Rice millers cease operations in Kano over paddy scarcity

There are growing concerns regarding a potential increase in the price of rice, triggered by recent developments in the rice milling industry. Rice millers affiliated with the Northern Chamber of Commerce Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA) have announced their decision to halt operations in the commercial hub of Kano due to a shortage of paddy, the raw material needed for rice production.

Chairman of the Chamber, Dalhatu Abubakar, conveyed this information to journalists on Monday, August 14. Abubakar highlighted that the scarcity of paddy could lead to a rise in the cost of finished rice, raising alarms about potential food insecurity in the coming weeks.

Abubakar further explained that the current situation has led some rice millers in Kano to acquire paddy at an exorbitant price, with rates reaching as high as N400,000 per tonne. This inflated cost of raw materials presents a significant challenge to sustaining rice production at affordable prices.

The chairman urged both the federal and state governments to intervene by promoting mechanization to assist farmers in obtaining the necessary resources for year-round production. He emphasized that many rice millers have been forced to reduce their production hours from 24 to 12 hours and have had to lay off factory workers due to the paddy shortage.

In his own words:

“Today hundreds of millers, both the integrated and small scale, are in a serious dilemma and finding it extremely difficult to break even. It is difficult to sustain production now because of the scarcity of paddy.

“As I speak, I know many millers that have completely closed their factories. Those that are yet to close, because they still have limited paddy in their reserve, cannot operate 24 hours. Like me, I have reduced my production to 12 hours because I don’t have paddy. By implication, several workers will be rendered jobless.

“Wherever you see paddy now, you buy it at an exorbitant price and you will still be compelled to face the high cost of fuel, pay tax, and electricity bill. How many factories would survive this hard economy? The only hard way now is, the cost of finished rice, which Nigerians will soon face.”

The situation underscores the delicate balance between the availability of essential raw materials and the economic viability of production processes. The concerns raised by the rice millers reflect broader challenges within the industry and the potential consequences for consumers who rely on affordable rice supplies.