Following the closure of the country’s land borders since August, residents of Kaduna State have continued to lament over the increasing prices of foodstuffs in the state.
Findings showed that, traders now hoard imported rice in the warehouses and sell only to trusted customers who are ready to pay higher prices.
On enquiry, some of the traders disclosed that, due to the fear that borders would not be reopened soon, they decided to hoard their goods in order to sell at high prices during the festive period.
A trader confided in newsmen that, men of the Nigerian customs had invaded the Kaduna Central Market and carted away their goods, adding that rice was the major item they took away.
According to him, “Left to me, I will appeal to the government not to ban importation of rice for now as our farmers are not able to produce the quantity that would be sufficient for Nigerians yet.
“Before the ban on importation of rice and the closure of our country’s borders, local rice was sold at N12,000 per bag now we sells at N18,000 per 50kg bag. The local rice is filled with stones and that alone, will make people not to buy them.
“I heard that customs boast that since the closure of borders, they have seized up to 19,000 bags of rice. Well, that may be true, because people will not stop smuggling in rice, as our rice here is of low quality and also expensive.”
Daily Independent discovered that the prices of other goods such as milk, sugar and other items have also increased.
Asked to comment on the reason for these, traders stated that the increase in one or two items also affected others.
“Everything in the market has increased in price. The government should have introduced price control like they did during President Buhari’s tenure as a military head of state; only then can we have sanity in the price of goods.
“Imagine, a pap seller saying that the closure of border has affected the price of her pap. Do we import maize,” one of the consumers asked.
It would be recalled that Rice Processors Association of Nigeria known as (RIPAN) recently raised the alarm over the increasing price of locally produced rice in the country.
The association members disclosed that they have observed that there were increases in the prices of local rice across several markets in the country.
At a meeting they had with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Small and Medium Scale Millers Association (SMSMA), Rice Millers Association of Nigeria (RIMAN), the association frowned at trend.