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Senate panel: 2mt of rice smuggled into Nigeria annually

Senate panel: 2mt of rice smuggled into Nigeria annually
December 02
09:36 2021

The senate committee on agriculture says two million metric tonnes of rice are smuggled into the country annually.

Speaking at a stakeholders meeting in Abuja on Wednesday, Muhammad Enagi, vice-chairman of the committee, said the smuggled rice is part of the 6.7 million metric tonnes consumed annually in the country.

The meeting was organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)–Global Environment Facility (GEF), in collaboration with the Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN).

Enagi said Nigeria’s production of rice rose from 3.7 million metric tonnes in 2017 to about 5.0 metric tonnes in 2021.

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“In spite of this, 6.7 million metric tons of rice is consumed in Nigeria annually, resulting in a deficit of about two million metric tons which is either imported or smuggled illegally into the country,” the senator said.

The legislator said he is currently sponsoring a bill to establish the National Rice Development Council of Nigeria for a “comprehensive development” of the rice sector.

He said the bill, when passed into law, would provide a “comprehensive operational and governance” structure for a complete rice value chain, adding that it will transform the activities of rice farmers, processors, millers, researchers and marketers.

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“With our natural competitive advantage in the area of rice production, Nigeria should put in place a National Rice Development Council and a comprehensive national rice development roadmap that will guide us not only into a regime of self-sufficiency in rice production, but also for export,” the senator said.

“The Nigerian rice industry exists in the abstract as there appears to be no form of coordination in the absence of a properly structured rallying point.

“We have Paddy Rice Dealers Association of Nigeria (PRIDAN), Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIMAN), among others.”

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