Katsina State, Nigeria is one of the homes of rice production in the country. In a study conducted by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in 2005 about 25.6 percent of the population is involved in rice production.
As part of an effort to increase the rate of economic productivity in Nigeria, illegal importation of rice through land borders has been banned by the Federal Government, with the Nigeria Customs Service serving as the monitoring body to checkmate the activities of rice smugglers.
Based on the experience of a rice farmer in Katsina state, rice has appreciated 50 percent in relation to what farmers earned as their best profits in the old rice market. A bag of rice that weighs 50kg was sold for N6,000.00 but now is worth N12,000.00 directly from the farm. Retailers in communities close to some land borders such as Jibiya, Daura, and Mai’adua are able to sell a bag of rice that weighs 50kg for N14, 000!
The demand for rice has become very high in other parts of the country as well. There is an absolute scarcity of rice, and one of many reasons for this is the new importation regulations. Moreso, the price of commodities overall is on the rise. A bag of local rice has become N17,000.00 for 50kg in some regions of Lagos State. Farmers in the Funtua, community in Katsina seek the urgent intervention of the Federal Government to encourage the optimum production of local rice to keep up with demand, this includes fertilizer variations.
Magaji Lima, a farmer who addressed the press in Katsina State explained that the Federal Government needs to respond to the call for fertilizer supply by farmers before the planting season runs out. Lima pointed out that the scarcity of rice may bring problems that will be tougher than the fuel scarcity if a solution is not provided before the end of the planting season because rice feeds more than 90% of Nigerians daily, rich or poor.