The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has encouraged Nigerians to consume local rice and reduce consumption of foreign rice and poultry products, some of which could be poisonous.
The Minister of State for Agriculture, Heineken Lokpobiri gave this charge in a stakeholder’s meeting to combat importation of rice and frozen products into the country in Abuja on Thursday, according to The Punch.
He said that most of the foreign rice imported into the country were kept in silos for as long as 10 to 15 years before being imported into the country.
Lokpobiri said an investigation by the ministry found that rice kept for that long would have lost its nutrients and become poisonous.
The Minister further revealed that most of the varieties of rice in the country were smuggled as no rice import documents have been issued this year.
He further revealed that a country had tried to assist Internally-Displaced Persons (IDPs) with imported rice which the Federal Government of Nigeria found to have become poisonous.
Lokpobiri said the government promptly rejected the offer and urged any foreign donor of rice to IDPs to consider local rice.
Responding to concerns that local rice is more expensive than foreign rice, the minister reportedly said, “It is better for us to eat a smaller quantity of nutritious rice than for us to take poisonous shiploads of rice.
“Also, we discovered that chemicals used for smuggled poultry products are the ones used for embalming corpses.
“So what we want Nigerians to know is that anybody who eats smuggled poultry products is actually embalming himself while still alive.”