Nigeria has reaffirmed its position as giant of Africa, at least in one aspect, as people from all over Africa, are rushing to Kebbi state to buy rice.
According to Leadership Sunday, the state has turned into a beehive of local and cross-border market activities following the current rice production boom in the state, which is being driven by the government of Governor Atiku Bagudu.
Merchants from the neighboring countries of Niger, Benin and Cameroun are reportedly trooping into the state.
According to eyewitnesses, in most of the major markets in the state, no fewer than 100 trailers, loaded with bags of rice leave the state on a daily basis.
Kebbi’s flagship rice is Faro. Other brands have names like Labana and the newly introduced LAKE Rice-which came about as a result of partnership between Lagos and Kebbi.
Reportedly residents of the state have appealed to the federal government to also buy a good portion of the produce and store in national grain reserves.
“It is pertinent for the federal government to buy up the rice produce from farmers in Kebbi and store up in silos and Government Strategic Grain Reserves across the country in order to avert any threat of shortage that is looming in the country.”
Engr Suleiman, who is a site manager of federal government-owned Kebbi Silos says the federal government’s Strategic Grain Reserve in the state has a capacity of preserving a hundred thousand metric tons of grains.
Also, Alhaji Sahabi Augie, the chairman of the Rice Farmers Association in Kebbi state, alarmed by the huge foreign demand of rice, has begged the federal government to join the purchase and storage “rather than just allow people from other countries besiege our markets and take away our food to their countries.”
Augie also confirmed that the state has been witnessing influx of grain buyers from different parts of the country and from neighbouring countries of Niger and Benin and Cameroon.
Meanwhile, a British media source has quoted, Lagos customs chief Haruna Mamudu who said 102 bags of fake rice was smuggled into the country to be sold during the festive season.
Preliminary examination of the product branded as “Best Tomato Rice” showed “how sticky the rice was and only God knows what would have happened if our people consumed it.”