The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) has assured that there are enough locally processed rice to meet domestic demand during this Yuletide season.
This is as the association has pointed out that smugglers of foreign rice were having a field day due to the growing demands for their products at the detriment of local rice.
According to NAN, this was made known by the National Deputy President of RIFAN, Mr Segun Atho, during an interview on Friday in Lagos.
Atho, however, expressed his displeasure at the continuous smuggling of foreign rice into the country which affects the local rice farmers.
What the RIFAN National Deputy President is saying
Atho, during the interview, blamed the marketers of foreign rice for allegedly sabotaging the growth of the sector as well as urged the local marketers to stop boycotting or hoarding local rice.
He said, “We can affirm that we have locally processed rice available all over Nigeria for the Yuletide. We have more than enough to meet any demand; we have enough to go round.
“As it is, we are still looking for more distributors for our locally processed rice, because Nigerians still have a hang for foreign rice. Our local marketers are also not helping the situation because they are not ready to off take locally grown rice.
“The marketers should stop hoarding or boycotting local rice for their own benefits. If you sell Nigerian rice, you can still make good returns on your investments.’’
The RIFAN top official said that although security agencies and governments are making efforts to change the trend, some unscrupulous persons are bound at sabotaging their efforts.
He said, “Let the marketers go to the north and off take this rice to the south. Our local rice has flooded markets in Niger, Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Kebbi, but the opposite is the case in the south.
“In Lagos, that should be the centre of excellence in the promotion of Nigerian goods, we still crave for imported rice. The security agencies at the land borders have their hands full chasing smugglers of foreign rice. We cannot develop like this.
“The President is making great efforts in this sector; we just have people who want to sabotage his efforts. The marketers should be asked why the price of local rice is almost at par with foreign rice.’’
Atho also questioned why some Nigerians are refusing locally processed rice adding “let’s eat what we grow and grow what we eat and Nigeria will move forward.’’
What you should know
Recall that earlier this month, the Senate Committee on Agriculture had revealed that 2 million metric tons of rice is being imported or smuggled into Nigeria annually
The Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, had in November, blamed the rising cost of rice across the country on the activities of smugglers despite the government’s efforts on several initiatives to encourage local production of the product
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had earlier moved to crash the price of rice across the country as the apex bank and the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) announced plans to distribute 27,000 metric tonnes of rice paddies directly to millers nationwide on Thursday.
The price of rice has been on the increase since the Federal Government banned the importation of rice through the land borders in a bid to boost local production and stop revenue leakage.