Nigeria Rice Imports Average 1.5m Tonnes Annually

Investigations have revealed that between 2003 and 2013, Nigeria may have imported rice to the tune of 17,206,077 tonnes with an average import at 1,564,188 million, NaijaAgroNet can authoritatively report.

According to the Statistics Division of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), an intergovernmental organization of the United Nations with over 194 member nations, the division’s mission, NaijaAgroNet  gathered is to improve data collection and dissemination for development and the fight against global hunger and malnutrition.

These imports of 17,206,077 tonnes, NaijaAgroNet reports, came in the heels of against the total production of 114.3 million tonnes within the period under review including both calculated and official data as at the time of filing this report.

For the rice import in 2003, Nigeria recorded 1600701 tonnes, 1396692 in 2004, 1174071 in 2005, 974647 in 2006, 1215758 in 2007, 970787 in 2008, 1160671 in 2009 and 1882759 in 2010, while 2187419 was recorded in 2011 followed by 2455202 a year later, just as 2187370 was the tonnes of rice imported in 2013.

In addition, NaijaAgroNet  gathered that bulk of the data were unearthed from aggregation and includes the official, semi-official, estimated and or calculated data from the Nigerian government by FAO.

The imported tonnes of rice, NaijaAgroNet  investigations revealed may have been “rice in milled equivalent.

Market watchers believed that despite the decline recorded by IRERP that obviously what was gathered as official data, semi-official or even aggregated were crossly in adequate considering the number of smuggled tonnes and the nation’s craze for foreign products which is not alien to agriculture produce.

This is despite the fact that most foreign rice imported into Nigeria takes averagely three to five months to be shipped into the country, therefore fortified thus missing relevant vitamins.

This much was what kept the cost of ‘foreign rice’ as its fondly called locally high, even as there is allegations of such chemical used in preserving the rice to have become instrumental to certain kind of cancer.

Noteworthy is that the initiative on Increased Rice Production and Export Programme (IRPEP) report, released in 2013 by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) showed that it recorded some accomplishments.

These comprised of the discovery that both national and international research institutes working in Nigeria have developed over 52 rice varieties with potential yields of 28 tonnes of paddy per hectare and maturity periods ranging from 95 to 140 days.

IRPEP records also showed increase in the areas cultivated from 2.2 million hectare (ha) in 1999 to 2.8 million ha in 2006 and 3.2 million ha in 2007; while an increase was recorded in annual production from 3.3 million tonnes of milled rice in 2000 to 4.2 million tonnes in 2006, and 4.8 million tonnes in 2007. Although these represented significant increases in output, IRPEP equally highlighted that the targets of 6 million tonnes in 2005 and 9.8 million tonnes in 2007 were not achieved.

NaijaAgroNet  further quoted IRPEP as stating that increase in productivity per hectare as a result of the introduction of high-yielding NERICA rice variety and R-Box technology among others brought about the reduction in rice importation from 2.0 million tonnes in 2003 to less than 1.0 million tonnes in 2006 and 2007, thus, conserving foreign exchange.

Remmy Nweke/ED, Ops

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Pic: A graphic table of Nigeria’s rice import between 2003 and 2013

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Pressure Mounts on Communities Hosting Displaced People Affected by Boko Haram


Pressure is mounting on rural communities hosting displaced people affected by the Boko Haram terrorism activities over palpable extension of the attacks on them, reports NaijaAgroNet.

This alarm is coming from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) which lamented that three consecutive planting seasons have been lost due to the fighting in northeastern Nigeria.

The United Nation’s agency stressed that large influxes of people escaping repeated Boko Haram attacks have put extreme pressure on already poor and vulnerable host communities and their fragile agricultural and pastoral livelihoods, thereby exacerbating the already precarious food and nutrition security situation.

FAO cautioned that failure to rebuild the rural economy will translate into lack of employment opportunities with possible harmful consequences including youth radicalization and enrolment into armed groups, resulting in continued civil unrest.

Similarly, FAO said, restarting food production in the newly accessible areas will have the additional benefits of encouraging displaced populations to return to their homes, while contributing to their improved health and nutrition, hence, it recently commenced seeking of assistance in that regard.

NaijaAgroNet recalls that in northeastern Nigeria, FAO has provided agricultural kits to vulnerable internally displaced people with access to land and host families.

These kits included improved varieties of millet or sorghum and cowpea seeds – a locally adapted and highly nutritious pulse – and fertilizers, enabling beneficiaries to grow their own food during the ongoing rain-fed season. The harvest is expected to start by the end of September and will allow beneficiaries to cover their food needs for up to 10 months.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE

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Buhari’s FG launches ‘The Green Alternative’ 2016-2020

The President Mohammadu Buhari-led Federal Government has launched a new agricultural sector roadmap known as The Green Alternative, for the projected promotion of agriculture for the year 2016 through 2020, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The launch which took place in Abuja, the nation’s capital, NaijaAgronet gathered was declared open by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo on behalf of Mr. President on Monday.

He also said government would deploy 100,000 agriculture extension workers to assist farmers implement the policy, stressing that the move to diversify the economy through the agriculture sector had become necessary due to the huge food importation bill and the need to create jobs for the teeming population of youth in the country.

Osinbajo expressed optimism that the roadmap would address challenges in the sector and reposition it for economic growth and development

“The present administration came into office to meet an economy in a meltdown and we have to take difficult decisions on short, medium term in order to repair the huge damage done, especially by the dependence on oil, the worst not investing in infrastructure or deepening the diversification of our economy, or even building our reserves when oil sold at over a $100 per barrel.

“We knew that we had to set aright and put back the economy on a fast lane, inclusive growth, job creation for our huge population. One of the most critical components of that plan is to position agriculture, the arrowhead of our economic recovery efforts.

“There is no question at all that if we get agriculture right, we will get our economy right. The great clarity, ‘The Green Alternative, sets out strategies to resolve these challenges and particularly impressed that the roadmap does not dismiss the agric policies ‘building on the successes of the agricultural agenda’.

“This particular issue of alignment is crucial. For instance, there is no way we can encourage agriculture than to encourage food production when we allow unbridled importation of the same things we are trying to produce.

“Still on the issue of policy of alignment, as part of our 500,000 teacher corps that we will be engaging 100, 000 of them that will be trained as extension workers for our farms.

“I, hereby, launch the Agriculture Sector Roadmap: The Green Alternative; Agriculture Promotion Policy 2016-2020.”

Further, the Vice President said, the home-grown school feeding programme will have one meal a day for pupils and specifically the food will be from farms in each state. He also assured that the Bank of Agriculture would be recapitalised and repositioned to meet farmers’ financial need by giving them a single digit interest rate and low interest.

Equally speaking earlier, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said the roadmap for the sector was all encompassing and would salvage the economy from collapse.

“In this policy, you will see us navigating through the agricultural terrain, trucking on virtually every aspect. The emphasis on ‘Green’ is to capture the essence, spirit and orientation of this new policy/strategy document,” Ogbeh said.

Isaac Oyimah/Vanguard/GEE

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Pix: left, Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture, Mohammed Tahir Mongonu; Minister of Environment, Mrs. Amina Mohammed and Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige during the launch/public presentation of the Agricultureal Sector Roadmap, The Green Alternative Agriculture Promotion Policy 2016-2020, in Abuja, Monday.

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