Speaking to reporters during a media tour on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at the Freeport of Monrovia, major rice importers in the country, including the United Commodity Incorporated (UCI), Fouani Brothers, Fouta Corporation and Supplying West Africa Trade Incorporated (SWAT) told journalists that there is more rice in town, contrary to the rumors.
Jointly, there is a total quantity of 34,000 metric tons (1.4 million bags of rice) that have just arrived in the country on board the Ocean Falcon through the order of three of the importers, namely: UCI, Fouani and Fouta.
According to them, there was already huge quantity of rice in stock, prior to the arrival of the ship.
They disclosed that the current quantity of rice plus the one being offloaded would last for the next six months, while more consignments are due in the country soon.
“There is enough rice here. All the warehouses are filled with rice and there are more on the way coming,” said Mr. Josiah Grando, Warehouse Manager of Fouta Corporation.
Grando made it clear that the prices of the commodity have not changed at the Freeport of Monrovia by importers, stating that any dealer(s) selling the commodity at a high price is doing so just to exploit the ordinary Liberians.
“We still sell the rice at US$13 per bag to the dealers and so there is no need to sell at high prices. This is not fair for our people; people should not make use of situation to exploit people,” said the Fouata warehouse manager.
Also speaking to the media, Mr. Ali M. Jichi, Warehouse Manager of Fouani Brothers, said the entity has a quantity of rice that would last from now to July of this year, prior to the arrival of the new goods.
“On that ship we have a total of 15,000 metric tons of rice that is being offloaded. As you can see, we already had enough in stock before this new product arrived,” Jichi asserted.
“Any news that there is no rice in the country is just a mere rumor. I think the people are in hurry to buy because of these rumors and in the end, they purchase at a very high rate,” Jichi explained.
Another importer, the United Commodity Incorporated (UCI) through its Operations and Human Resource Manager, Mr. Thomas N. Katiah, also allayed fear, indicating that there is huge stockpile of rice.
With the current quantity of rice on ground and the new consignment that just arrived, Thomas assured that there is no need for fear or worry.
“The rice we have will go a very long way. We have enough rice available,” added the UCI operations and human resource manager.
Like others, Mr. Attiah Attiah, Warehouse Manager of Supplying West Africa Trade Incorporated (SWAT), emphasized that there is more rice and there is no to panic.
Meanwhile, on the heels of the testimonies provided by the major importers, Liberia’s Inspector General, Madam Josephine W.A. Davis, warned unscrupulous business people against exploiting Liberians on rumor that there is a shortage of rice on the market.
“We brought you here so that you can seefor yourself. We want to tell you that there is enough rice, and so no one should exploit our people,” Madam Davis pointed out.
“Our society is so gullible so the point that people can just believe any gossip that pops up. We have placed inspectors in the streets to check the prices of rice on the market. As I speak to you, we have already closed about seven stores. Let me also warn those business people out there, you will be dealt with if you don’t do the right thing. If possible we will revoke your license,” she, among other things, warned.