In this article, I will be showing you how you can be a part of the rice production business in Nigeria, and head on to become a highly successfully rice entrepreneur; whether you know nothing about rice farming business as at when reading this article.
Right now, there is an immense opportunity in the field of agriculture in Nigeria, as this area is most often ignored when it comes to farming; especially rice farming.
Most graduates only think about white collar jobs and working perhaps in an oil servicing firm; and this applies to even those that read an agriculturally related course.
The general belief is that it’s a toilsome and tedious venture; and also not respectable. They forget that even the one-time President of this country was a farmer even before becoming the head of state.
This is the time to start thinking like investors and entrepreneurs who change the world and make loads of money in the process. Agricultural ventures are profitable and rice farming and production is a highly lucrative business; especially in Nigeria.
The business is so lucrative that many business persons import rice into the country. It so happens to be the most consumed food in Nigeria.
The good news to intending entrepreneur is that there is now a ban by the federal government on rice importation, thus opening up business opportunities for those that will venture into rice farming business in Nigeria.
The question now is, is it easy to start up a rice farming business in Nigeria?
Rice Farming Business in Nigeria – How to Really Start
Well, starting up a rice farming business in Nigeria is not without its stress. Just like any other business, you have to put in the effort and also know about the whole process.
However, there are ways to make it really interesting to start up rice farming business in Nigeria, as well as make it relatively stress free.
These are some of the nuggets I will be sharing in this article.
My late grandfather was a big time rice farmer in Ekpoma, Edo state. I was opportune to have been part of the whole process relating to farming rice, and for several years I learnt and got to know how rice is farmed……and marketed…. though I was still in secondary then.
Despite growing up in the city, I always loved to come down to the village because of the whole rice farming business….and the bush meat that came with it, that my grandfather often roast, dry and offer to me!
May his soul rest in peace.
I did learn a lot from him about farming, and not just rice farming business.
I am going to be giving you a detailed step-by-step guide on how to start a lucrative Rice farming business in Nigeria.
I would suggest that you get a note and a pen and jot some salient points down, or better still, bookmark this page so you can always revisit if anything seems unclear to you.
Trust me, you are going to learn a whole lot. Some of the information you will get from this page, is usually sold by some individuals online for like N15, 0000; and its sure worth it.
You will pay NOTHING here, so take your time and learn and take action.
However, before we start discussing rice farming business in Nigeria, let’s see how lucrative rice production really is, and get you hyped up and gingered to take real action.
Is Starting Up a Rice Farming Business In Nigeria Really That Lucrative?
I want to talk about how lucrative rice business is so I can really hammer it into your subconscious why you need delve into this business venture; especially now!
It would be a shame to venture into rice farming business without knowing its true worth.
To drive home my point, I want to inspire you with the story of a man who made not just a name, but a fortune just from rice farming business.
And he is not just some random individual from overseas, but a Nigerian. He went ahead from knowing nothing about rice farming to become the owner of the second largest rice farm in Nigeria.
His name is Rotimi Williams
Rotimi Willaims, a 37 years old former journalist and banker, now turned entrepreneur and rice farmer is the owner of the 2nd largest commercial rice farm in Nigeria. He is the owner of kerekusk Rice.
His farm is located in Nassarawa state, and boasts of 45, 000 hectares, employing more than 600 natives of Nassarawa state.
Looking at his success, one would expect that he might have a degree in agriculture or that he went for some special training.
Not at all!
When interviewed he has this to say:
“……However, I must add the following, I often have people ask how I learned about farming, as everyone thinks you need a special degree in agriculture to be a farmer, but I always tell them the truth, I learnt it all on Google. I downloaded every article I could find on rice production, consumed it and then practiced it in the fields…”
This is truly inspiring!
You have access to same information online that he did some years back; and even more info.
When it comes to rice farming business in Nigeria, there is nothing like information overload.
Read and digest all you can from all over the web. To be successful in this business, as well as any other form of business, you need to be well informed.
So, How High Is the Consumption of Rice in Nigeria?
Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa, boasting of about 200 million people; and rightly regarded as the giant of Africa.
That stated, rice consumption in Nigeria has been massive, and the trend will only continue. The reason for this is that rice is the most consumed food in many households in Nigeria as almost every Nigerian eats rice.
Record has shown that Nigerians consume about 5.5 million tons of rice annually, with just 3.6 million tons being locally produced.
What is this telling you?
It simply shows that it’s an open field for the smart entrepreneur to capitalize on as the demand is far more than supply.
Rice has to be imported to support the teeming population and demand; and with the ban on rice importation right now, the opportunity in the rice farming business in Nigeria has just turned even more worth venturing into.
The business is so lucrative that one of the richest men in the world, and the richest man in Nigeria has delved into the business and is dominating it as I type.
Don’t be scared though.
When it comes to rice farming business in Nigeria, anyone can venture in and make a nice profit as the market is large enough to absorb most daring entrepreneurs.
The List of Rice Producing States In Nigeria
Rice is produced in many states of the federation, both for the household and commercial purposes; however, there are states that produce rice much more than others.
This list shows the states and what the rice produced from the states are called.
- UMZA Rice – Kano State
- Mas Rice Mill – Gombe State
- Mama Happy Rice – Niger State
- Labana Rice – Kebbi State
- Ebonyi Rice – Ebonyi State
- Anambra Rice – Anambra State
- Olam Rice – Nasarawa State
- Ofada Rice – Ogun State
- Igbemo Rice – Ekiti State.
Is There Any Special License or Qualification Needed To Start Up Rice Farming Business In Nigeria?
This is a very important question, and one of the factors that keeps many people away from venturing into rice farming business in Nigeria, or any other agriculturally related business for that matter.
The belief by many is that one needs to have studied agriculture in school in order to make it work.
Well, let me be the one to tell you that you don’t need any special educational knowledge or skills to start up a rice farming business in Nigeria. The only knowledge you need is what I will be sharing with you presently, and you can then go into the field and take action.
That’s just how Rotimi Williams did it!
Now that we have all seen how lucrative and profitable rice farming business can be in Nigeria, we can now safely move on to the main cruze of the article which is how to start up a rice faming business in Nigeria.
How To Start Up a Rice Faming Business In Nigeria.
To start up a rice farming business in Nigeria, we are going to be looking at nine key areas.
- Choose the right land for your rice farming
- Prepare the land for rice production
- Choose right varieties of rice to plant
- Plant your rice at the right time
- Use appropriate method of planting
- Apply fertilizer appropriately
- Control weed in your rice farm
- Control the pest in your farm
- Harvest your rice
These are just what you need to make it work out, so let’s get started on it already.
Choose the right land for rice farming
The type of land you pick for your rice farming business maters a whole lot, and can determine if you are going to be successful or not.
It is advisable that you choose a site in an ecological zone where rice is grown traditionally.
This could be in the east, west, north or southern part of Nigeria. Its highly advisable to carry out a soil survey and avoid any risks or stories that touch.
Choose lands that have good water retention and are fertile; lands that contains organic matter like the loamy soil, or swampy (clayey) lands.
Prepare the land for the rice production
In Nigeria, land is best prepared for rice production from between November to February.
This is because there is less rain during the months of November to February, and before the rainy season starts from February, the land would have been ready.
The land should be cleared up and perennial weeds dug up and exposed to the heat of the sun. All bushes should also be removed. This is best done using hoes.
However, for lands in the savannah regions, land preparation can start from February.
For those using forests or new areas, the big trees and roots should be cut and stumped before being ploughed. After, disc harrow like two times with the very first rains from late February to early march to make good slop for flat lands.
You should however plough twice and disc harrow once if the land is sloppy.
Before the final harrowing is carried out, Basal fertilizer should be applied. Divide the field into plots of 50m2 or 100m2. The land should also be levelled up to reduce erosion.
Choose the right variety of rice
Rice comes in different varieties; and that’s how their growth and yield varies as well. Choosing the right variety of rice to farm could go a long way to helping with a more productive harvest.
The popular varieties of rice grown in Nigeria are:
- Upland rice
- Lowland rice and
- Fadama rice
It is very important that you choose your rice manually to avoid choosing unhealthy ones. This initial step is so important that I would advise visiting any International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) nearest to you to get recommendations on the varieties.
I assure you that they will be very glad to help out.
Plant your rice at the right time
Planting your rice at the right time is of most importance.
You should know that the planting time for both the forest and savannah areas differs somewhat.
- For the forest area: Rice is planted around mid-March to mid-April, after three good spots of rainfall.
- For the savannah area: Rice is planted in mid-May to mid-June
Use appropriate method of planting
You are left with two choices when it comes to planting rice. Either you practice direct seeding into the farm, or you plant first in the nursery and then transplant it on to the farm later on.
For Direct Seeding
This processing is carried out either by broadcasting or dibbing. You start by dividing the field into plots of 50m2 or 100m2; and then construct small bunds.
Seeding rate can be:
- 60kg/ha by dibbing
- 80 – 100 kg/ha by broadcasting and
- 50 – 65 kg/ha by drilling in rows spaced 30cm apart.
The main problem with this method is weeds. To control the weeds, you will need to apply herbicides
For Nursery Rising:
Here, the seeds are put into gunny bags and soaked in water for 24hrs. Thereafter, it is placed under shades while still covered in gunny bags.
Now, sprinkle water over the seeds after intervals and turn with the hands about three times in a day for proper aeration and to prevent heat from damaging the seeds.
After about two days, that’s 36 – 48 hours, the seeds will sprout and are then ready for sowing. Then broadcast them in seedbed on a puddle nursery field. You will need to construct drainage canals for proper water removal if necessary.
Now, add decomposed organic manures and a small amount of inorganic fertilizer as basal dose may also be added to the nursery.
After three weeks, that’s 21 days, the nursery seedlings can then be transplanted to the farmland. This is carried out by uprooting the seedlings.
Uproot seedlings by holding at the same times between thumb and forefinger at the base of the culms and then pull sideways.
Transplanting of seedlings should be 2 – 3 seedlings per hill, and spacing should be 20cm between rows and 15 – 20cm between plants.
Note that you should transplant early maturing varieties at 15cm apart while medium or late maturing varieties should be transplanted at 20cm apart.
Remember to flood the beds while uprooting.
Apply fertilizer appropriately
For the transplanted seedlings:
Apply 200kg/ha (that’s 4 bags) of NPK 15:15:15 and carefully puddle in the soil before transplanting.
After you are done with transplanting, apply another 100kg (that’s 2 bags) of Urea per hectare broadcast at 30 days.
For direct seedlings:
You should apply 100kg/ha (that’s 2 bags) of NPK 15-15-15 as basal fertilizer, 2–3 weeks after appearance to improve the integration of fertilizer into the soil.
You may also apply 50kg/ha (that’s 1 bag) of Urea, 5 weeks after sowing. For lands with high acidity, AVOID using sulphate of ammonia. Rather use other sources of nitrogen like Urea.
If you find yourself getting confused, then visit any agro-allied store close to you for better recommendation.
This is your business, and you need all the info you can get. Devour info everywhere relating to rice business as if your life depends on it. That’s the spirit of true entrepreneurship.
Control weed on your rice farm
Weed control is a very important phase in rice farming business. The earlier the better, especially with the first weeding.
The first weeding should be done within the first two weeks to three weeks after appearance; and hoes should be used instead of cutlasses.
The second weeding should be carried out about 6 – 7 weeks after appearance. You can do a third weeding if you see it is needed.
Aside manual weeding, chemicals can also be used for weed control. Chemicals like TamariceTMPL, RonstarTMPL, GramoxeTM or RisaneTMat can be used to control weeds. You just need to choose the one you feel will work best for you.
Control the pest in your rice farm
Aside weed control, another real potential trouble would be pests that could raid your rice farm.
Often times, the problems would come from rodents, termites, and army worms. Don’t worry, there are solutions.
For bird control:
You can manually scare them away by employing people to do this, usually from around 6am to about 7pm from the first two weeks after planting, and from heading on to harvest.
You can also make use of scarecrows, but humans are far more effective because the birds soon get used to the scarecrows.
For Rodent control:
You can make use of traps to catch and kill them off. Aside rodents, grass cutters often invade rice farms, so you can also catch them and use for consumption if you are into bush meats.
For Termites control:
For termites, its best to destroy all dead woods and plant deposits by burning them off. Also, try to locate termite moulds and destroy them by spraying with Nogos 50 at the rate of 30 ml per 4.51 (one gallon) of water.
For Armyworm control:
This can be controlled with the use of chemicals. Spray Gammalin 20 or Carbaryl (Vetox 85) at the rate of 1.68 kg in 225 liters gallons) of water per hectare.
Harvest your rice
Harvesting of rice can start four months after, when the rice starts turning from green to a brown straw colour. It is advised that you thresh carefully immediately after harvest to avoid losses.
You can make use of whacking frames or mechanical devices.
You can thresh on a mat or tarpaulin over the concrete floor by beating the rice against the floor or against a drum or stick.
You would need to bear the following precautions in mind.
- Never thresh the rice on bare floor. Thresh carefully and avoid dehusking the grains. Damaged grains usually become stained and coloured after parboiling and milling.
- After harvesting the rice, grow leguminous plants like beans, soya, lentils, etc. as well as plough rice residues into the soil. These all aids with replenishing the soil nutrients in preparation for the next planting season.
Expected Yield of the Rice Farming
All thing being equal, if the above steps are followed diligently, and with adequate rainfall, the yield should be an average of 2.5 – 3.0 t/ha paddy.
Where available, you can use mechanical driers. Otherwise, the old school manual drying can be employed.
Dry paddy by spreading them on concrete floors, mats or tarpaulin. Two to three days of slow sun drying is enough to reduce breakage during milling.
However, on a very sunny day, sun-dry for just one day.
You can store your paddy in containers or jute bags that is dry, in airtight conditions and free from rodents.
Your rice is not yet ready, so it’s called paddy rice; just in case you are wondering.
Soak the paddy in hot water for about 5 – 6 hours at 70 degrees. Make sure to remove all floating grains. These grains are empty.
Now, parboil the rice by steaming the soaked paddy put in a jute bag for about 10 – 16 minutes. Stop the parboiling when you notice that the rice husks have started splitting open.
However, chalky grains or white centres means that the parboiling is not yet complete, which could result to the breaking of the rice grains during milling.
Milling of the rice grains can be done using a milling machine.
Rice Production and Packaging In Nigeria
After milling, your rice is practically ready for packaging. Congratulations on getting to this stage of rice production.
Packaging is not a big deal. Just package to your choice in bags and market, and then watch as the profit flows in.
Challenges You May Encounter During Rice Farming in Nigeria
Every successful business always comes with its challenges, and we are going to take a quick look at some of the challenges you might face when it comes to starting a rice farming business in Nigeria.
Land issues; this is the key part of the rice farming business, and the area you need pay very careful attention to. Rent or buy an adequate portion of land, making sure you are provided with the necessary documents to avoid any issues.
Funding; after going through this article or even before now, some persons might be interested in the rice farming business but lack the finance.
Well, it seems like a big hurdle but it really is not. You can get finance from several sources if you really put your mind to it. You can get a government loan, from cooperative societies or from microfinance banks.
You could also pair up with friends or business partners in a joint venture to get it started.
Most persons will be glad to give a loan for such a venture. You will never know unless you try!
Transportation; for transportation, make sure that the roads are motor-able and easily accessible so you can transport your rice with troubles.
Now you know more about rice farming than probably more than 90% of Nigerians, and you can cash in on this FREE information on rice farming to start up a rice farming business in Nigeria.
Be an entrepreneur.
Start rice production business.
I wish you all the best.
For More Info on Rotimi William and how he started, Read Below: