Diva rice accuses distributors of price inflation, threatens to cancel contracts
Ifeyinwa Mba, chief executive officer (CEO), Diva World Trading Services, brand owners of Diva Rice, has accused distributors of contributing to the incessant increase in the price of local rice in the market, which frustrates efforts of the government for affordability and availability of the local staple.
Mba, who expressed shock over what she termed the “Shylock nature” of distributors, explained that her company delivers a bag of 50kg rice to major distributors at the cost of N21,500, free of transport charges, while they sell at N25,000 to retailers, who also markup the price to make their own profit, thereby making rice unaffordable for most families in Nigeria.
Rice is a staple food in most homes in Nigeria and to encourage self-sufficiency in its production, as well as make it more affordable for families, the Federal Government of Nigeria banned its importation.
However, this move by Nigeria’s Government has not yielded expected results, rather it has worsened the situation, as the price of local rice has gone beyond the reach of most families in Nigeria.
“Local rice is not meant to be sold at the same price with foreign rice, our aim of investing in rice processing is to make the product available and affordable for the people, yet I have received a series of complaints from people, who say our brand of rice is expensive,” she explained.
Mba added that distributors are expected to make N1,000 profit from the Diva brand of rice especially as the products are delivered to them free of transport cost.
Consequently, she threatened to cancel contracts with those described as “greedy distributors”, who refuse to refrain from arbitrary increases in product price, as she wants the brand to retain market share and remain in business.
“If our product is expensive, we won’t compete favourably in the market, because we have competitors”, she stated.
Diva brand of rice, the product of Diva World Trading Services, based in Mgbidi in Oru West Local Government Area of Imo State, hit the local market in September 2021. The company has a 30-ton digital rice mill and aims to support the Federal Government in its drive to make Nigeria sufficient in rice production and also create jobs.
Consequently, the coming of Diva Rice Mill has provided an available market for smallholder rice farmers and particularly rural women farmers, who toil to process their paddies manually with little or no profit at all.