By Adebisi Adeyemi Lagos, Nigeria.
How did Indian garri get to the Nigerian market? How long has it been in the market? Are Nigerians not producing enough garri? What is the difference between Indian garri and Nigerian garri?
These are some of the questions many Nigerians are asking as imported Indian garri is now selling in some supermarkets. Nigeria is the world largest producer of cassava. ” It is a very big shame that we are now allowing imported garri into the country. We are not encouraging our industry to grow. If it were Nigerian processor that applied NAFDAC will hardly issue number in one year. For any processed and packaged food to be acceptable in the market, it must be NAFDAC registered. The requirement for that is usually a challenge to most people”. Said Olusola Balogun a small scale farmer. Adding that” we have good quality agricultural products therefore we should not import what we can adequately and competently produce.”
Abebi Ibironke a trader told Scroll Report that she knows about yellow garri, Abeokuta garri , ljebu garri and Cotonou garri. Each has it distinctive taste. “Which one is Indian garri again? Why are we importing what we can produce?”
Thomas Peters a businessman said outright ban on all these type of products is what we need.” If this is encouraged it will kill local production. That is why most of these foreign countries will not want us to be self reliant in area of food, beacuse of our population and because they are looking for places to dump these products”. Adding that the government is not helping matters. “They welcome these foreigners with open hands. So they go to most of our villages and farms to buy off our produce. Only to repackage them and bring them back to us”.
Scroll Report learnt that the reason why we can not export beef and dairy products to the Netherlands is because of the economies of scale which favour the local producers. . But in Nigeria local producers are not favoured as goods produced in Nigeria are still allowed to come in from India and China.
The backbone of both India and Chinese Industrial revolution is small and medium scale Industry. They have enabling enviroment of energy, good laboratories and patriotic quality control agencies.