How To Start A Lucrative Rice Farming Business In Nigeria Or Africa: The Complete Guide
Rice is the world’s second most important cereal crop after maize, based on the volume of production. According to data gathered by statista, about 480.3 million tonnes of rice is produced yearly, with China leading the pack with a yearly production rate of 206.51 million tonnes of rice produced in the country.
A report from fao.org shows that Nigeria is not just the largest consumer of rice on the African continent, but is also one of the largest rice producers on the continent, and still, is one of the largest importers of rice in the world. Data from statista shows that Nigeria imports about 1.9 million tonnes of rice yearly, making it the third largest importer of rice worldwide.
This import statistics sends a crucial message to the agricultural industry in Nigeria, that there’s still so much more to go around for new and existing rice farmers in the country.
The FAO’s report shows that rice generates more income for Nigerian farmers than any other cash crop in the country, with small scale farmers accounting for the largest volume by selling 80% of their crops and consuming 20% of what’s left.
These statistics show the amazing potential rice farming in Nigeria or Africa possesses, and so, makes it one of the most lucrative agribusinesses for new and existing agropreneurs to venture into.
What Is Rice Farming About?
Rice farming is the cultivation of the rice plant for human consumption. It is grown from the seed of the grass species Oryza sativa (Asian rice) or Oryza glaberrima (African rice), and is the most widely consumed staple food in the entire world.
While rice farming is mostly only possible in certain countries or regions, rice can practically be grown anywhere if a highly efficient water-control mechanism is in place.
Facts And Benefits Of Rice Farming
- Rice is the world’s most popular source of food.
- Rice is a complex carbohydrate that does not have sodium or cholesterol and barely any fat.
- Rice is the second highest worldwide produced cereal crop after maize (corn).
- Rice is a symbol of life and fertility, which is why rice was traditionally thrown at weddings in several parts of the world.
- There are more than 40,000 varieties of rice that grow across every continent except on Antarctica.
- Asia alone produces and consumes almost 90% of the world’s rice.
- Rice is rich in carbohydrates, which are needed for the brain to function properly, and for all kinds of physical activity.
- Rice is the oldest known food that is still widely consumed today, dating as far back as 5,000 BC.
- Rice is used in the production of liquor.
- Rice farming is a great source of employment.
- An average of 7 to 8 tonnes of rice can be yielded per hectare. But in some cases, you can yield up to 12 tonnes per hectare, and in some exceptionally rare cases, you can yield up to 22.4 tonnes per hectare.
Business Opportunities In Rice Farming Around The World
1). Source Of Food:
Rice is undoubtedly the most consumed staple meal in the world. It is also the oldest known food that is consumed worldwide. This extraordinary demand for the cash crop makes it highly lucrative for any farmer in Nigeria, Africa, or around the world to venture into, especially as it is also one of the most lucrative farming businesses in Nigeria.
2). Production Of Beer/Liquor:
Liquor, an alcoholic drink, especially distilled spirit, can be made from rice. The liquor that’s processed from rice is widely called Rice Wine, and it can be made at home or in a processing facility from the fermentation of rice starch that has been converted to sugar. It is widely consumed in Asia, and has an average alcohol content of 18% to 25%.
3). Production Of Rice Flour:
Rice flour is made from grounding raw rice. It can be purchased in flour form or ground using a blender, grain mills or some traditional pounding techniques. It is usually used as a glutten-free alternative to wheat. Some products that are made from rice flour are rice flour cake, rice noodles, and edible rice paper.
Setting Up Your Rice Farming Business
1). Get Healthy Rice Seeds For Your Rice Farm:
The first step is to choose rice seeds that have potentials for yielding high harvests. Genetically modified seeds are known to perform better than their regular counterparts, as they tend to produce more rice yields per hectare.
By choosing the right rice seed, you will not just improve your rice yields, but will also grow crops that are more resistant to diseases, that grow in large sizes, and that reduces the impact of weed on their germination.
In Nigeria, you can visit the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) for advice on where to get the best type of rice seeds.
2). Grow Rice Seedlings In A Nursery:
First plant the seeds in a seed bed inside a nursery. Then heat up the soil by covering it with a black polythene nylon to prevent the seedling from contracting soil borne diseases. By using this method, your rice crop will mature faster for harvest and have an improved yield of up to 30%, than rice that’s not transplanted from a nursery.
3). Select A Swampy Farmland:
Next, transplant your seedlings to a swampy farmland. Although rice can be planted in non-swampy areas, planting only in swampy land will save you the cost and stress of irrigation.
The best way to choose your farmland is to plant in a region that’s known to enhance rice yield, and choose fertile land that retains water.
4). Control Weed And Improve The Soil Nutrients:
After transplanting your seedlings, you have to constantly remove weed and apply herbicides that would restrict or control further weed growth on your farmlands. You can also apply fertilizer on your farmland to boost your crop yield. The fertilizer used should be organic and be only applied in the right quantities, and shouldn’t be done until you have consulted with an agricultural specialist.
5). Harvest Your Crops:
In about 4 months after transplanting your rice seedlings, the leaves colours will change from green to yellow-golden in colour, which indicates it is ripe for harvest.
Challenges Of Rice Farming
Some of the challenges of rice farming in Nigeria and many parts of Africa include:
1). Lack of experience
2). Growing rice is largely region specific
3). Financial Constraints:
- High interest rates.
- Inaccessible credit due to tough conditions.
- Expensive for manually irrigated and controlled environment.
4). Storage Constraints:
- Poor storage methods.
- Lack of post-harvesting preservation skills.
5). Farm Inputs Constraints:
- High prices of farm inputs.
- Choice of variety to use.
6). Infrastructural Constraints:
- Inaccessible roads.
- Poor market facilities.
7). Marketing Constraints:
- Price fluctuation.
- Presence of middlemen.
Like several other agribusinesses that have great potentials for both scale and profitability, starting a rice farming business in Nigeria or across Africa is a great agribusiness to start up if executed at the right scale.
Fao.org has also shown that rice farming in Nigeria is one of the most profitable agribusiness to venture into, and as such, investing in this agribusiness is a smart decision to make, especially with its local demand and very high export potentials.
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What are your thoughts on how to start rice farming in Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Africa as a whole, or anywhere else across the world? Let me know by leaving a comment below.