Dubious Nigerian importers, in connivance with rice merchants in Thailland, are set to dump contaminated rice from Thailand in Nigeria beginning from this month.
Thai Rice Exporters Association declared in March that government had struck preliminary deals to export a total of 760,000 tons from its huge stockpiles to Nigeria and some other African countries in August.
The rice would be sold at around $430 a ton, netting the exporting country over N78.32 billion ($325 million). New Telegraph had reported in March this year that Thailand may start auctioning some 14.4 million metric tons of its poor quality rice to Nigeria and other foreign buyers from August. Of the 17 million tons stockpiled, some 14.4 million metric tons are substandard while about 694,000 tons are rotten.
The Thailand government had disclosed that only 2.35 million tons were of good quality. Honourary President of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, Chukiat Opaswong, explained that the rice would also be supplied to Mozambique and South Africa.
Thailand, the world’s secondlargest rice exporter, currently has about 14.5 million tons of rice in stockpiles built under a generous rice subsidy scheme run by a government that was overthrown by the military in May 2014.
The president said that the current military government planned to sell off the rice over two years and above in its warehouses to Nigeria and other countries, although industry observers said that selling so much in such a short period would be difficult.
Most of the rice coming to Africa are parboiled. It was revealed in March that the contaminated rice, which is set to flood Nigeria and other African markets, was not suitable for human consumption. Nigeria is one of the major importers of the commodity from that country.