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The Rice Processors Association of Nigeria has 22 member companies who lobby the government to maintain import duties and rein in illegal shipments from Benin.
Stallion Group, a pan-African trading house headquartered in Dubai, is Nigeria’s largest rice – and automobile– importer.
City dwellers now mainly consume local rice varieties that are preferred for their freshness and aroma.
Industry and government officials frequently state that the network of canals could be extended to increase irrigated rice area by several times to 1 million hectares.
Double cropping and yield in- creases thanks to new varieties and better fertilizer application could turn the country into a large surplus producer by the end of the decade with exports flowing from the landlocked country to its neighbors on three sides.
Low-cost bulk shiploads of 100% and 50% broken rice from Brazil and Uruguay make up about three quarters of Senegal’s annual imports of 1.4 million tonnes. Large-scale irrigation schemes in the Senegal River valley shared with Mauritania on the northern bank have allowed national production to gain ground.
One of the biggest is how to attract long-term investment in farming, in land storage and processing from food companies who are accustomed to less risky, short-term trading.In practice, very little of the foreign rice is subject to such a high duty.According to International Grains Council data, over half of imports in 2015 entered from neighboring Benin where the duty on rice is only 12%.In a number of the larger countries, some success is already notable with domestic production expanding while imports level off or even decline.The picture is highly variegated from country to country and even within them.Most of Benin’s rice imports, up to 30,000 truckloads per year, are routed via transit shipments through Niger to the northwest of Nigeria.Since Nigeria consumes parboiled rice exclusively, but Benin prefers white rice, it is easy to deduce that the 85% share of Benin imports that are parboiled are bound for Nigeria through the orchestrations of clever traders.As a result, the small group of companies that accounts for most imports also owns a major share of the modern milling capacity.The challenge that they and other value chain investors now face is procuring or producing enough rice to keep these mills operating.Consequently, the 20 or so mostly coastal countries extending from arid and sparsely populated Mauritania to lushly forested Congo and anchored by regional giant Nigeria now account for more than a quarter of global rice trade.Roughly 12 million tonnes gets imported, complementing local output approaching the same amount.