Nigeria has cut rice importation by 2.77 million metric tons valued at N420 billion ($1.17 billion) since the beginning of the year. It was learnt that the latest record by the country has affected Thailand rice adversely, as unsold stocks are piling up daily. Thailand Rice Exporters Association (TREA) has said that if the situation persists, some exporters would go out of business.

The association’s President, Chookiat Ophaswongse said: “We are already losing our market share in the world to our competitors. If the situation continues like this, you will see a lot of exporters gone out of business.” He explained that Nigeria, Iraq, Indonesia, Ivory Coast and South Africa were Thailand’s top customers.

Meanwhile, it was learnt that local production has reached 56.6 per cent of the total domestic consumption of 4.9 million tons valued at N742.6 billion ($2.06 billion). The figure is, however, less than the 88.4 per cent record being bandied by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh. Records by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) also revealed that importation of the grain has waned from 4.9 million tons valued at N333.4 billion ($926.2 million) to 2.2 million (44.89 per cent) from January, 2017 till date. (

Despite the progress, Nigeria is still the world’s second largest rice import market and the largest grower of rice in West Africa as at 2017. In 2015, rice production in the country stood at 2.2 million tons; 2016, 2.2 million tons and 2017, 2.77million tons A few days ago, the minister told the Nigeria Agricultural Joint Sector Review in Abuja that rice importation had plunged from 500,000 metric tons in 2015 to 58,000 metric tons in 2016. However, statistics by USDA revealed that the country imported 2.1million tons of the grain between 2015 and 2016, contrary to the minister’s 580,000 tons in 2015 and 58,000 in 2016.

Already, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has said that some rice valued at N597.7 billion entered the country through the land borders between January and August, 2016. In 2014, the country took delivery of 3.5 million metric tons, 2015, 2.6 million metric tons and 2016, 2.2 mllion metric tons from Thailand, United States and Vietnam.

Nevertheless, it was learnt that a large percentage of the commodity could not reach the country through the land border because of the NCS’s policy restricting its import through the land border. It would be recalled that in 2016, CBN complained that the amount spent between January 2012 and May, 2015 on rice importation had resulted in huge unsold stock of paddy rice cultivated by Nigerian farmers and low operating capacities of many integrated rice mills in Nigeria. Last week, the Federal Government has said that the country would experience self-sufficiency in rice production by November, 2017 Ogbeh also said that price of the grain would fall before the end of the year to N6,000 per bag.

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