The duo of award-winning agribusiness expert, Anita Okoro; and Special Adviser to Lagos State Government on Food Security, Mr. Ganiu Sanni, have expressed disparate opinions over the standards of Lake Rice, Punch reports.
While Anita argued that Lake Rice needed improved processing, the Special Adviser countered that the rice was safe enough for consumption; adding that it does not cause male consumers to develop low sperm count.
They both spoke at the fifth annual lecture organised by the Lagos State Polytechnic Alumni Association, entitled, ‘Agriculture and its value chain potentials: Challenges and way forward.’
The lecture, which held on Tuesday, had experts speak on the development of agricuture and rice processing in the country.
Speaking on the title, ‘Rice processing, empowerment and safety,’ Anita explained that her research showed that the processing of Lake Rice was faulty.
Anita, who is the initiator of ‘We_have_rice,’ said, “Lake rice is actually chemical- and preservatives-free; but there is something that is wrong with the processing that you people (Lagos State Government) don’t know.”
Narrating her experience in rice production business, she said, “I was in Kebbi where I have my farm and went to a processing company dealing with rice, which I will not mention.
“I was there to research how they process Lake Rice. From my research, the rice needs to be well processed. I rest my case.
“Those handling it need to know how to identify a very good paddy. There is also a challenge with milling in Nigeria and that is because of inadequate equipment.
“The northerners do abuse us that we (those in South West) are not wise enough. The kind of rice they bring to us from other countries are not safe.
“They contain chemicals that cause low sperm count and it is also affecting us. It is better to take local rice that are well processed.”
Responding, Sanni faulted Anita’s position on Lake Rice. He explained that the production of Lake Rice aided jobs creation and ensured food security.
Sanni, who is the chairman of the discussion session, said, “I cannot sit here and such a comment on Lake Rice will be made and I will not reply.
“Kebbi State having a large expanse of land and Lagos having the market, we collaborated. That was after we searched all the South Western states and found no major mill.
“The quality of rice given to us is not a bad one, as against the imported ones. Lake Rice is fresh, 100 per cent natural, no addictive, no chemical preservation.
“It doesn’t cause low sperm count. Instead, we are using it to generate thousands of jobs.”
The president of the LASPOTECH Alumni Association, Muyiwa Olugbile, said the theme was necessitated by the challenges facing agriculture in the country.
He added that the annual lecture was to motivate alumni of the polytechnic to diversify into agriculture.