The Oasis Reporters

News on time, everytime

AgricultureAnalysisBusiness & EconomyNewsPoliticsResearch

Triggering Nostalgia To Signify An Abundance Of Rice A Farce, For High Moisture Content Damages Paddy

The Oasis Reporters

January 21, 2022

By Dr Jekwu Ozoemene

A high moisture content damages paddy (rice inside the husk).

In fact, exposure to moisture (moisture content) affects the quality of every grain. For rice particularly, on paper, maximum moisture content should not exceed 14%.

However, because paddy is usually harvested at a high moisture content of between 18-24%, producers struggle to achieve 8-13% by dehydrating the grains post harvest.

The dehydration is necessary to destroy bacteria, and reduce the moisture content to less than 14%, otherwise the grains become susceptible to deterioration; mould, decay, colour change, breaking etc.

Only at 14% moisture content will the grains be ready for preservation, sale and storage.

Even at that, because rice grain is hygroscopic (meaning that in open storage systems, the grain moisture content will eventually equilibrate with the surrounding air) storage has to be dry to prevent moisture absorption.

Now, imagine paddy pyramids with an already high moisture content of 18-24% being drenched by rain.

So, firstly, let’s pray that rain does not beat our rice paddy pyramids in Abuja, because that will move from mega pyramids to mega loss and consequent indebtedness.

Secondly, since stacking rice in pyramids does not aid storage, sale, distribution, or make the product more affordable, the only reason we are stacking rice pyramids (in a throwback to the 70’s and 80’s Nigeria) is to trigger nostalgia for the “good old days” and signal “abundance”.

President Goodluck Jonathan and his Agric Minister Akinwunmi Adesina, did the same thing in 2014. They stacked rice pyramids for us in Nassarawa. At the time it did look ridiculous and mere politicking, today, in 2022, the reality is still the same of PMB’s Abuja rice pyramids. Unless of course that after the political brinkmanship photo opportunities, the pyramids would disappear for the Paddy rice to go through the normal processes of drying and milling.

At the end of the day, the best way to communicate the abundance of a product is both in it’s availability and affordability.

Whether it is mega or minor pyramids, in 2014, a 50kg bag of rice from the Nassarawa rice pyramids retailed at N6,000 per bag. Today, a 50kg bag of rice from the Abuja rice mega pyramids will retail at N23,000.

This is why pyramid schemes are not really as impressive as they seem to look.

Dr. Jekwu Ozoemene was former Managing Director of Access Bank in Zambia.

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *