The Rice Processors Association of Nigeria (RIPAN) has urged the federal government to enter a pact on rice trade with India to import two million metric tonnes (mmt) of husked brown rice for millers to stabilise prices of the grain in the country, the association said.
The call comes as millers scramble for paddy amid a worsening shortage in Africa’s biggest economy that has sent prices to their highest level in decades.
The rice body said the move is necessary as it would help stabilise prices of a 50kg bag of local parboiled rice at N40,000, ensure survival of mills and a million jobs in the industry.
“We request Mr. President to appeal to the Prime Minister of India to sell about 2 million MT of husked brown rice to Nigeria and approval to waive the 20 percent export duty that India recently introduced,” the association said in a statement.
“The husked brown rice will be given to RIPAN for processing and to keep their milling working,” it stated.
It also called on the government to grant an immediate permit for the importation of brown rice and make the announcement before the new wet season commence, noting that it will help stop speculative hoarding and bring down paddy prices to acceptable levels.
According to RIPAN, the country has over 100 rice mills with an installed capacity to process over 6 million MT of Paddy and it is expected to increase to 7.5 million Mt in 2023 as more projects come on board.
The association added that to keep rice mills functional, a 2.7 million MT of paddy is required, noting that the current area under paddy cultivation is 1.6 billion hectares.
It stated that Nigeria’s paddy prices currently at N400,000 is the most expensive globally as millers scramble for available paddies.
The association noted that if the scarcity of paddy is not quickly addressed smuggling through the porous land borders will rise and it will renew pressure on the naira, eroding the country’s past gains in rice production.
“The shortage has consequences for the government and governance primarily with food security, inadequacy and food inflation,” it said, noting that food inflation and inadequacy could lead to civil unrest.
India – the world’s largest rice exporter recently placed a partial ban on export to control domestic prices and inflation. This has cut global supply by over a fifth and sent prices at the international market to a 15-year high, according to the Food and Agricultural Organisation.
President Bola Tinubu yesterday departed Delhi, Indian capital, where he attend official visits, the G20 Leaders’ Summit and business related meetings for United Arab Emirates (UAE).