Rice is the world`s second most popular crop after maize. Rice farming in Nigeria provides a lot of promises for a future businessman.
The position acquired by rice is attended by large demand on the Nigerian market. The agriculture sector is the third best valuable business in the world. Technology and Oil & Gas Industry can`t feed the population, while crops can do that. Therefore, rice production in Nigeria, which is one of the most popular products in country – is promised to be successful.
After Oil and Gas industry – Agriculture in Nigeria is the second most profitable branch of business. Rice is one of the most popular products in Nigeria! It`s inseparable part of the diet for almost every Nigeria. Nigerian citizens consume around six million tons of rice every year. Around 70% of this rice quantity is locally produced.
Local production is unable to satisfy a high demand for rice, so the Nigerian Government is forced to import around 1.8 million tons of rice every year and spends around 365 billion Naira. It means that the business opportunities for rice production in Nigeria are endless. Local production can`t satisfy even local demands of the market. So, even if you concentrate your attention only on the local market you still will be in a win-win situation.
How to start Rice Farming in Nigeria – 10 tips
1. Business Plan
No business can be started without a proper business plan. This plan will also be your guidance for your own rice farming in Nigeria. You should think carefully about many things before you take some action. Any professional business plan should include:
- Capital investments – how much money you need and where you get this money!
- Client base – where you can find clients for your business!
- Site and location of your farm.
- Type of rice you want to cultivate.
- Equipment for rice farming.
- Goals for the first years
2. Capital in rice farming
Rice farming in Nigeria is a capital intensive business. Try to think about partners in your business. Even if you don`t want to share your profit with others – think about sharing the challenges of the market. In the Agricultural business, you can`t expect high profits without major investments.
You can also look for an angel investor who also works in the business. If you manage to create a successful business plan, where you have included all variables of the market, then you may ask for a loan in a bank.
3. Chose a right land
Rice is one of the cultures that prefers a swampy land with high water holding capacity. Choice of land really matters in the rice production in Nigeria. Rice farmers in Nigeria prefer to select ecological zones, traditional rice cultivating states, lands with high water capacity or swampy lands.
Moreover, a good rice farmer also analyzes soil before starting the planting process. It means that you may need to survey thoroughly for a land you want to take. Remember, that the first harvest will show your business direction.
4. Land preparation
Rice cultivation in Nigeria demands land preparation. The climate conditions give you a possibility to prepare your land for rice production from November to February. It`s dry season in Nigeria, so you should prepare your land before raining season comes.
Remove bushes and other weeds that can`t help your rice to grow. You can also apply fertilizer for better rice production. Fertilizers should be only organic and applied in right quantities. You may also consult an agriculture specialist for the matter of fertilizers.
5. Chose right rice for your State
Nigeria is one of the biggest rice exporter countries in the world. Still, in the same time, it`s a country with the highest demand of rice in Africa. Every State in the country has chosen an optimal variety of rice according to the soil and weather conditions. Take a close look at top 8 states with rice farming preferences and their choice of rice!
- Ekiti State – Igbemo Rice
- Nasarawa State – Olam Rice
- Ebonyi State – Ebonyi Rice
- Niger State – Mama Happy Rice
- Kano State – UMZA Rice
- Ogun State – Ofada Rice
- Anambra State – Anambra Rice
- Kebbi State – Labana Rice
6. Choose proper rice seeds
The healthier rice seeds you get, the better yield you achieve from its further selling. You should choose an improved variety of rice according to your cultivation environment. If you are about to start your rice farming business in Nigeria, then you need your money not spent in vain. The first harvest can show your future potential in the business. Try to buy seeds from a company licensed by The National Agricultural Seeds Council.
If you chose high-quality seeds you might get other bonuses, like:
- Decrease weed problems.
- Improve yield by 10-20%.
- Increase rice resistance to pest attacks and diseases.
- Improve germination by more than 50%.
- Produce consistent rice seeds size.
7. Methods of planting
You may choose from two variants of rice planting. You can either practice direct seeding or use the nursery then transplant it to the farm.
- If you have chosen direct seeding, then you can perform this process by dibbing or broadcasting. Start the farming process by dividing your land by the field spots of 50-100 square meter each and construct small bunds. The seeding rate for dibbling is 60 kg/ha, for broadcasting is 80 kg/ha. The major problem for this method is weeds. Use herbicides to illuminate them.
- Nursery Rising requires you to put seeds placed in gunny bags into the water for 24 hours. After soaking – put the gunny bags into shades. Sprinkle water over seeds and turn bags from side to side at least three times a day. After 36-48 hours, the seeds sprout. The seeds are ready for nursery field. Construct drainage canals for proper water removal. Also, apply fertilizers if necessary. After 21 days in the nursing, you can place the seeds into the field.
8. Weed and Pest control
Weed control is essential for rice cultivation in Nigeria. You should apply the first weeding within 2-3 weeks after appearance, use a cutlass for that. The second weeding is needed to be done within 6-7 weeks after the appearance.
The most problems for rice cultivating come from armyworms, termites, rodent and birds.
- Birds can be easily removed manually if you hire people to scare them 6 am to 7 pm. You can also try to place a scarecrow in the field.
- For rodent control, you can place snap traps in the field.
- Termites can be killed by spraying Nogos 50 combining with water at the rate of 30 ml per one gallon.
- Armyworms can be killed with Carbaryl or Gammalin 20 mixed with water at the rate of 1.7 kg in 230 liters per one hectare.
9. Harvest and after harvest process
Remember that the best time for rice planting is in mid-March to mid-April. The rice plants are ready for harvesting after three-four months of planting. Your rice is ready for harvesting when the plant changes its color from green to brown. After the harvest, the rice should go through certain processes before ready for final consumption.
- Sun Dry the Rice – you need to dry the rice seeds, so you could easily separate the hull from the grain. Try to place rice open to the sun and keep it sundry for three-four days until dry up the moisture.
- Hulling – it`s a process of separating the hull from grains. You need a blowing or hulling machine to make the process easier.
- Parboiling. This process is required before packaging the rice so that it would be ready for distribution.
- Packaging. You can package the rice into your exquisite branded sacks, or you can also ask your contractor to brand the rice. The branded sacks should contain the name, location, your farm address and mobile number, so your customers could contact you.
10. Selling the rice
Even before you start rice farming in Nigeria – you need to think about buyers. Before you even start, you may need a list of few buyers who would like your rice ready.
You can also contact them when your rice is ready for distribution. Do not hesitate to contract local restaurants and fast-food chains about your rice supply.
Benefits and challenges of rice farming business in Nigeria
- The high demand for the rice. Every household in Nigeria consumes rice and the demand for this product will only grow up high!
- Yields early. Many crops need from six months to one year to be ready for harvest. At the same time, rice needs only four-five months to be ready.
- High yield. You can expect at least 100 bags of rice from an acre of land.
- You do not need to be an expert in the rice farming in Nigeria to start this business.
- High return on investments and market stability.
- Getting the right variety. If you are a new in the rice farming business in Nigeria, then you need to get your attention on the right variety of rice, or you can lose your venture.
- Disease. Rice farming in Nigeria can include potential diseases for your rice. Consult experts to illuminate the basis for the diseases.
- Birds. The greatest threat to every crops business in Nigeria!
- Importation of rice. Foreign rice is cheaper than local, so you might need to work harder so people would buy your rice.
If you had enough resources, would you start rice farming in Nigeria?