Local traders are worried about the ability of rice farmers to produce enough to go round the entire Nigeria.
If this local rice production plans must work, the government will have to shut the border tight.
Also, it will have to ensure that smuggling activities never sees the light of the day again in Nigeria.
Rice traders in Lagos are concerned that local rice farmers may not be able to meet the growing demand for rice.
A food stuff trader at Alimosho, John Nwabueze, lamented the growing cost of rice and the inability of locally grown rice to meet rising demands.
Nwabueze noted that the quality of locally grown rice had improved and could stand at par with foreign rice.
“If the closure of the border is completely enforced, Nigerians will have no choice but to stick to locally grown rice.
“When there is scarcity of the smuggled rice, then we will wholly embrace our home-grown rice.
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“Local rice farmers may not be able to meet the growing demands of rice if the borders are watertight shut, but gradually, they will meet up.’’
He said that the reason most Nigerians patronised foreign rice was the poor awareness of the benefits of local rice.
“We have very good local rice brands without stones and well-polished but Nigerians are used to foreign rice.
“Initially we had a lot of poorly processed rice in the market, when the borders were closed.
“But now, the situation has changed. However, most customers insist that they will rather buy expensive rice than buy local rice.
“We want the government to completely enforce the closure of the borders and put an end to smuggled rice or officially open the borders for legal rice imports,” he said.
Government Should Close The Borders Against Smugglers
On his part, Temitayo Abdulhakeem, another rice trader, said though Nigerian rice was picking up in quality, it was insufficient to meet growing local demands.
“If the borders are completely shut and no infiltration of rice into the country, local farmers may not be able to meet the demands,” he insists.
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Late last year the federal government promised to increase local production of wheat, rice, maize, by providing farm inputs.
That has not been achieved.