By Sylvester Thompson
Abuja – Some Federal Capital Territory (FCT) residents say locally produced rice are more nutritious and healthier than the imported one.
The residents agreed that if locally produced rice was properly rebranded, there would be no need for the importation of foreign and stale rice into the country.
They spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Tuesday in Abuja.
Mr Anthony Agbonlahor, a Constitutional lawyer and a foodstuff merchant described locally produced rice as a healthy staple food, which was becoming popular among Nigerians due to many benefits.
“Nigeria rice has a particular allure, delicacy and fragrance that makes people want to savour it with ease and apart from its nutritional benefits but it has to be rebranded for safety.
“Many Nigerians now appreciate locally produced items including our food crops which tend to compete with foreign produce and our local rice is healthy.
“Sincerely, people love rice that will not jeopardise their health condition and Nigerians don’t like wasting time picking debris.
‘`The ease of convenience is the watch word and I implore the private sector to ensure ease of cooking by eliminating the debris from our locally produced rice.
“In fact, if this is done, this rice which our children so much love can never be compared to imported and adulterated rice,’’ Agbonlahor said.
An Agriculturist and Nutritionist, Ms Vera Godwin said she preferred locally produced rice because “it is brought straight from the farm”.
According to her, no chemical or preservatives are added.
Godwin advised Nigerians to consume locally produced rice due to the health benefits.
“Though imported rice is easier to cook but we have to consider the health benefits.
“Foreign rice might be easier to cook but you still need to add ingredients for it to come out well, but our local rice doesn’t need ingredients.
“I usually eat our locally produced rice and due to its rich content, I can stay untill evening without feeling hungry,’’ she said.
The agriculturist urged the government to promote the culture of zero importation of farm produce into the country and rebrand local rice to appeal to the consumers’ taste.
Mr Peter Chinedu, Information Technology Expert and Agriculturist appealed to Nigerian local rice producers, government and stakeholders to rebrand the staple food and assist farmers to produce more to feed the population.
“Our rice is healthy but its common knowledge that oftentimes it’s difficult to pick out the stones.
“Rice producers can get it refined by eliminating those stones and this can be done by giving machinery and equipment to producers to meet international standard.
“With this done, importation of the commodity should be restricted.
“In fact, government should rather increase the price of foreign rice and reduce the cost of our locally produced rice for more appeal,’’ Chinedu said.