NIGERIA – The NEPAD Business Group Nigeria (NBGN) has concluded plans to hold its 4th Nigeria Rice Investment Forum in a bid to consolidate gains recorded in the sector as well as ensure self-sufficiency.

According to the Guardian, the forum scheduled for November 20-21, 2018 in Abuja will address issues in the rice sector and conduct a review on development in the sector.

The forum will be held under the themes, ‘Consolidating the Gains in the Nigeria Rice Sector (Production and Processing)’ and ‘Effective Linkage of Actors and Efforts in the Nigeria Rice Value Chain for a Sustained Self-Sufficiency in Production’.

NBGN Chairman, Dr. Nike Akande said the phase involves consolidating the gains recorded in the last decade in the rice subsector and as well sustaining the tempo in the next decade and more.

“To however sustain the tempo, there is need to consolidate the gains so far in the sector.

This should essentially entail general review and evaluation of efforts in the entire rice value chain in terms of policies, direct and indirect interventions,” she said.

This complements federal government’s efforts to achieve self-sufficiency and exit rice importation by 2020.

The Federal Government recently announced that the country would, in 2018, achieve rice production of seven million metric tonnes.

Thailand Rice Exporters’ Association recently revealed that within a spate of two years, from September 2015 to September 2017, Nigeria’s rice importation dropped from 644,131 metric tonnes to about 21,000 metric tonnes.

NEPAD said Nigeria is on the way to achieve sufficiency in rice production.

This is contrary to USDA’s report which indicated that the country’s rice imports were way higher than the estimated values.

The government has since faulted the report that claimed that Nigeria imported three million metric tonnes of rice in 2018, which is 400,000 metric tonnes more than the quantity of the product imported in 2017.

The report indicated that local production of rice was on the decline.

Total paddy production in Nigeria in 2016 was estimated at 17,487,562 metric tons, leaving a balance of about 11.4 million metric tons after accounting for 12.4% of rice production wasted due to post-harvest losses.

Consequently, this left a total of 5.7 million metric tons of milled rice, bringing Nigeria’s rice production closer to the seven million projected milled rice requirement for 2016.