WINNER OF THE Agriculture Reporting Category

Chikodi Okereocha’s “How smugglers hamper rice policy, frustrate investors”, published in The Nation newspaper of Wednesday, September 30, 2015, is an outstanding work.

It is a disheartening narrative of the frustration investors who have chosen to stake their hard-earned resources in growing rice locally face with the activities of rice smugglers. And with the influx of the cheaper rice through these routes, local rice producers and processors have been losing sleep because they could no longer compete with the prices of smuggled rice.

Whereas the Nigerian government had hoped that by 2015 the nation would have attained self-sufficiency in rice production through the Backward Integration Policy, the nation has failed to meet this target, thanks to the menace posed by the daring smugglers.

Okereocha’s report is a challenge to the authorities to do the needful by encouraging honest labour at ensuring self sufficiency in food production.

Born December 24, 1973, Chikodi Anthony Okereocha bagged a Bachelors Degree in History from the Imo State University. Currently an assistant editor with The Nation, he previously worked on the stables of The Source, Newswatch and Tell.


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