The Head, National Cereals Research Institute (NCRI), Ibadan, Dr Nahemiah Danbab, has said that it is developing high quality rice flour production technology for the production of diverse food products including snacks and instant porridges.
Danbaba made on Monday in Ibadan, saying: “This development we believe together with the capacity development of small holder processors, will enhance the quality of milled rice and make the concept of local rice a thing of the past.”
According to him, the price of rice may not drop as expected by consumers, but with increasing price comes improved quality.
Danbaba remarked that well processed Nigerian rice had been shown to be more preferred by consumers in terms of cooking and eating qualities.
He added that grain expansion and water absorption capacity of locally processed rice are also higher than imported rice as shown by NCRI recent research.
“It has been a consinsous that locally processed rice is not local rice, but domestic rice.
“Recent studies by the NCRI indicated that what Nigerians referred to as local rice is any rice that is poor quality, while foreign rice are those that are well polished and packaged on branded bags.
“Significant improvement has been made over the last decade in the development of improved rice processing technologies that result in smallholder processors producing good quality milled rice that compete favorably with imported brands.
“The increased installation of integrated mills have also contributed greatly, hence the increased market price of domestic rice.
“Nigeria currently produces about 80 to 90 per cent of its national consumption demand and if the momentum is sustained, we will be self sufficient in rice in the next decade,” he said.
Also speaking, the Oyo State Chairman of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Mr Samuel Akinade, said the chances of having bumper harvest was high because this year’s rainfall favoured rice production a bit, despite some odds.
He urged the Federal Government and investors to come together to streamline the production of rice in Nigeria.
“The federal is doing much now but the effort is not based on the available milling centers.
“There should be a certain number of tons to be milled by a certain number of milling machines of specific capacities.
“Many machines are underfed now and this, alone, contributes much to the high price of locally produced rice.
“Also, let the Millers work more on outgrowers to feed their mills, if all machines operate at full capacity, cost will come down and market prices must come down.
“The new trend in prices now is in the cost of production because the cost of inputs is going higher on daily basis, this, however, affects all crops,” he said.