Finance Minister Blames Rising Cost Of Rice On Smuggling


The Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, on Thursday, said smuggling is responsible for the rising cost of rice in the country.

Speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Thursday, the Minister said smuggling is affecting the market and hurting the citizens.

“Unfortunately there is a lot of distortion and the distortion is arising from smuggling of goods into the country,” the Minister said.

“We have unpatriotic Nigerians that will bring rice that is poor quality, some of it not even fit for human consumption and come and dump it in the market.”

READ ALSO: Reps Order Suspension Of Customs Duty Collection By Banks

She also reiterated the Federal Government’s efforts in fighting smuggling, noting that there is a combined team of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Police, the Department of Security Services (DSS) among others to rid the nation of economic saboteurs.

The Minister also reacted to the fresh borrowing request by the Federal Government which was recently approved by the National Assembly.

According to her, the Federal Government has created a Medium-Term Debt Management Strategy, noting that the borrowings are not being done by fiat.

The borrowing that was approved by the lawmakers, the Minister noted, has been in the National Assembly since early this year.

“It is encapsulated in a plan, we are guided by the Fiscal Responsibility Act that sets the limit of how much you can borrow at any particular time.

“We have also structured the borrowing to make sure that we have the balance between domestic borrowing as well as external financial borrowings,” she added.

President Muhammadu Buhari had in May, asked the Senate to approve the loan request.

The 2018-2020 External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan contained a request for approval in the sum of $36.8 billion, €910 million, and a grant component of $10 million.

Lawmakers of the upper chamber have since then been making approvals in bits.

They approved $8.3 billion and €490 million in July. They also approved $6.1 billion in the same month.

FG Targets 10million Tons Of Rice Production By 2021



The Federal Government says it is targeting the production of ten million metric tons of rice in the country by the end of this year’s dry season farming.

The Federal Government has said that already a total of five million metric tons have been produced in the wet season, while five million metric tons will be produced during the dry season.

According to the Central Bank of Nigeria, this will be made possible through increasing the cultivation of the commodity to an expanse of one million hectares of land.

At the flag-off of 2020/2021 dry season, rice farming and distribution of inputs in niger state, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and the Niger state Governor Abubakar Bello are of the view that the country can be self-sufficient in rice production relying on the anchor borrowers’ programme of the apex bank.

Niger state is one of the leading states in rice production, with vast arable land.

At least three hundred and eighty thousand metric tons of rice are produced annually in the state, but even that is considered far lesser than its capacity, and it’s the reason the state government is now taking advantage of the dry season farming.

With the closure of Nigeria’s borders by President Muhammadu Buhari, rice importation has also been banned, thereby increasing the volume of local production of the commodity. But the policy has also led to a hike in the price of rice, a concern the rice farmers association of nigeria hopes to address through its triple ‘a’ agenda.

Kebbi Flood: Buhari Laments Loss Of Lives, Over N1bn By Rice Farmers

Buhari Condemns Gombe Killings, Condoles With Victims' Families
A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.


President Muhammadu Buhari is concerned over the flood that claimed a number of lives in Kebbi State, north-west Nigeria.

The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed his principal’s worry in a statement on Wednesday.

According to the statement, the flood also submerged thousands of hectares of farmlands and houses, as well as destroyed farm produce and personal belongings in the affected communities.

“With the loss of six lives and still counting, thousands of hectares of land flooded and estimated economic losses of more than one billion naira by rice farmers in Kebbi State, we face a major setback in our efforts to boost local food production,” the President lamented.

He added, “I am particularly sad over this incident because it’s a setback to our efforts to boost local rice production as part of measures to stop food importation.”

A map of Kebbi, a state in north-west Nigeria.


President Buhari described Kebbi as the focal point of the Federal Government’s policy to produce rice locally.

He explained that this was part of his administration’s commitment to agricultural revival which he said suffered relative neglect in favour of food importation.

“This bad news couldn’t have come at a worse time for our farmers and other Nigerians who looked forward to a bumper harvest this year in order to reduce the current astronomical rise in the costs of food items in the markets,” the President noted.

He sympathised with those who lost their loved ones to the incident and the farmers affected by the devastating floods.

President Buhari assured them that the Federal Government would work closely with the Kebbi State government in order to bring relief to the victims.

COVID-19: Lagos Govt To Provide Staple Foods To 200,000 Households


The Lagos State Government has announced that it would be providing staple foods such as rice, beans, garri, pepper and water to the indigent and the most vulnerable in the society.

The state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu announced this during a briefing on Friday, saying that it was part of efforts to cushion the effects of the 14-day stay-at-home directive, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the governor, this distribution of the “economic stimulus package” to the 200,000 is the first phase and is expected to last for a period of 14 days.

Read Also: Coronavirus Death Toll Now Over 25,000

“We have packaged dry food stimulus for about two hundred thousand families in the first instance for a household of husband, wife and about four children. We would be giving bags of rice, bags of beans, garri, bread, dry pepper and we are trying to see if we can add water and some elements of vitamin C. Each ration, we believe is going to be able to last them at least minimum 14 days just so our advocacy around the stay at home, stay with your loved ones will be respected,” Sanwo-Olu said.

“This is a catalytic initiative of our administration with the hope that well-meaning corporate organisations and private individuals can step up to complement the efforts of the government”.

Meanwhile, the governor also announced that food banks will be provided at the various local governments starting from Saturday, March 28, 2020, to ease commuting of people to markets to get basic daily needs.

As the number of confirmed cases in the state has risen to 44 and a total of 65 in the country, the governor urged residents to refrain from gathering or congregating in order to reduce the risk of further spread.

In an earlier briefing on Tuesday, the governor stated that the accepted maximum for any congregation is 25 persons.

While civil servants in the state have been ordered to stay at home, to reduce the number of people out on the roads, the governor urged private sector organisations to allow their non-essential staff to also work from home or resort to online services where possible.

Rice Importation Must Be Discouraged In Nigeria, Says Jigawa Governor

Jigawa State Governor, Badaru Abubakar, with the Governor of Hunan Province of China, Mr Oufang Huang, and others at the Government House in Dutse on October 9, 2019.



Jigawa State Governor, Badaru Abubakar, has stressed the need to discourage the importation of rice in the country.

In an attempt to meet the demand in Nigeria following the border closure, he announced that the state would become one of the leading producers of quality rice.

The governor disclosed that the state government has completed plans to begin local production of farming implements and tools to boost rice production in the state.

He gave the hint when he hosted a Chinese delegation led by the Governor of Hunan Province, Mr Oufang Huang, on Wednesday at the Government House in Dutse, the state capital.

READ ALSO: Taraba Recorded Over 100 Kidnap Cases In 2019, Says Ishaku

Governor Abubakar explained that in order to improve farming activities in the state, the government would explore the option of solar power for gravity irrigation which would cover between 70 to 100,000 hectares of land.

As a leading producer of quality sesame in Africa, he said Jigawa would soon commence the exportation of the oil-rich seed to the tune of 30,000 tonnes to Huanan Province for extraction.

The governor added that his administration was using the Research Institute of Huanan Province to improve the yield and quality of rice production in the state.

He was confident that Jigawa would be the leading rice producer in the country in the next five years.

Earlier, Mr Huang said they were on a return visit to Jigawa State to have a strong partnership on agricultural production.

According to him, the visit was at the request of Governor Badaru who paid a similar visit to the province in China.

Prices Of Tomatoes, Yam, Rice Decrease In June – NBS Report

Tomato disease, Kaduna, tomato blight, tomato farms
File photo.



The average price of major food items such as tomatoes, yam, and rice reduced in the month of June.

This is according to the ‘Selected Food Price Watch (June 2019)’ report published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The report revealed that the average price of one kilogramme of tomatoes reduced from N317.67 recorded in June 2018 to N226.07 in June 2019, representing a 28.84 per cent decrease.

It added that the price of one kilogramme of tomatoes reduced from N249.52 recorded in May 2019 to N226.07 in June, also representing a 9.40 per cent reduction.

READ ALSO: NASS Delegation Visits Fasoranti Over Olakunrin’s Killing

NBS also disclosed in the report that the average cost of one kilogramme of rice (imported high quality sold loose) decreased from N373.47 in June 2018 to N352.82 in June 2019.

The price of one kilogramme of rice, according to it, reduced from N361.39 recorded in May 2019 to N352.82 in June 2019, representing a 2.37 per cent decrease.

The bureau explained that fieldwork was done solely by more than 700 NBS staff in all states across the country,

It added that the fieldwork was supported by supervisors who were monitored by internal and external observers.

NBS noted that the prices were collected across all the 774 local government areas, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) from over 10,000 respondents and locations, stressing that they reflect actual prices households said they actually bought the items.

It said the average of all the prices was reported for each state, adding that the average for the country was the average for the state.

The report read, “Selected food price watch data for June 2019 reflected that the average price of 1 dozen of Agric eggs medium size decreased year-on-year by -8.23% and increased month-on-month by 6.55% to N495.32 in June 2019 from N464.87 in May 2019, while the average price of piece of Agric eggs medium size (price of one) decreased year-on-year by -5.01% and month-on-month by -8.20% to N39.30 in June 2019 from N42.82 in May 2019.

“The average price of 1kg of tomato decreased year-on-year by -28.84% and month-on-month by -9.40% to N226.07 in June 2019 from N249.52 in May 2019.

“The average price of 1kg of rice (imported high quality sold loose) decreased year-on-year by -5.53% and month-on-month by -2.37% to N352.82 in June 2019 from N361.39 in May 2019.

“Similarly, the average price of 1kg of yam tuber decreased year-on-year by -36.27% and month-on-month by -15.68% to N182.15 in June 2019 from N216.03 in May 2019.”

FG Approves N60bn To Boost Rice Production

President Muhammadu Buhari with Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Bagudu, at the National Food Security Council in Abuja on November 16, 2018.


The Federal Government has approved the sum of N60 billion to support rice production in the country and crash its market price ahead of the festive period.

Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, disclosed this to State House correspondents on Tuesday at the end of the National Food Security Council in Abuja.

“The government has approved some money to support the rice industry to bring down prices, but we are going to handle it differently,” he said.

The Minister added, “We don’t want to get into the petroleum subsidy problem, so a committee is looking at it with the Ministry of Finance.

“And we think that it is better for us to lend money to the millers, the farmers, and the distributors, at a very low interest rate so that the capital doesn’t disappear.”

President Muhammadu Buhari presides over the National Food Security Council meeting in Abuja on November 16, 2018.


Mr Ogbeh thereafter revealed some of the measure being out in place by the government to tackle the crisis between farmers and herdsmen which has claimed many lives since the beginning of the year.

According to him, the government is devising ways of ensuring that the waste products of one part are made useful to the other.

The minister explained, “We are putting in place a programme now to see if we can aggregate all the wastes from harvest – maize stalks and sorghum stalks and millet, rice stalks, beans and so on, and process them to feed the cows instead of letting them (the herders) roam around and getting into these conflicts with the farmers.”

Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Bagudu, who is also part of the council, reacted to reports by the U.S. Department for Agriculture suggesting that Nigeria imported three million tonnes of rice.

He said, “The only official importation in Nigeria is about 4,000 metric tonnes of rice.”

“The U.S. authorities responded by saying that their assessment was based on satellite imaging of flooded areas. Even in spite of the flooding, upland rice production has been quite strong this year,” the governor added.

Meanwhile, the council also announced a decline of Foreign Exchange expenditure on food items from $1.4 billion in 2013 to about $628 million in 2018.

President Muhammadu Buhari presided over the food council meeting which held inside the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa.

Those who also attended are the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, and Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode.

Global Warming May Have ‘Devastating’ Effects On Rice – Study


As carbon dioxide rises due to the burning of fossil fuels, rice will lose some of its protein and vitamin content, putting millions of people at risk of malnutrition, scientists warned on Wednesday.

The change could be particularly dire in southeast Asia where rice is a major part of the daily diet, said the report in the journal Science Advances.

“We are showing that global warming, climate change and particularly greenhouse gases — carbon dioxide — can have an impact on the nutrient content of plants we eat,” said co-author Adam Drewnowski, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington.

“This can have devastating effects on the rice-consuming countries where about 70 percent of the calories and most of the nutrients come from rice.”

Protein and vitamin deficiencies can lead to growth-stunting, birth defects, diarrhea, infections and early death.

Countries at most risk include those that consume the most rice and have the lowest gross domestic product (GDP), such as Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, Drewnowksi said.

The findings were based on field studies in Japan and China, simulating the amount of CO2 expected in the atmosphere by the second half of this century — 568 to 590 parts per million. Current levels are just over 400 ppm.

For the experiments, 18 different strains of rice were planted in open fields, surrounded in certain areas by 56-foot wide (17-meter) octagons of plastic piping that released extra CO2.

According to study co-author Kazuhiko Kobayashi, a professor at the University of Tokyo, the experiment is designed to be more accurate than growing in a greenhouse.

“This technique allows us to test the effects of higher carbon dioxide concentrations on plants growing in the same conditions that farmers really will grow them some decades later in this century,” said Kobayashi.

– Vitamins cut –

Researchers found that iron, zinc, protein, and vitamins B1, B2, B5, and B9 — which help the body convert food to energy — were all reduced in the rice grown under higher CO2 conditions.

“Vitamin B1 (thiamine) levels decreased by 17.1 percent; average Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) by 16.6 percent; average Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) by 12.7 percent; and average Vitamin B9 (folate) by 30.3 percent,” said the report.

On average, protein content fell 10.3 percent, iron dropped eight percent and zinc was reduced by 5.1 percent, compared to rice grown today under current CO2 conditions.

Vitamin B6 and calcium were unaffected, and vitamin E levels rose for most strains.

The reasons for the changes have to do with how higher CO2 affects the plant’s structure and growth, increasing carbohydrate content and reducing protein and minerals, said the study.

Higher CO2 means less exposure to nitrogen, which also may affect vitamin content, researchers said.

Not all rice varieties saw the same drops in nutritional value, raising hope that future research could help farmers develop strains of rice that would be more resilient to atmospheric changes.

A separate study out last year by researchers at Harvard University found that global warming would cut protein in a number of key staples, including rice, wheat, barley and potatoes.

The result: an additional 150 million people globally may be at risk of protein deficiency by 2050.

Thailand Plans To Establish Rice Mills In Nigeria

Rice Imports Will Stop This Year, Says Buhari

The Federal Government has announced plans by Thailand to establish rice mills in Nigeria.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, made the announcement during a tour of some rice farms in Kebbi state.

The Minister says this was made possible because of the reduction on Nigeria’s rice importation by over 90 percent.

The minister also mentioned that Nigeria been able to cut down on the importation of rice from Thailand from 644,000 metric tonnes two years ago to a little over 20,000 metric tonnes currently.

Rice Imports Will Stop This Year, Says Buhari

President Buhari addressing the nation


President Muhammadu Buhari has said Nigeria will stop rice imports this year.

The President said this in his New Year broadcast to Nigerians on Monday morning, while assuring Nigerians that the government “is slowly stabilising the economy”.

Government officials have repeatedly pointed to an upsurge in rice production as one of the signs that the current administration’s plans to diversify the economy was achieving the desired results.

The President shares the same view and is satisfied with the progress made. Beyond the economic implication of self-sufficiency in rice production, President Buhari also expects Nigerians to get nutritional benefits from locally produced rice.

“Two years ago I appealed to people to go back to the land. I am highly gratified that agriculture has picked up, contributing to the government’s effort to restructure the economy. Rice imports will stop this year. Local rice, fresher and more nutritious will be on our dishes from now on,” he said.

President Buhari explained that it was in order to change the steady and steep decline in the economy that the government adopted the more sustainable policies and programmes captured in the Economic Recovery Plan.

Although the President is satisfied that “diversification efforts have resulted in improved output particularly in agriculture and solid minerals sectors” and the relative exchange rate stability has improved manufacturing sector performance”, he believes more discipline is needed going forward.

“We have got to get used to discipline and direction in economic management,” he said, adding, “The days of business, as usual, are numbered”.
With unemployment at record levels in the country, the President is keen to see more enterprising people rising to the task of nation-building.

“I am today appealing to enterprising Nigerians with ideas and unemployed graduates and other able-bodied and literate men and women with ideas not to just sit and wait for employment from the government or the Organized Private Sector,” he said. “Great nations are built by enterprising people who turn their hands to anything that circumstances dictate.”

Okorocha Launches Indigenous ‘Imo International Rice’

Okorocha Launches Indigenous ‘Imo International Rice’
File photo


The Imo State government has launched its first indigenous rice called ‘Imo International Rice’ for consumption of residents and Nigerians in general.

This follows the partnership between the state government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the Rice Anchor Borrowers’ Programme of the Federal Government.

The 50kg-bag of rice was officially unveiled on Saturday by the state Governor, Rochas Okorocha, at the Imo International Conference Centre in Owerri, the state capital.

Governor Okorocha, in his address, said the decision to start the production of an indigenous rice was borne out of his administration’s commitment to providing sufficient food for the people.

He added that it was also part of his resolve to create employment opportunities for the teeming youths and complement the Federal Government’s effort in promoting local rice production in Nigeria.

Okorocha described the feat as ‘a dream come true’, saying it would go a long way to support the efforts of the Federal Government in abolishing sales of foreign rice and promoting local rice production in the country.

On her part, Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security in the state, Mrs Ugochi Nnanna-Okoro, informed the gathering that the Federal and state government collaborated to train and empower a total of 3,242 farmers in rice farming.

She added that the performance of the farmers in one year has resulted in the production of more than 2,000 metric tons of packaged and processed stone-free parboiled rice.

Also at the event, the state government also showcased the locally-processed and packaged Imo smoked catfish.

According to the government, pilot rice farms have been established in 12 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state and plans are ongoing to create more in the remaining 15 LGAs while a bag of rice is to be sold at a discounted rate of N14,500.

In October 2016, Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce on Rice Production and Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Bagudu, visited Imo State alongside some CBN top officials to launch the Rice Anchor Borrowers’ programme.

One year and two months down the line, top government functionaries, traditional rulers, and indigenes of the state gathered to witness the product of the programme launched – the official unveiling of the first ever indigenous rice solely produced by farmers in the state.

Yobe Commences Irrigation Plans To Boost Rice, Wheat Production

Obiano Commissions Josan Rice Farm And Mills In Anambra StateYobe State has commenced preparation for a full scale irrigation farming in four different locations across the state in a bid to commence all year round farming.

Under the programme, the state government through a special task force on irrigation has commenced construction of canals and dykes as a strategy for harvesting and storing the abundant rainfall to be use during the dry season.

Governor Gaidam visited three separate potential irrigation sites where he reiterated the state’s determined to become a major producer of rice and wheat among other vegetable gardening.

“With what I have seen in these three locations and the intensive efforts of the Special Task Force on the scheme, I am confident that we will soon become a major player especially in rice and wheat production.

“We will give the task force every support it needs to grow these fields and empower our farmers to become commercial farmers,” the governor said.

Chairman of the special task force Mr Gambomi Goni, revealed that for a start, government will provide the farm and other imputes to attract the farmers into the profession but subsequently as they get used to it, they would be left alone to carry on with their businesses.

“We are currently working on 200 hectares each in Nguru and Muguram in Nguru and we are constructing a 1500 meters main canal as well as numerous intake channels.

“We will grow throughout the year and we envisage three cropping seasons with wheat around October-March, rice around March-July and then early variety of maize around July September,” Goni said.

Furthermore, he appreciated the strong backing the committee is receiving from government and assured to do its best in ensuring the success of the programme.


The governor, therefore, called on farmers to make the best use of the programme to improve their economy and that of the state.