When did we become a rice-centered economy? Everything I read about the Nigerian economy nowadays is about rice.
Even customs officers stationed at the borders are gleefully posting videos of rice smuggling busts, including shameful videos of women being strip-searched to remove small amounts of rice they’ve hidden on their bodies to bring home to feed their children.
Even our policy on agriculture is now completely rice-focused.
Aside from the economic illiteracy of trying to intensify one volatile monoculture (dependence on oil) in the macroeconomic sector with another much less valuable and and more volatile monoculture in the microeconomic domain, I hope the government recognizes that sometimes it is cheaper and wiser to import some products (where you lack competitive advantage) while focusing on areas where you possess it.
I also hope that the government realizes that primary products with no value-added ramifications are economic dead-ends.
Additionally, I hope that the government realizes that, even when a boost to local production is desired for a particular product, it is better accomplished with a gradual, phased process than with an abrupt and total ban on importation.
And finally, I hope that by pushing everyone to consume and reinforce the status of rice, a high-carb starch, as our national staple, they’re ready for the coming diabetes epidemic.