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Alarming: Minister says bag of rice may sell for N40,000 by December



Alarming: Minister says bag of rice may sell for N40,000 by December

Nigerians may be in for worse times in the months to come, as the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, Saturday, predicted that a bag of rice may sell for N40,000 by December.

According to the minister, who spoke at a town hall meeting in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, Nigeria currently spends about $22bn a year on importation of food.

The minister further said the high food import bill, has led to the astronomical rise in price of rice and other commodities and that if Nigerians fail to produce some of the items being imported, before December the price of rice would hit N40,000 a bag.

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Lokpobiri further explained that according to projections, Nigeria’s population is billed to hit 450 million by 2050, wondering how the nation would be able to cope if it does not produce enough to feed itself.

The minister said: “For your information, we spend about $22bn a year importing food into Nigeria. We know how many more dollars … and that is why you see the price of rice going up.

“Price of rice was N12,000 some months ago, but it is now about N26,000 and if we don’t start producing, by December it could be N40,000.

“Rice matures in three months. So, this is a wake up call for Bayelsa people to take the four farms we have seriously. The federal government has four farms in the state in our records. The average land you see in Bayelsa can grow rice, so the colonial masters were not wrong in their assessment when they said Niger Delta could feed not only Nigeria but the entire West Africa sub-region.

“Unfortunately, agriculture till today, is not a priority of the Niger Delta as far as the state governments are concerned because of oil.”

By Timothy Enietan-Matthews….

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