In the midst of a massive decline being experienced in the country, the agricultural sector can be vividly seen as one sector that continues to face the unfavourable impact of the capsizing economy, judging by the unpredictable price hike of agro produce which in turn affects the people’s standard of living.
This however, prompts us to categorically talk about rice amongst all products of agriculture which continously maintains its increase in price, thereby making it a high commodity for the masses to afford.
Thus, while we keep pointing accusing fingers at the government for being responsible for faltering in expected effectiveness towards developing the nation, the rest of the fingers point back at us the citizen who on the other way round contribute in hampering the proper growth of the nation by our questionable act of integrity.
Hence, the ills and wrongs in the society can also be said to be gradually eating deep into the agro sector of our society, as we take our time to talk about the movement of rice produce where lots of the smuggled rice come to unaccounted for with the dividends sinking into the pockets of some treacherous citizens.
Surprisingly, investigations have further been proven evident, especially in Daura, Katina State, where President Muhammau Buhari hails from that a Niger Republic-branded 50kg bag which costs less than N10,000 in the settlement is displayed everywhere and is sold N11, 500 and N12, 000 for buyers in Daura town. .
The adverse effect of the smuggled agro produce is having in that part of the northern region of the country, now means that if you consider going into the business of selling local rice in Daura under the current price regime, it will be very difficult for you to recover your investment, not to talk of actualising profit from the venture.
Reliable sources also exposed a place called ‘Kongola’ , which happens to be a settlement where Nigeria and Niger Republic are bordered as the hot spot and it actually costs a mere N100 to access from Daura.
Evaluating differences in figures, you will come to discover that no local rice brand in the country sells at that price in any of the Nigerian markets. The prices range from N14,500 to N17,000 which will make it difficult and unrealistic for anyone who takes it to sell in Daura to even recover his money when there are cheaper options flooded in their market at their disposal.
A northern based rice merchant, Abubakar Mohammed, who travels to Kongola on a regular basis revealed the media that the settlement still remains the only place where you can get the cheapest rice in the country and yearned for the National security bodies to take necessary actions to halt the influx, as it is presently having an unfavourable impact on business activities of producers in the country.
Millers are also sad that smuggling is a major challenge militating against rice production and business in Nigeria – and that is happening right behind the president’s house despite his avowed stance on rice production and self-sufficiency in the country.
Meanwhile, Muhammed Abubakar Maifata, President of the rice millers association also lamented in an interview with journalists in Abuja, where he talked about the alarming rates of the illegal activities of smuggling being capable of crippling rice business in the country.
“Smuggling is our major challenge; rice keeps on coming through land borders despite the fact that government has banned importation through the land borders,” he said.
This report should prompt the Nigeria Customs Service and other security agencies to come up with a more effective approach to tackle this troubling menace of smuggling in the nation and pan out measures to put perpetrators of this illegal act to face the wrath of law, as this will aid in marginalisingsome of the ills and wrongs going on in our society to make it a better place.