This is a detailed post on how to start and succeed in rice farming business in Nigeria. Read it, start it and be rich.
With dwindling oil prices and the near death of the Naira, focus on agriculture seems to be one of the few possible solutions to revamping our dying economy. That is why for the past couple of months, I have been committed to bringing to your know viable farming businesses that will surely ensure your financial independence if you take any of them seriously.
Today, I shall focus on highlighting the viability of rice farming business in Nigeria.
Before I proceed, let me open your eyes to the revenue generation potentials of rice farming with this statistic. Nigerians consume about 5.5 million tonnes of rice annually. Given insufficient local supply, the country spends about N365 billion per year on the importation of rice. If I should break this further into daily expenditure. It translates into about N1 billion per day. I believe you have a good business sense. Then, you know what this means for potential investors. Apart from having high demand, rice farming equally guarantees an investor quick return on his investment. Generally, the benefits of investing in rice farming includes:
1. High Demand: Rice is unarguably one of the most popular food in Nigeria. It is a staple food. In fact, it is consumed by almost everybody in different forms. And many restaurants demand it for the preparation of different delicacies like jollof rice, fried rice, and white rice to be eaten with tomato stew, banga stew and so on.
In most parts of the country, any ceremony is not complete without one of the rice related delicacies listed above. This makes rice a commodity with high demand. And rice farming a profitable venture.
2. High Return on Investment: Like I stated earlier, Nigeria spends about N365 billion per year on rice importation. This means that even if you as a potential investor target on cutting down this importation by just 1 percent, then you may likely be marking millions annually. Don’t want to go on exciting you with figures. Just do the math yourself.
Also, one of the recent CBN policies on foreign exchange is aimed to dissuade availing foreign exchange to importers of some items, rice inclusive. This means less import, shortage of supply, room for local production and supply. And overall increase in sales and profit for local investors in rice farming.
3. Quick Maturity: Unlike some crops like cassava that takes between 6 months to 1 year to mature. Rice mature rather very fast. Everything involved in rice farming evolves between 4 to 5 months. And it is very easy to know when rice is mature for harvest. At this stage the plant turns from green to light brown.
4. High Yield: Another good news about rice farming is the fact that with the right variety. And good farming practices, an acre of land can produce more than 100 bags of rice on a single harvest. With a bag selling for between N8,000 to N10,000. And sometimes more during festive periods. You know what that amounts to. Overall, industry statistics shows that for every N1 invested in rice farming, you are guaranteed of between N0.80 to N1 gain.
5. Need No Formal Education: It is very important that you have a background knowledge of what it takes to start rice farming business and run it successfully. It is equally important that you carry out an extensive research on the best farming practices to ensure high yield and quick return on your investment. However, you don’t need a degree in crop science or crop related course to engage in a successful rice farming business.
3 CHALLENGES FACING RICE FARMING in Nigeria
Despite the huge potentials of rice farming in Nigeria, there are some factors hindering people from investing in the business. Some of which are:
1. Huge Capital Involvement: Rice farming is a capital intensive business. This means that huge capital outlay is required to set up and manage a rice. This includes capital for securing a suitable land, buying the right variety to plant, milling machine and so on.
2. Too Much Importation: Despite government’s efforts and policies to stop the importation of rice into Nigeria, the commodity is still smuggled into the country in large quantities. These foreign species sometimes come at cheaper prices. Thus, posing as a disincentive to local rice farming.
3. Pests and diseases: pests especially birds pose as great threats to rice farming. This sometimes compel rice farmers to employ people to scare the birds away. This adds to the cost of production.
However, these challenges are surmountable if you are determined to make it through rice farming. For instance, the issue of capital can be solved through sourcing for fund through different means. Like government agricultural loan through the bank of agriculture, selling your idea and business plan to Angel investors, bank loan, or even through partnering with a financially capable person while you run the farm if you have knowledge about rice farming.
6 REQUIREMENTS TO START RICE FARMING IN NIGERIA
1. Business Plan: Like I always advice you, the first requirement to succeed in any business venture is a bankable and realistic business plan.
This should be done after conducting thorough market research and rigorous feasibility study to ascertain the viability of the business.
This would enable you identify the market size, capital requirement, your competitors, threats to your survival in the market, and so on.
A good business plan will also serve as a guide to keeping to the vision of the business and striving to achieve the stated goals.
2. Capital: As I stated earlier, rice farming unlike some farming ventures like cassava farming, Quail farming, snail farming and others, involves huge capital outlay. And this has continuously posed as a hindrance to many people interested in venturing into rice farming.
However, like I pointed out also, this constraint can easily be surmounted if you are really keen on making it through rice farming.
Apart from outsourcing fund, you can also start on a small scale if you have a suitable land and have easy access to machineries needed in rice farming. Over time you can expand as well as buy all the needed machinery.
3. Land: This is the second most important factor required in rice farming. Land for rice farming must have high water holding capacity. Preferably swampy land. Otherwise, ensure constant source of water supply. The land for rice farming can be bought or leased if you don’t have a land suitable for rice farming. But, if you have, then fund requirement decreases. Also, it is necessary that you employ the services of a soil expert to determine if it is suitable for rice farming. Or you can test run on a very small scale in the first year.
Rice farming require large expanse of land. Between 1 to 5 acres of land for small scale rice farming. This enables you to make enough profit to cover for your financial and time commitment.
4. Good Rice Variety: Planting a healthy and high yielding variety is a very serious consideration in all types of crop and animal farming. It is the variety of the planted stock that determines the resistance to disease and yield of the farm. This is also obtainable in rice farming. If you plant good variety and follow it up with good farm management practices. Then, you are sure to reap bountifully. So, you should take care to ensure that you select a disease resistant and high yielding variety for planting.
5. Hulling Mill and other machinery: If you are starting your rice farming business on a large scale, then you will surely need to set up a hulling mill. This will save you the cost, time and stress of hulling your Paddy in another hulling mill.
However, if you are starting out small, you can start without setting up this facility. But ensure that your farm is located near to a hulling mill so as to give you easy access to their service whenever you need it.
Other machinery like tractor, sprayers, and so on are also necessary especially in large scale rice farming.
6. Storage Facility: A rice farm is supposed to have a store department inside or outside the farm. This is where your rice is kept during the sun drying process. Or before hulling. Store is also necessary to store your commodity in times of glut and low price. And bring them out when the market is favourable. This way you won’t be in a hurry to dispose your product at unfavorable periods.
PROCESSES INVOLVED IN RICE FARMING
1. Preparation of the Nursery Bed: This the first step in rice farming. Before the stage, you must have selected the right variety of rice to be planted. These seeds are planted in the nursery bed. And they germinate and are ready to be transplanted between 3 to 4 weeks.
2. TRANSPLANTING: This is the second step in the planting process. Before this stage, the land must have been tilled. So, all that is required at this stage is to transfer the seedlings from the nursery bed to the tilled soil. At a space of one foot between each plant. This is to give them enough space to grow well.
3. Application of Fertilizer: After 3 weeks of transplanting, it is necessary that you apply organic fertilizer to improve the soil nutrient.
4. Manage Challenges: The first challenge to manage after transplanting is weed control. The first weed control is usually done in the second month after transplanting. And could be done again in the third month. This is done using herbicide.
Another challenge to manage is pest attack. Especially birds. This is done by erecting scarecrows all over the farm to scare the birds away. You may also employ one or two young men to do this job.
THE HARVESTING PROCESS IN RICE FARMING.
Like I told you earlier, rice farming is a business that guarantees quick return on investment. Rice mature within 4 months. At maturity the plant changes colour. From green to light brown. And when matured, it is better harvested immediately. So as to avoid pests from feeding on your rice field. Especially birds.
POST-HARVESTING PROCESSES IN RICE FARMING
Harvesting the rice alone does not make it eatable or marketable. So, in order to prepare the rice for sales, the following process is important:
1. Sun Drying: After harvesting, the next thing to do is to spread the paddy under the sun for about 5 days so as to dry. Drying the paddy helps quicken the hulling process, and also makes the grain come out neater after hulling.
2. Hulling: This process involve separating the edible part from the hull. This is better done using a hulling machine to reduce the time and stress involved in the process. And most importantly to avoid loss of rice grains usually encountered through manual hulling.
3. Packaging: This is very important before sales. It improves the overall appearance of the product. And enhances marketability of the product. Thus, you are supposed to package your rice in a well designed bag. With your product name, logo, farm name and contact information conspicuously inscribed on the bag.
4. Marketing: Before starting the rice farming business, you must have identified with your potential customers. So, at this period, you are to contact them and inform them of the availability of your product. Ensure that the road leading to your farm is Motorable. This would reduce the transport cost of moving your product to the market. As well as make it easy for intending customers to visit your farm.
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