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Nigeria must triple rice mechanization to double output – PwC

PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Nigeria has estimated that Nigeria will need to triple the current stock of rice production machinery in the next five years to double her production.

The consulting and research firm gave this projection in its ‘Boosting Rice Production Through Mechanisation’ Report published today.

Noting that rice is one of the most consumed staples in the country, with a consumption per capita of 32kg, the firm reported that in the past decade,  Nigeria’s consumption had increased 4.7%, almost four times the global consumption growth.

Specifically, PwC disclosed that Nigeria’s consumption reached 6.4 million tonnes in 2017, accounting for c.20% of Africa’s consumption, adding that as at 2011, rice accounted for just 10% of household food spending, and 6.6% of total household spending.

It noted further that given the importance of rice as a staple food in the country, the government had prioritized its production over the past seven years with production peaking at 3.7 million tonnes in 2017.

The leading global consultancy outfit, however, reported that despite this improvement, comparatively, Nigeria’s rice statistics indicated that there was an enormous potential to raise productivity from 2 tonnes per hectare and increase production.

According to PwC, as population increases, along with rural to urban migration, the need to ensure food security in key staples becomes critical. It noted, however, that food security cannot be achieved by a system that depends almost entirely on human muscle power and other manual methods.

Comparing Nigeria’s mechanization with those of other climes, the consulting and research company pointed out that Nigeria’s machinery stock remained low at 0.3 hp/ha, relative to 2.6hp/ha in India and 8 hp/ha in China.

Specifically, it estimated the number of agricultural tractors in the country at around 22,000, relative to 1 million and 2.5 million in China and India respectively, attributing low income, limited access to affordable financing and the lack of technical skills to the limited adoption of mechanisation across the rice value chains.

To increase the mechanisation rate in Nigeria from 0.3hp/ha to 0.8hp/ha in the next five years and by so doing, double rice production, it estimated that Nigeria would need to at least triple its current stock of machinery over the same period.

PwC reported further that in addition to raising production, adequately increasing mechanisation had the capacity to raise yields, increase labour productivity, reduce post-harvest losses, increase income generated by farmers and deepen import substitution.

Globally, rice production has grown at an annual average of 1.0% over the past decade, reaching 486.7 million tonnes last year, with 89% of global output coming from Asia.

About Lanre Oyetade

A multiple award winner in Economics and business journalism, Lanre Oyetade has served close to two decades in the media industry, spanning different notable stables, where he is privileged to have risen to the position of a title editor. A masters degree holder in Economics from the University of Lagos and doctoral student at the Babcock University, he is a winner of the prestigious NMMA Capital Market Award for two consecutive years (2004 & 2005), and was also a nominee for the body’s banking and finance and money market awards for two years. In 2013, he also won the Most Outstanding Business-Reporting Title Editor award of the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN). A minister in the LORDS’s vineyard, he has been an inspirational speaker and resource person at many corporate and religious fora since early 2004, and has so far authored three books on the capital market; on personal effectiveness, and on personal finance, in 2008 and 2014, respectively.