Some rice farmers in Lagos state on Thursday demanded stiffer sanctions for those involved in re-bagging local rice into foreign branded bags to sell at high prices.
Concise News reports that the farmers in separate interviews with NAN noted that the practice amounted to economic sabotage inimical to the Federal Government’s stance on agribusiness.
Tobi Onafuwokan, the Co-Owner of South-South Rice, said “re-bagging local rice into foreign brands bags will affect the demand and sales of local ones.’’
“With the provision of latest winnowing machine by local rice processors and mills, the Nigerian brand has greatly improved in quality such that it can compete with foreign ones.
“Effort should not be spared by both government and rice investors to arrest this anti-development practice before it become a tradition in the rice value chain,’’ he said.
The Chief Executive Officer of Agrictrend Nigeria Ltd., Dunton Raheed described the act of re-bagging local rice into foreign bags as criminal and should be meted with stiffer penalty.
The Ogun-based farmer said: “Government should enforce penalty to deter people from such unhealthy profiteering that will not allow the local brand gain millage in the market.
“I have a brand known as Ofe that is trying to gain acceptance in the market; it will be counter-productive for somebody to buy from me and re-bag it into an already known brand bag in the market,’’ he said.
Mrs Katherine Amadi, a rice distributor in Lagos, alleged that the practice of re-bagging local rice into foreign rice bags had been going on even before the border closure.
Amadi said that government could check the practice by meting out appropriate sanction on those involved.