Nigeria, Nigerians And The Rice Dilemma

Ernest Omoarelojie

Cosmas Maduka, franchise owner of the BMW brand of cars in Nigeria, talked about it when he make enquiries about his brand of local rice which grew wings from market stalls even as his company kept producing more. To his chagrin he found something about the fate of his rice. They were being disposed in the manner described above.

Nigeria is about the biggest producer of rice in the continent. For a fact, virtually every state is a producer. For emphasis, Edo state is one, given that it has Agrotech in Ugboha, producing a brand of rice that is as good as they come. Alongside other stone free brands from Illushi, rice consumers in the state shouldn’t have had any reason to be in much of a dire in terms of finding enough to consume. But no, we have no need for such rice unless it is foreign. So what happened to Agrotech rice.

Like Mafuka, every state in Nigeria is into full scale mass production of rice. Put together, the country can feed its population if it comes to the worst. But like Mudaka’s rice, other brands are hardly found in the market. Instead, there are sundry types of foreign rice brands with price tags that are out of the reach of over 80% of the country’s vaunted over 200 million people tag. Unknown to many, what they consume as foreign rice are indeed local alternatives unscrupulously relabelled foreign and sold as such by compatriots. Ironically, those behind the deals are the same who shout most, “where are the Nigerian rice?” in any case, it goes a long way to proving that a people always get what they deserve, all the time.

Nigeria is about the 3rd biggest producer of garri. Not much of it is exported and so does not go through all the rigours foreign rice goes through-no tax or the like. Yet, garri today is almost as expensive as rice. While a module or small rubber measure of the product, which sold for N700 last year now goes for between N1,200 and and N1, 400, same measure of rice goes for N1,500 As to the why, your guess is as good as mine. We are simply killing ourselves just so we can blame someone else.

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