How To Start Rice Farming, Plantation & Production Business In Nigeria In 2019 & Beyond
The Agricultural sector in Nigeria is a very lucrative sector which unfortunately has not been explored to its full capacity. This sector is arguably the second richest sector in Nigeria next to petroleum. The Nigerian agricultural sector has quite a number of lucrative ventures under it, one of which is rice farming.
Rice is one of the most consumed crops in Nigeria, Africa and the world in general. A lot of money is spent by Nigeria yearly on the importation of rice. Despite being a nation that consumes rice on a large scale, Nigeria has still been unable to produce the required amount of rice to meet the needs of its citizens.
The process of cultivating rice for personal or commercial use is known as rice farming. Rice farming is quite a lucrative business when adequate planning is applied. But at the same time, it requires a lot of work the same as most agricultural ventures. To grow properly, rice needs a lot of water and a soil which has the ability to hold and retain water.
Rice Farming, Plantation In Nigeria (Step By Step Guide)
Secure The Right Land
The first step to starting a rice plantation is finding and securing the desired size of land, which has the soil capacity to handle the cultivation of rice. As previously stated water is a huge necessity for rice to properly grow. It therefore requires soil with high water retaining abilities. A combination of clay and loamy soil is considered the best when planting rice; clay soil for its ability to hold water the most and loamy soil for its richness in nutrients.
Except you have an effective irrigation system, it is best to situate the land for rice farming in geographical locations which are waterlogged. These types of areas have access to water and therefore support the growth of rice.
Get The Land Ready For Planting
The land for planting rice should be prepared during the period when rainfall is at the minimum. In Nigeria this time typically falls between November and February in the Southern regions and November to March in the Northern/North central regions. In the Northern and North central regions the rainy season begins later than in the Southern regions.
Land should be cleared of grasses trees and any kind of obstruction. The next stage will be to plough, then comes the application of organic fertilizer, before finally harrowing the land properly.
Select A Good Rice Variety
It is of utmost importance to select the right type of rice for planting. Selecting the wrong or a faulty variety of rice could greatly affect your production and harvest. There are agricultural institutions which can be consulted for the needed assistance; a good example is the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture.
Time To Plant
Planting of rice can be done either by direct seeding or transplanting. Direct seeding requires less labor and entails that the rice seeds be planted directly on the prepared land, by using methods like dribbling and broadcasting. Herbicides can be used to get rid of weeds, as the control of weeds, is the main challenge encountered when using this method.
For the transplanting method, rice is first of all grown elsewhere and then introduced into the field after a few weeks. The rice seeds are first put in special sacks called gunny sacks and placed in water for about a whole day. Afterwards rice is then kept away from direct sunlight, turned by hand and sprinkled with water periodically, so it does not get destroyed by heat. The seeds sprout in about 2 days after which, they are transferred to wet nursery fields using the broadcasting method. Transplanting of these seeding to the main planting field should begin after a period of at least 21 days.
Fertilizer application is a process which should be delicately done. It should be applied based on the method of rice planting being used. For direct seeding method, fertilizer can be applied and integrated into the soil. Another round will be applied after sowing only if there is a high level of acidity in that soil.
When making use of the transplanting method, fertilizer should be applied to the soil before the rice is transplanted and then about a month after transplant. Applying the right type and amount of fertilizer is very important therefore, it is best to consult good agro stores to seek proper guidance in this regard.
Administer Methods Of Weed And Pest Control
To address the challenge of weeds, weeding has to be carried out at intervals of about three-four weeks, so the growth of the plant is not affected by the weeds. Chemicals for weed control can also be applied with care.
Rice is usually disturbed by pests like rodents, termites, armyworms and birds. Rodents can be gotten rid of through the use of traps. Termites and armyworms can be taken care of by using specialized chemicals to kill them. Birds can be scared off by the constant presence people by day or by scarecrows.
Rice is usually ready for harvest after three to four months. The rice field is drained of water and left for about 2 weeks. It changes color to a shade of light brown and then it is harvested. The harvested and dried rice plant is hit against special frames or logs to get the grains off. This process can be done manually or by the use of machines.
Is Rice Farming Profitable In Nigeria
Rice farming is a profitable business in Nigeria. It is however avoided by a lot of people because it requires a lot of physical labor and cultivation can be quite messy. Nigeria is known as one of the largest exporters of rice in the world. Regardless of this, it still remains a major importer of rice; spending millions every year on the purchase of rice to meet the demands of Nigerians. Although a ban on the importation of rice has been spoken about; to encourage more people to gravitate towards rice farming, the ban is however, yet to be implemented.
Nigeria is yet to produce the right quantity of rice to meet the demands of the country. Nigerians have a great love for rice; a typical Nigerian home consumes rice at least once in two days. To meet this demand for rice in Nigeria, more large scale rice farmers are needed in the country.
When milled and well packaged, a bag of rice of about 50kg could easily go for as high as N 20,000 some go for lower prices. But generally, the price of rice usually depends on the quality of the rice. Good brands of rice always sell for higher prices. This is why farmers are encouraged to go for good varieties of healthy rice, which have high production capacity and are of good quality too.
The level of demand for rice within and out of Nigeria is very high. Nigeria has a population of almost 200 million people, who are major consumers of this product in it diverse forms; be it cooked whole, mashed or when processed to make cereals.
By owning a rice farming business, you would be meeting the demand of these people; a target market is already available for your product. Be it locally or internationally, there is always a market for good quality rice.
Which States Produce More Rice In Nigeria?
Nigeria is a major producer and exporter of rice and several states in Nigeria produce rice on a large scale. Nigerian states with high production of rice include Kebbi, Kano, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Anambra, Bauchi, Gombe, Nasarawa and Ekiti. Some states which produce rice on a lesser scale are Ogun, Sokoto, Cross-River, Benue, Taraba, Kogi and Zamfara.
How Long Does It Take For Rice To Grow?
Rice takes about four months to complete its circle and be ready for harvest; it can sometimes grow as much 15-17 inches in height. At the point of maturity, water should be drained from the rice field a few weeks before harvest begins.
After water is drained, the rice then begins its drying process and the coloring of the plant begins to change. The rice plant which was formerly green should become golden brown in color. After harvesting, the rice is left for about 3 weeks so it is properly dried and completely free of moisture. This will make the extraction of grains much easier.
Indeed there is so much money to be made from not just rice farming, but agricultural based ventures in Nigeria. Agricultural businesses have great potential for success if researched and properly carried out.
Nigerian youths are constantly being encouraged to go into diverse areas of agriculture, as a source of self employment rather than relying on the government. Many youths are gradually beginning to come to the realization that great richest are embedded in agriculture.
Exploring the various categories of agriculture for business purposes, has often been termed as smart business by quite a number of people as agriculture they say, is the future of our economy.
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