By; AMOS TAUNA, Kaduna
The Kaduna State Shippers’ Association has hailed the decision of the federal government to close the borders.
The association, an umbrella body of importers and exporters in Kaduna, advised the federal government to invest on local rice production in the country.
The association said that Nigeria’s rice is the organic type and the best in the world.
President of the Kaduna State Shippers’ Association, Mr. Augustine Achilike, who disclosed this during an interview with a group of online journalists, under the aegis of Arewa Online Publishers Association, OAPA, in Kaduna said there is no basis to compare Nigeria’s local rice with the foreign one.
He explained, “Nigerian government needs to invest more in rice production because our rice is the best in the whole world. Our rice is the organic type. Check the ones that is being exported to US, I know how much they buy them because they prefer organic food. Even Nigerians knew that our rice is organic but what we are saying is the law of business, demand and supply must be applied here. When the supply is much, demand will fall.
“What we need now in Nigeria is excess of locally produced rice, definitely, if we achieve that the price of rice will fall. There is no reasonable Nigerian that can compare the local rice with the foreign rice.
“So those people that are struggling to bring in foreign rice, it will just be a waste of fund by the time you bring it in and it cannot compete with the price of the local ones. That is why we want the federal government to encourage the local rice farmers so that Nigeria can have more than enough to engage the international market because the country can make a lot of money from rice.”
Speaking on Non-Oil Produce, Mr. Achilike said Northern Nigeria is greatly blessed with Agricultural produce, adding that the food produced in the north can feed the entire Africa and even exported to Europe and Asia if properly managed.
He added, “The greatest problem here is that they do not know how to make use of this farm produce. We have the best agric produce in the world here, but how do we know the country, the company and the individuals that are in need of these products outside is the issue.
“It is only when you come to the Shippers Association that you will now be given the guidelines. What people need to do in Kaduna is to start investing in agriculture.
“Today we have a refining plant in Kaduna, managed by Obasanjo farms, all these agric products like ginger, zobo etc, whatever you have that you want to export to international market, the company will refine it to the standard of the country you want to export it to. Now we have dry port in Kaduna we want to make sure that these things are done here.
“It is surprising how people tie their money in the bank instead of investing in agriculture. I tell you, agric exportation is the only business that can give you 100 per cent profit that is if you invest like N5m you are sure of making another N5m within one year. Don’t forget that we are talking about international market and the sales are done Dollars by the time you convert to Naira you will have more than the initial capital.
“The benefit for shippers here is enormous, we link you up with the right people abroad especially for those who want direct contact. We will also tell you where to source the ginger or zobo that want and where you can process it. You can follow it up yourself.
“Agricultural business is the easiest and more lucrative today than any other some people will tell you I want Kano or Sokoto Onions, so we have agents who buy these products, if you are looking for a container or more we have those that can get it for you, process and package it so that it cannot spoil.
“I can tell you more than 100 farm produce that you can get in Northern Nigeria that you can export internationally. Some of the countries needing these our farm produce can give you their requirement but on many occasion, our people cannot meet up because people are not venturing into this business because they are not aware.
“Despite the African trade agreement which enable us to some of our products to Ghana and other nearby countries and they will buy them. Within the neighbouring countries, we use trailers to carry them across. Those farm produce that our African brothers wants are pepper, ginger, onions, tiger nuts, zobo, garlic, turmeric, maize, beans, yam etc and all of them are produced in the North. Our garlic is very special and it is being sort for in the entire world. You find out that most of this products are wasted after farming.”