To ease your site search, article categories are at bottom of page.

May 17, 2008

Reversal of emergency rice importation decision meets mixed feelings in Nigeria

A decision by the Nigerian government to reverse an earlier decision to import 50,000 metric tonnes of rice from Thailand to ease supply pressures on rice in Africa's most populous country was met with mixed reactions.

Yau Aladuwa, a 60-year old peasant in the farming village of Buntusu in northern Jigawa state, said, "This decision not to import the rice has thrown us into despair because we thought the [rice] import would ease the food shortage we are experiencing." Harvests from last season were poor and higher food prices this year have forced many into begging and menial jobs, Aladuwa said.

However Ahmed Rabiu, vice president of Kano Chamber of Commerce, said the massive order never made sense. "It would have taken a minimum of three months to import and distribute the rice to the people that needed it and by then many farmers will have started harvesting their crops which will make the import worthless," he explained.

The Nigerian government had on 1 May announced it would import 50,000 metric tonnes of rice worth US$600 million as an interim measure "to cushion the impact of global food crisis on vulnerable Nigerians." One week later, on 7 May, agriculture minister Abba Sayyadi Ruma rescinded the import decision and instead approved the investment of US$85 million in a credit scheme meant to support local rice processing as part of measures to attain food sufficiency.

The government also suspended duties on rice imports for six months and ordered the release of 11,000 metric tonnes of grains from its strategic food reserves for sale at one-sixth its market value.

Sabo Nanono, head of Kano chapter of Nigeria's commercial farmers union said the decision to invest in the domestic agriculture sector was the right one, even though it will not achieve as much populist enthusiasm as the rice imports. He estimated that Nigeria has conditions favourable enough to become a net exporter of rice, given the right tools, seeds and irrigation.

"It is a wise decision that the government reversed the idea of importing the rice," Nanono said.

According to the agriculture ministry, 91 million Nigerians representing 65 percent of the country's population are food insecure.


Article Categories

AGRA agribusiness agrochemicals agroforestry aid Algeria aloe vera Angola aquaculture banana barley beans beef bees Benin biodiesel biodiversity biof biofuel biosafety biotechnology Botswana Brazil Burkina Faso Burundi CAADP Cameroon capacity building cashew cassava cattle Central African Republic cereals certification CGIAR Chad China CIMMYT climate change cocoa coffee COMESA commercial farming Congo Republic conservation agriculture cotton cow pea dairy desertification development disease diversification DRCongo drought ECOWAS Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia EU EUREPGAP events/meetings expo exports fa fair trade FAO fertilizer finance fisheries floods flowers food security fruit Gabon Gambia gender issues Ghana GM crops grain green revolution groundnuts Guinea Bissau Guinea Conakry HIV/AIDS honey hoodia horticulture hydroponics ICIPE ICRAF ICRISAT IFAD IITA imports India infrastructure innovation inputs investment irrigation Ivory Coast jatropha kenaf keny Kenya khat land deals land management land reform Lesotho Liberia Libya livestock macadamia Madagascar maiz maize Malawi Mali mango marijuana markets Mauritania Mauritius mechanization millet Morocco Mozambique mushroom Namibia NEPAD Niger Nigeria organic agriculture palm oil pastoralism pea pest control pesticides pineapple plantain policy issues potato poultry processing productivity Project pyrethrum rai rain reforestation research rice rivers rubber Rwanda SADC Sao Tome and Principe seed seeds Senegal sesame Seychelles shea butter Sierra Leone sisal soil erosion soil fertility Somalia sorghum South Africa South Sudan Southern Africa spices standards subsidies Sudan sugar sugar cane sustainable farming Swaziland sweet potato Tanzania tariffs tea tef tobacco Togo tomato trade training Tunisia Uganda UNCTAD urban farming value addition value-addition vanilla vegetables water management weeds West Africa wheat World Bank WTO yam Zambia Zanzibar zero tillage Zimbabwe

  © 2007 Africa News Network design by

Back to TOP