Rice in Nigeria
Nigeria, is the most populous country in Africa, with a population of over 190,270, 638,(2016). Like other countries in Africa, Nigeria’s economy is dominated by agriculture, which accounts for about 40% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and two-thirds of its labor force. Among all the staple crops, such as cassava, maize, and yams, rice has risen to a position of preeminence. There are two reasons: on the one hand, people tend to eat rice is because rice relatively easy to produce and is grown for sale and for home consumption, with the change of local people’s eating preferences, more and more Nigerians are more inclined to eat rice compared to other grains, on the other hand, from the economic view, rice has a higher commercial value compared with other crops, thus it became a strategic commodity in the Nigerian economy also.
Rice Production and Importation and Exportation Trend in Nigeria
Although rice accounts for a large proportion of the food needs of the Nigerian population, production capacity is far below the national requirements. In order to meet the growing demand, Nigeria had to use imported rice to fill the gap between domestic supply and demand, the following chart shows the rice consumption, importation, and exportation status in Nigeria.
rice consumption in Nigeria
rice production in Nigeria
rice import and export in Nigeria
The above figure reveals that rice import was steadily growing year-on-year due to the increasing growth of population and rice consumption, also there are other reasons that resulted for Nigeria’s rice consumption, for instance, the increased income levels, the rapid urbanization and associated changes in family occupational structures and so on.
Increasing rice consumption improve demand for high-quality rice mills processing technology
In Nigeria, rice consumption is about 10% higher per year due to consumer preference for rice. However, according to the survey, most Nigerians prefer to import rice rather than locally produced rice because the taste of imported rice is better than locally produced rice. Imported rice is made through efficient rice processing techniques such as rice hulling process, rice polishing process, rice milling process and so on so that they have better taste and translucent in color, that is to say, most of Nigeria rice processing equipment is difficult to produce rice in line with international standards which can not meet people’s demand for high-standard rice.
The complete rice processing involves several steps: removal of the husks by using rice huller machine, remove the impurities by using paddy de-stoner and milling the shelled rice to remove the bran layer by using rice milling equipment, and an additional whitening step to meet market expectations for the appearance of the rice kernels.
Although Nigeria’s modern rice processing technology has made great progress compared to previous years, it has been found that the main problem with rice processing in Nigeria is the presence of stones in rice. This will undoubtedly affect the consumer’s user experience, according to the report shows that Nigeria’s local rice processors are also trying to solve this problem. They have introduced advanced rice milling technology from a number of countries, to build high-quality rice processing equipment and plant with the aim of continuously improving the quality of local rice processing standards to meet people’s needs.
Factors that triggered the development of rice processing machines in Nigeria
Farmers’ lack of scientific farming knowledge: how to scientifically use herbicides and pesticides, how to scientifically manage soil fertility after harvesting as well as farmers’ lack of knowledge of harvesting ls is some of the constraints faced by rice farmers.
Shortage of advanced farming equipment: Farming is a kind of high-intensity work, such as planting, weeding, harvesting, threshing, and transportation is hard and laborious; the problem is exacerbated by the lack of appropriate rice planting tools, implements, and equipment.
The expensive advanced agricultural equipment is beyond the farmer’s affordability: the available equipment is usually too expensive for the average farmer. Most farmers rely on basic, labor, and time-consuming hand tools such as a hoe, planer, sickle, ax, and rake for a variety of farm operations.
Other factors include lack of industrial drivers due to poor government policies and high production costs. Due to the low quality of local rice, rice traders use this opportunity to expand rice imports. The solution is to provide incentives, mechanisms, and government policies to address these challenges faced by rice processors.
In conclusion, Nigeria has a good climate for rice production and it has a favorable market to absorb production. There is a need to improve the quality of indigenous rice to compete with foreign rice through the selection and adaptation of modern rice equipment to ease labor in production and enhance nutritional qualities in rice processing and production. The government has a role to play in forming strong policies that will favor the production of local rice as it is being practiced in the advanced world.