By Olumayowa Okediran | Jan 31, 2017
The Federal Government of Nigeria’s plan to ban rice importation in the country by 2017 is ill-advised and would eventually backfire on its increasingly dire economy. Nigeria is the second largest importer of rice in the world expending 356 billion naira annually. The country is also the largest consumer of rice and the largest producer of rice in Africa. However, at a growing consumption rate that has hit 7 million metric tonnes, Nigeria is unable to meet up with local demand rate. The country’s farmers are only able to produce 2.7 million metric tonnes. While the Federal government’s intent to ban rice importation to protect local farmers might appear a good initiative, it will eventually hurt the country more.
A ban on rice importation when the country is yet to even reach 50 percent self-sufficiency would create lots of problems. Only 8 states (Benue, Kaduna, Kano, Niger, Kaduna, Ebonyi, Nasarawa and Anambra) out of 36 states currently cultivate rice at a commercial level. Nigeria mostly imports rice from Thailand, India and Brazil. The country had placed a ban of rice importation through land borders in 2015 as a step towards the complete ban on the importation of the commodity in 2017. This, in collaboration with the worsening exchanged rate, led to prices of the commodity to skyrocket. Several Nigerians decried the partial ban and called for it to be lifted.