In a recent report by the AFEX Wet Season Crop Production for 2023, it was disclosed that rice consumption in Nigeria has been steadily rising, creating a supply gap of about two million metric tonnes annually. This surge in demand has resulted in a more than 37% increase in the price of rice in 2023.
The report highlighted that the country has been spending over $15 billion in the past decade to meet the growing demand for rice, despite its potential to be a net rice exporter. The firm emphasized that this increasing consumption aligns with the annual population growth projection of 2.6%, standing at two percent.
Globally, rice prices reached their highest point in nearly 12 years in 2023. Factors contributing to this surge include India’s ban on rice exports, the potential impact of El Nino on production in key regions, rain-induced disruptions, and quality variations during Vietnam’s summer-autumn harvest.
In Nigeria, the price of rice has surged by over 37% year-to-date, primarily driven by reduced production in 2022 due to the effects of flooding during the wet season. The report also attributed the increase in prices to flooding and the ripple effect of international market dynamics.
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Despite these challenges, AFEX expects an increase in rice production by approximately 4%, accompanied by a further rise in the price of paddy rice by around 32%.
The production of milled paddy rice has shown significant growth, increasing by over 35% in the country. In 2022, the estimated output reached 5.4 million metric tonnes, up from 3.9 million metric tonnes in 2015. While rice is cultivated across all of Nigeria’s agro-ecological zones, the Northwest region accounts for 72% of the total rice production in the country.
As Nigeria grapples with a widening supply gap and escalating prices, addressing the challenges in the rice sector becomes crucial for ensuring food security and sustainability in the nation.
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