Rice is produced in almost all the states in the country and currently there are 29 out of the 36 states engaged in the cultivation of rice.
Based on the Agricultural Performance Survey in 2017, the estimated cropped area for rice was 3.90 million hectares, which represented an increase of about 6.9 percent over the 3.17million hectares cultivated in 2016. The survey also noted that a total output of 8.02 million MT was produced in 2017 as against the 6.99 million MT recorded in 2016, showing a significant increase in output of about 14.7 per cent. It also noted that all states recorded an increase in the production of the crop, with Lagos State having the highest increase of 30.5 per cent.
Currently, there are 3 types of rice fields in the country. The first type is the field which is grown with continuous flooding until the crop is almost ripe. The water is drained out of the land before the harvest is then gathered.This method is used for 90% of the rice produced in the world. There is also the rice type that is grown without irrigation but in areas with high rainfall. Then there is the third type that is grown in floodplains during floods.This method is only feasible on small plots of land and the quality of the rice produced in this case is lower than the others. This method is used by the population of the river valleys in Asia.
The rice producing states in the Northern part of Nigeria include Borno, Kebbi, Kano and Kaduna.
In the Middle Belt, rice is produced in Taraba and Benue while the rice producing states in the Southern part of the country include Enugu; Cross River and Ebonyi.
Nigeria is one of the largest producers of rice in Africa however the country is also the leading consumer and one of the largest importers of rice in Africa. In 2015, rice production was a little less than 10 million metric tonnes but current production record puts rice production at 15 million metric tonnes as at 2017.
As stated earlier, Nigeria is major rice importer and the country imports about half of its rice needs. It has been estimated that the country can produce up to a capacity of 50 million metric tonnes which is enough to feed the nation and for export. Overall, there are over 170 rice clusters and 2,820 sub-clusters in the country.
Rice production takes place during the rainy (wet) season. The crop is cultivated in wetlands or paddy. However, rice can also be cultivated during the dry season. There are 10 states out of the 18 major rice producing state that produce rice in both seasons (rainy season and dry season).
Below is a complete list of rice producing states in the country. The 10 major rice producing states are:
Others are Nasarawa, Taraba, Kogi, Zamfara, Ogun, Niger, Kwara and Sokoto. We have highlighted some of these rice producing states below
Kebbi State (2, 050, 000 MT)
Based on a report by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFI D) on Growth and Employment in Nigeria in 2016, Kebbi State is said to be the state with the highest rice production with a production of 2.05 million metric tonnes in the wet season and 1.51 million metric tonnes in the dry season. The state has one of the biggest rice clusters settlements at Suru which is the biggest paddy market in the state. It produced 1.5 million bags of rice (115,384mt) in 2017.
Kano State (1, 600, 000 MT)
Kano State produces 1.6 million metric tonnes of rice annually. In 2017, a rice mill was inaugurated in Kano State. the Fullmark Rice Mill is expected to further boost the rice producing capacity of Kano State. Also known as the Amarava Agro Processors, the mill has the capacity to produce an average 288 metric tonnes of rice daily.
In March 2018, the Bank of Agriculture provided a loan facility of 5 billion naira to rice farmers in Kano and it is expected that at least 25,000 farmers will benefit from this loan scheme.
The loan package is made up of fertilizers, water pumping machine, chemicals, sprayer and certified rice seeds.
Benue State (1,500,000 MT)
Benue State is the food basket of the country and the state produces 1, 500, 000 MT annually.
Ebonyi (1, 200, 000 MT)
In Ebonyi, which has more than 72,000 hectares of arable land for rice production has set a target of six tonnes per hectare. The state produces 1.2 million metric tonnes of rice.
Kaduna State (732, 420 MT)
Kaduna is one of the largest producers of rice in the country. The rice growing community in this state has over 300,000 farmers.
As a way of boosting rice production in the state, the State Government is currently building a rice processing plant in collaboration with the Vicampro Farms; a French Company.it is expected that once this factory is completed, 60% of the rice produced in Kaduna State will be exported.
In recent times, the production of rice in Kaduna has been boosted with the help of a Kano-based company, Popular Farms and Mills which partnered with the State Government to distributed certified rice seeds to local farmers.
The Popular Farms and Mills has also collaborated with the Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI) to integrate 20,000 rice farmers into sustainable and competitive business models that will lead to increased paddy production as well as improvements in quality.
Ogun State (636, 670 MT)
With the call for self sustainability, the Ogun State has evolved from not just one of the major rice producers in the country to become a major rice processing states.