Reports have it that the demand for locally grown rice has increased among Nigerians especially in Cross River state as Christmas approaches.
This is unsurprising as the cost of imported rice has risen to between N22,000 and N26,000.
According to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), a Calabar resident Richard Nku had this to say:
“It is cheaper, more affordable and even sweeter than foreign rice. So I cannot spend as much as N26, 000 just to buy just a bag of rice simply because it is foreign.
“In this Christmas, I am going for locally made rice and that is what my family and everybody in my house will eat until January.”
Raymond Ubi, who also resides in the Cross River capital, said: “I go for our own made rice, no matter what people think about it, I prefer it, in fact I like it more than the so called foreign rice.”
Fidel Egoro who is one of those farming the rice in an interview with the press, had this to say:
“We are under serious pressure to deliver on demand and that is why we cannot accept people paying us through banks.
“We do not have the time to go to the bank, so we prefer cash to save time; many people have placed orders for rice and we are trying to meet up before the close of the season.”
There are also fears that with increased demand the price of the rice might actually go higher before Christmas.
Egoro says: “One bushel of rice (equivalent of half bag) sells for N7,250, while two bushels (equivalent of one bag) sells for N14,500).
“This may increase before the close of the season, depending on changes in cost of production.”
Meanwhile, a recent market survey conducted by NAIJ.com at Agege market, Lagos, revealed a slight increase in the price of rice, beans, groundnut oil, palm oil, onion and other foodstuff items.
In the market, traders lamented the low sales they were experiencing even as Christmas and New Year celebrations approach.