Nigeria rice production could hit 16 million tons in 2023 if all the participating states under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) convert their pilot programmes into massive production, the Executive Director, Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI), Dr Olufemi Oladunni, has said.
He said the nation’s rice production is expected to set a new record with increased cultivated area, which will increase paddy production to 16 million tons in 2023. The figure is now four million tons.
According to him, Nigeria can produce more than 12 million tons over four-year with the support of President Muhammdau Buhari’s administration, adding that increasing support to the paddy crop is likely to keep the country’s rice production high.
He expects Nigeria to retain its ranking as the leading rice producer in Africa. Although most rice projects embarked by states are in pilot forms, Oladunni said the projects are showing positive results.
He said such projects, should be part of the nation’s strategy to stabilise and increase the production of rice on a sustainable and economically viable basis. He urged more states to key into the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP).
Director-General, Africa Rice Center, Benin Republic, Dr Harold Roy-Macauley has said Nigeria has overtaken Egypt as the largest rice producer in Africa with four million tons a year
Egypt was producing 4.3 tons annually, but it reduced by almost 40 per cent this year owning to the Egyptian government’s decision to limit cultivation to preserve water resources. Egypt’s rice cultivation requires about 1.8 billion metres of water in evaporation, transpiration and irrigation each year.
Africa produces an average of 14.6 million tons of rough rice annually.
He said there are efforts to increase overall rice production in Africa, but expressed doubts that it will curb rice importation as population has increased across the continent. Consumers, he said, are looking for safe and certified rice.