Local production was suppressed by smuggled rice in view of the fact that the smuggled rice was much cheaper than the locally produced rice. Local farmers had no alternative than to cultivate just enough for their households and sell excess in the local market. Nigeria has not been able to attain self-sufficiency in rice production due to the unfair business terrain.
But the story has changed. Nigerian farmers have embraced Rice cultivation in earnest. But there are still problems especially from SMUGGLING. Statistically, Nigeria is the highest importer of rice globally and the largest producer in West Africa. But the consumption rate is indeed very high due to population increase.
It is glad to note that the Federal government policy on rice production has changed completely. Local production along the rice value chain is now vigorously encouraged. Many states are collaborating in rice production, processing, bagging as well as sales and marketing of the commodity.
Lagos and Kebbi states are a good example. Rice production states in Nigeria include the following’. In the north, we have
- Kano – this is a major rice producing state
- Benue, Kaduna, Taraba, Niger, Taraba and Borno states.
In the South, we have Enugu, Cross river, Ebonyi, Lagos and Ogun states.
According to the leadership of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) annual Rice production in Nigeria has increased from 5.5 million tonnes in 2015, to 5.8 million tonnes in 2017. It is noteworthy to state that as part of efforts to encourage local production, CAPITAL RICE, the largest Rice exporter in Thailand, offered to combine efforts with Stallion Group, one of the largest business conglomerates in West Africa. A joint venture will be created for the management of Rice plants in Nigeria.
We hope for the best.