Official “April Fool” – As Price of Rice Skyrocket Beyond Reach
The federal government had on 12th April declared that it would stabilize price of rice in April this year, but the promise made in Kano by Agriculture Minister, Chief Audu Ogbe, has not been fulfilled.
Rice, the popular choice food and most preferred diet of millions of Nigerian children, women and youth, has gone skyrocketing, averagely hitting at between N16,000 and N20,000 per bag in the markets. Many families, especially the poorest of the poor, have expressed regret for their inability to afford a bag of rice for their own consumption.
Gabriel Udeh, an eye witness account, who was present at the well attended event when the cherished promise was made, would like the agric minister to throw more light on the comment made then in April – if it was not one of the many official “April fools” of the current administration.
“We can no longer afford rice due to its high cost,” said a female breadwinner of a perpetual rice consuming family. This invariably confirms that the cost of buying rice has actually gone up beyond the reach of the common man in Nigeria. Till now, there is no known official approach to regulate the unprecedented increase by any propagandists, collectively or otherwise.
But some consumers, consciously or unconsciously, have had to do with their own different versions on what and where things ought to have gone wrong, depending on their opinions, knowledge, faith, tribes, zones and imaginations. A lot more people, too, have expressed their dismay and disbelieves over the cruelty orchestrated as a result of the rise in prices situation of other food stuffs in the market.
However, on assumption of office of the Buhari-led ‘change’ regime, the administration on April 12th, 2016, promised big – including effort being made to stabilize price of rice commodity in April this year to make it affordable to everybody in the country.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who made the government’s intention known, while declaring open the 2016 National Wheat Farmers Field Day in Alkamawa Village in Bunkure Local Government of Kano state, also noted and agreed that the stability of price of rice would be very viable due to its demand and affordability to the people from the month of April.
He also disclosed that boosting of wheat production and other cereals had become necessary to reduce over-dependence on importation. The minister added that over 300,000 hectares of land in wheat producing states would be dedicated to boost the production of wheat. “The government will continue to support farmers to encourage agricultural activity, enhance food security and employment generation in the country,” he said.
According to him, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari would diversify the economy with greater emphasis on agriculture. Ogbeh urged Nigerians to embrace agriculture to enhance their welfare and enable them become self reliant. In a remark, chairman Senate Committee on Agriculture, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, said the senate would make legislation to remove obstacles being faced by wheat farmers in the country.
On his part, Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi, said Kebbi would dedicate 70 per cent of the proposed 300,000 hectres of land for to boost production of wheat. Like several promises turned out by this administration, the April deadline for stabilized price of rice has gone down the memory lane and forgotten by government, or was it an official ‘April Fool?’