By Oge Obi
Nigeria Customs Service has disclosed that about 12.2 millions of local rice farmers are being affected by the continuous smuggling of foreign parboiled rice into the country
The immediate past Controller, Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’ of the NCS, Comptroller Muhammed Uba, made disclosure in Lagos while displaying some seizures of rice impounded by the unit recently.
Uba further revealed that a total of 1,380 bags of foreign parboiled rice of 50 kilogram each with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N18.3 million were intercepted within two weeks by the unit.
He said that the smuggled rice which was primarily sourced from Thailand and Vietnam has drastically reduced an indication that effort of government to boost local rice production is yielding the desired result.
Uba who noted the unhealthy status of smuggled imported rice being dumped in the country call on Nigerians not to consume them, noting that countries from where this unwholesome food item is being imported from do not consume them but consume white rice instead.
“Thailand has lost its patronage and you are aware that Thailand and Vietnam are the major exporters of rice in the world. They don’t eat parboiled rice, they only eat white rice same as Benin Republic.
“The essence of banning rice is to make Nigeria self sufficient in rice production, preserve our foreign exchange and to create job for over 12.2 farmers in the country. That is why no Form M has been given to any importer to bring rice. So, we are here to make sure such goods do not come in our country,” he said.
Uba appealed to Nigerians to complement the efforts of the government by consuming only locally- grown and processed rice which he said is fresher, tastier and healthier even as he underscored the economic importance of consuming locally produced rice in terms of job creation.
Other goods seized by the unit include 21 sacks of Pangolin of 1,031 kilogram, four pieces of elephant tusks, 140 gallons of vegetable oil, 17 vehicles, and 1,126 pieces of used shoes among others.