The emergence of foreign brands of rice in the Nigerian market has become a source of concern to producers of rice in Nigeria.

Hence, they have called on the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) to step up their game in the fight against rice smugglers that are flooding the markets with imported rice.

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Markets in Kano, Jigawa, and Katsina states respectively have been flooded with brands of foreign rice from countries including Thailand and India.

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The only way to get out of this is for the Nigeria Customs Service to step up and do their job diligently.

This development would negatively affect local production of rice, revenue generation for the country and income for farmers.

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In August 2019, the Federal Government directed the closure of all land borders to stop the smuggling of imported rice.

Porous Borders

However, on December 16, 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the reopening of four borders: Seme in Lagos, Illela in Sokoto, Maigatari in Jigawa, and Mfum in Cross River.

Also, in April 2022, Buhari, through the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), approved the reopening of four more: Idiroko in Ogun, Jibiya in Katsina, Kamba in Kebbi and Ikom in Cross River.

However, a new report by Economic Confidential, entitled: “How illicit rice importation threatens FG’s agricultural sector interventions”, shows foreign rice is back in circulation.

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Upon demand in markets such as Kura Rice Market in Kano, Central Market in Katsina, and Ultra Modern Market in Jigawa, foreign rice is presented to intending buyers.

Price Of A Bag Rice 

A processor of rice in Lagos, Kingsley Muoneke, explained that foreign rice has resurfaced in the markets and it costs less because smugglers don’t pay levies or tax to the government.

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Thailand rice is sold between ₦34,000 to ₦37,000.

Local rice sighted in the market were Umza, Al-Hamad rice, Gerawa rice, Labana Rice, Mighty Pure Rice, Tiamin, Fursa and Tomato King.

In the Southern part of Nigeria, it was found that the market price for illegally imported rice is less than the locally-produced ones.

Kingsley said the cost varies and was pegged according to the proximity of the markets to borders through which the staple food is smuggled.

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“At the warehouse, rice trades between ₦27,000-₦28,000. But when moved from Alaba Rago, Sango Otta or Ijebu Ode, they add ₦1000-₦1500 depending on transportation and security personnel they settle before reaching the market.”

The dealer added that smuggled rice is mostly sold between ₦30,000-₦31,500, while those produced in Nigeria goes for about ₦33,000.

Furthermore, Kingsley revealed that made-in-Nigeria rice is sometimes cloned through repackaging and sold to consumers as foreign.

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