To make the rice industry in Nigeria lively again, the  Nigeria’s Federal Government introduced a programme to make the country self -sufficient in rice production in a manner expected to grow the agricultural sector and creates jobs. Although fraught with criticisms, especially from the international community, the government has remained committed to its rice policy. With investments in the rice production value-chain increasing, the prospect of achieving the rice self-sufficiency target remains feasible, in the years to come. Olam International Limited, earlier in the week led the rice revolution with the inauguration of its rice mill in Nassarawa state

The need to move from being the world’s second-largest importer of rice, to a self-sufficient nation by 2015 is most likely to affect India, Thailand and Brazil, as well as neighbouring countries from which the Nigeria import rice for its need.

The informal trade between Nigeria and Benin is substaintial.Benin serves as a delivery corridor for West Africa, reaching more than 100 million people in the landlocked countries of Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad and the Northern states of Nigeria-a statement by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) .The substaintial trade between Nigeria and Benin is also favourable due to efficient port services and liberal trade policies.

In the rice sector, according to the USDA review, traders from Benin can sell a 50-kg bag of rice in Nigeria at prices 75 per cent higher than they can obtain on the Benin side of the border.

According to USDA, in order to avoid the high Nigerian fee, Nigerian traders have been directing their rice consignments to ports in neighbouring countries where they are cleared and moved into the Nigerian market through informal trading activities.thios may be the reason why the Banin and Nigeria have stronger trade as the Benin support informal trade with no restriction.

Already the Nigeria Customs Service has “identified the low tariff on rice in neighbouring countries as one of the major factors contributing to smuggling of rice into the country”.

To promote the rice trade local cpmpanies are also applying their efforts.Olam International Limited, an integrated agricultural company operating in Doma local council area of Nasarawa State, raised its stake on investment in rice cultivation to make the country self sufficient in rice-a staple food of many countries.   link will provide you the knowledge about the Olam.

Olam on Monday inaugurated its state-of-the-art rice mill at its large-scale pioneering rice farm in Nigeria’s Nasarawa State.

The integrated rice milling facility is situated at the heart of Olam’s 6,000-hectare green field irrigated and mechanized paddy farm, and is expected to provide 36, 000 metric tonnes (MT) of milled rice yearly to the domestic market, contributing to the Federal Government’s goal to improve rice self-sufficiency.

With 3,000 hectares already under cultivation and a further 3, 000 hectares on target for 2015, the farm are expected to yield 10 MT per hectare (over two annual crop cycles) based on for varieties of high-yield rice tested in association with the West African Rice Development Association.

Together the farm and the mill are boosting smallholder rice production in the region through a ‘nucleus and outgrower farming model’.

To achieve its target, surrounding rice-growing communities were supported by Olam with training, pre-finance, agri-inputs and marketing linkages in order to improve their own paddy yields and realizations, which are then purchased by Olam at fair market price.

Currently 3,000 farmers are engaged in the programme, with a target of 16, 000 by 2018.

Ultimately, 20,000 smallholder farmers will supply 30-40 per cent of mill’s capacity. The commercial farm also employs about 1,000 workers depending on seasonality, providing another source of training in Good Agricultural Practices (GAP). The Rockefeller Foundation highlighted the model as a catalytic innovation in Africa agriculture in 2013.

Olam’s Managing Director for Africa and Middle East, Venkataramani Srivathsan said: “This mill, commissioned today by the President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, characterizes three important aspects:

  • demonstrates how large-scale commercial farms can work hand in hand with smallholders to help advance Nigeria’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda,
  • generating rural prosperity through local processing; it underlines the country’s ability to grow high quality,
  • nutritious rice that can enhance domestic food security by providing an alternative to imports;

Today, Olam Nigeria employs over 2,500 direct employees, over 6,000 indirect workers and sources from over 500,000 Nigerian cocoa, cashew, sesame and cotton farmers, while its businesses range from wheat milling to manufacturing and distribution of tomatoes paste and dairy drinks among others.

To drive the rice initiative, natives have emphasized the need for government to incentivise activities of firms contributing to the growth of the society.