Nigeria makes progress in battle against hunger, overtakes Egypt as largest rice producer in Africa’
London, March 5, 2019 (AltAfrica)-Nigeria’s battle against hunger is steadily progressing after it was revealed that the country has overtaken Egypt as the largest rice producer in Africa. Thar’s according to the Director-General,Africa Rice centre, Benin Republic, Dr Harold Roy-Macauley
Roy-Macauley, told a Nigerian leading tabloid, The Nation that Nigeria with 4 million tonnes a year production capacity, is now the largest rice producer in Africa
Egypt was producing 4.3 tonnes annually but production has reduction by almost 40 percent this year, attributed to the Egyptian government decision to limit cultivated to preserve water resources.
Egypt rice cultivation requires about 1.8 billion metres of water in evaporation, transpiration and irrigation each year.
Africa produces an average of 14.6 million tonnes of rough rice annually.
He said there were efforts to increase overall rice production in Africa but expressed doubts if such could make any impact in curbing rice importation because of population explosion
To meet expectations, he said his centre is ready to partner with Nigeria and other governments in Africa to train farmers, extension officers and exporters on best practice’s in cultivation and post- harvest care and to understand market requirements.
Roy- Macauley stressed the African rice value chain needs to be better integrated and be capable of competing with imported rice in terms of quality.
He added that the goal to achieving rice self- sufficiency is not just about on farm assistance but also involves introducing rice varieties that fit the diverse African agro-ecologies, improve irrigation facilities and disseminate rice growing techniques to farmers.