NIGERIA – Nigeria’s minister of agriculture and rural development, Audu Ogbeh has said that the country is looking to exit rice importation by 2020 even as state governments embark on mass production to boost food security.

The federal government is committed to enhance rice production in the country with plans to become a net exporter by 2020.

Nigeria has reduced rice importation by 90%, close to the 100% goal that is expected to promote self-sufficiency as well as fall in prices, said the minister.

According to government statistics, local production in the year 2017 stood at 2.7 million metric tons while the consumption rate has risen to seven million metric tons due to a rising demand.

In 2016, Nigeria projected to reach 2.7 million metric tons in 2017 if government policy of restricting importation was strictly adhered to.

According to the Nigeria rice production statistics, the imports have started to make up 50% of the local consumption rates.

However, after a policy turn around towards promoting agriculture, Nigeria has realised an estimated US$285.15mn as revenue from the value of rice produced locally by farmers in 18 states under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP).

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.