Trade

Domestic rice production: Nigerian aggregators affect rise

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The rise in domestic rice production has been credited to the influx of Nigerian aggregators who are buying more paddy rice from local farmers in the country, according to the Competitive Africa Rice Platform.

The Competitive Africa Rice Platform’s stance differs from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture’s (MoFA) assertion that Phase one of the Planting for Food and Jobs programme (PFJ1) has yielded an 80 percent increase in domestic rice production.

During an interview on Saturday, Yaw Adu Poku, Chairman of the Competitive Africa Rice Platform, acknowledged the strides made by PFJ1 but emphasized that the significant shift came with the increase in paddy rice purchases by foreign aggregators.

“What has made production of rice more, I will not attribute it to the PFJ 1. For the last two three years, there has been an influx of foreign aggregators especially from Nigeria coming to buy our paddy not our milled rice because of the policy on banning commodities in Nigeria by the previous Buhari government”, he noted.

Adu Poku further explained: “So, rice that were not sold was all bought by the Nigerian aggregators, and they came the following years. So that informed farmers to go into the expansion of their rice farms, and last year, they could not sell rice because the import ban had been lifted in Nigeria. About half of what was produced last year is still in the hands of farmers.”

Launched in 2017, Phase one of the PFJ aimed to modernize agriculture, enhance food security, and improve farmers’ profitability. According to MoFA, the program’s implementation has resulted in a substantial rise in domestic rice production, increasing from 570,000 metric tonnes in 2016 to 1,143,000 metric tonnes in 2021.

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