According to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nigeria’s rice industry has 2 million metric tonnes of rice smuggled into the country each year. This was disclosed on Wednesday by the Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senator Muhammad Enagi, at a meeting with the multi-stakeholder on the promotion of a rice council advocacy bill.
”In Spite of this, 6.7 million metric tons of rice is consumed in Nigeria annually, resulting in a deficit of about two million metric tons which is either imported or smuggled illegally into the country,” he said.
The Committee also reported that Nigeria’s milled rice output in 2021 is expected to be five million metric tonnes. This makes it all the more mind-boggling why Nigeria’s rice industry remains unstructured. Enagi said, ”The Nigerian rice industry exists in the abstract as there appears to be no form of coordination in the absence of a properly structured rallying point. We have Paddy Rice Dealers Association of Nigeria (PRIDAN), Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIMAN), among others”.
Enagi promises light on the horizon, stating that the bill to establish the National Rice Development Council of Nigeria is intended to chart the course on rice research, comprehensive development of the rice sector, and organisation of rice stakeholders to boost local output.
He also stated that the National Rice Development Council will serve as a unifying force and an effective national operational and governance structure for the entire rice value chain and that its establishment will transform the activities of rice farmers, processors, millers, researchers, marketers, and other relevant stakeholders throughout the rice value chain.
”With our natural competitive advantage in the area of rice production, Nigeria should put in place a National Rice Development Council and a comprehensive national rice development roadmap that will guide us not only into a regime of self-sufficiency in rice production, but also for export”, he said.
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