Olam Rice Farm, a member of the Olam group – a worldwide agribusiness enterprise producing rice locally in Nigeria said it might take the country five years to produce the 6 million metric tonnes of rice to meet local demand.
The farm’s General Manager, Project Coordination, Mahesh Nimje said the country will have to step up investment in the sector if the 2.5 million tonnes gap will have to be closed soon.
Olam, which has increased the hectarage under cultivation from 3,800 hectares in 2015 to 4,500 hectares in 2016 currently producing 40,000 metric tonnes of paddy in two cycles, said 2017 is too close to bridge the demand gap.
“Until there are more efforts and complimentary programmes like the current CBN Anchor Borrowers’ programme to increase local production, it will be difficult to close the gap. Also, there must be plans to bring younger generations to the farms if production has to be sustained,” he said.
“For me, I don’t think we can close the gap in 2017- it’s too close,” Mr. Nimje stated.
Daily Trust asked the General Manager if he thinks the price of rice will fall in the market. His response: “I don’t think the price of rice will drop anytime soon because the cost of production is higher today.
“The cost of seeds, fertiliser, and herbicides are going up. The cost of running the mill on diesel coupled with currency issues will make the cost of rice to remain high in the market, unless these issues are addressed,” he said.