The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) has raised alarm over the deliberate contamination of locally produced rice by some ‘dubious’ players in the sector.
The association made this disclosure through its Deputy National President, Mr. Segun Atho, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria.
Atho alleged that certain impostors in the value chain added stones to the local rice, with the aim of denigrating the quality. According to him, they also abetted the importation of rice, despite the border closure directive issued by the Federal Government.
He pointed that while efforts were still being geared towards the total eradication of stones from Nigerian rice, some mischievous players in the industry were in the business of adding more stones to the rice and reselling them.
In his remarks, “In terms of eradicating stones from our local rice, we are gradually getting there. However, there are some people with dubious character who buy Nigerian rice and put stones in them. Currently, most local rice farmers have automated machines, de-stoners, and rice polishers to make sure they eliminate stone in local rice.
“But some people are still bent on contaminating local rice; let them continue to play pranks, once our farmers are well equipped, these charlatans will fizzle away before you know everybody will realise the truth. ”
Atho, who revealed that the association has a pool of rice polishers and de-stoners, also called on those guilty of the illicit practices to take advantage of the paradigm shift towards an improved agricultural system, as regards rice cultivation.
“It is totally wrong to buy local rice and add stones in them and give false publicity of our local rice when we have de-stoners and polishers in the country. These charlatans should key into the system,” he said.
The RIFAN deputy president also expressed his delight at the government’s latest resolve to make more tractors available for farmers, while also calling for more support from the government in terms of providing the needed machinery for rice cultivation.
He further charged that more people venture into agriculture, stating that the mechanization programme will ease the burden on farmers.