The largest producer of rice in Africa is Nigeria, eclipsing Egypt in that position. This was revealed by Director-General of the Africa Rice Center, Benin Republic, Dr Harold Roy-Macauley.
Dr Harold Roy-Macauley said that Nigeria was producing a total output of 4 million tonnes of rice annually. The output in Egypt is expected to go down by 40% because of limited cultivation. The Egyptian government decided to limit the cultivation of rice in order to preserve water resources. This makes Nigeria the largest producer of rice in Africa.
However the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) disagree with the view that Nigeria is producing 4 million tonnes only. The president of RIFAN, Aminu Goronyo said that Nigeria has two farming seasons for rice. In each of the seasons, 4 million tonnes of rice is produced. This means that in total, Nigeria produces 8 million tonnes of rice.
According to Goronyo, the two seasons which produce 8 million tonnes engage a total of 12 million farmers. He also said that Nigeria does not plan to put a total ban on rice importation before the end of this year.
"We have two cropping seasons of production and each season we produce an average of 4 million tons that will give you 8 million tons per annum", Goronyo said.
Goronyo further said, "We have enough paddy in ground, the same thing with rice Millers, they have more than enough in stock, which means that we don’t need to import paddy of milled rice."
Smuggling is a huge impediment affecting the production of rice and its business. Rice keeps on coming through land borders despite the fact that government has banned importation through land borders.
Header image credit - Food Business Africa