In a bid to stem the tide of smuggling of foreign rice into Nigeria along the country’s borders, the Federal Government says it will shut down the land border between Nigeria and a neigbouring country in a few days time.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, made this known on Monday in Abuja while addressing youths in a leadership clinic under the auspices of Guardians of the Nation International (GOTNI).
Although, the minster did not mention the particular country and border, he said that shutting the borders was necessary to encourage local production and sustain the economy of the country.
Ogbeh said one of Nigeria’s neighbouring countries was determined to discourage local production of rice, noting that if the move is not curtailed, it would destroy the nation’s economy.
“Our other problem is smuggling. As we speak, a neighbour of ours is importing more rice than China is importing.
“They do not eat parboiled rice, they eat white rice, they use their ports to try and damage our economy.
“I am telling you now because in a few days, you will hear the border has been shut, we are going to shut it to protect you, us and protect our economy.
“If you go to the Delta in many countries, in South East Asia where they grow the rice, if you plant rice in the same place like four to six years continuously, the quantum of arsenic begins to increase and arsenic causes cancer and that is what they are dumping for us.
“Some people say they prefer Thai rice because they are very sophisticated, welcome to poison,’’ Ogbeh said.
The minister also said that the Federal Government in two years reduced rice importation by 95 percent and increased the number of rice farmers from five million to 30 million.
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