In this article, we will discuss about the top 10 rice producing states in Nigeria currently. Rice is arguably the most popular food in Nigeria today as it is almost imoossible to attend a function in the country without being served rice, especially jollof rice at the occassion. To date, rice consumption every Sunday has become a tradition for most families in the country, underlining its value as one of the most important foods within nigeria. Rice is cultivated in almost all states of the federation and presently there a total of 29 states out of the 36 in Nigeria where rice can be cultivated.
Nigeria is one of the largest producers of rice on the African continent, it is also the largest consumer as well as one of the leading importers of rice in Africa and this is quite mind boggling as the country has the capacity to grow an estimated 60 million metric tonnes of rice in several states of the federation every year. This figure is enough to feed the whole country and should all 36 states of the federation grow rice, the country will become a major exporter of the product, yet it still imports.
Some of the highest rice producing states in Nigeria can be found in the north. Be informed that in order to grow rice, this has to be done in the rainy (wet) season as the crop thrives in wetlands or paddy fields. Rice can also be grown during the dry season but that would involve a lot of technological know how for that to happen. Having said that, here is a list of the top 10 rice producing states in Nigeria presently.
LIST OF TOP 10 RICE PRODUCING STATES IN NIGERIA PRESENTLY
Kebbi State is the highest rice producing state in Nigeria with a production of 2.05 million metric tonnes in the wet (rainy) season and 1.51 million metric tonnes in the dry season. Kebbi state is known to have one of the largest rice cluster settlements at Suru which is the biggest paddy market in the state. In March, 2016, Kebbi State signed a memorandum of understanding with Lagos State to produce “LAKE Rice”, “LAKE” being an acronym for Lagos and Kebbi States. While Kebbi was to produce the rice in commercial quantity, Lagos was to market and distribute it. In 2017, Kebbi State produced 1.5 million bags (115,384 metric tonnes) of rice.
Benue State is a major producer of food crops in the country as well as cash crops. The State ranks second on this list of top 10 rice producing states in Nigeria, producing a capacity of 1.5 million metric tonnes of rice per year. Little wonder Benue state is known as the food basket of the nation.
Ebonyi State is the producer of the popular Abakaliki. The state produces 1.5 million metric tonnes of rice every year and with this, it caters for the rice demands of its citizens. Over 80,000 hectares of land has been set aside by the Ebonyi State Government for rice production and farming, with the intent of being the largest producers of rice in Nigeria by the year 2025.
Ekiti State is also a top producer of rice in the country. In Ekiti State, rice farming is produced in large quantities and to further expand their production capacity, the government of Ekiti state signed a memorandum of understanding with the Lagos State Government in 2018 for the production of rice in commercial quantity.
The Memorandum of Understanding ensures that rice cultivation in the state increases significantly, benefitting about 10,000 rice farmers in Ekiti, with Lagos gaining from the marketing side.
Jigawa State is another northern state in the country that produces rice in very large quantities. The state has the capacity to expand its rice production in the years to come, pinpointing a production level of about 2.1 million metric tonnes targeted in the not too distant future.
Kaduna State produces over 2 million metric tonnes of rice every year and with an estimated 350,000 farmers resident in the state, that figure is sure to increase over the next few years. The state also has a rice processing plant which is under construction so as to boost rice production in the state.
This will effectively ensure that 50 per cent of the total quantity of rice cultivated in Kaduna State will be exported to increase the state’s revenue.
Furthermore, the collaboration between Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI) and Popular Farms and Mills in Kaduna state will allow for the distribution of certified rice seeds to local farmers and the training of over 30,000 rice farmers to increased paddy production.
Kano State produces 1.6 million metric tonnes of rice every year and the establishment of the Fullmark Rice Mill in the state has helped to boost rice production capacity to an average of 300 metric tonnes of rice daily.
Ogun State is home to the popular Ofada rice. The government policies on agriculture encourages increase in local production of the rice while frowning at smuggling of foreign rice into the country. Ofada rice in the state is cheaper than most of the imported brands of rice in the country and it is being promoted as one of the choice brands to focus on instead of looking elsewhere for rice.
Niger State, a north-central state in the country is also an important state for rice production. In the 2017 and 2018 farming seasons, Niger State was ranked first for the production of rice in Nigeria according to data from the National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS) of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria.
This was as a result of the state government showing interest and providing all the necessary support to farmers to aid rice production, going all the way to construct six irrigation structures for the dry season cultivation, ensuring that there was a scale up in the all-time rice production in the state. The state government also helped farmers where irrigation systems were not available to dig 300 wells for dry season planting.
CROSS RIVER STATE
The last but not the least on our list of top 10 rice producing states in Nigeria is Cross River State. This south-south state in the country. Some of the local government areas in the state which are predominantly rice producers, such as Ogoja, Yala, Bekwara, Abi, Ikom, Obudu are more than capable of producing rice in commercial quantity for the nation.