Steps to Start Rice Importation Business in Nigeria

In this article, you will find out everything you need to know about the Steps to Start Rice Importation Business in Nigeria.

Rice is one of the highly consumed staple food all over the world. The commonly grown species of rice are Oryza sativa and Oryza glaberrima.

As at now, rice is valued as the most important staple food for over half of the world population and ranks third (rice, 741.5 million tonnes in 2014) after sugarcane (1.9 billion tonnes) and maize (1.0 billion tonnes) in production on world basis.

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Steps to Start Rice Importation Business in Nigeria
Rice Importation Business in Nigeria – Photo Source:

Globally, rice production has grown at an annual average of one per cent over the past decade, reaching 486.7 million tonnes in 2017. Most of this growth came from Asia, accounting for 89 per cent of global output.

China and India are the largest producers, each with a share of 29.6per cent and 22.6 per cent of global production respectively.

In the rest of the world (ex-Asia), rice production has risen steadily over the past decades, accounting for 15 per cent of total production by 2017, a marginal increase from 12 per cent in the last two decades. Global rice consumption remains strong, driven by both population and economic growth in Asia and Africa.

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Furthermore, according to an International Rice Commission Newsletter (Special Edition) vol. 52, presented by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), more than half of the world’s population depends on rice as the major source of calories.

The amount consumed by all these people ranged from 100 kg to 240 kg per annum in the year 2000 alone. Two species have emerged as our most popular cultivated rice, Oryza sativa and Oryza glaberrima; of these two species the more widely produced is Oryza sativa.

Rice has a consumption per capita of 32kg. In the past decade, consumption has increased 4.7 per cent, almost four times the global consumption growth, and reached 6.4 million tonnes in 2017 – accounting for about 20 per cent of Africa’s consumption.

This high level of patronage and consumption rate is what makes rice importation business a booming business here in Nigeria. By importing rice into Nigeria, you won’t have troubles selling them because food itself is one among the three basic needs of the family, others being clothing and shelter.

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So with rice importation, there’s already an established market waiting for you to bring the products and sell to them. A lot of people prefer imported rice to locally made rice for some reasons which includes:

  1. Foreign rice are properly processed with all husk and sand sieved and removed completely. Hence, there won’t be any case of sandiness except those introduced while cooking.
  2. Foreign rice are cheaper compared to some locally produced rice.

Haven’t said those, let’s get down to the main business of the day.

How to start rice importation business in Nigeria

Step 1: Sourcing for Rice Supplier

In order to be able to import rice, you need to find a credible rice supplier first. It could be a wholesale company or the direct rice producers (farmers). To make things easy for you, you can find an agent present in the country from which you plan to import from.

Most rice imported into Nigeria are either from china or Thailand. So, check the producers from either of the countries, but if you had another country in mind to import from, you can still proceed with your plans.

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Step 2: Doing the Groundwork

A few bureaucratic bottlenecks are involved in the importation of goods into Nigeria. Before you import your rice into Nigeria, you must have completed the following processes.

Any business organisation or company planning to import rice into Nigeria must:

  1. Register their company name in Nigeria and hence have a Certificate of Incorporation/Registration of the company in Nigeria.
  2. Register their company with the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) with an up-to-date proof of Tax Payments, upon which a Tax Identification Number (TIN Number) is allotted, with a valid e-mail address tagged to it.
  3. Select a Bank of choice in Nigeria to act as the Authorised Dealer Bank (ADB). This is the Bank that will process the Form M / PAAR (Pre Arrival Assessment Report), as well as mediate among the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the importer and other bodies.

Once the above is done, you are now ready to import your rice into Nigeria. The following steps must now be taken in order to clear your goods through Customs:

  1. The importer gets his Regulatory Certificates, e.g. the PC, for any items that are regulated.
  2. The importer activates the PC on the online single window.
  3. The importer opens a Form M on the Nigerian Trade Platform (Single Window system) attaching the required documents – e.g. the Insurance Certificate, the Proforma Invoice, the Product Certificate (when the item is regulated by SON) – and submit it to the ADB.
  4. The ADB reviews/validates the Form M and sends it to the NCS.
  5. The NCS either accepts the Form M, or rejects it when not properly completed or lacking some information and/or documents.
  6. When the Form M is accepted by the NCS, the importer forwards a copy of the Form M to his exporter, who will in turn contact Cotecna, the International Accreditation Firm, with the Form M, the Final Invoice, the Bill of Lading/Airway Bill, and the packing list, for the issuance of the SONCAP Certificate.
  7. The importer activates the SONCAP Certificate and applies for PAAR issuance on the Nigeria Single Window for Trade.
  8. The PAAR is issued and the importer commences the clearance of his goods.

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After getting yourself a supplier, an agent and also fulfilling the above conditions, you will then tell your suppliers to package your rice in bags that are labelled in English Language in other to conform to the Nigerian Customs Guidelines, else your rice will be ceased.

Once that is taken care of, you can discuss the shipment process with your supplier and your agent will help to convey your goods to the shipping company that will then ship them to Nigeria.

Once your rice arrives in Nigeria after every other clearance done, it will be held in either Lagos or Kano ports or any other shipping routes in the country but mostly Lagos or Kano. From there, you can hire a truck that will then convey them from there to your location anywhere within the country.

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Patrick Okon

Patrick Okon is a content developer at InfoGuide Nigeria is a team of Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Ibanga. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Ibanga. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly contact us.

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