Cost of rice processing: Consumers will pay more as millers grumble

By Vincent A. Yusuf (Abuja), Lami Sadiq (Kaduna), Magaji Isa Hunkuyi (Jalingo), Ibrahim Musa Giginyu (Kano) & Mahmoud Idris (Katsina)

The country’s rice millers are currently struggling with the rising cost of diesel, gasoline and erratic electricity supply.

The situation has pushed the cost of processing rice in the mills to an unprecedented level, which can translate into an increase in the end product in the market.

Market findings have shown that a 50kg of milled rice, which a few months ago sold for N25,000-28,000, is now going up to N32,000 for some of the popular brands, as at the time of this report .

For weeks, the power supply across the country has been epileptic and some small millers who operate mainly during the day are now forced to stay awake at all hours of the night to use electricity at all times.

Major millers who rely heavily on diesel to run their mills are also facing a bumper boost, as the product has now reached a record high of N600 per litre. In some places there have been reports of it being up to N650.

“The cost of transporting rice by truck to the mills has now increased enormously, as has the cost of running the machines at the mill. You know that most of the big trucks and power plants in the factory use diesel and that product has increased dramatically. If you want to rely on electricity, you won’t see rice in the market. Even small millers use diesel most of the time because electricity supply is a big problem,” said a medium-sized rice processor, Alhaji Sani Yakubu.

Our correspondents across the country report that processors are lamenting a situation that will drive up the price of rice on the market.

In Taraba state, rice farmers complained about the high cost of diesel and the poor power supply.

They said the cost of production had increased, leading many of them to suspend production.

Alhaji Ali Sarkin Noma, owner of Ganzaki rice mill in Jalingo, said Daily Trust on Sunday that a liter of diesel now sells for N600, up from N400 a few weeks ago.

He said there was also the scarcity of diesel and the poor power supply from the national grid.

Sarkin Noma explained that consumers of locally processed rice would pay more due to the increase in diesel and paddy rice.

According to him, they are buying paddy rice from markets all over the state and transport tariffs are going up.

He said a 50kg bag of locally processed rice used to sell for 23,500 naira before the diesel increase, and now millers have no choice but to raise their prices in order to stay in business. .

Musa Garba, another miller, also told the Daily Trust on Sunday that he had reduced his production level from 600 bags of paddy rice to around 100 bags a day due to the high cost of diesel and poor power supply.

He said consumers of locally processed rice would pay more if the current high diesel cost trend was not taken into account.

A large irrigation operator, Yahaya Mafindi, said many paddy fields had dried up because farmers could not afford to buy both diesel and gasoline to water their paddy fields.

Yahaya Mafindi said rice millers have sourced paddy rice from irrigated farmers this time and many farmers are unable to fully cultivate their farm, which means there will be less paddy rice for millers.

Meanwhile, the results revealed that a liter of petrol is now sold at N300 while diesel is sold at N600 in Jalingo.

In Kano State, it has been found that the three categories of rice mills operating in the state are practically affected by the current fuel shortage. The state’s mega, medium and small factories are all complaining about the current fuel shortage.

According to the owner of Premier Rice Company, Ilyasu Nazifi, an engineer, many rice mills run on diesel, which currently sells for 500 naira a litre, which he says has made production very expensive. He explained that the rising price of fuel and its scarcity had affected not only production but also other logistical aspects of the rice value chain.

He further revealed that the price of rice has not changed as rice is one of the major stable commodities in the country. He, however, expressed concern that millers would have no choice but to raise the price if the rise and shortage persisted longer than necessary.

He called on relevant authorities to stop the situation before it gets out of hand and leads to an increase in the price of milled rice.

It has also been revealed that most of the rice mills in the state are really struggling to maintain business due to the problems with the current fuel shortage.

Malam Hannafi Alhassan, operator of a small rice mill in Mariri Kumbotso local government, Kano state, said he had to increase the processing fee per bag of paddy to N3,000 from N2,500 due to from rising diesel and gasoline prices, as well as its scarcity.

Another small-scale rice mill operator, Habu Baffa Kiru, said he had stopped milling in the meantime while waiting for the availability of diesel, as he claimed he could not afford to continue milling with the price. current diesel.

The situation is no different in Katsina State as the situation has led to a drop in the income of the millers in recent months.

Alhaji Mustapha Mu’azu Maiauduga, the manager of Beto Rice in Malumfashi, said that unlike before, people patronized their packaged rice less, apparently because of the price.

“Every Nigerian’s assumption is that when rice is produced and milled locally, its price must come down, but unfortunately we cannot sell 50kg of milled rice for less than N22,000 due to soaring production costs. . Diesel now costs over 400 naira per liter and there is no constant supply of electricity to run our machines,” he said.

Another rice farmer from Funtua, Abdulrazaq Isma’ilm, said that due to the high cost of production, they have since decided to operate as service providers.

“Now we don’t grind rice to sell directly here; rather, we grind for individual consumers and rice vendors who bring their paddy. This, in our opinion, is more profitable for us as we only charge N2,500 per bag of paddy rice. We have regular customers in the local communities of Faskari, Kankara, Funtua, Bakori and Danja,” he said.

On whether they run on diesel or electricity, Abdulrazaq said that for the business to be sustained, electricity would be needed, otherwise the cost of diesel would force the business to fold.

Daily Trust on Sunday observed that people from far and near now prefer to opt for the local rice sections of Dandume, Funtua or Bakori to make the choice of the stable instead of opting for the packaged one which now costs more than N22,000 per 50kg.

Rice farmers in Kaduna state are also expressing concern over what they describe as a high cost of production due to poor and epileptic power supply, as well as the scarcity and high cost of petrol and diesel.

Our correspondent reports that small-scale processors who rely on firewood for the paddy rice parboiling process say the ban on logging in Kaduna State has also impacted production costs , which led to the high price of rice in the market.

Imam Saidu, who operates a local rice mill in Kaduna, described the situation as sad, saying rice, one of the major staple foods in Nigeria, is now becoming unaffordable for low-income people.

He said the rice sector, like other agricultural sectors, was plagued by security and infrastructure issues, as well as economic problems.

“Our farmers are unable to produce the required paddy rice due to insecurity in most rice producing states. Now with the little we can get from farmers, the cost of rice processing is now high as our machinery runs on diesel as government power is inefficient and unreliable especially at this time,” he said. .

Daily Trust on Sunday found that the epileptic power supply, coupled with the scarcity and high cost of gasoline and diesel, drove up the price of rice in the market. Our correspondent has understood that a 50 kg bag of rice sold for 22,000 naira at the end of January is now sold for 27,000 naira.

Also speaking in Kaduna, Alhaji Idris Sarkin Alhazan Rigachikun, a local miller, said: “We used to process and pack every 50 kg of rice at 2,200N but now we do it at 3,000 N. There is no electricity, so we fell back on the generator, and you know the current situation in Nigeria.

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