Border Closure: Nigerians shun local rice, sellers lament

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Rice sellers in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital have expressed worry over the reluctance of consumers to buy locally produced rice.

Some rice sellers who spoke with the media on Tuesday said consumers preferred to pay more for foreign imported rice than the cheaper locally produced one.

A rice seller, Mallam Mahmud Ismail said only few customers requested for local rice as they always preferred the foreign version.

“Hardly will you see one out of 10 customers requesting for local rice in my shop. They always want the foreign rice,” Ismail said.

Another seller, Mrs Bimpe Ekundayo said customers complained about the poor quality of the local rice.

“Many customers complain of stone particles and the low quality of local rice. I make sales of 10 bags of foreign rice to 4 bags of Nigerian rice due to the quality,” Ekundayo said.

Another seller popularly called Iya Ibeji at Ipata market, said sales of local rice were not fast as customers looked down on it.

“Local rice is always second choice in their budget. They feel reluctant and sad when I suggest for them to buy local rice. They are even ready to pay more for the foreign rice,” she said.

Mrs. Iyabo Aina called on the Federal Government to lift ban on the importation of rice and allow free flow of the product in the country.
“We are not making sales anymore. Nobody is ready to buy local rice and it is affecting our business. Government should do something on time,” Aina said.

However, Mr Stephen Ikechukwu, another seller, lamented that the closure of the borders against importation of foreign rice had caused sharp increase in the general prices of rice in the market.

“Now, we sell local rice for N20,800 while the foreign rice is N26,000. It was never like this before the closure of the border when we used to sell a bag of local rice for N9,500 and the foreign N13,000,” he said.

Also, a rice seller, Alhaja Rukayat Usman urged the Federal Government to encourage the public to patronise local rice and stop discriminating against it.

“We need to change our attitude towards locally made products and appreciate Nigerian made. We are fond of prioritizing anything foreign ahead of our locally made products which are bad,” she said.