Contrary to made believe in Nigeria, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has projected that Nigeria will be the world second largest rice buyer in 2019.
China also is predicted to be the world’s largest buyer.
“On an annual basis, consumption and residual use is projected higher in 2018/19 in Angola, Benin, Burkina-Faso, Cambodia, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam,” the department said in its latest Rice Outlook released on Tuesday.
“China and Nigeria are projected to remain the largest rice importing countries in 2019, followed by the EU, Cote d’Ivoire, and Iran.
“Nigeria and Egypt are projected to account for the bulk of the 2019 import increase. Imports in 2019 are also projected to be larger than a year earlier for Benin, Burkina, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, EU, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Malaysia, Mali, Senegal, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.
“Global rice consumption (including a residual component) in 2018/19 is projected at a record 488.4 million tons, down 0.1 million tons from the previous forecast but up more than 1 percent from a year earlier.”
Media report also had it that Rice farmers in Nigeria have experince a drop in output since last year due to a combination of higher input costs, insecurity and widespread flooding in the main growing regions. At the same time, people are giving up traditional coarse grains in favor of rice in the country of almost 200 million people.
“The rain has not been favorable to rice farmers this year,” Mohammed Sahabi, chairman of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria in Kebbi, one of the main rice-growing states, said by phone. “We lost more than 20,000 hectares of unharvested rice this year in Kebbi alone.”
Current global production exceeds consumption by 2.3 million tons, according to USDA, with 2018-19 “global ending stocks” projected to reach 163 million tons, 17.8 million tons more than previously forecast.
Recall tha Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, had earlier warned that the country may experience rice shortage if appropriate measures are not taken to replant after the recent flood.
States like Jigawa, Kebbi, Anambra and Kogi had experienced floods that resulted in farming losses.