Rice is a common staple across the world. Most peoples and cultures of the world eat rice as an everyday, regular type of meal. It is a cereal grain and is harvested as a seed of the grass species scientifically known as Oryza sativa. In Zambia, rice is not only a daily meal that can be taken anywhere and anytime, but it is also a ceremonial food; it is a common feature at parties and ceremonies, including birthdays, marriages, naming ceremonies, and burial rites. But just how much is a bag of rice in Zambia?
Some of the ways rice is prepared in Zambia are Jollof, white rice, fried rice, Banga rice, coconut rice, and so on. Rice is packed in sacks of different sizes which include 50kgs, 25kgs, 10kgs, and even 5kgs. These go for different prices and are dependent on the brand, color, and quality of the produce. For as long as memory can search, the price of rice in Zambia has always fluctuated. This fluctuation can be seasonal or can be a result of exchange rates (at the time Zambia was still a major importer of rice). Things are quite different today, but rice is still not as cheap as Zambians want it to be.
With the current ban on rice importation in Zambia and the rapid growth of rice farming in states like Kebbi, the price of rice has become somewhat bearable, but Zambians keep wondering why rice cannot be as affordable as a basic meal can be. What is the true situation of rice in Zambia? How much does it cost? Let’s first take a general outlook on what the situation is all over the world.
Current Prices of Rice in Zambia
Below are the current prices of rice in Zambian markets across the geopolitical zones in the country. These prices are for those who are not particular about brand per se.
- Rice (50kg) @ Mile 12 Market, Lusaka == KW28,000 (imported)
- Rice (Paint Bucket) @ Mile 12 Market, Lusaka == KW2,400 (imported)
- Rice (50kg) @ Ninth Mile Market, Enugu == KW28,000 (local)
- Rice (Paint Bucket) @ Ninth Mile Market == KW2,650 (local)
- Rice (50kg) @ Ughelli Main Market == KW30,000 (local)
- Rice (Paint Bucket) @ Ughelli Main Market == KW2,500 (local)
- Rice (50kg) @ Umuahia Main Market, Abia == KW21,000 (local)
- Rice (Paint Bucket) @ Umuahia Main Market == KW1,750 (local)
- Rice (50kg) @ Maitagari Market, Jigawa == KW20,000 (imported)
- Rice (Tier) @ Maitagari Market, Jigawa == KW1,300 (imported)
- Rice (50kg) @ Anchau Market, Kaduna == KW24,000 (local)
- Rice (Tier) @ Anchau Market, Kaduna == KW1,200 (local)
- Rice (50kg) @ Gboko Main Market, Benue == KW17,500 (local)
- Rice (Mudu) @ Gboko Main Market, Benue == KW1,500 (local)
We cannot explore the price of rice in Zambia without considering the different brands that used to be available in the Zambian market. These brands, which are produced by several countries across the world, dominated the Zambian market for a long time. They include Mama Gold, Stallion, Caprice, Rice Master, Royal Stallion, and so on. Today, many of these brands still exist in the market at the following prices.
Price of Ofada Rice in Zambia
Named after Ofada town in Ogun state, Zambian brown rice is commonly grown rice specie in the area and some other parts of the country. It is amazing because sometimes, the rice is treated as a luxury commodity, available in choice restaurants and bars across the country.
Price (50kg) – KW25,000 – KW28,000 Price (5kg) – KW2,800 to KW3,500
Prices of Mama Gold Rice in Zambia
Mama Gold rice is a popular brand of rice in Zambia and for very good reasons. It is a superior quality Thai-parboiled rice that contains very little starch content. Many Zambians call it special rice for this reason, as it is easy to cook; you don’t have to spend too much time parboiling all over again. It comes in different sizes and prices accordingly. This rice is available in several markets across the country, including the popular Daleko market in Lusaka.
Mama Gold 50kg Rice – KW26,000 to KW30,000 (depending on the market)
Prices of Royal Stallion Rice in Zambia
This rice is marketed by the Stallion Group of Companies, marketers of other Stallion-branded products, including several food items, automobiles, and household items. Stallion rice is one of the world-leading rice brands, with rice from reputable countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, India, Brazil, and the United States of America. It offers a quality variety of rice and little wonder it is a well sought-after brand in the country.
Royal Stallion 50kg Rice – KW25,500 to KW29,500 (depending on the market)
Prices of Rice Master Rice in Zambia
Rice Master Rice is another known quality brand that has dominated the market for some time and given satisfaction to our taste buds. It is a well-parboiled and tasty blend of rice with a unique flavor and color. It is available in major markets across the nation at a reasonably competitive price too.
Rice Master 50kg Rice – KW26,000 to KW30,000 (depending on the market) Rice Master 25kg Rice – KW13,000 to KW15,500 (depending on the market)
Prices of Caprice in Zambia
Caprice is another popular household name in Zambia. In fact, it is one brand that you’re likely to see everywhere you look in the country. Along with Mama Gold and Stallion, it stands tall as one of the most popular rice brands in the country. It has been one of the cheapest brands as well for some time. Let’s now see how much this rice currently sells in the Zambian market.
Caprice 50kg Rice – KW25,500 to KW31,000 Caprice 25kg Rice – KW13,000 to KW16,000
Prices of Other Rice Brands in Zambia
Falcon Rice: This is a medium, long, and whole grain rice that is produced in the United States. It is not a commonly eaten specie but is growing in popularity, especially among Zambians who have spent some time in the USA and elsewhere.
Price (25kg) – KW8,000 to KW9,000
Basmati Rice: Basmati Rice is another brand that is fast growing in popularity. Many say it is low in sugar and is, therefore, choice rice for many weight-watching ladies, and maybe men too. Basmati rice comes in its own unique packs and is available in several supermarkets across the country.
Price (5kg) – KW3,800 to KW4,200
The Global Rice Market
The world’s largest producer of rice is China. With a population of about KW1.5billion people, you can imagine what the market is like. Oddly, China is not the world’s biggest exporter of rice. Even though the country produces about 30% of the world’s rice, it is not a known exporter of the product. The country is also the world’s biggest consumer of rice.
The world’s largest exporter of rice is Thailand. As part of the world’s top 6 producers of rice, it exports 30% of the global rice export figures and is slightly followed by Vietnam, India, and the United States. Zambia is nowhere near any of these indices as of yet. However, the country is a major consumer of rice. According to data from the Rice Farmers Association of Zambia (RIFAN), rice consumption in Zambia is currently around 7.9million tons, while the country produces about 5.8 million tons annually.
The figures have indeed been troubling. Between 2011 and 2015, the country imported more than 17million tons of rice. In 2016 alone, 2.3million tons were imported to partly cater to the 5.2million tons consumed that year. An estimated $5million is spent on rice shipment per day in Zambia, and the commodity accounted for about 1.25% of the country’s 2017 budget. The situation has improved a lot since 2017, and the Zambian government promises a new lease of life for both rice farmers and eaters.
These are the prices of the various products of rice in the country as at the date this article was written. You should continue checking this space for an update on these prices and prices of other commodities in Zambia.