Kenya, Nigeria to register rise in rice production in face of heightening local demand

KENYA – Rice production in Kenya in the Marketing Year 2022/23, is forecast to rise 12 percent to 90,000 MT due to a 16 percent increase in area harvested after the new Thiba dam is commissioned in 2022, which will expand the Mwea irrigation scheme.

Nearly 100 percent of Kenya’s rice is produced in irrigation schemes, with the Mwea scheme accounting for over 80 percent of total production. The country’s other irrigated rice schemes are in Bura, Ahero, and in Bundalangi.

Despite the increase in production area, yields are likely to decrease slightly due to lower fertilizer application by farmers as fertilizer prices surge.

Meanwhile, consumption of the cereal is forecasted to rise by 3 percent to 720,000 MT driven mainly by the re-opening of the hospitality sector following COVID-19 lockdowns.

Also, education facilities, a major consumer of rice in Kenya, reopened fully in mid-2021 contributing to higher consumption.

With local demand still higher than production volumes, Kenya is set to rely on import to offset the balance.

According to a GAIN report by USDA, the East African nation will import 640,000 MT of rice during the period under review.

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However, this will be slightly lower compared to the corresponding previous period by 10,000 MT as local production is set to rise.

In 2021, Pakistan, Tanzania, India, Thailand, and Italy were the leading rice exporters to Kenya.

Cruising to West Africa, Nigeria rice production in 2022/23 is set at 8.7 million metric tons (MMT), a 9 percent increase compared to the previous year.

The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria and the central bank are driving rice sufficiency projects across the country.

Earlier in the year, Nigeria’s President unveiled the world’s largest rice pyramids, made up of one million bags of 100kgs of rice, a testament to the country’s drive towards achieving food security and attaining self-sufficiency in production of the crop.

Meanwhile, local consumption is set at 8.25 million metric tons (MMT), a 15 percent increase from last year. Rice is a staple food in Nigeria with per capita consumption nearing 50 kg.

Growth in consumption will be partially satisfied by local production, however, Nigerian rice consumers still prefer parboiled long grain rice from Thailand and India, which continues to enter the Nigerian market through grey channels (unofficial routes) and are freely sold in the dominant traditional open-air markets and street/corner shops.

The Central Bank of Nigeria placed rice on its FX restriction list since 2015, in a bid to conserve the nation’s foreign reserve and boost local production.

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