A PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) report on boosting rice production in Nigeria has described the country’s mechanisation process for the production of the grain to be very low at 0.3 horsepower per hectare (hp/ha) of farmland. It compares poorly against the robust mechanised agricultural systems of India, which has 2.6hp/ha and China, which has 8hp/ha.
The report appears to suggest that for Nigeria to make headway in its pursuit of sufficiency in rice production, it would need to ramp up its system of production with a far much improved mechanised process.
Nigeria has been making an increased push in agriculture in its drive to diversify its economy but this push has not seen production processes scaled up to an industrial scale.
The country currently possesses an estimated 22,000 agricultural tractors, relative to one million and 2.5 million in China and India respectively, according to the report titled, “Boosting rice production through increased mechanisation”.
It noted challenges such as low income, limited access to affordable financing and the lack of technical skill have continued to constrain mechanisation across the rice value chain.
The report suggests that shoring up the mechanisation rate in Nigeria from 0.3hp/ha to 0.8hp/ha in the next five years can effectively double rice production to 7.2 million tonnes.
“To achieve this, we estimate that Nigeria will need to at least triple its current stock of machinery over the same period. In addition to raising production, adequately increasing mechanisation has the capacity to raise yields, increase labour productivity, reduce post-harvest losses, increase the income generated by farmers and deepen import substitution,” the report stated.