Nigeria dethrones Egypt as Africa’s leading rice producer

According to the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice), based in Abidjan, Nigeria is now the continent’s largest rice producer, with an estimated annual volume of 4 million tonnes. The information was provided in early March by AfricaRice’s Executive Director, Sierra Leonean Harold Roy-Macauley. This good performance is primarily driven by the food needs of a rapidly growing population (190 million inhabitants in 2017 compared to 110 million in 1990) but is also explained by Egypt’s decision to significantly reduce the agricultural land allocated to rice due to water scarcity. As a result, Egyptian rice production has collapsed by 40% since early 2018, when the restrictive measures were put in place. Before this decision, Egypt, traditional African leader in the sector, produced 4.4 million tonnes of rice annually, almost a third of total African production.