Due to the harsh economic situation in the country, residents of Enugu are now patronising locally produced rice popularly called Abakaliki rice.
A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria, who visited some grain markets and shops in Enugu metropolis on Saturday, reports that the de-stone brand of the locally produced rice was in high demand.
Abakaliki rice sells for between N12, 000 and N14, 000 per 50kg bag depending on the variety; as against foreign rice which is sold for between N20, 000 and N23, 000 per 50kg bag.
Mrs Eunice Madu, who deals on rice in Mayor Market, told NAN that almost all the bags of Abakaliki rice stored in her shop were bought during the yuletide.
She added that she is now left with foreign rice.
“I must confess, we sold out almost all the available bags of Abakaliki rice during the yuletide as most customers prefer it because it is cheaper and free of stone,’’ she said.
Chukwuebuka Okoye, a retailer of Abakaliki rice in the market, told NAN that the cheap price and good quality of the rice attracted customers.
“With N70 you can buy a cup of de-stone Abakaliki rice as against N120 for a cup of foreign rice.
“As a result of this patronage of the e-stone brand of Abakaliki rice is high,’’ Okoye said.
Okechukwu Ugwu, a resident of Enugu commended the federal government for encouraging local production of rice and imposing ban on the importation of foreign rice.
He submitted that the policy was in the right direction.
Ugwu noted that apart from saving scarce foreign exchange, encouraging local production of rice had helped to create jobs in the country.
“It has been proven that the local rice is more nutritious and tasty and can be stored longer than foreign rice,’’ he added.