Rice Sells for N67,000 in Lagos, Abuja, Cheaper at Borders

Forex Supply For Food Importation Rise By 35.28%

In a significant turnaround, the Nigerian naira’s recent strengthening against the dollar has triggered a notable drop in the price of rice across various regions in the country. Reports from markets in Lagos, Abuja, Ogun, and border communities indicate a substantial decrease in the cost of the staple commodity, offering relief to consumers grappling with soaring food prices.

Following months of escalating rice prices, a 50-kilogram bag of rice now averages around N67,000 in major cities like Lagos and Abuja, down from approximately N90,000 recorded in February 2024. Notably, communities near the borders report even lower prices, with rice selling for as low as N49,000 or below in border areas of Ogun State and other regions.

Ms. Mayowa Tosho revealed that in Saki, a border town in Oyo State, a bag of rice now sells for as low as N42,000, further underscoring the downward trend in prices observed across the country. The decline in prices appears more pronounced for foreign parboiled rice compared to local brands, reflecting shifting dynamics in the rice market.

The reduction in rice prices comes amid various government interventions and policy adjustments aimed at stabilizing the economy and promoting local production. Notably, the ban on rice importation through land borders, implemented in 2015 by former President Muhammadu Buhari, sought to encourage local production and discourage smuggling activities. Furthermore, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s decision to lift restrictions on accessing foreign exchange for rice importers in October has contributed to the recent decline in prices.

The impact of these policy changes is evident in the significant drop in rice prices witnessed across markets in recent weeks. Traders in Lagos, Abuja, and Ogun State attest to the downward trend, with some reporting a decrease of up to N20,000 per bag compared to prices recorded earlier this year.

In Agege and Oshodi markets, selected rice sellers note that prices have dropped to between N65,000 and N63,000, a notable reduction from the N75,000 to N80,000 range observed in December 2023 and January 2024. Similarly, traders in Ogun State report a significant dip in prices, with some areas experiencing prices as low as N47,000 per bag, down from N70,000 recorded in February and March.

While the reduction in rice prices is a welcome development for consumers, traders emphasize the need for sustained stability in the market to ensure continued affordability. The recent appreciation of the naira against other currencies, coupled with improved supply dynamics, has played a key role in driving down rice prices across the country.

As consumers celebrate the reprieve from high food prices, economists and policymakers remain vigilant, recognizing the importance of ongoing reforms and interventions to ensure a sustainable and resilient economy for all Nigerians.

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