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Price of rice surges to N88,000 as expert proposes solution to food problem in Nigeria 

The price of a 50kg bag of foreign rice has surged to over N88,000 across major stores in Nigeria, which is 22.2% higher than the N72,000 recorded earlier in the month.

In the same vein, locally made rice increased by almost the same rate (21.8%) to N67,000 in just less than a month. This information comes from findings by the TheTimes Research team. Compared to the same period last year, the price of foreign rice has increased by 244%, while local rice has witnessed a 209% price increase in the same period.

During a conversation with Mrs. Olanike, a rice dealer at Daleko market in Lagos, she explained that the recent rise in the price of local rice has been largely driven by the surge in the price of foreign rice, which is a result of the depleting value of the naira and the continuous ban on the item.

It’s worth noting that the exchange rate between the naira and other currencies has depreciated significantly in recent times, losing over 45% and 30% year-to-date at the official and parallel market, respectively.

Recent inflation data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed that food inflation rose to 35.71% in January 2024, the highest level since August 2005.

According to the NBS, food inflation in January was driven by increases in price of bread and cereals, potatoes, yam and other tubers, oil and fat, fish, meat, coffee, tea, and cocoa. 

In an exclusive interview with Ibrahim Maigari, the founder and CEO of RiceAfrika, a tech-driven agriculture optimization service provider, he highlighted some of the factors contributing to the hike in the price of rice in the country. 

Ibrahim Maigari suggested a combination of seven strategies to drive down the price of food items and improve production in the country, which he termed as the Farm Easy Operating System. According to him, a wholistic approach is required to address the issue of food security in Nigeria.  

In addition, timely delivery of fertilizer is essential to ensure improved food production in Nigeria. The best time to deliver fertilizer to farmers is between March and April, however, what we notice in most times is that the farmers take delivery of these fertilizers around June and July, which is supposed to be a time for harvesting. 

The others as highlighted by Mr. Ibrahim include best agronomic practices, adoption of mechanized family as well as access to market. 

The problem of food inflation continues to be a major bane to most Nigerians, who already spend about 55% of their household expenditures on food items.

The recent trend of high inflation has significantly eroded the purchasing power of average Nigerians and the government will need a combination of policies to urgently address the food crisis in the country. 

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