Rice is a food commodity that is widely eaten by, if not all but a lot of Nigerians. It is popular in homes, events, and public places. The commonest food eaten in most Nigerian homes is rice.
When you attend events and ceremonies, the food most likely served is always rice and what makes it more unique is its ability to be cooked into different forms; jollof rice, fried rice, or the standard white rice eaten with stew and sauce.
Nigerians consume over 7 million tonnes of rice every year, and supply has always been a problem because the local production is not enough. This justifies the reason why a large amount of money is spent yearly on the importation of rice.
However, the recent ban on the importation of rice has made many local manufacturers expand their production capacity. Other individual farmers also have ventured into rice farming in commercial quantity – all in a bid to serve the demanding population.
In this article, I will be leading you on the step-by-step processes on how to start a rice farming business in Nigeria. But before then, I will like to answer some of the frequently asked questions by prospective farmers and investors who want to go into rice farming.
Table of Contents
- Is Rice Farming a Profitable Business?
- Steps On How To Start A Rice Farming Business In Nigeria
Is Rice Farming a Profitable Business?
This is a question that most people ask, and it is so tempting because of the availability of opportunities in rice farming. Rice, being the most consumed staple produce globally, especially in Asia, and Africa, gives you an indication that rice is in high demand in these places. I will be lying to you if I tell you rice farming is not lucrative.
Notably, in Nigeria, rice is consumed a lot, and it is the first food offered in events and public places, including festive periods. This tells you how much rice is essential to the country’s economy and because the local production is mainly insufficient for the teeming population. Then it means that no rice farm is a waste.
Which States Produce Rice in Nigeria?
Rice is particular about areas where it grows comfortably, and it is being known for its swampy nature. In Nigeria, a few states engage in rice production in large commercial quantities, and some of these states include:
- Ofada Rice – Ogun State.
- Igbemo Rice – Ekiti State.
- Mama Happy Rice – Niger State.
- Labana Rice – Kebbi State.
- Ebonyi Rice – Ebonyi State.
- UMZA Rice – Kano State.
- Mas Rice Mill – Gombe State.
- Anambra Rice – Anambra State.
- Olam Rice – Nasarawa State.
Steps On How To Start A Rice Farming Business In Nigeria
Here’s a step-by-step on how to start rice farming in Nigeria.
- Have a Good Business Plan.
- Get a piece of land in a Good Location.
- Site Clearing and Land Preparation.
- Purchase of Rice seeds.
- Planting of Seeds.
- Fertilizer and Manure Application.
- Weeding of field.
- Pest and Disease Control.
- Sales and Marketing
1. Have a Good Business Plan
Writing out a good business plan for your business is an important factor in starting any new business. The Rice farming business is not an exception. Carefully conduct a feasibility study on the environment where your proposed farm will be located to ascertain the challenges that you may face in that line of business.
Also, research to know the competitors in the business and your potential buyers. These things will help you to make an informed decision before venturing fully into rice farming.
2. Get land in a Good Location
This is the next big step in the rice farming business. The location of your rice farm is a critical factor as it is a vital determining factor of the yield. It is recommended to get land in a swampy area.
This reduces the cost of irrigation as rice has been proven to thrive and survive better in swampy areas. Your land should be in a place where rice is known to have been grown traditionally. After acquiring the land, the next step is securing the land by building a fence around it. This is to ensure security and to avoid property theft.
3. Site Clearing and Land Preparation
Site clearing should be done immediately after land acquisition. This involves clearing all trees and weeds in the farmland. For rice production, the land preparation is best done between November and February, where there is no rainfall. This prepares the land for the planting season, which is usually during the rainy periods.
The land should be leveled up to avoid erosion. Fertilizers and manure are also applied to the soil at this time to allow it to gather organic nutrients. Land preparation can be done with a hoe, tractor, and other farm tools and machinery.
4. Purchase of Rice Seed
During the purchase of seedlings, a careful selection of rice seeds should be made to ensure that only healthy and disease-free varieties are being selected. In addition, proper seed selection should be made for maximum plant yield.
5. Planting of Seeds
Planting seeds depends on the planting method of choice. There are two major planting methods which include:
I. Planting of seedlings in a nursery before transplanting them into the field. Transplanting of seedlings is done at about 21 days after planting. Seedlings should be carefully transplanted to the field to avoid transplant shock etc.
II. Direct seeding involves broadcasting the seeds into the field by hand or machine. This method allows weed to affect the plant at an early stage and is not very suitable. However, this method is cheaper than transplanting.
Choose your method of planting carefully and proceed to plant. Planting is usually done during the rainy season, around mid-March to July, depending on the actual location.
6. Fertilizer and Manure Application
This is done after planting, preferably one month after planting. Apply fertilizer in their proper nutrient combinations. Organic manure can also be applied to improve yield. Apply 100kg of 15-15-15 per hectare (2 bags/ha) as basal fertilizer 2–3 weeks after the appearance to facilitate the integration of fertilizer into the soil.
7. Weeding of Field
Weeding should be carried out regularly on the farm after planting. The first weeding should be done 2 weeks after planting when the plants are just beginning to grow. The second phase of weeding can be carried out at about 6 to 7 weeks after planting. Weeding should be done with a hoe and should be carefully controlled to avoid weeding the roots of plants.
8. Pest and Disease Control
One of the troubles of operating a rice farm is pest infestation. Birds love grains, and your rice farm will be a target to them. Scarecrows can be used to scare away birds. For small farms, nets can be used to cover farms against birds. Pesticides should also be used to warn off other pests and rodents.
Some of the diseases which affect rice include
● Bacterial leaf streak: This is caused by bacteria, and its symptoms include small, water-soaked streaks between leaf veins which are initially dark green and then turn translucent. Streaks grow larger, coalesce and turn light brown. The use of resistant rice varieties can control this disease.
● Leaf Scald: This is caused by fungi and causes scalded appearance on leaves. The lesion is marked with different zone alternating light tan and dark brown from leaf tips. It can be controlled by planting resistant varieties.
● Grassy stunt is a viral disease that causes pale green or yellow leaves, an irregular pattern on leaves, and stunted plants. It can be managed as resistant varieties have been made to be able to resist the disease.
Harvesting has to do with removing matured rice from the fields. Depending on the type of variety planted, a rice crop usually reaches maturity at around 105–150 days after crop establishment.
Harvesting includes cutting rice stem, stacking, handling of harvested product, threshing, cleaning rice, and hauling. Proper harvesting method helps to reduce wastage and deterioration of the plant. It also helps to maximize the yield of rice products. The Harvesting process can be done manually or mechanically.
The harvested rice is usually stored in bags and taken to the market for sales. They can also be processed for export.
Rice farming is a very profitable business, and it is very lucrative. However, owning and operating a rice farm can be time-consuming, labor-intensive, and capital-intensive, but there is no business without its stress. It is encouraged that many people venture into rice farming to ensure food sufficiency in the country.