KEBBI State Governor, Abubakar
Bagudu, has condemned the
continuous importation of rice
into the country, describing it as
the importation of poison.
Bagudu is the Chairman,
Presidential Task Force on Rice
and Wheat Production.
He told journalists yesterday in
Birnin-Kebbi that the imported
rice, auctioned by different
countries, was no longer good for
human consumption.
The chairman, who expressed
regret over citizens’ patronage of
foreign rice, said imported rice
usually contained preservatives,
which are poisonous.
He said that there were three
major importers of rice into
the country who specialised in
importing very cheap, auctioned
rice into the country.
The governor said Thailand in
April 2017, auctioned 1.62 million
tonnes of rice at about $140 per
tonne whereas the market price of
it was $700 per tonne.
“Countries, particularly
Thailand, India, China and
Vietnam, buy a lot of paddy from
their farmers and keep in storage
sometimes, as long as nine years
so that by so doing, they are
supporting their farmers,” he
said.
“A country like Thailand, for
example, may have eight million
tonnes of rice in storage; so
occasionally, they will auction the
ones that are almost going bad
that is, the one that is not fit for
human consumption.
“They sell the paddy as low
as 20 per cent less than the
international market price. Those
that import rice into Nigeria will
go and buy the paddy and clean
them up.
“Because they do not buy rice at
the international price, our local
farmers who are offering rice for
$500 will not be competitive.
“If that importer is to buy
fresh rice, he cannot bring it into
Nigeria below $700 per tonne.
“This is the biggest obstacle to
our rice efforts because consumers
say local rice is expensive; it is
not expensive because we are
not comparing it with equivalent
rice elsewhere,” the chairman
explained.
The governor said that out of
the 600 million tonnes of rice
produced in the world, Nigeria
produced about six million tonnes
which represented one per cent of
the production.
Bagudu said that rice could
grow in the 36 states of the
federation and called on
stakeholders and citizens to come
together to significantly advance
rice production.

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