Enugu – As Christmas approaches, many residents of Enugu State have resorted to buying locally-produced rice due to the high price and scarcity of imported rice.
A correspondent, who visited major markets in Enugu metropolis on Saturday, observed that de-stoned brand of local rice flooded shops of grain sellers in markets and shopping malls.
The locally-produced rice now sells for between N16,000 and N17,500 per 50kg bag depending on the variety, as against the foreign rice which is sold between N25,000 and N28,000 per 50kg bag, when available.
The markets visited include: Garki, Ogbete, Mayor, Artisan, Kayetta and New Market as well as some departmental stores in the metropolis.
Also most rice retailers and hawkers who sell in cups and bushels are stocking only the local rice.
Mrs Chinwe Arum, a grain seller in Garki Market, said that a huge number of the stocked local rice bags had been bought due to Christmas.
“We are making sales in local rice business than in foreign ones due to the cheapness and availability of the local rice.
“The difference is much as the locally-made one is cheaper, with a margin of about N10,000 from imported variant.
“The 25kg of locally-made rice is sold for between N7,000 and N8,000,’’ Arum said.
Mr Joe Agu, a rice retailer, said that local rice had made it possible for many families to still eat the staple.
“At least, with N80, you can get a cup of de-stoned Abakaliki Rice as against N150 for a cup of foreign rice.
“We are getting daily patronage on local de-stoned rice,’’ Agu said.
An Enugu resident, Mr Okechukwu Ugwu, said that the policy on massive rice cultivation was in the right direction.
Ugwu said that apart from saving scarce foreign exchange, cultivating rice had led to increase in productive activities and created jobs.
“It has been proven that local rice is more nutritious, filling and tasty; it can be stored longer than foreign rice,’’ he added. (NAN)