According to the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), it was revealed that the Government of Nigeria is planning to review the rice import policy in order to increase rice production, to raise incomes of farmers as well as to promote exports in a meeting with the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC).Further, it has been informed that the current policy is unfavorable for the growth of the rice sector. In this regard, the government is planning to ensure self-sufficiency in rice production before restricting imports. It was narrated that the Federal Ministry and the NIPC will work together by promoting strategic investments into the rice sector.
To boost the rice production, it has been emphasized that more investments into the rice sector is required and reiterated that Nigeria has vast arable land and resources to boost productivity and to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production. It was also emphasized that there is a need to link farmers to the market in order to create a strong value chain.
According to the sources, the Nigerian government has targeted to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production and to end imports by 2015. In achieving this goal, the government launched the Agriculture Transformation Agenda (ATA) in 2012 and raised import duties on polished and milled rice to 40% and 110% respectively. But high rice import tariffs have led to informal cross-border imports from neighboring coastal countries. Thus, in order to reduce rice smuggling, the government has lowered import duties on polished and milled rice to 30% and 70% respectively in July 2014.
Further, it has been reported that, Nigeria produced around 2.9 million tons in 2014, which is about 52% higher than around 1.9 million tons produced in 2013. While, the USDA estimates that Nigeria is to produce around 2.55 million tons of rice and to import around 3.5 million tons of rice in MY 2014-15 (October – September) to meet a consumption demand of around 6.1 million ton of rice.