by Stanley Azuakola
As you take another spoonful of rice today, here’s something you should know.
An investigation by one of Nigeria’s leading dailies, The Punch, reveals that no imported rice coming into the country is less than 10 years. Countries like Thailand, Brazil, Vietnam, India and Brazil, which export rice to Nigeria, usually keep the rice in silos for at least 10 years after harvesting before shipping the produce to Nigeria and other African countries.
According to the report, the exporting countries separately took the decision as a kind of “self-preservation” strategy, so that they would be prepared in the event of a global food crisis which could be triggered by war, famine, or natural disasters. They saw the need to secure the food needs of their populations, first, before exporting to other countries.
The report quoted the managing director of Notore Chemical Industries Limited, Mr Onajite Koloko and the chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Lagos State, Mr Segun Atho, who both confirmed the fact that imported rice into Nigeria is usually stored for that long. They argued that eating rice which has stayed for that long has adverse nutritional and health implications for the country, as fresh rice is ‘much more nutritious and economical’.
The experts argued that Nigeria must begin to end its dependence on imported race by shifting to locally cultivated rice.
Most of the rice exporting countries, according to the report, operate an export control system that ensures that food staples such as rice and sugar are reserved by law to ensure that domestic needs are met first before exports can be permitted.