Sierra Leone importers reject ‘plastic rice’ claims

Sierra Leone. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Rice importers in Sierra Leone have dismissed reports of the presence of plastic rice in the country.

The head of the Importers Association of Sierra Leone, Alhaji Tanu Jalloh, told state broadcaster SLBC on Tuesday that the reports were untrue and that there was no need for panic.

There were fears that the fake rice made of plastic had been imported with sources indicating that the government was investigating the matter.

Social media

The fears followed the emergence of a video footage on social media showing a sample bag of the supposed fake rice.

A lawmaker, Mr Claude Kamanda, raised the alarm recently when he warned his Freetown constituents about the fake rice.

The MP for Constituency 095 in Freetown, in a Whatsapp post, cautioned his people to be vigilant.

A warning

“I don't have the authority to inform you that it has landed in our country as investigation is on to affirm it. But as my people in the Western Area Rural, inclusive of Constituencies 092, 093, 094 and 095; I urge you all to test on fire any type of imported (rice) you buy, whether in shop or neighbourhood,” he warned.

As the video clip demonstrates, the fake rice granules burn like plastic.

Mr Kamanda said that should serve as a warning to all.

Illegal consignment

He called as an act of “unpatriotism” the move by “some of our business people who are both nationals and foreign”.

Reports about plastic rice first emerged in Nigeria, with the product thought to have been imported from China.

The Nigerian authorities in December announced the seizure of over 100 bags of the illegal consignment, totalling some 2.5 tons.

Rice is the staple in both Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

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