Kebbi State Delivers Rice Affordable To The Public

In a bid to reduce and subsequently stop rice importation, various states have set up different programmes to boost the rice production and the agricultural sector as a whole.

It has been disclosed by Gov. Abubakar Bagudu that Kebbi state will deliver rice for as low as N10,000. To achieve this the state is to work together with farmers and millers under the Federal Government’ Anchor Borrower Programme.

The governor gave the assurances Sunday night in Birnin Kebbi at a dinner hosted in honour of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

The minister is on a two-day working visit to Kebbi with a team of journalists to showcase and assess the government agricultural revolution.

Bagudu who commended the President Muhammadu Buhari led Government policy on rice called for more investments by the public and private sector.

The governor said that the mobilisation of 70,000 farmers and N11 billion spent on the pilot scheme had yielded so much dividends and attracted national and global attention to the state.

He said in addition to the two major rice milling factories – Labana and Walcot – , there were so many small and medium scale millers springing up in the state.

Bagudu disclosed that Labana and Walcot rice milling factoriies had N55 billion demand for paddy.


Obasanjo Fires Shagari Over Rice Production

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday speaking as chief launcher at the global unveiling of Okun Rice at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta, Ogun State blasted Alhaji Shehu Shagari for scuttling the progress made by the country to be self- sufficient in rice production.


He recalled that in 1979 when he handed over power as military Head of State, the country was almost achieving self- sufficiency in the production, adding that inconsistent in policies by his successor who later set up a committee on the importation of rice, stifled the laudable move.


Obasanjo noted that the shift in policy focus served as a disincentive to farmers who were sent packing as the imported bags of rice began to arrive. He commended the promoter of the new product, Biodun Onalaja, for rekindling the hope of the country at achieving self-sufficiency in rice production and ensuring food security for the nation.


Reasons Most Consumers Prefer Foreign Rice

There have been many write ups on why the majority of consumers prefer foreign rice to our locally manufactured rice. I have also walked into arguments on why consumers shun the local rice and reasons why they should embrace it.

One of our problems in this country is that most times we do not admit the truth, not even to ourselves. We know the truth but we shy away from it. We try to politicise and even tribalise it. If we do not admit our errors, it will never be corrected. We must come to terms with our mistakes and short comings before we can seek ways to rectify them.


For months now, I have been struggling to finish a bag of locally grown rice I bought. Despite the fact that rice meals are my favourite, I am struggling to go through the bag of rice because it is fraught with stones and sand. At the beginning, it’s not obvious, but as one gets to the middle of the bag of rice, one starts seeing stones. When cooked, the texture is good, with the colour okay and it does not come out sticky. But there is nothing as bad as unexpectedly biting stone or sand when you are enjoying a great meal. It completely turns one off.


The said rice, ‘Mama’s Pride’ from the stables of Olam Rice, is cultivated in Nassarawa State. From the prints on the rice bag, it was processed by Agro and Technical Processing Company Ltd, a subsidiary of Olam Nigeria Ltd, Olam Rice farm, Rukubi, Doma LGA Nassarawa State.

Ironically displayed on the rice bag also is the picture of an award for global quality excellence given to the company sometime ago. Also displayed on the bag is the logo of quality (NIS) from the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON). Printed neatly below the logo is ‘Nigerian Mark of Quality’ and ‘FT-1663’.


Of course, as can be seen from the rice bag, the company has also been issued with ISO 22000 and FSSC 22000 certificates by SON, mocking everything the government regulatory body for excellence and quality stands for. I am not here to disparage locally grown rice but we need to call a spade a spade in order to move forward. What brought about the popularity of imported long grain rice is because it comes par boiled, completely sorted of debris, stones, sand and chaff. It is a lot easier and more convenient to cook even when cooking for large crowd.


Before the entrance of foreign rice, you had to pick stones etcetera from rice. As kids then, on Saturdays, we were made to pick stones and dirt from rice in preparation for the Sunday lunch. No matter how thorough one is, some stones and grains of sand still go into the supposedly sorted rice unnoticed.


However, there are Nigerian rice brands that are completely de-stoned. Long grain Ebonyi Gold is so good that it can compare favourably with any imported rice. There are many other local brands like that.

The Nigerian rice industry has really come a long way. We have recorded a lot of improvement. The past administration with its Minister of Agriculture, Akinwumi Adesina, updated agriculture in Nigeria more than any other government in our recent history.


More than eight modern rice mills are currently producing rice in Nigeria but we need to identify our areas of challenges and weaknesses and work to improve on them. So many locally produced rice brands still contain stones and sand.


In an interview with a staff of Olam Rice at their Iganmu Lagos office, he said that Olam Rice is usually stone-free as the company uses mechanised farming system.


The staff who pleaded anonymity explained that “I am not exonerating the company, neither am I saying that the consumer is right. We will carry out investigations. If it is an internal problem then the consumer will be compensated.”

Requesting for the batch number, he promised that investigations will be carried out. Explaining further, he said the company carry out random sampling of their products to ascertain the quality, adding that “one of the reasons we have batch numbers is in order to

trace problem when such arises.”

However, when the reporter demanded for the contact of the official spokesperson of the company, he declined, insisting that he was too busy to attend to the media. “In fact, at the moment, (24th August 24, 2017), he is in Abuja with the senators,” he declared. He equally declined to pass the reporter’s contact details to the said official spokesperson for the company.

The Olam staff requested the reporter to forward the batch number found on the rice bag to him. Responding through a text message, he said, “I checked, but this is not matching our batch format. This is not our rice. Since we have multi screening system, stones are not possible in our finished product.”


We need to focus on how to get rid of stones and sand from our rice. The issue of pricing also must be tackled. It must be made pocket friendly if we want consumers to patronise them.

Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, even admitted in May this year that locally produced rice is more expensive than the imported ones.

While responding to questions at a Town Hall meeting in Abuja, Ogbe pointed out that one of the major reasons was that most of the imported rice was subsided by the foreign governments.

He disclosed that most of the imported rice are from Vietnam, India and Thailand.

He further explained that the imported rice arrive at about 9,000 per bag, and are then sold at about N13,000 per bag to consumers unlike the local rice sold at about N16,000 per bag. Though market research reveals that currently 50kg imported rice like ‘Caprice’ sells for about N16,500 while the same size of Abakaliki rice sells for about N18,000.

Ogbeh also decried the interest rates for farming loans.

He said: “Our interest rates in this country are higher than the interest rate in most parts of the world.”

He also revealed another reason for the high cost of local rice as the high cost of diesel to run generators in the farms, noting that “diesel went from N180 per litre to N300.”


As the popular saying goes, ‘Rome was not built in a day’. If rice is not de-stoned, we appeal to producers to just notify consumers by printing it on the bag and if it is free of stones, they should also visibly print it on the bag. Already, some local rice producers do that. The ones free of stones usually are more expensive. Consumers have a right to that information.

Source: The Nation

Rice Millers Explain High Cost of Local Rice

Rice millers in Kano State have attributed the high cost of locally-produced rice to the increasing cost of production of the commodity in the country.

Mr Liman Muhammed, spokesperson, Medium and Small Scale Rice Millers Association in the state, said this during a visit to some rice mills in Kano on Wednesday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the price of 50kg locally-produced rice ranges between N20,000 and N22,000 while that of imported rice is between N12,000 and N15,000.

“For locally-produced rice, the cost of production is high. Our people are used to the imported rice but with government’s intervention, we are seeing good quality rice.

“Most imported rice have spent more than 10 years in the storage and are not good enough but the local rice has more nutritional value.

“The number of people consuming local rice is increasing and if everybody along the rice value chain is empowered, the cost of production will reduce,’’ he said.

He commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, noting that it had empowered rice farmers and millers across the country.

Muhammed called on government at all levels to provide necessary inputs to rice farmers to boost production in the country.


Ogun State Set To Embark On Massive Rice Production

The Ogun State government says it is embarking on the massive production of rice with the aim of selling at an affordable price to its residents by the end of the year. The state’s Commissioner for Agriculture, Mrs Ronke Sokefun, who disclosed this in Abeokuta, the state capital, said acres of land were being prepared for massive planting of the rice by farmers.

She spoke at a press conference organised by the state Council of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (OGUNCCIMA) for the eighth Gateway Trade Fair 2017, scheduled to hold on Wednesday, May 17 and Friday, May 26, 2017, at the M.K.O Abiola Trade Fair Complex, Abeokuta.

The commissioner, represented by Mr Adetunji Kanimodo, disclosed that agriculture was being given top priority to boost industrialisation in the state. President of OGUNCCIMA, Mrs Oluyinka Adebutu, stressed the need for agriculture to be fully explored by the government at all levels to sustain the country “since petroleum is no longer booming.”

Nigeria to be Self-sufficient in Rice Production by 2018

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, says the Federal Government is doing everything possible to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production before the end of 2018.

Ogbeh said this at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja.

He said that there were strong indications that Nigeria would become self-sufficient in rice production by 2018 because many farmers had rediscovered their potential in rice farming.

“First, let me congratulate Nigerians for responding positively to the made-in-Nigeria rice during the last Christmas period.

“Nigerians have discovered that Nigerian rice is better than rice from Thailand and Vietnam, which are the largest producers of rice in the world.

“We are in a rivalry with the two countries for now and we will soon overtake them in rice production and take over the market from them.

“People in Thailand do not eat parboiled rice but white rice. So, all the parboiled rice they produce is exported to Nigeria.

“Nigeria is the biggest consumer of imported rice in the world.

“By so doing, we are transferring our jobs to these two countries and leaving our teeming youths angry and hungry,’’ he said.

Appreciable Improvement

The minister, however, said that rice production in the country had improved appreciably, particularly in states like Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo.

Ogbeh said that in the northeastern part of the country, Kebbi, Kano, Jigawa, Sokoto, Katsina and Zamfara states were taking due advantage of their dams by engaging in rice production as well.

Rice Mills

The minister stated that the Federal Government had just imported 110 rice mills, adding that the mills would soon be distributed to communities across the country.

Ogbeh said that the gesture was aimed at boosting the production and income of rice farmers, adding that some of the rice mills could mill 50 tonnes of rice per day.

“We are distributing the mills to communities, under a programme called `LIFE’, which entails taking industries to villages, because we don’t have the whole population in Abuja, Lagos, Enugu, Port Harcourt or Kano.

“We will satisfy our demand for rice. By so doing, we will be creating 20 million jobs in the villages and saving about five million dollars used for the importation of rice daily.

“Ironically, the recession in the country is not facing people in the villages. If you go to Kebbi now, there are about 400 millionaires made from rice, wheat and soya bean farming,’’ he added.

Besides, Ogbeh said that agricultural extension workers would soon teach the farmers about how to parboil rice, while setting a standard for the usage of good-quality rice seeds.

“The era of soaking rice in a tank and leaving it overnight is long overdue.

“Rice should not be soaked for more than three hours in water with a temperature of about 80 degrees centigrade.

“The rice should also be steamed for about 30 minutes and dried in a proper place to avoid stones,’’ he said.

The minister said that efforts were underway to acquire rice reaper machines, used for cutting and harvesting paddy.

He, however, noted that Nigeria was currently selling rice to Cameroon, Niger, Chad, Mali and Mauritania.

“All the same, we cannot stop them from buying our rice; we will rather expand our production,’’ he added.


Osinbajo Meets Govs, Ministers Over Rice, Wheat Production

The Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday presided over a meeting of the Presidential Task Force on Rice and Wheat as part of the Federal Government’s efforts aimed at enhancing food security.

Those who attended the meeting included four state governors — Abubakar Bagudu (Kebbi); Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano); Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa); and Dave Umahi (Ebonyi).

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun; Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh; and the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, also attended.

Bagudu later told State House correspondents that the meeting reviewed the government’s wheat programme and what could be done to increase production.

He said, “This is the meeting of the Presidential Task Force on Rice and Wheat and we reviewed the wheat programme and what we can do more to support states in order to increase production of wheat.

“We also want to ensure that our farmers who have responded to the call are supported in terms of getting good price for their output in order to sustain their interests.

“We reviewed where we are with rice production. The Acting President noted with satisfaction all the efforts by different stakeholders to attain sufficiency in the shortest possible time.

“The Acting President assured us that the Federal Government would continue to support the drive towards self-sufficiency in food security. He said the government, of necessity, would support the farmers, the millers and other stakeholders involved in the value change.”

When asked to confirm the claim that Nigeria is the second largest producer of rice in the world, the governor said he did not have the data.

He, however, said farmers had responded and about 32 states had shown readiness to increase production.

“I think we have done very well. We have remarkable increase in the number of states that have produced wheat from the last season.

“Last season, we had about five states but today we are hearing reports from about 11 states and the increase in output per state is quite significant as well.

“So, we believe that with sustained trajectory that we are seeing, we will be able to achieve our self-sufficiency,” he added.