RIFAN decries spate of rice smuggling into Nigeria

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Attributes high tariff, non-implementation of common external tariff by ECOWAS members

From: Kazeem Biriowo, Abuja

The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) yesterday said rice smuggling from across the boarders has been a major problem facing the rice industry in Nigeria.

Aminu Goronyo, the President of RIFAN, disclosed this during the Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI), workshop held in Abuja.

The workshop was organised by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development ( BIZ), and implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Zusammenaebeit ( GIZ), GmbH.

 

Participants at the conference

Speaking through RIFAN National Secretary, Mayosu Awodi, said rice continues to top the smuggling chart and seized items of the Nigeria Customs Service, with a total of 124,407 bags of rice seized in the first half of 2018.

He attributed implementation of high tariff in the country and non-implementation of the common external tariff by members of the Economic Community West Africa States (ECOWAS) as major causes of smuggling.

“Weak Rule of Law and huge level of malpractice turned smugglers and custom officers are another cause,” he said.

On his part, the Secretary General, Africa Rice Advocacy platform, Adekunle Lawal, said Africa has continued to enjoy consistent increase in rice demand.

He said countries like Algeria, Senegal, Nigeria, Sudan, Gambia and Niger are among the countries with increasing demand of rice.

“Africa as a major rice consumer but spends lots of money on importing,” he said.

On efforts to improve rice production, Director and Acting Secretary, Atafi Agro Mechandise Service Ltd, Mohammed Auwal said the role of Agro Mechandise service with CARI is to build capacity for local farmers.

“We have 15,000 registered farmers in Jigawa state whom their capacity has been built so far in partnership with GIZ CARI.”

“We gave them several training such as farmers business square bears, food and Agricultural square bears, African Rice advice on Android phones on proper utilization of fertilization and managements.

“We have linkage with Millers co-opted with farmers padding, contract farmings  and input support farmers is given whereby farmers are expected to contribute 10percent at the initial stage and after delivering of the padding,” He added.

“They pay the remaining 90 per cent form the maize, that’s how we partner with GIZ CARI and that is why our yield per hectare has tremendously increased.

“CARI has organised various trainings for Farmers, aimed at empowering rice Farmers by increasing their competitiveness of domestic rice supply thereby increase income above poverty line.”

“Both the productivity and Improvement have been achieved through Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) as free improved rice seeds were distributed to farmers”. Auwal added.

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