Poor processing and packaging are the key factors hampering patronage of locally produced rice, a cross-section of foodstuff sellers said in Lagos on Friday.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), they explained that the scarcity of imported rice after the closure of Nigeria’s borders would have boosted patronage of local rice but that poor processing of the Nigerian variety had forced many consumers to stick with foreign rice.
One of the foodstuff sellers, Mr. John Nwabueze, who operates a shop at Alimosho in Lagos, told NAN that Nigerian rice farmers needed to do more work on their produce to make their rice acceptable.
“The Nigerian rice industry is presently not doing so badly. It is just that our local rice processors need to improve on their final product. I believe that it is the increase in the demand for locally processed rice, following the border closure that has resulted in the recent poor processing of local rice.
“At the first week of the border closure, locally processed rice supplied to us was well polished without stones but with the increased demand, it is now poorly processed. After two weeks of border closure, we started getting supplies of rice with stones, chaffs and different species of rice mixture.
“It is indeed, a terrible situation. I am selling rice but it is not nice and that is the only choice we have for now. We are hoping it will get better before the borders reopen. If we can improve on our locally processed rice it will be more beneficial to Nigerians than reopening the border because the money will now be within the country,” Nwabueze said.