- Nigeria Topples Egypt as Largest Rice Producer in Africa
Efforts by the current administration to reduce importation and enhance economic growth through local production of rice, sugar and others, may have started yielding results.
The Director-General, Africa Rice Center, Benin Republic, Dr Harold Roy-Macauley said Nigeria is now the largest producer of rice at 4 million tonnes a year.
According to him, Egypt was producing 4.3 tonnes per year before production dropped by 40 per cent this year, partly attributed to water scarcity and the need for the Egyptian government to limit cultivation to preserve water resources.
Rice cultivation in Egypt requires around 1.8 billion metres of water in evaporation, transpiration and irrigation every year.
He said while efforts were been made to increase overall rice production on the continent from an average of 14.6 million tonnes a year, he doubts it will stop the importation of rice as the population has increased more than production capacity across the continent.
He said consumers are seeking certified and safe rice, hence the reason for imported rice of better quality even if it cost more.
Roy- Macauley, however, said his centre is ready to partner with the Nigerian government and others in Africa to train farmers, exporters and extension officers on best cultivation practice, post-harvest care and how to understand market requirements.
He added that achieving rice self-sufficiency status is not just about on-farm assistance but it also involves introducing rice varieties that fit the diverse African agro-ecologies, improve irrigation facilities and disseminate rice growing techniques to farmers.