Recent speculations fear and rumors about rice shortage on the local market, have been laid to rest, as importers of the staple told journalists who toured warehouses there is sufficient rice on the market.
According to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the team of journalists was recently taken on a steered tour of warehouses of Liberia’s major rice importers at the Free Port of Monrovia, by Commerce officials led by Minister Wilson K. Tarpeh, along with Deputy Commerce Minister for Trade Services, A.E. Nyemah Wisner.
Based on both data from the rice importers and what was physically seen by the team of reporters during the tour, there is at least 103,000 Metric tons (4,120,000 bags of 25 Kg,), or about eight (8) months of market demand.
The five major importers include Fouani Brothers; Fouta Corporation; K&K; Supplying West Africa Traders Incorporated (SWAT); and United Commodities Incorporated (UCI).
In addition to the above quantity, importers said they expect about 116,000 Metric Tons (4,640,000 25Kg. bags) between now and early May, with the first 35,000 Metric tons (1,400,000 25Kg. bags) arriving here on March 10.
On the allegation by Rep. Yekeh Kolubah, District 10 Montserrado County, the five businesses told reporters that the wholesale price of rice, which was reduced from US$16.50 per bag, has been U$13.00 per bag on the request of President Weah in March 2018, which has never changed. Taking into account the quantity of rice consumed by the country on a monthly basis, the 4,640 bags of rice can also sustain the local market for additional 8 months.
The figures also suggest that the local rice market will remain in tight for over a year, contrary to speculations and rumors.
During separate interactive discussions with reporters at the Freeport of Monrovia, the Managing Director of UCI, Mr. Wahab Dhaini, the General Manager of SWAT, Mr. Aziz Ezzeddine, the Ware House Manager of K and K, Mr. Mustapha Saleh, and the Import Manager of Fouani Brothers, Suresh Soni, denied reports about stepping up the price of rice.
“As we speak, the price of the commodity remains stable at $US 13.00 and $US 10.00, depending on the brand,” said one of the importers during an exclusive interview with the press.
They also assured the Liberian government of their commitment to upholding the Buffer Stock Agreement, as part of efforts to keep the rice mark stable and reliable.
Meanwhile Commerce and Industry Minister, Professor Wilson K. Tarpeh, speaking to the team of journalists said, the tour was necessary to put to rest, increasing rumors that rice importers had increased the price of the commodity on the Liberian market and to also bring the media face-to-face with importers that are involved in the rice business.
Prof. Tarpeh said Liberians consume an average of 550,000 bags of rice per month depending on the season; noting that the consumption is higher during the Rainy season.
He re-iterated government’s commitment to ensuring essential commodities are always available on the local market at affordable prices. Press Release