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Rice production in Africa gets boost

Olam International, one of the world’s largest rice traders, says it is investing $49.2 million in rice farming and a milling facility in Nigeria.

This will translate to 36,000 tons of milled rice annually at its peak, and will be sold through Olam’s distributors and dealers across Nigeria, where it already has a presence, the company said in a statement yesterday, December 6, 2011.

Commenting on the new project, Rajeev Raina, President of Olam’s rice business, said “Globally, land under rice cultivation has remained stagnant around 150 million ha over the last 30 years. With the growth in population not being accompanied by an increase in the area under cultivation, we have seen a lot of pressure in respect of global rice supplies, with growing countries either banning exports altogether or increasing the support prices of farmers, thereby increasing the selling price of milled rice in the international market.”

He added that while helping the importing countries in their import substitution efforts, Olam’s investment in rice farming and processing in select markets, “would also help us to selectively get integrated in the value-chain, by participating in attractive and higher margin profit pools upstream in rice farming”.

The company’s investment in rice farming in Nigeria comes at a time when the Nigerian government has pledged to raise rice production in the country – said to be among the world’s largest consumers of rice. Nigeria consumes about 5.5 million tons of rice each year, of which 1.9 million tons are imported.

According to Olam, planting will start during the April-June period, its last quarter for 2012 on a 6,000 hectare farm in Nasarawa, one of Nigeria’s main rice growing belts. It says the facility will begin to generate revenue in 2013, and will be fully operational by 2016.

By Edmund Smith-Asante

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2 comments

  1. Hello, i think olam should pay some attention to Ghana rice sector by inverting some amount of money to enable some of us in the value chain of rice production to contribute to the rice sector. i am a manager to rice milling production in Northern part of Ghana.

  2. Thanks Olam. I just want to add my voice to calls to come to Ghana. I’m the the Monitoring & Evaluation Officer in Ministry of Food & Agriculture in the Volta Region of Ghana. We have more potentials in rice production in Volta Region than one can imagine. In the south, where we have the AFife Irrigation Project, the existing dam the land are under utilized; hence the call for you to come and invest. The youth the people will be very pleased to welcome.