Prior to the ban on rice importation into the country, rice millers in Nigeria had started closing shop due to local preference for the foreign product of the same commodity.
This was stated by an Executive of the Rice Miller’s Association of Nigeria (RIMAN) and Managing Director, Fursa foods, Alhaji Abba Dantata during the commissioning of the PRNigeria Kano centre on Thursday.
“We couldn’t sell at all, because there are times when we will have hundreds of loaded trucks parked in the factory for so long.” Alhaji Dantata Stated.
He said this was because majority of Nigerian’s preferred to buy “poisoned” rice than take Nigerian made rice.
He explained that he termed the foreign made rice poisonous because they are treated with preservatives that may eventually have side effects while the Nigerian Rice remains natural.
To find out, he urged Nigerian’s to conduct an experiment between the rival products by keeping each for three months, “the result would be that insects may infest the Nigerian product but they can’t go near the foreign one because of the poison.”
Dantata who said the hardship even forced him cut his workforce, maintained that had the border not been closed it would have caused an employment stir in the country. “If one rice Miller lost his job, the multiplier effect is huge.”
“For example, I have a factory that employs up to seventy people and each of this seventy persons have at least five dependents, imagine the crisis if the factory shuts down.” He explained further.
He called on Nigeria’s to continue to support them with patronage just as he promises that prices will not be exploitatively hiked, just as he stated that Nigeria’s rice is not local.
“I’ll rather call it Nigerian Rice than call it local rice.” He stated.
“Most of the people calling it local rice do so because of the stones they find in the locally milled ones they buy on roadsides. But for us, we have the complete equipment and process our rice finely.” He said.
On his part, the Head of the Department of Information and Media Studies Bayero University Kano, Dr. Nura Ibrahim stated that, “a lot of Nigerian’s were pessimistic about the border closure because they do not have enough information about the issues at stake and its quick wins.”
He urged the Customs service to make concerted efforts at involving media practitioners and bloggers who will in turn enlighten the public.