NIGERIA – Massive investments in rice production by large and medium-sized corporations in the country have shot up annual domestic processed rice production to over four million metric tonnes valued at N800 billion, from 2.9 million metric tonnes valued N580 billion in the last two years.
This represents 80 percent of the five million metric tonnes of processed rice consumed yearly in the country.
Large corporations that have made massive investments in local rice production in the last few years include Olam Nigeria Limited, Stallion Foods, Best Foods, among others.
Investments by these firms and the corresponding high output have made the product more readily available.
“Nigerians eat our high quality local rice but do not know. We have totally changed the quality,” Akinwunmi Adesina, minister of agriculture and rural development, said recently in Kwara State.
“You may wish to know that Stallion ‘Shinkafa rice’ and ‘Stallion super’ are all locally-milled rice from Nigeria, not imported. Our expanded local rice production has added N750 billion to the economy, with over N407 billion as net incomes to farmers and rice processors, and boosted rural economy by 360,000 jobs,” he said.
Adesina said within three years, national paddy rice production rose by an extra 7 million metric tonnes, adding that the number of integrated modern rice mills in the country rose from just one in 2011 to 18 by 2014, all processing the local paddy into high quality finished rice.
Abdulghaniyy Alabi-Ojolowo, producer of Oryza rice, a leading rice value chain investor in Lagos, says the quantity of processed rice sold to consumers that can be obtained from paddy rice is about 50 percent to 70 percent.
So within the three-year period, the country added about 3.5 million metric tonnes of processed rice, which is about 1.16 million metric tonnes annually.
This figure, added to the previous 2.9 million metric tonnes of rice produced annually in the country, shows that the country is now producing over 4 million metric tonnes of rice, which is about 80 million 50 kilogramme bags of rice valued at over N800 billion.
Apart from other factors, this increase in local rice production has been boosted mainly by health concerns of the populace, particularly middle class citizens who now usually shun imported rice.
Locally-produced and well-processed rice is generally adjudged to be healthier than imported rice, most of which have spent over 10 years in storage before being brought into the country.
High-quality and well-packaged Nigerian rice currently in the market include Quarra Rice, Umza Rice, Ebony Super Rice, Eko Rice, Mikap Rice, Ashi Rice, Queen of the Niger and Mama’s Pride from Olam.
Recently, a 210,000-metric-tonne capacity rice mill by Olam Nigeria Limited, the largest in Africa, was commissioned by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Ade Adefeko, head, corporate and government relations, Olam Nigeria Limited, says the firm is enhancing food security in Nigeria through the development of a 10,000-hectare rice farm in addition to its rice milling facility, adding that 3,000 hectares out of the firm’s 10,000 are already under cultivation.
Olam’s Integrated Mill in Nasarawa State is supported by an out-grower programme which it plans to scale up from 3,000 farmers to 20,000 farmers to supply rice for its processing mill. Up to 1,000 people are employed on the farm and over 950 are employed on the milling plant at peak season.