Rice Farmers have said that they are producing enough rice for Nigerians, especially during the end of the year festivities, but that Middlemen are sabotaging them by continuing to import foreign rice.
Deputy National President of the Rice Farmers’ Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Segun Atho, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Lagos, lamented the continuous smuggling of foreign rice into the country.
Segun Atho also blamed the marketers of foreign rice for allegedly sabotaging the growth of the sector.
“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.”
Segun Atho said that smugglers of foreign rice are having a field day because of the growing demands for their products at the detriment of local rice.
According to him, security agencies and governments are making efforts to change the trend but some unscrupulous persons are bound at sabotaging their efforts.
“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.”
Segun 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.”