A nation with huge rice appetite but low capacity

As a huge rice consuming nation, rice farmers like Andrew say they should be rich.

But despite the fact that Nigeria is the 11th highest consumer of rice in the world with an annual consumption volume of seven million metric tonnes, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, local farmers continue to suffer lack of capacity in production.

The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation put the country’s estimated production capacity at 2.8 million MT in 2016. The figure range is also corroborated by the United States Department of Agriculture, which puts it at 2.7 million MT.

In November 2016, the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, announced that rice production level had reached 3.5 million metric tonnes.

Meanwhile, the huge gap in supply is still enough to make Nigeria the second largest importer of the commodity in the world and number one in Africa.

The nation spends N646bn ($1.8bn) on rice importation annually at an average of $5m per day according to Ministry of Agriculture’s statistics, which the minister, Audu Ogbeh, has admitted is unsustainable.

Beyond rice, the country spends N7.9tn ($22bn) on the import of various types of food annually, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, said in 2016. To put this in contrast, Nigeria’s 2017 budget is N7.4tn ($20.2bn).

Culled From Punch Newspapers

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