Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, has said that Nigeria’s high interest rates is partly responsible for the high cost of locally produced rice as against the imported ones.
Ogbeh said this while responding to questions during a Town Hall meeting in Abuja on Tuesday.
He noted that one of the major reasons was that most of the imported rice was subsided by the foreign governments.
Most of the imported rice, according to the Minister, are from Vietnam, India and Thailand adding that Thailand subsidises the export of rice.
He also explained that the imported rice arrive Nigeria at the cost of about N9,000 per bag, which is why they go for about N13,000 per bag in the market, unlike the local rice that is sold at about N16,000 per bag.
Ogbeh also added that “Our interest rates in this country is higher than the interest rate in most parts of the world.”
Another reason for the high cost of local rice, the minister said, is the lack of constant power, which means that more money is spent on diesel to run generators in the farms.
The ministry of agriculture had on many occasions expressed optimism that Nigeria will soon become a net exporter of rice in the near future.
It will be recalled that one of the major cardinal points of the Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government is the diversification of the nation’s economy through Agriculture among other strategies.