An Enugu-based commercial rice farmer, Mr. Ekene Uzodinma, has advised Nigerians against panic buying and hoarding of rice ahead of the Yuletide celebration.
Uzodinma, who is the Manager of Excellent Integrated Farms Ltd, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Monday.
He said that Nigeria has abundant rice that could last for about two years, and added that, “with that in mind, no one should engage in panic buying in the first place.”
Uzodinma said that panic buying and hoarding would naturally cause the price to rise unnecessarily.
“Some Nigerians are already misled by social media messages that the border closure will lead to scarcity and high cost.
“But that is a fallacy because there is more rice, I mean local rice, that could take the country about two years to consume.
“You can see that a family that needed only a bag is ordering for 10 or more bags at a time.
“There are other families that are cashing in on the situation and using the border closure to become rice merchants and hoarding the commodity in order to re-sell it during the Yuletide.
“However, if Nigerians just buy the food normally, there would be no price increase and the quantity of the commodity will always be sufficient for all,’’ he said.
Uzodinma said that rice merchants and middlemen have been busy going into the hinterlands with trailers, buying and transporting local rice to Lagos and other big cities.
The farmer further said that the quality of Nigeria’s rice remains the best anywhere in the World.
“We have the best quality because of the kind of soil texture in the country.
“The taste of our rice is unique, the nutritional value is very high and it is very beautiful as well,’’ he noted.
Uzodinma called on the youths to take advantage of the recent development to maximize the opportunities and profits in the agricultural sector.
“I will also want youths in Enugu state to take advantage and participate in the free-of-charge – ‘One Youth, One Hectare’ of farmland project being organized by my NGO, The New Enugu Project,’’ he said. (NAN)