Nigeria among 16 top rice producers


Nigeria has been listed among the sixteen top producers of rice in the world as her local production is valued at N684 billion ($1.9 billion).

It was gathered that the country attained 3.7 million tons of milled rice last December.

With Nigeria’s latest production record, annual imports would be reduced drastically from 4.5 million tons to 800,000 metric tons.

According to Index Mundi, a global data portal that gathers facts and statistics, the country’s rice production has gone up by 19 per cent within the last four years.

Consequently, Nigeria has become the second largest producer of the grain in Africa after Egypt, which currently produces 4.3 million tons.

On the portal list, China led other 81 countries with 146 million tons; India, 107 million tons; Vietnam, 28.4 million tons and Thailand, 20.4 million tons.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s anchor borrower scheme has boosted the country’s production records in the last two years when it stopped issuing form M or letter of credit to rice importers in 2015 in a bid to encourage local production.

In 2016, CBN had complained that the amount spent on rice importation between January, 2012 and May, 2015 had resulted in huge unsold stock of paddy rice cultivated by Nigerian farmers and low operating capacities of many integrated rice mills in the country.

The Controller of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS)’s Federal Operation Unit, Comptroller Mohammed Uba, who was worried over the volume of rice coming illegally into the country through the Republic of Benin, explained that the rice coming legally through the ports had been ordered based on contractual agreement between importers and the sellers before the CBN embargo on Form M.

The controller said that Federal Government was serious about rice production in the country.

He said: “If you see any rice at the port, it must be a contractual agreement spanning two years by the importers and the sellers. In the last two years, CBN has never issued form M or letter of credit to rice importers.”

It would be recalled that the Secretary of Rice Millers, Importers and Distributors Association of Nigeria (RIMIDAN), Shaibu Mohammed, had expressed fear in 2017 that it would be difficult for the country to end importation or achieve self sufficiency in rice production by 2018 because of the importation of parboil rice from Thailand and other countries through the neighbouring ports.

He said that the gap between demand and supply was still huge.

Last November, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said in Abuja that the Federal Government was targeting seven million tons of the grain by 2018.

Ogbeh predicted that the target would be achieved by the second quarter of this year to meet the national consumption rate.


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