Food stuff traders at popular Mile 12 Market in Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State have confirmed increased demand for locally produced rice as the prices of foreign rice have jumped through the roof as a result of scarcity.
This followed the order by the Federal Government to close the nation`s land borders as a way of checkmating smuggling of rice and other items into the country.
Speaking while reflecting on how they faired during the Christmas and New Year seasons, the traders said that initially, a lot of Nigerians were hesitant over buying the local rice.
According to them, the complaint by consumers was that local rice was low in quality compared with the foreign ones.
However, they said that when foreign rice became very costly as a result of the border closure, adding that they had no other alternative than to embrace the local ones.
A trader in the market, Bunmi Alausa said that the major complaint about local rice was that it was not always well processed and that it usually contains a lot of particles and stones.
However, she said that it depends on the specie and maker as the price varies from one to another.
She said that during the Christmas, locally produced rice sold between N16,000 to N22,000 per 50kg compared to the foreign one which was sold for N33,000 per bag.
According to her, a Derika of local rice was sold for N250 in the open market while a Derika of foreign rice went for N400.
Her words: “I want to say that during the festive period, we sold more of local rice. But to be honest, it is just because of the difference in price. Most of the people who bought local rice, if they have enough money, they would have gone for the foreign one because the difference is very clear between the two. Foreign rice is always neat and clean and contains no particles. But the locally produced ones contain a lot of particles and small stones that you would spend hours picking out. So, local producers of rice should try to upgrade”.
Contributing, another trader, Yusuf Alli, said that those who are complaining about the quality of local rice should know that Rome was not built in a day.
He said that Nigerians should learn how to embrace their own.
He noted that the best way to encourage local producers of goods and products is to protect them from their foreign competitors who have more comparative advantages.
Alli said that as foreign rice has categories, local ones also have categories, adding that everybody should try to cut his coat according to his clothes.
“People are saying that local rice has particles and stones. It really depends on the type that one is buying. There are locally made rice that you cannot differentiate from the foreign one. For instance, the one that is selling for N22,000 is as good as foreign rice because it is neat, has no particles and no stones”.
Rechargeable lamps have reduced demand for kerosene, electricity –Alaba traders
Dealers in rechargeable lamps in Alaba International Market have said that their products have helped to reduce the demand for kerosene and electricity supply.
According to them, the rechargeable lamps have also helped to reduce the noise pollution being caused by generators.
They said that report they got from surveys showed that a lot of families are now embracing rechargeable lamps as alternative to the perennial epileptic power supplies and crazy electricity bills.
Sunny Essien, a rechargeable lamp importer, said that for some time now, the demand for rechargeable lamp has gone up.
He said that the reason was because a lot of families are now using it as a better alternative to electricity.
He said the reason he decided to begin the importation of rechargeable lamps was because he discovered that most Nigerians are becoming fade up with epileptic power supplies.
He said that the widespread use of rechargeable lamps and solar energy have reduced the demand for electricity.
“I want to say that rechargeable lamps and solar products are reigning now in most homes. Nigerians are fade up with the electricity distribution companies and their poor services. That is why they are going to rechargeable lamps instead of generators. So, the demand for rechargeable lamps, most especially the solar powered ones have shot up and that is why I went into it. In most of the tertiary institutions, it is rechargeable lamps that students use for their studies. The reason is because they see it as far more reliable to electricity and also cheaper,” he said.
He said that even in the remote areas, rechargeable lamps have led to the reduction in demand for kerosene.
He said that he is very optimistic that as time goes on, more and more people would be shunning electricity for solar rechargeable lights.
Also, Sunday Igbokwe, another rechargeable lamp dealer, said that rechargeable lamps are helping to reduce the level of ear problems in the country.
He said that with the level of noise pollution in the country, “we may be having a deaf future generation.”
He, therefore, advised the Federal Government to invest more into renewable energy products so that the country would join the rest of the world in the quest for less pollution environment.