The Nigeria Renascent Group, a pressure Group on Food Security and Food Self-sufficiency, on Tuesday urged the Federal Government to encourage local rice producers to boost their production.
Its Acting Secretary, Mr Abdulrasaq Lawal, gave this advice in an interview in Lagos.
According to him, the massive smuggling of rice into the country is constantly threatening local rice production.
“The Federal Government should embark on aggressive clampdown on smuggling of imported rice into the country.
“There is so much uncertainty and cloudiness in rice industry because the government has failed to check the smuggling of rice into the country through the borders.
“This is preventing massive investments by private sector in the backward integration scheme of the government in producing our own local rice,’’ he said.
Lawal said that the implication of continued smuggling of foreign rice through the boarders was that only few individuals and private firms would be involved in massive production of local rice.
He said even at that they would not be producing at full capacity to saturate the market and bring down the price of the local rice.
Lawal said without producing at full capacity the prices of local rice would be higher or the same as foreign rice in the markets.
He said that the limited quantity in the market would only be bought by those who knew the nutritional value of eating local rice.
Lawal said majority of the population, especially the urban poor, would be denied the nutritional nourishment benefits of consuming local rice.
He said that the Federal Government had made giant strides in Agriculture with the backward integration.
Lawal added that smuggling should be checked for the policy on adequate food self-sufficiency for the nation and its people to be achieved.