Every once in a while we receive guests either from the World Bank or the Project Head office that like to see first hand what is going on in the farms and hear what our beneficiaries have to say. On this particular trip we had a consultant representing the Head Office. He wanted to visit farms from all the value chains, this post is on the rice field trip.

Nigeria is the second largest importer of rice in the world, buying at least two million metric tons per year from exporting countries like China and Thailand. Yet Nigeria’s fertile land and rich agro-climatic conditions could easily produce rice to feed the entire country and generate surplus for the region.

Nigeria’s rice consumption is projected to reach 35 million tonnes by 2050, from five million tonnes currently, rising at the rate of 7 per cent yearly, due to population growth. It is estimated that 500,000 tonnes of rice were being imported into the country annually and that conscientious efforts were being made under the Agricultural Transformation Action plan (ATAP) to reduce rice importation to zero by 2013 and achieve 2.1 million tonnes local production over the next 12 months.


Below are some of the equipments used for Rice processing



Figures from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture show that five million metric tons of rice is consumed annually in the country, which amounts to about 100 million 50kg bags of rice. Currently, the minimum price of this 50kg bag in the market is N10, 000, resulting in rice consumption of over N1 trillion annually in the country. The figures also show that 2.1 million metric tons of rice are legally imported into the country annually. This amounts to 42 million 50 kg bags of rice, at a value of about N360 billion.

Farmers have enjoyed a lot of government infrastructural support and therefore, are able to sell a 50kg bag of well processed long grained Nerica 8 for N8,000 to marketers who are always on standby to mop up the rice immediately after processing. But the bag of rice gets to consumers at about N14, 000 or more. This significant increase in price is due to “The high cost of transportation due to bad roads, in addition to extortion by the police, the local government council representatives and  miscreants, contribute greatly to high prices of local rice. The market price of imported rice is still lower than locally produced rice, due to the adequate infrastructural provision for farmers in the foreign rice producing countries, and subsidies on rice production by foreign governments.

As part of the agriculture sector transformation strategy which is hoped would drive diversification of the economy from oil and particularly ensure the nation’s food security, government has planned to ensure that Nigeria becomes self-sufficient in rice production by 2015. Government also hopes to create about 3.5 million jobs in the next 3 years with this agricultural sector action plan and noted that plans to replace imported brown rice and finished parboiled rice with locally produced brown rice by 2013 and later ban rice importation into the country by 2015.

Rice farmers specific inefficiency factors include age, farming experience, household size, education and improved rice variety, are key issues which constrain the setting up of the industry on a clear path of growth and development. These elements have beclouded the potentials of the industry for full realization of food security and poverty alleviation. It is therefore recommended that the Government and other relevant agencies should improve rice farmer’s access to improved rice varieties, modern rice processing technology, rice markets and extension services. Adequate financial assistance and credit facilities should also be made available to the rice farmers to enable them expand the crop output.

Clearly the above shows the huge potential for Rice to create jobs and lift millions out of poverty. The next gen African farmers will seek ways to capitalise on this opportunity by developing a workable model that harnesses the resources of both the public and private sector. A model that would ensure that all the links in the value chain work seamlessly to ensure the success of all stakeholders.

Thanks for taking time out to read.







6 thoughts on “Field Trip 1 -Rice Value chain

  1. This is highly informative. I wish you work on your plan quickly to produce a document to that effect. I hope you get the opportunity to implement it with the required support! Go New Gen African Farmer!!!

  2. I am just curious to know the # 1country that is the largest importer of rice. To be quiet honest, I was shocked to find out that Nigeria actually imports rice despite our fertile land and climatic conditions..I was under the impression that we were exporting..On the flip side, It is great to know that all that is about to change and the approach will boost the economy….

  3. It is very shocking right. The next gen farmers will seek to work with other key stakeholders to change this and make sure we begin to export rice. In spite of our very fertile land we are the largest importer of rice in Africa and second largest globally after Indonesia. These are 2011 figures. It was forecasted that Nigeria might have been the largest importer in 2012. It is forecasted that China will be the largest importer for 2013. Thanks Ronke

  4. @Ronke; Nigeria consumes 5.4 million MT of rice annually worth N600 billion,
    of which 1.6 million MTs are imported. Nigeria is the largest net importer of rice in Africa and the second largest importer in the world. What we as citizens or entrepreneurs is discover the loopholes that led to such a situation by getting facts and information – as now, then working with the smallholders who makeup the larger chunk of the agricultural sector in Nigeria to add value to our local brand as with ‘Mama pride’; thanks to partnership of Olam and other private sector. Secondly, we need to put pressure continuously on respective governments to improve power supply especially for production and manufacturing, we need to be strategic in our growth process considering that there are so many needs after years of mis-management. Fueling the growth of sectors that add value to the general economy and builds the middle class is very key as this will greatly reduce cost of production and encourage more business innovations to materialise. Thirdly, lets start working together by forming formidable means as forums like this to bring our leaders to account by disseminating facts, asking questions and getting results.

  5. Thanks Elliot for your comments. You have highlighted some very important facts. As you have pointed out the private sector is already engaged in the Rice sector and the results have been encouraging. We definitely need more PPPs, the next gen African farmers would play a key role in these partnerships. The issue of electricity is key and it is our hope that the government delivers on their commitment sooner than later. Nevertheless we applaud the efforts being made by the government in the rice sector.

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