Rice exports might bring in $15 billion a year for Nigeria, according to investors

If we produce 30 million metric tons of rice, even at $500 per ton that is about $15 billion
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Governor Atiku Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State

Stakeholders have stated that if the government is sincere and collaboration exists, Nigeria may easily produce well over $15 billion yearly from rice export.

In separate interviews with the Daily Independent, agriculture stakeholders stressed that the proper policies must be put in place, that farmers must be taught and retrained on proper agricultural techniques, and that improved seedlings must be made available.

Rice, a basic basic food, may be farmed in all 36 of the United States' states.

Kebbi State Governor Atiku Abubakar Bagudu recently stated that the country can produce over $15 billion in yearly rice export revenue if the states complement each other in rice planting and processing while also mobilizing farmers to increase production dramatically.

Rice cultivation, he added, represents a significant economic potential for the country in terms of its capacity to create jobs and boost foreign exchange earnings.

In response, Prince Wale Oyekoya, an agriculturalist/consultant, stated that with the appropriate strategy in place, it is feasible to create even more than that.

He said that Nigeria is blessed with fertile and arable land, and that planting healthy seed in the soil will increase productivity.

He believes that the best way for the country to do this is through mechanized farming, more processing equipment, greater infrastructure, a more conducive atmosphere, and better financial arrangements with real farmers rather than political farmers.

“Most of our arable lands are underutilised and kept by the state governors. Nigeria has no business importing rice with all the land and hu­man capacity.

“We are one of the largest populations consuming rice in the world and someone needed to wake up our lead­ers from slumber and save the country from starvation and abject poverty.

“By so doing, our youths will be gainfully employed and our Gross Domestic Prod­uct (GDP) will be increased,” he added.

According to Emmanuel Ijewere, Vice President of the Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NAGB), it is merely a dream that may be realized.

According to Ijewere, the nation must enhance its production, enhance farmer training for best practices, and enhance the availability of regulated water so that fields are not flooded.

He also mentioned the necessity to invest in processing and logistics, emphasizing that it is a goal that can be realized.

“The fact that it is achiev­able does not mean that it will come automatically, we have to work for it and take all those things into consid­eration and you will be sur­prised how easily we can get there but those are issues that need to be addressed,” he said.

Biodun Onalaja, a rice farmer and processor, agreed with Ijewere and Oyekoya, saying that if the government is willing to help farmers and millers, it is doable.

Rice Farmers Associa­tion of Nigeria (RIFAN), Oyo State Chapter Chairperson Akinlade Samuel claimed that the Kebbi State governor understands what he is talking about since he is a rice farmer to the core.

“He is saying the truth, for instance, we have many states that have the farmers but they don’t have the land to cultivate; if the farmers can collaborate with each other it is possible.

“Now, I am in Oyo State. I can have a farmland in Osun State and I will be in Oyo State and be planting in Iwo that is one of the ways farmers can collaborate.

“Lagos State with its mill­ing machine if they can col­laborate with other states we will agree that we will be send­ing our rice to Lagos State, that is if the state governor can see it that way.

“So where there is no land we can get land from other states, where there is no mill­ing centre we can get it in oth­er states; by that everybody will be encouraged to plant more because the milling centre is sure and the person to buy the rice paddy is sure, we will produce more and by that we will not know when we will be producing excess for export,” he said.

Akinlade also argued that being mechanized is necessary, and that farmers may establish clusters to cultivate a large area.

He also urged state governments to assist farmers with irrigation and for the federal government to take an interest in agriculture.

Bagudu had previously stated that Bangladesh, which covers roughly one-fifth of Nigeria's area, produces around 38 million metric tons of rice. As a result, nothing in Nigeria stands in our way of accomplishing that goal.

“If we produce 30 million metric tons of rice, even at $500 per ton that is about $15 billion. States should comple­ment each other and that is what we have been doing in Kebbi. We share knowledge.

“Kebbi is becoming the hub of rice production in Ni­geria; we are not competing with other states. If you recall, I have always said, one of Ni­geria’s blessings is that rice grows in 36 states and the Fed­eral Capital Territory (FCT). There is no state that cannot grow rice. Even Lagos, which has relatively small landmass, still has some rice production going on in there.

“When we complement each other, everyone bene­fits,” Bagudu said.