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Nigerians And The Noise About Foreign Rice

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ElevateNews takes a look at the price of rice in the market due to the closure of the border.

The border closure has not only stopped the movement of foreign rice to Nigeria, but it has also affected the taste of many Nigerians.

Some say “Abakaliki Rice contains stones; it is oily; it is starchy; it is not sweet”. It seems many of our people have exaggerated the impurity of our local rice.

I served in Abakaliki about 24 years ago and ate the local rice and also brought some home for my parents to eat. It was sumptuous with no stones as being claimed by many Nigerians who are bent on eating foreign rice now.

This morning, I tasted our local rice again. It was good in my mouth but a friend who shared the food with me complained bitterly that foreign rice is better.

There are reasons why the Federal Government has closed the border against some foreign products, including rice.

Speaking on this, the Director-General of Nigeria Customs Service Col. Ahmed Ali said that the banned products, including foreign rice, are dangerous to the health of our citizens.

According to him, foreign rice is being re-bagged by a Korean company and that the company is using a poisonous chemical to preserve the rice.

As he put it, “If you leave cooked foreign rice till the next day, it produces bad odour but our local rice does not. This is because foreign rice has been chemicalised.”

Ali also explained that the chemical used to embalm the dead body is the same as the one used to preserve Frozen foods that are imported to this country.

“All these have to stop. We have not closed the border to sustain our local rice alone but to also prevent our people from consuming chemicalised products,” Ali posited.

But for Nigerians who have adapted to the taste of foreign rice, it is difficult to convince them not to eat what Ali has now described as poison.

But Nigerians who are complaining about the local rice find “Ofada Rice” palatable and more nutritious.

While it is not totally wrong that the government has closed the border, it should allow individuals who prefer foreign rice to a local one to bring the quantity he will eat from abroad.

The customs officers along the border routes across the country have always allowed the importation of one or two bags by those who want to eat it but this has since stopped because many of these importers had been found to be selling this rice instead of consuming it.

Obviously, the price of rice is high in the open market and this has also contributed to the hike in the price of other foodstuff. More people have turned to yam and its flour. The price of Gaari has also increased now that cheap rice is scarce.

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