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How border closure is affecting FG’s program

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Local rice traders, especially in Lagos and its environs, are lamenting the non availability of local rice as demand and price for the product increases due to the shutting down of land borders in order to curtail the influx of smuggled rice, which was already threatening the survival of the budding Nigerian rice industry.

The traders are warning that the continuous scarcity of the product will greatly undermine government’s efforts to groom Nigerians off imported foreign rice to our locally cultivated rice. Consumers most especially affected by the border closure are those in border towns who have for many years depended on the foreign par boiled long grain rice.

However, with the border closed and no more rice smuggled in, those consumers who hitherto consumed such rice have no option other than to turn to our very nutritious organic rice. But the problem is that we do not seem to have enough to go round everybody. The population of Lagos State alone according to the National Population Commission of Nigeria as at 2016 is over 21million.

Market survey in major rice markets in Lagos, like Daleko Mushin market, Iddo Terminus and G CAPPA Iddo, revealed the numerous rice brands in Nigeria. What more, no foreign rice was on display except what the traders dubiously refer to as the ‘Nigerian foreign rice’, whereby local rice is deceptively bagged in foreign branded rice bags like, Royal Umbrella, Caprice and for those consumers who still insist on buying foreign rice, the traders direct you to such bags. They sell for about N18,000 per 50kg bag while local rice branded Nigeria sells for between N14,500-N17,000. Though if they see you are ready to pay any high amount for the real foreign rice, they retreat inside the market and produce it for between N20,000-N23,000.

However, all the traders are complaining of lack of rice to sell to consumers. As at last week Tuesday and Wednesday when the reporter visited the markets, the traders disclosed that things have generated to the level that even rice manufacturers have stopped receiving money to supply rice to the traders.

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