Rice production in Nigeria has been going on in some selected states in the country. About 29 states are engaged in the cultivation of rice as part of the plan of the federal government to make the nation an agricultural zone for the production of rice in the world.
Just last year, the land set aside for rice cultivation was 3.90 million hectares, which saw an increase in total output of 7% as compared to the 3.17million hectares for 2016. This report also stated that 8.02 million metric tonnes was produced in the whole country. This data shows that if all 36 states engage in the rice farming, by 2020 Nigeria would be among the leading producers of rice in the world.
Fortunately, Nigeria is blessed with the right soil and weather (rainy season and dry season) that supports the growth of this crop since continuous flooding or areas where high rainfall is experienced in most parts of the nation. In fact, there are three types of rice fields that exists in the country which all aids in its harvest. No wonder, quality rice brands are now sold everywhere in the country.
What is most surprising is the fact that Nigeria is among the largest importers of rice in Africa when she could be the largest exporter of the crop in the world since her rating as one of the largest producers of rice in the African continent, producing a capacity of 60 million metric tonnes that will be enough for feeding the nation and even for export.
For the record, the rice producing states in Northern Nigeria are Kebbi, Borno, Kano and Kaduna states respectively. In the Southern region of the country, Enugu, Ebonyi state and Cross River while rice is produced in Taraba and Benue for the middle belt region.
Here is a full list of rice producing states in Nigeria and their capacity below.
Kebbi is the state with the highest rice production rate. It recorded a harvest of 2 million metric tonnes of rice in the rainy season and about 1.5 million metric tonnes of rice in the dry season.
Kebbi has one of the largest markets where this crop is sold and transported to other states. One of the biggest rice clusters settlements at Suru is said to produce up to a million bags of rice.
Benue is second on the list producing a capacity 1, 500, 000 MT per year. No wonder this state is nicknamed the food basket of the nation.
Ebonyi is the state where the popular Abakaliki rice is produced. The government set aside more than 80,000 hectares of land for rice production and farming in a view to be the main supplier of the crop in the country by 2025.
Ebonyi state produces a capacity of 1.5 million metric tonnes of rice annually.
This is another state where rice farming strives and is produced in large quantities. To meet up with the growing agricultural trend in the farming industry, the Ekiti state government went into agreement with Lagos state government on rice production.
The MOU would see rice cultivation in the state increase as large hectares of rice for over 10, 000 rice farmers in Ekiti benefiting from the partnership.
Jigawa is another state that has taken rice production to another level with a capacity of 2.1 million tonnes targeted in the nearest future.
The state government has an agenda of not only being the top state in Nigeria in rice production but also to be counted among the leading countries such as Thailand, Brazil, America and China from the world ranking on rice production.
Kaduna state has been in the forefront in rice production accounting for over two million tons of rice on a yearly basis. This state has over 350,000 farmers and even has a rice processing plant currently under construction in a bid to boost rice production in the state.
The plan which is already in motion will allow for 50% of rice produced in Kaduna to be exported to raise revenue for the state as soon as the factory is commissioned to operate.
Also, the collaboration between Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI) and Popular Farms and Mills in Kaduna state will allow for the distribution of certified rice seeds to local farmers and the training of over 30,000 rice farmers to increased paddy production.
With a capacity of 1.6 million metric tonnes of rice produced annually, Kano is also one of the top rice producing states in Nigeria. The inauguration of the Fullmark Rice Mill has helped boost the rice producing capacity in the state shelling out an average of 300 metric tonnes of rice on a daily basis.
Ogun State is also one of the major rice producers and processing states in the country. The government policies on agriculture allows for the increase in local production of the crop while discouraging smuggling of rice into the country
The locally produced rice in Ogun state is known as Ofada is now sold for N11,500 per bag. This special rice brand is processed in Abeokuta.
Other states where rice can be found and produced in Nigeria include: Nasarawa state, Taraba state, Kogi state, Zamfara state, Bauchi, Niger state, Kwara state and Sokoto state.