The Rice Processors Association of Nigeria on Thursday backed the federal government’s closure of the land border with Benin Republic and other neighbouring countries.
It said the move was needed to address the rising case of rice smuggling into Nigeria from neighbouring countries, adding that the country would have lost $400m on smuggling of foreign rice through the land borders.
RIPAN described the closure as long overdue, noting that it was in the best interest of the economy.
The association said that the action of the government had suddenly returned life to the rice value chain as the hitherto subdued mills had resumed operations within one week of the border closure.
Mohammed Maifata, the president, RIPAN,said these during an interview with journalists in Abuja.
He commended the federal Government for taking the decision to carry out surveillance on the nation’s borders, stating that Nigeria risked losing over $400m to rice smuggling if over one million metric tonnes of the commodity were allowed to enter the country from Benin Republic.
Maifata said the association arrived at the figure after an intensive border and port survey.
He said the closure of the Nigerian-Benin Republic border would help curb the menace of rice smuggling and boost productivity of operators in the sector.
From January to date, he said, over one million metric tonnes of rice were brought into Benin mostly from Thailand and India.
He said, “We came to let the whole world know that we support this action and we are with the government in this journey.
“We will support them with all what we can, in terms of information and statistics – whatever they need from us – we are ready to do