Rice Madness: A Reality and a Shame

Rice, a rich carbohydrate staple food and most consumed meal in Nigeria has become scarce or better still very costly. The average Nigerian families can no longer have this food on their table.
why this is so will be the sole aim of this study                    

In the year 2014,when the former president  Goodluck Jonathan was in office, Rice  sold for as cheap as 8000 for foreign rice and 7000 for local rice, *_   Nigerians were so glad to atleast find that they had food on their table at a very low price                                

it is 2016 ,the story is no longer the same, President Buhari is in power and rice is sold at 22000 for foreign and 16000 for local. While minimum wage remained at 18000.        
Nigerians from all corners both rich and poor laments the skyrocketing increase in price of their favorite food.
Jokingly, some ascribe it to the waves of change by the new   regime that has affected almost every sector of our economy.

On taking office, President Buhari asserted that  *he belonged to nobody but everybody.* Sooner than later it had been discovered that both the poor and rich will be affected. As harsh economic policies continues to topple each other by the passing days.


The importation of over 140 articles into Nigeria has been banned by the President and Rice tops the list. Since this rice ban, scarcity of the product was imminent, and if you know your econometrics very well, demand was surely going to increase, which eternally will lead to price hike. This is exactly what is happening.
Rice has become a scarce commodity and importers of rice does that at their own risk.      
*whether this move by the present administration is good for national economy as they profess is still very doubtful*, as the masses all over is beginning to witness kitchen famine.              
However, because every policy possesses both good and bad parts, recently, the local production of rice has received a renewed interest and involvement. Different state govt and individuals now want to invest in the commodity, it’s cultivation, processing, sales and distribution. We currently have the Adani rice, Ebonyi rice, and recently, Gov.  Obiano of Anambra State has proclaimed the production of Anambra rice too. How true or factual the story is, is still  under observation and study, as reaction from some quarters suggests that it is merely a political news, a campaign strategy. Next year 2017 being an election year. In Anambra State.                  

The Nigerian population however laments  the poor processing of the local rice, as there are so many stones, chaff, and colour . Hence, if our rice must receive patronage, it must attain minimum standard. And must comply with international quality specifications* Irrespective of all efforts at reducing the scarcity of the product, the obvious reality remains that our local production cannot be able to meet up with local demand. And Nigeria cannot claim to be self sufficient as regards to rice production.                    
Recent happenings indeed suggests that an immediate action by the govt is expected, so Nigeria will not witness food crisis like Somalia, Niger, Chad, South Sudan and so many other impoverished States.                                              
It has been reported that refugees in the IDP camps in the northeast Nigeria are dying of hunger and starvation. Why?… Camp commandant are now diverting the food for themselves and their families and also to sell off to black marketers who sees every administrative loophole as an opportunity to make money and enrich their insatiable selves. Diversion of rice becomes the latest business of the hour for camp commandant.              

we are indeed in a state of comatose,it’s mind buggling to also find that parents now trade their children for a bags of rice. Report has it that on the northeast a Fulani man was apprehended for attempting to sell off his son for a bag of rice.
This morning Vanguard news reports that a man was also caught in Lagos for kidnapping two siblings and use them in exchange for  a bag of rice.    

 I begin to wonder.. Why the rice madness,?_
 Have we finished eating our beans, cassava, potatoes, yams, which we have in excess.. Then to kill ourselves for some rice?      
This calls for action by the present administration so we will not witness the famed Bible story where women ate their children because of food shortage and scarcity.

It is however, recommended that the ban on rice should be lifted but controlled in a manner as not to impede national economy…

The local production should be given priority,
agriculture should receive greatest attention.
We should maximize local output till it is sufficient for all Nigerians.
Till it takes over the market,
Till importation of rice becomes unnecessary.
Till local rice becomes number one choice for all Nigerians.
still the minister of agriculture is proud to announce that rice may be bought for 14,000 before December. laughable, is this a news, a plan or a solution. I speak only to the wise….. CBND

Njokudavidchibueze     columnist,corespondent

Host: bed time series.

author:an evil tree:the Nigerian story

For knowledge and Justice
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