In a renewed move to address the rising cost of food prices in the Nigerian market, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Rice farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) have concluded plans to distribute 27,000 metric tonnes of rice paddies directly to millers nationwide on Thursday, June 24, 2021.
The direct allocation from RIFAN warehouses across 16 States of the Federation is sequel to the earlier sale of paddy aggregated as loan repayment under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) to millers from the rice pyramids unveiled in Niger, Kebbi, Gombe and Ekiti States.
According to the Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department at the CBN, Osita Nwanisobi, Kaduna, Kaduna State, has been selected as the key location for the paddy allocation exercise which will be done simultaneously in the States that recorded the highest quality of rice harvests during the last farming season.
He said the new strategy was in line with the Bank’s mandate of ensuring price stability and its focus of being a people-centered central bank. He also expressed optimism that the allocation of the paddies would trigger a decline in the prices of rice in the Nigerian market, boost availability, and ultimately check the activities of middlemen seeking to create artificial scarcity along the supply chains.
The CBN recently unveiled pyramids of rice paddies in Niger, Kebbi, Gombe and Ekiti States, with the Federal Capital Territory, Ebonyi and Cross River slated for the same exercise in the coming weeks in what the Bank says is part of its contribution to ensuring self-sustenance in food production as well as food security in Nigeria.
It will be recalled that the CBN, working with relevant agencies, in January 2021, had triggered the release of about 300,000 metric tonnes of maize from strategic anchors under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) which forced down the prices of maize from N180,000 per metric tonne.