The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has projected that Nigeria will be the world second largest rice buyer in 2019.
China is predicted to be the world’s largest buyer.
“On an annual basis, consumption and residual use is projected higher in 2018/19 in Angola, Benin, Burkina-Faso, Cambodia, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam,” the department said in its latest Rice Outlook released on Tuesday.
“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 1 percent from a year earlier.”
Audu Ogbeh, the minister of agriculture and rural development, had earlier warned that the country may experience rice shortage if appropriate measures are not taken to replant after the recent flood.
States like Jigawa, Kebbi, Anambra and Kogi had experienced floods that resulted in farming losses.
The Buhari-led administration had said it would end dependence on imported rice and the Central Bank of Nigeria supported the move by restricting forex for rice importation and the Anchor Borrowers Programme.