Paddy Rice

Food Security: CBN set to distribute 27,000MT of paddy to rice millers

*The new strategy is in line with the Bank’s mandate to ensure price stability, boost availability, and ultimately check the activities of middlemen seeking to create artificial scarcity along the supply chains, says Osita Nwanisobi, Acting Director of Corporate Communications

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

In a move to deliberately address the rising cost of food prices in the Nigerian market, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) disclosed that plans had been finalised to share 27,000 metric tonnes (MT) of paddy rice directly to millers across the country, with effect from Thursday, June 24, 2021.

ConsumerConnect reports the Bankers’ Bank noted the food security initiative is being undertaken in partnership with the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN).

Central Bank of Nigeria Headquarters in Abuja, FCT

Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, Acting Director of Corporate Communications Department at the CBN, in a statement said the measure would come as huge relief to Nigerian consumers who have raised concerns that despite the bountiful harvest season, the prices of food commodities especially rice had been on the increase in recent times.

It was learnt that stakeholders have variously blamed the middlemen for allegedly hoarding the commodity in order to benefit from an artificial scarcity, thereby unduly affecting prices.

However, the CBN and relevant farmers’ associations have assured that prices will plummet once the harvest season comes.

According to the apex bank, the direct allocation from RIFAN warehouses across 16 states of the Federation was sequel to the earlier sale of paddy aggregated as loan repayment under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) to millers from the rice pyramids recently unveiled in Niger, Kebbi, Gombe and Ekiti states in the country.

Mr. Nwanisobi also noted that Kaduna State had been selected as 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.

The new strategy, he said, is in consonance with the bank’s mandate of ensuring price stability and its focus of being a people-centered Central Bank of Nigeria.

Nwanisobi also expressed optimism that the allocation of the paddy would trigger a decline in the prices of rice in the country, boost availability, and ultimately check the activities of middlemen seeking to create artificial scarcity along the supply chains.

The CBN, working with relevant agencies, had in January triggered the release of about 300,000 metric tonnes of maize from strategic anchors under the ABP which forced down the prices of maize from N180,000 per metric tonne.

It is noted that the Nigerian economy has witnessed upward inflationary trajectory for 18 consecutive months in recent times, caused mostly by food inflation.

Yet, analysts are optimistic that addressing the insecurity challenges bedevilling the country could further impact food prices positively’ in the country’s economy.

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