The National Food Security Council (NFSC), chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, says it will make rice available before Christmas.
Atiku Bagudu, governor of Kebbi and the deputy chairman of the council, told NAN in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, that the council is aware of the current high prices of rice.
According to the governor, the government is also aware of the activities of some individuals and groups bent on frustrating the new rice policy.
“The good news is that there is a lot of production in the country. All the millers in Nigeria have enough paddy and farmers are producing and the harvest is coming in strong,” he said.
“We believe in addition to market forces, there are some people bent on manipulating the situation in order to exploit bigger revenue, bigger profits and some may even be doing so for the wrong reason.
“They want to truncate policy which is helping the Nigerian economy; which is helping Nigerian millers; which is helping the Nigerian farmers and the Nigerian population.
“We are taking steps to ensure that more rice is taken to markets where shortages can easily be created.
“There is enough product in the country and the National Food Security Council is focused on how to ensure that availability is restored all across the country so that prices will come down reflective of the cost of production.”
Since the country’s land borders were closed and forex restricted for the importation of rice, a 50kg bag of the commodity has increased to an average of N22,000 from N14,000.
On the reported loss of about N1 billion by onion farmers in Kebbi state, Bagudu said the government would always respond to farmers’ predicaments promptly.
He disclosed that the federal government had approved N23billion for distribution to states affected by floods.
“For the onion farmers, they have calculated that the rain will stop by September because when onion is growing there is a point at which it does not desire rainfall, now we have rainfall,” he said.
“I’m not sure of the N1 billion loss in terms of the quantum because we have not done the assessment but we are always willing and ready to support all our producers especially when they are faced with unforeseen circumstances like this.”
Bagudu was on the entourage of Buhari’s official visit to Saudi Arabia which ended on Saturday.
Others governors on the entourage included Babagana Zulum of Borno and Aminu Masari of Katsina.