice, a local product, has also increased by 22% from N13,500 to N16,500.
“The government did not put in place adequate plans before shutting down the border. The decision has only worsened the sufferings of Nigerians,” an expert quoted in the report said.
“We still do not grow enough rice to feed our population and the government is yet to fix issues of insecurity and kidnapping that have been a major threat to food security in the country,” he added.
John Okoli, a rice dealer in Anambra state, said many families are unhappy owing to the increasing food prices that have caused untold hardship in the country.
“It is difficult for families as the high cost of food items in the markets is seriously affecting their lives,” Okoli said.
Meanwhile, the Ohaneze Youth Council has accused officials of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) of extorting Igbo traders.
The group alleged that the NCS officials have been carrying out, relentless extortion and exploitation of Igbo traders and businessmen in the country, particularly Lagos state.
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