The Northern Chamber of Commerce Industry, Mines, and Agriculture has disclosed that rice millers are shutting down operations in the commercial city of Kano due to the scarcity of paddy.
The Chambers chairman, Dalhatu Abubakar, told newsmen on Monday that the paddy scarcity would cause an increase in the price of finished rice.
According to him, unless necessary action is taken to avert food insecurity in the coming weeks, the scarcity would persist as the major raw material for production has finished.
Abubakar who is the chairman of Al-Hamsad Integrated Rice Mill, said several millers have cut down production from 24 to 12 hours, while laying off factory workers.
He further called for the intervention of the Federal and State Governments in the area of mechanisation to assist farmers with the needed input that would enable all-year-round production.
His 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.
“Where ever 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.”
Abubakar added that a larger percentage of integrated rice millers in Kano are presently sourcing paddy at an exorbitant price running to N400,000 per tonne.