In Nigeria, hardly would you meet someone that holds a grudge against Rice. While it might not be their favourite food, it definitely is one of the most accepted food on the menu list. Rice is a friend of the masses; it is in almost every ceremony and consumed in almost every home at least, once a week. Staggering claims! But this might not be so staggering if one considers that firstly, Nigeria has a very high consumerist culture. Secondly, Rice is the most widely consumed staple food in the country and thirdly, it is 3rd highest global food production, after sugarcane and maize. The 2012 FAOSTAT data attests to the above stated facts.
These claims are further backed up by the statistics that show that, Nigeria is the highest importer of rice globally and the largest producer in West Africa; with a potential of even being the largest exporter in the world. But do you know the 5 largest rice producing states in Nigeria?
An Agricultural Performance Survey (APS) was undertaken in 2017. The research was carried out by the National Agricultural Extension and Research Liason Services (NAERLS), of the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, in conjunction with the Agricultural Development Projects (ADP’s) and the Federal Department of Agricultural Extension. According to the findings of the research, the leading rice producing state in Nigeria is; Niger state, which produced about 550 thousand metric tonnes of rice in 229 thousand hectares. Second is Kogi state, with 513 thousand metric tonnes from 235 thousand hectares and thirdly, Benue state, with 487 thousand metric tonnes from about 278 thousand hectares. Others are Kano state, which produced about 419 thousand metric tonnes, Kebbi state with a production of about 411 thousand metric tonnes, Nassarawa state that produced another 411 thousand metric tonnes, Kwara state with 408 thousand metric tonnes and the Federal Capital Territory with another 408 thousand metric tonnes production. By implication, statistics and figures show that Kano, Kebbi, Nassarawa, Kwara and the FCT occupy the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eight positions, for major rice producing states. Other states that cultivate or produce rice in significant quantities in Nigeria include; Ebonyi state, Ekiti State, Kaduna State, Enugu state, Ogun state, Taraba, Zamfara, Sokoto, Bauchi, Cross-river and Borno states.
Nigeria is rated to have a rice production capacity of 60million metric tonnes; enough to cater for the Nigerian market and the surplus for export. At times, attribution of the major rice producing states is given to Kebbi, Jigawa and Ebonyi. However, this attribution is usually based on potentialities as against actual productivity, current and prevailing statistics. Therefore, based on concrete, recorded and very recent statistics, the first five major rice producing states in Nigeria are Niger, Kogi, Benue, Kano and Kebbi states. It is also important to note that many states, such as Ebonyi and Jigawa are putting structures on ground, such as processing plants and mills, as well as marking out massive acres of lands etc. in order to enable them reach astronomical proportions of productions
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