On Tuesday August 15, the Director of Agriculture at the Kano office of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Muhammad Adamu, while inaugurating the Rice Millers Association of Nigeria (RIMAN) said local rice production in Nigeria has now reached 15 million metric tonnes annually.

He said the development means that the country will now be saving about N300 billion which it hitherto spent annually on importation of the commodity.

Alhaji Adamu stated that in Kano alone, 1.2 million metric tonnes of rice was produced in 2016.

With the significant increase in local production he said efforts are being made to make the local variety qualitative and more attractive to Nigerians. He said the country expects to begin exporting rice to West African countries by 2018/2019.

Adamu said about 34 states in Nigeria are producing rice, with many now producing three times a year.

However, farmers do not think the country has reached 15 million metric tonnes production level as stated by the director, which is about twice the domestic consumption demand of 7.5 metric tonnes.

Alhaji Aminu Goronyo, National President of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) in an interview with Daily Trust recently said from the record they have of 2016, the production level increased from 3.5 million metric tonnes of 2015 to 6.5 million metric tonnes in 2016.

He noted that the domestic consumption rate is between 6.5 million and 7.5 million metric tonnes maximum per annum. He said 2016 was the year rice farmers witnessed massive production of the staple commodity and that from 2015, the production continued to increase in every production circle.

Alhaji Goronyo said the statistics also covered both the registered and unregistered rice farmers in the country.

The leader of rice farmers said their statistics was verifiable, explaining that the production per year was arrived at “through the quantum of paddy sold because RIFAN is structured across the four levels of the rice value chain – production, processing, packaging and marketing.

“So we have the data for the rice paddy sold. That is where we know the exact quantum of rice produced,” he said.

On its part, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through its Director of Communications, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor, said its Anchor Borrowers Programme, which was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday November 17,  2015 in Kebbi State has produced 2.1 million metric tonnes of rice.