Rice is one of the most consumed cereals on the African continent. According to a series of reports and analyzes on the consumption habits and challenges facing African farmers.
The Kano state of Nigeria, where local rice fraud reflects consumer mistrust. Consumers are still very reluctant to consume locally.
What prompted some players in the sector to mount a combination: local rice found in several bags of rice indicating the origin “China”. A scandalous affair.
Aisha wanted to make Wake da Shinkafa, a local dish made from rice and beans. But watching her pot, Aisha realizes that the rice does not have the right texture. While stirring a little, this mother feels that her dish is totally missed and her suspicions relate to one element: rice that was probably not imported from Asia.
“I bought this rice on the market and it was clean. But after a few minutes of cooking, I discovered that the rice was mixed. It was all thick as if we had mixed powder with water. I was uncomfortable because I had guests. They will probably think that I am bad at cooking,” Aisha worries.
The scandal erupted last year. Actors in the rice sector knowingly have local products packaged in bags indicating a Chinese origin, to be sure of selling their merchandise. Shocked by this practice, Madi Oumar, a resident of Kano, reaffirms her preference for imported rice. To hear it, it’s more a question of taste. “I prefer imported rice for its taste, it is sweeter and cleaner. I find that imported rice is better than locally produced rice. The local rice has not been rinsed in the same way, because the farmers are not all well equipped,” Madi Oumar justified.
Climate of distrust
In the market, rice imported from Asia suddenly has a place of choice on the stalls of traders. Tahirou Abdullahi, a salesman, confirms this trend. “People seem to be eating imported rice instead. They are convinced that this rice is of better quality, it does not contain pebbles, he says. I sell at least ten bags in 10 days. While it takes me 10 days to sell a single bag of local rice.”
This scandal has created a climate of distrust. And the Kano farmers’ association has a hard time boasting the qualities of local rice. “The perpetrators of this fraud are not farmers in our organization,” said Farouq Rabiu, president of the Kano Producers Association.
“It is a Chinese company that put this idea in the minds of some producers. For our part, we focus on producing quality rice. Local rice is sweeter than imported rice. But our peasants have no machine to transform it properly. But Nigerians prefer by far the imported products. So it’s very difficult for us. “
Local authorities seem helpless in the face of these schemes. For the time being, no one has been sanctioned. Nasir Yusuf Gawuna, Kano State Agriculture Commissioner, says an investigation will be opened to identify the perpetrators of the fraud.