The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has raised the alarm that Nigeria is importing and consuming expired rice meant for animals.
The minister disclosed this on Tuesday while speaking with newsmen in Oro, Kwara State.
He noted that most of the rice are not fit for consumption in their own countries of origin as they have been on the shelf for more than six years and had expired.
Mohammed blamed the development on smuggling, pointing out that if the affected rice had been put under scrutiny they would have failed NAFDAC test.
He, however, vowed that in the next one and half years Nigeria will become self-sufficient in rice production given the commitment of the administration to agriculture.
“The rice being imported now are not fit for consumption in their countries of origin.
“They are also being subsidized and sent here even in credit because those people know that they are unfit for consumption; they are only fit for animals.
“Imported rice are mostly smuggled into the country because they cannot pass NAFDAC test. No Nigerian rice is more than one-year-old but the imported ones have spent even six years in their countries”, he said.
“In the area of agriculture, it has been a huge revolution. Let’s take one of our national staples, such as rice, as an example. When we came in, there were 5 million rice farmers,” he added.
“Today, we have in excess of 11 million rice farmers. Our rice import has been cut by over 80 per cent. These didn’t happen by accident. It was a result of our Anchor Borrowers Programme. There are more millionaire farmers today than at any other time in the history of our nation.”
“Today, Nigeria is close to achieving self-sufficiency in rice than at any other time in the history of our country.”