The Nigerian Ministry of Agriculture is to import 100 rice mills from China, having signed an agreement with the Nigerian Export and Import Bank as well as the Central Bank of Nigeria, an official said on Friday.
Nigeria's Rice Value Chain Team leader Olumuyiwa Osiname told reporters here that the mills will ensure local rice is processed to meet international standard and strategically made available in all the 36 states in the West African country, with each state getting at least two rice mills.
"The states with higher rice production would get more than two mills," he said, adding that the first 40 mills would be installed before mid-year.
"Most of them are not long grains and then, they are not being processed right," he said in reference to the types of rice and their processing.
"The manual processing like parboiling and soaking, sometimes give the rice odor, which many consumers do not like. There are technologies now that can process the rice the same way as they process in India or Thailand. We will take the stones off, we will take the smell off, we will polish and repackage," he added.
Osiname said the Nigerian government had already provided farmers with improved seeds to boost rice production in the country, noting the seeds were distributed to farmers to ensure that paddy for the mills were of good quality. This would make the locally-grown rice to be globally accepted, he said further.
He said the total rice production expected under Nigeria's Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) by 2015 was 5.1 million tons of milled rice. "When the 5.1 million tons is added to about 1.3 million tons being produced by farmers who did not join the ATA, the total national production of milled rice would amount to 6.4 million tons," he said.