The Chairman, Rice Processors Association of Nigeria (RIPAN) Mohammed Maifata, has decried the alarming rate of rice smuggling in the country, putting it at over one million metric tons in the last three months.
Maifata, who made the shocking revelation while briefing newsmen in Abuja said: “Investors in Nigeria have made (an) enormous financial commitment in the rice sub-sector. Unfortunately, the only threat to the industry’s total development is smuggling. Over 1 million metric tons of Rice which is equivalent to about 20,000,000 bags of 50kg Rice have been smuggled into Nigeria in the last three months.
“Nigeria currently loses huge revenues, foreign exchange and Jobs to this menace as Nigeria rice processing companies are shutting down because of their inability to gain market access.
“More painfully, millions of small-holder Farmers are stuck with their Paddy because the Millers can no longer afford to buy from them.”
He stressed the need for all agencies to join forces in combating smuggling so as to increase local Rice production and eventually grow the economy.