We cannot talk about rice production in Nigeria without laying emphasis on Nigeria’s agricultural sector. Agriculture remains the bedrock of Nigeria’s economy, contributing over 30% of the GDP (Statistica, 2020).
Agriculture is also the largest economic activity in the rural areas where almost 50% of the Nigerian population live. It also provides employment opportunities to about 35% of the working population in Nigeria (FAO, 2012).
The sector comprises four major sub-sectors: Crop Production, Livestock Farming, Fishing, and Forestry. The largest sub-sector is Crop Production, as it accounts for about 87.6% of the sector with a quarterly growth that stands at an average of 44.12% (PWC, 2019).
Crop Production in Nigeria
Crop-based food is a major part of our diets. This has not only increased its demand but has also contributed to the development of the sector. Nigeria is ranked as one of the top producers of crops, such as palm oil, cocoa, cassava, yam, maize, ginger, sweet potatoes, cowpea, millet, rice, and sorghum.
Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava, yam, and cowpea globally. It is also the second-largest producer of sorghum and ranks fifth in the production of palm oil and cocoa. In the exportation of crops, the country is the second leading exporter of cashew nuts globally (FAO,2020).
To top it all, Nigeria has been recently declared the largest producer of Rice in Africa.
Economic Importance of Rice
Rice remains the most economically important food and cash crop, not just in Nigeria but in many developing countries. It also prides itself as the major staple food in many developed countries where its consumption has increased considerably. With over 50% of the world population accounting for its consumption, it also provides over 19% of global human capital energy (KPMG,2019). Apart from human consumption, it also serves other uses such as feed for animals and a major component for organic vegetable production.
In Nigeria, rice is the major staple food consumed by most households. This has driven the high demand for rice, with a consumption per capita of 32kg. Despite the increasing demand for rice, there is still a deficit in the production of rice in the country. Statistics show that about 53% of the rice consumed in Nigeria annually is being imported.
Farmcenta has identified the importance of rice production in enhancing food security. We have also paid close attention to the various challenges facing rice production and are taking concrete steps in solving this problem. In addition, we are working towards sustainable local rice production in Nigeria.
Challenges of Rice Production in Nigeria
Despite the various strategies put in place to boost local rice production, increase food security, and diversify the Nigerian economy, certain factors have been militating against it. Factors such as:
- reduced investment in agriculture,
- illiteracy among local farmers,
- the high cost of inputs,
- improper management of soil and water resources,
- inadequate credit facility to farmers.
- lack of good roads in the rural areas,
- fluctuating prices of rice grains because of seasonal variation,
- inadequate mechanized equipment,
- most recently, the Covid-19 pandemic and economic meltdown, have led to low productivity.
Farmcenta’s Contribution to Rice Production in Nigeria
To help strengthen local rice production in Nigeria, Farmcenta is contributing immensely towards improving farming activities. With millions of dollars raised, we have been able to cultivate over 750 hectares of land and support local farmers.
Above all, we have a sustainable business model that seeks to revolutionize the Nigerian Agric space while creating jobs, improving productivity, increasing food security, and strengthening supply chains.
With our collaboration with various research institutes and farm specialists, we have been able to bring an innovative and improved method of rice farming to rural farmers.