I was surprised when I saw a headline on punch newspapers that Nigeria borrowed 5000 metric tons of rice, beans and corn from ECOWAS. Must Nigeria be known for borrowing EVERYTHING? We are a rice growing nation. There are so many rice plantations scattered all over the country with little or no support from the government. Which corn did the Nigerian government borrowed? Or is it another opportunity to siphon money from the government purse?
Does it mean that the harvested corn that are from the farms that is being sold on the roadside and the markets cannot be replanted? Or the borrowed ones have something special about it? These are the many questions that come to the mind of the average Nigerian. I was lucky to stumble unto an “Ofada” rice plantation at a village in Ibeju-Lekki region of Lagos state. The plantation was in hectares. One of the women who were harvesting the rice told me that she was employed amongst others to harvest the rice for the farmers. According to her, harvesting was done locally by plucking the stalk and before taking to the machine for threshing. She said the harvested rice is shared into two with one part going to the farmers and the other part going to the farmers. I further asked her if the government has assisted them with machinery and her reply was negative.
There are so many other plantations such as this one that even the government knows nothing about and should have assisted the farmers. A friend of mine told me of how some Chinese companies buy harvested rice from communities in his state Cross-River and export back to China where it is refined and then re-exported back to Nigeria which is then sold as foreign rice to the citizens. Why can’t our Nigerian government bring the same technology to the country and refine our rice to make it available for her citizens as well as export it? It is so sad that we have become a nation of importation that ships bringing goods into the country in most cases go back empty because we have nothing to export. At times, the ships are loaded with bags of sand so that they can set sail.
It’s high time we start looking inwards and focus on food production because the nation is heading to an era where only crude oil will not be sustainable as most countries are moving away from petroleum into the era of electricity, solar energy etc.