The Director-General of the Africa Rice Center, Benin Republic, Dr. Harold Roy-Macauley, has disclosed Nigeria has overtaken Egypt as the largest rice producer in Africa.
Speaking with The Nation, Roy-Macauley said Nigeria is now the largest rice producer at 4 million tonnes a year.
He revealed that Egypt was producing 4.3 tonnes annually but production has a reduction by almost 40 percent this year, attributed to the Egyptian government decision to limit cultivated to preserve water resources.
Egypt rice cultivation requires about 1.8 billion meters of water in evaporation, transpiration, and irrigation each year.
Africa produces an average of 14.6 million tonnes of rough rice annually.
He said there were efforts to increase overall rice production in Africa but expressed doubts that it will curb rice importation as the population has increased across the continent.
Roy-Macauley said consumers are looking for rice that is safe and certified.
To meet expectations, the DG said his centre is ready to partner with Nigeria and other governments in Africa to train farmers, extension officers and exporters on the best practices in cultivation and post-harvest care and to understand market requirements.
Roy- Macauley stressed the African rice value chain needs to be better integrated and be capable of competing with imported rice in terms of quality.