Demand for Nigerian-grown rice has risen in Calabar amidst rising cost of imported grains. Local rice looks set to take over kitchens this Christmas, according to an investigation by News Agency of Nigeria. “It is cheaper, more affordable and even sweeter than foreign rice. So I cannot spend as much as N26, 000 just to buy just a bag of rice simply because it is foreign,” said Calabar resident Richard Nku. “In this Christmas, I am going for locally made rice and that is what my family and everybody in my house will eat until January,’’ he said. A rice farmer, Fidel Egoro, told NAN, “We are under serious pressure to deliver on demand and that is why we cannot accept people paying us through banks. “We do not have the time to go to the bank, so we prefer cash to save time; many people have placed orders for rice and we are trying to meet up before the close of the season,’’ he said. With increased demand, it is thought prices of local rice might shoot up before Christmas. “One bushel of rice (equivalent of half bag) sells for N7,250, while two bushels (equivalent of one bag) sells for N14,500). “This may increase before the close of the season, depending on changes in cost of production,’’ he said.