In line with the Federal Government’s policy to significantly increase local rice production and reduce consumption of the imported blend, more indigenous firms are venturing into the business of local rice production.
Latest Federal Ministry of Agriculture estimates show that the gap between Nigeria’s demand and supply for rice stands at an average of four million tons as at 2016.
Statistics in the 2016 Nigeria Agricultural sector policy roadmap revealed that while demand for rice stood at about 6.3 million tons per annum, the local supply was about 2.3 million tons, indicating an insufficient supply chain integration.
To bridge the gap, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has been promoting the Anchor Borrowers Programme designed to ensure rice exportation from Nigeria commenced by 2017.
As part of the effort to boost local rice production in Nigeria, an indigenous rice production firm, Pearl Universal Impex Limited, a member of the PJS Group, said on Thursday it was investing huge resources to increase its rice production capacity.
The chairman of the company, Pulkit Jain, said it had deployed significant resources into the acquisition of modern farm machinery to boost its local rice production output.
Mr. Jain said at the handover of the newly acquired machinery to the farm administrator that the company was committed to emerging as a leading force in local rice production in Nigeria in the near future.
“Pearl Universal Impex Limited was one of the first companies in Nigeria to embrace the backward integration policy of the federal government in rice production.
“We believe that if Nigerians eat the rice grown locally in the country, the government would have saved huge resources currently being used in the importation of the commodity for other things to the benefit of the people,” Mr. Jain said.
Besides, he stated, Pearl Universal recently concluded plans to establish a rice processing facility in Nigeria within the next three years to further boost its operations.
He said the government policy on rice production has encouraged local companies to establish farms for local rice production. Most of the rice, he explained, would be processed by milling factories to be set up by affiliate companies.
So far, Pearl Universal Impex Limited said it commenced paddy cultivation in 2016 on 7,500 hectares of farm land it leased from the Upper Niger River Basin Development Authority through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
While commending government for creating an atmosphere conducive for businesses to thrive, Mr. Jain said the company has generated employment for several Nigerians and was presently training local farmers on improved rice cultivation systems in the country.