• Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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BusinessDay

How to spot fake holiday rice

fake-rice

Lately, the reports have been on how fake rice has taken over the Nigerian market. This is majorly because of the high cost of most rice models which has forced many people to look for lower priced options.

A bag of rice at some point in the year was sold between N19, 000 and N20, 000. The price later dropped to between N15, 000 and N17, 000 where it has held for a long time. Once, while expressing alarm at the high cost, Heineken Lokobiri, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development projected that if Nigeria fails to start producing rice, by December 2016 the price of a bag of rice reach N40, 000.

The minister’s warning may have been taken to heart by stakeholders in the sector as several states in the country have begun to produce rice in mass. The notable ones are Ebonyi, Kebbi and Anambra states. Ebonyi State is said to be producing 1.2 million tons of rice annually, Kebbi State is projected to have distributed over one million tons of rice.

The major attraction to local rice is the price, currently at N8, 000. We should also include that the production process has greatly improved from what it used to be in the past. People who have tasted the new locally produced rice say the grains are not so different from the foreign varieties.

The major challenge for many people however is, in the bid to take advantage of rising demand for local varieties, some marketers are combining fake with the real rice. The fake rice variety is reported to have originated from producers in China. The Korean Times have a report that “China famous for having all, making all, has now been reported to have made rice out of plastic and has distributed it.”

While we cannot ascertain the veracity of the news claims, many Nigerians have also reported buying fake rice from retailers. There was a video that was widely shared on social media platforms recently. In the video, the woman narrating the story told how she bought a rice variety in a small sachet containing about two cups. While cooking she noticed the rice aroma was missing, so she decided to investigate further. After cooking the rice it did not dissolve. On touching it, she observed it felt like “rubber ring ladies use to hold the hair”. She knew it was fake.

With the holiday here already, there is no doubt that cases like these might likely increase. Hence, we did some little research on how to spot the fake variety in case you out shopping for rice.

The first thing to do is avoid being in a situation by buying your rice from an authorised or licensed local dealer. These are usually individuals and businesses that are trusted and can deliver quality no matter the times.

If you are not able to find one and you had to patronise the local shop in the open market, do not pay unless you have carried out this experiment. Take one glass of water and drop some rice in the glass. Stir the glass, when you observe the grain floating to the top of the glass just know you are looking at fake.

There is another experiment which might be a little weird. Take the rice and simply burn the rice by using a matchbox. Fake rice will immediately give out the plastic smell.

Peradventure you already bought the rice and you are wondering whether you bought fake, boil the rice and observe. If it starts forming a thick layer at the top of the pot, it is definitely plastic rice.

You can also take some of the rice and drop into some real hot pot of oil. On contact, the fake rice will quickly melt or stick together at the bottom of the pot.

 

FRANK ELEANYA