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Boosting Nigeria’s Quest For Self-Sufficiency In Rice Production

Posted: Sep 25, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Oyeniran Apata and Seyi Taiwo-Oguntuase

Lagos

In order to make Nigeria a self-sufficiency country in rice production and processing, GEMS4 last week organized a three- day rice fair to create effective awareness on Nigerian rice.

The fair, which took place at the LTV ground, Alausa, Lagos, had over 10 exhibitors in attendance, which displayed various varieties of Nigerian rice.

Speaking with Daily Independent at the fair, the Deputy Team Leader of GEMS4, Mr. Tunde Oderinde, explained that the fair was to create effective demand for Nigerian rice and to make people know why it is better to buy Nigerian rice than the foreign one.

“Currently we had one fair in Kano and it created an opportunity for the distributors to meet with some of the dealers and most of them complained of not been able to stock what people are not demanding, that was where we taught Lagos is another huge market where we can get other players to come in especially the distributors.

Oderinde further said with the current policy on rice, the fair would provide an opportunity for Nigerians to know about Nigerian rice.

According to him, this initiative will give further impetus to Nigeria’s ongoing efforts to attain rice sufficiency through building local capacity in rice production.

On the quality of rice been produced in the country, Oderinde noted that the quality of Nigerian rice can compete favourably with the ones been imported into the country, stressing that Nigerians needs to know that Nigerian rice is fresh and nutritious compared to what is been imported to the country, which one do not know for how long it has been harvested.

“In terms of quality, we have seen lot of commercial mills coming up with quality rice that can compete with the imported rice and one thing Nigerians need to know about our rice is that we don’t have stock pile of paddy, the imported rice comes from stockpile paddy that has been process for years. When you see Nigerian rice you are talking of last year harvest, it is nutritious, fresh and in terms of quality, the quality that will come from all these  mills I can assure you they can’t be compared with those they bought from abroad.

He added that most of these mills are run by production expertise from India and they are coming up with quality that can compare with what they had in their country,

He further said that right now, Nigeria is not self sufficient in production but over time the farmers will be able to meet local consumption and will still be able to meet the need of neighbouring countries like Mali, Burkina Faso that are buying rice from Nigeria.

He attested to the fact that all the products at the fair are locally produced rice.

However, some of the exhibitors, who spoke with Daily Independent, expressed their delight at the turnout of people at the fair, stressing that it has also made more people to know about Nigerian rice. They also spoke on some of the challenges facing them as rice millers and processors.

According to the Quality Controller of Labana Rice mills, Mr. John Isinen, one of the challenges is the inconsistency of the Nigerian government policies as regards ban of rice.

“Our borders are so porous. So, most of the dealers are smuggling this rice into the country and because they are not paying tariff, they are selling it at a give-away price. It is really a challenge for the local processors to compete with them.

He also said there is the need for farmers to go beyond the one year season, as farmers should be looking forward to all season farming, if there are facilities in place.

Another exhibitor on the Mama Pride stand, who does not want his name in print, said he believes that Nigerians rice is better than any other rice of any nature that is imported and it is nutritious and of high quality than any rice in the world.

On the challenges faced as a rice miller, he said the major challenge of any rice miller in the country is that of infrastructure such as road, and availability of water among others, stressing that these facilities are very important to any rice miller or any manufacturer in the country.

He further said that another challenge has to do with paddy for producing rice, explaining that if there is a proper forum where paddies can be available to millers and farmers to buy and sell, it will be okay.

Also, Ololade Orekoya of Stallion Group stated that there is also the challenge of inadequate farmland and that of infrastructure and lack of equipment to boost the efforts of the farmers.

He said government should put in more fund into agriculture in order to boost the production of the farmers.