A rice miller said that Nigeria can be self-sufficient in rice production if there is a stable policy in rice business by the Federal Government. The major problem is the uncertainty in the market because of the activities of the Nigeria Customs who sometimes open up the boarders for rice to flow in to raise revenue for the government. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has also been wonderful in trying to assure that there would no imports, but when you go to the markets you will find many bags of foreign rice. If there is guarantee that the government will not encourage these importes, we can increase our capacity and become self-sufficient in rice production.
However he complimented the Nigerian government for providing standard rice seeds and good farm implements to the farmers to raise the output. But these efforts of the Federal governments are inadequate and much more needs to be done to bring domestic prices less than the imported rice. With poor electricity supply the millers have to depend on Generators to run their mills. The cost of production increases because of high cost of diesel and poor infrastructure. The transportation, of machinery spare parts and running the mill on generators further firms up the costs of production of rice. If all these issues are addressed then millers can sell the local rice at less than 32 USD 50 kgs, which right now is over 50 USD.
With government’s support the farmers can produce more paddies and sell at a lower price
to the miller, who can then, undertake expansion plans and enhance their capacities for rice production to meet the local demand. Nigeria can limit its imports of rice gradually and become self-sufficient once there is a level playing field provided by the government to its farmers, traders and millers.