By Stanley Sunday
The Chief Executive Officer of Integrated Factory Foods Company, Akhibi Onoke Akhibi, has bemoaned the sharp practices of some big rice merchants who deny urban consumers the opportunity of consuming real, freshly milled, locally produced rice.
Akhibi who made this statement in an interaction with business correspondents in Abuja at the weekend, said the unscrupulous big merchants are defying the laudable emphasis of the Federal Government on local content in rice production to push genuine local rice farmers out of the market by importing rice, re-bagging them and claiming they are locally produced.
As a way of adding value to the rice market and remaining afloat, Akhibe said his company has launched into the Nigerian market an economically-friendly smaller packaged rice called NaijaSweetRice stored in HungaBusta packs.
The indigenous food processing company already had sizes of 50kg ,25kg, 5kg and 750g before recently launching a cost effective 375g NaijaSweetRice package popularly known as ‘HungaBusta’.
“This latest pack is targeted at the retail consumer especially those who are already accustomed to buying rice in direct retail cups,” he said.
According to him, “the HungaBusta pack is an equivalent of two cups (175g) plus of edible rice grains that is ideal for a family of four. Like its other sizes, the paddy rice input is sourced locally from Bida, Doko, Enagi, Edozhgi and Katcha areas of Niger State, and are processed with quality standards.”
“The product meets all the standard of food safety, consistent quality, reasonable pricing and fair trading opportunities for supply chain participants.
“By introducing single family serving, homegrown, freshly milled and well packaged Nigerian rice to retail consumers, the company hopes to offer to the public, especially the urban consumers the opportunity to connect with our farmers and enjoy the rich taste of locally produced rice which they have been denied for so long.”