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Rice Farming in Nigeria: A Step-by-Step Guide

By Business Advisory Team
Updated November 28, 2022

Annually, an average of 5. 5 million metric tonnes of rice is consumed in Nigeria. Between 2021 and 2022 this increased to almost 7 million metric tonnes, and it's expected to keep increasing.

The Big Opportunity for you

According to reports from USDA and the Thai Rice Exporters Association (TREA), Nigeria has produced between 4.4 million metric tonnes to 5 million metric tonnes of rice between 2018 and 2022. This leaves a deficit of  2 million metric tonnes of rice.. According to projections by MSMEs today, the rice consumption deficit will increase by 4% by 2029.

Here is an open window for you to make good money in Nigeria. There are 9 states in Nigeria where your rice farm can thrive. You can make money from just farming or doing it with milling and packaging/distribution. In whatever capacity, rice is a cash crop that will bring you profit.

With the ban of rice importation by the federal government of Nigeria through the land borders, very few importers are licensed to import through the sea borders.

This creates good business opportunities for you,  a local rice producer.

Let's see the steps you need to take to make good cash from the Rice farming business in Nigeria.

Step 1: Research and train yourself 

To start, here are the key items you need to know:

Seed: 

In Nigeria, rice seeds are categorized according to where they are planted, i.e., lowland and upland. The  seeds planted on the lowland are Faro 44, Faro 52, and Faro 57. For upland the seed varieties are, Nerica 1, Nerica 2, Nerica 4, Nerica 7, Nerica 8.

You can get these seeds from research institutes such as IITA, seed companies, designated government ministries and accredited Agro dealers.

Soil/land type: 

Rice planting requires specific types of soil, which are  clay, clay-loam or loamy soil. This is because rice loves lots of water, so water holding soil is ideal. 

Weed control: 

Weed controls are applied before and after planting. Research the best herbicides to use for both stages. For instance, most farmers use glyphosate herbicide at the pre-plant stage and quintrione after planting and transplanting.

Fertilizer:

You need to learn different fertilizers for rice at different stages. This means that rice needs different nutrients for different stages, hence you need a pedologist. They will advise you on what you need at what stage and what quantity to apply.

Pest control: 

There are different ways to control pests. Some of them are integrated pest management (IPM), crop rotation, etc. This is an important aspect of your research that you need to understand so your investment doesn't go to waste.

Milling/Processing

To make more money from rice farming, you will need to get involved in rice milling and processing. This involves pre-cleaning, de-husking, de-stoning, polishing, whitening, sifting, grading and packaging your harvested rice.Yes, you will have employed professionals to handle this, but when handling people, you need to know a little of everything, hence a little training in rice milling or processing.

Machineries/tools:

 As much as rice farming/production is labour intensive, there are tools you also cannot do without. So, you need to research them and know what to use them for and how to use them. Some of these tools and machineries for planting and processing are:

  • Disc plough
  • Mould board plough
  • Disc harrow
  • Rotavator 
  • Comb harrow
  • Puddler
  • Power tiller
  • Rice transplanter
  •  Sickle
  • Paddy Separator
  • Paddy Cleaner
  • Rice Huller
  • Rice Whitener
  • Rice Grader
  • Paddy Dehusker
  • Rice Destoner
  • Rice Cleaning Machine
  • Rice Length Grader
  • Rice Mill Dryer
  • Rice Pulverize
  • Mini Rice Mill
  • Rice Polisher
  • Rice Flour Mill
  • Paddy Dryer Plant
  • Paddy Parboiling Plant
  • Pneumatic Rubber Sheller
  • Husk Aspirator
  • Rice Plan sifter
  • Thickness Grader
  • Rice Dehusking Machine
  • Rice Bran Centrifugal Separator
  • Manual tiller

Step 2: Choose your business base

Location:

There are currently 9 states in Nigeria where rice farming  thrives. These 9 states are Kano, Gombe, Niger, Kebbi, Ebonyi, Anambra, Nassarawa, Ogun, and Ekiti. Choose one of these states.

Milling and bagging of rice in one of these states makes it easier to attract other farmers who do not have rice mills, which translates into better profits.

Transportation:

An important factor when choosing your business base is accessibility. 

Your location must be motorable. If transportation isn't easy,  it will discourage most customers from patronizing you. It will also cost you more money as your transports will be at risk of constant damage. Hence, your location must be motorable.

Step 3: Design a plan and register your business 

Register your brand

The first stage of your registration should be with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). You can book a session with our experts to help with your CAC registration after reading this article.

You are also required to register with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and rural development as a farmer. This will open you up to any benefits from the Federal government for farmers. Benefits such as grants, loans, free seeds, etc 

Other organizations you need to register with are the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and control (NAFDAC), the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), National Rice Millers Association of Nigeria (NRMAN) and other associations that might be beneficial to your business.

Your Business plan is a guide

A business plan will help you in ways you might never imagine. The business plan is what an investor, grant organization or a loan institution will ask for before giving you money. It is very  vital that it could determine how good your business might turn out. So, it is imperative that you prepare a professional business plan. 

If you need help with your business plan, one of our experts who will help you design a standard business plan.

Step 4: Funding

There are different channels through which you can fund your rice farming business in Nigeria. Some of these are personal funding, Loans, Grants, crowdfunding, investments. However, whichever channel you choose, you need an understanding of what you need the funds for.

See the table below:

Table 1

Please note that the costs in table 1 are subject to changes. Our experts will help you with the current prices when preparing your business plan.

Step 5: Planting and harvesting plan

You have now come to the stage, where the actual work is done. In this stage you are required to plan your pre-plant, planting and post planting stages, as well as harvesting, depending on where your base is.

In the Northern part of Nigeria, rice is planted between mid-May to mid-June while it is planted between March to mid-April in the south. Hence, your planning should align.

Rice can be harvested between 3 to 4 months after planting once the plant changes  from green to brown.

You need a crop expert on your team to handle the planting and harvesting planning and execution.

Step 6: Marketing and sale of your harvest

You only need to sell your harvested rice to milling companies if you have focused on rice farming alone. Though it sounds simple, this also requires some aggressive marketing because you have other farmers to compete with.

If you decide to go bigger by having a rice milling arm to your business, you need a full team to handle this. You need a marketing team that includes graphic designers, brand manager, social media handlers, business development personnel, etc.

In fact, you need a massive brand awareness,  as you are not coming into a new market. According to The Guardian, as of January 2022, there are over 68 rice mills in Nigeria. So, you have all the almost 100 rice mills to compete with. You therefore need to focus on convincing your potential customers that you have a better rice mill through pricing, branding, attractive packaging, promotions, bonanzas, customer focused  visual and audio outreaches, etc.

Conclusion 

Though labour and capital intensive, rice farming in Nigeria is profitable. With the increase in the daily demand and the high export potential , it is a business that can yield a significant investment return. Book an expert consulting session on Counseal to discuss how we can help you start your rice farm.

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