Chief Moses Nome, the Ebonyi Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, has attributed the high cost of rice in the state to inflation.
The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that a bag of locally-produced rice (50kg) which hitherto sold for between N10,000 and N14,000 depending on the brand, is presently being sold at between N15,000 and N20,000.
Nome made the declaration on Friday in Abakaliki, during the state’s ministerial briefing by some selected commissioners in the state Executive Council.
The commissioner was reacting to a question on the reason for the high cost of rice in Ebonyi notwithstanding it being a foremost rice producing state coupled with the government’s huge investment in the commodity.
“The inflation affects all commodities in the market and what we are producing is not to make our produce cheap.
“We are producing so that there will be availability of the produce and if any man who produces cars for instance, introduces a new price, we will introduce a new price.
“This is because our children go to the same school. But we are assuring that there is availability of rice and other produce in Ebonyi,” he said.
Nome said that the state was producing rice at an optimal level and the demand for the produce also very high.
“I received a call on Sept. 30, that people in Lagos are demanding for 900,000 bags of rice from our various mills and as the demand increases, so also will the price,” he said.
The commissioner said that the state government also revamped the ‘abandoned’ Ezillo rice farm which generates N5 billion yearly through rice production.
“The Ebonyi rice used to produce 315 metric tons yearly, but presently produces 1.3 million metric tons yearly and we earnestly believe that we have touched lives especially through rice production,” he said.
He announced that the state fertiliser blending plant which used to produce 15 metric tons of fertiliser daily presently produces 40 metric tons daily.
“This means that we have the ability of supplying the product to states in the entire South East and South South geo-political zones, including states in the North Central zone.
“The state government through its agricultural mechanisation policy purchased 40 tractors in 2016 and the tractors have been duly deployed to all parts of the state to enhance agricultural production.
“The state has the biggest mushroom farm in the country and we still produce for the whole South East, South South and North Central states.
Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Donald Ugwu