Rising rice production is one of the few positives of Nigeria’s recession, which is the West African country’s worst in 25 years. Today about 5.7 million tonnes of rice are being produced every year – three times as much as a decade ago.
“We are now living a white gold revolution,” said Francis Nwilene, the Nigeria director of the AfricaRice research centre. “People understand that oil is not something Nigeria can depend on anymore.”
The potential is undeniable. But despite having vast tracts of fertile land, Nigeria – the largest consumer of rice in Africa – is also one of the world’s biggest importers of the food staple.