Imported rice usually contains preservatives, which are poisonous to humans, the Governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Bagudu, warned on Sunday.

He is the Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce on Rice and Wheat Production and he is condemning the continuous importation of rice into Nigeria.

While addressing reporters in Birnin-Kebbi, Bagudu expressed regret over citizens’ patronage of foreign rice and disclosed that there were 3 major importers of rice into Nigeria who specialised in importing very cheap and auctioned rice.

The governor said that 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.

“A country like Thailand, for example, may have 8 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% 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.

bags of rice

The governor further explained that out of the 600 million tonnes of rice produced in the world, Nigeria produced about 6 million tonnes which represented one per cent of the production.