The latest Rice Outlook released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) states that Nigeria will be the second largest rice importer in 2019.
The department released this Outlook on Tuesday, and it states that:
“China and Nigeria are projected to remain the largest rice importing countries in 2019, followed by the EU, Cote d’Ivoire, and Iran.
“Nigeria and Egypt are projected to account for the bulk of the 2019 import increase. Imports in 2019 are also projected to be larger than a year earlier for Benin, Burkina, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, EU, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Malaysia, Mali, Senegal, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.
“Global rice consumption (including a residual component) in 2018/19 is projected at a record 488.4 million tons, down 0.1 million tons from the previous forecast but up more than one percent from a year earlier.”
The projected growth is a matter of concern for the federal government, which plans to stop rice imports by the end of this year to save foreign currency.
According to Punch, rice production had increased more than 50 percent since 2012 to 3.7 million tons last year. Domestic demand rose 4 percent to 6.7 million tons in the 2017-18 year that ended in May.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, had earlier warned that Nigeria may face shortages in the supply of rice, due to the flood that ravaged the country recently.
Current global production exceeds consumption by 2.3 million tons, according to USDA, with 2018-19 “global ending stocks” projected to reach 163 million tons, 17.8 million tons more than previously forecast.