Agric biz expert decries rice smuggling in spite of ban

Mr Raymond Abogonye, an agricultural business expert says in spite of the ban on foreign rice by the Federal Government, smugglers still find ways to smuggle the commodity into the country.

Abogonye made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja.

He said that in spite of the ban on rice, smugglers were still smuggling in foreign rice based on consumers demand.

Abogonye, who said he had more than 12 years experience in the rice sector, added that Nigerian consumers’ taste had been conditioned for foreign rice.

“Most Nigerians want rice that are well polished, whether it produces less nutrients or not, they do not care, they just want to be happy with the way it looks when cooked

“I understand the sector very well, especially when it comes to rice, you see the Thailand rice, when you cook it well, it does not stick or swell unnecessarily.’’

He said that Nigeria’s rice was still far from meeting the foreign standard, adding that this might not be unconnected with the kind of rice the country produces.

Abogonye said that Nigerian farmers needed to do a lot in terms of research and development, adding that Nigeria could not afford to be producing rice without taking market demand into cognisance.

He urged the government to seek the variety of rice seedlings and distribute to farmers to enable them meet the demand of Nigerians craving foreign rice.

He said the government needed to put in more effort in knowing how rice could be efficiently milled to give the citizenry the qualities they derived in foreign rice

“If we are using the same machine as they are using in other countries, it will meet the yearning of the people.

“Some of the foreign rice you see here are not processed by big integrated rice millers but by small groups of farmers that have processing mills which are not enough to give what the people want,” he said.

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