Question: Why does Nigerian rice always come with stones?
I will tell you why most Nigerian rice comes with stones, husks, and some black spots.
Just imagine you spent 1 hour selecting your Nigerian rice, spent another 1-hour washing it only to discover stones inside while eating.
I hate that too. And I remember a few years back when I had to stop consuming homegrown rice because of gigantic stones that no matter the amount of effort put in selecting and washing the rice before cooking, there will still be stones inside.
But something happened that made me stop consuming foreign rice. If you are a Nigerian, based in Nigeria, you’ll remember when the story that plastic was transformed into rice, and exported into our country.
Pause for a moment and ask yourself “Why would someone transform plastic into rice and then sell to Nigerians?”. The answer is clear, “they are in business but cannot meet up with demand, and can’t stand and see money pass them by.”
So, plastic rice was invented. They don’t care about your health, they are after your deep pocket(money) and hunger for rice. Okay, let us see this from another dimension now.
This is not a debate, the answer is obvious and we all know the truth.
Most Nigerian processed rice is BAD. It always comes with stones, not clean, with black spots, and some dissolve when cooked.
I will tell you the reason today. I am writing this from the viewpoint of a rice FARMER and PROCESSOR.
The first problem starts with SEEDLINGS.
The second comes from the method of PROCESSING. I won’t discuss the SEEDLINGS aspect now. Let’s focus on the PROCESSING method.
I started processing rice last year(2019) August when the Nigerian landed border was closed by the federal government. Then, I came across what I am about to share with you today.
Here: Rice processing in Nigeria was done mostly by rural farmers and they use primitive/traditional methods or tools. Just pay more attention, you will understand my point. I will explain in clear terms.
In rice processing stages, we have a machine called “Paddy Selector”. What paddy selector does is, it picks away rice from stones, sand, husks, and other particles that are not rice.
Then, move the paddy (raw rice) to another machine that washes the rice properly before transferring it to a milling pot. After the milling is done, the paddy is moved to the parboiling pot. There only rice 100% is cooked, no stones, no soil, no husks.
So, the rice comes out 100% clean.
That’s the modern standard of rice processing journey. The crux of the matter is, rice processing machines are EXPENSIVE for an ordinary, rural, and struggling farmer to afford.
I remember while I was struggling to improve my rice processing business and needed a machine to achieve a certain quality.
The price off my spirit. Imagine N8,000,000 to N10,000,000 as the asking selling price excluding shipping/installation fee.
Now tell me, how many rural farmers who mostly dominate rice processing business in Nigeria can table N10,000,000 for a single machine that will improve their rice quality?
They are not yet born.
This is a business opportunity for people who have enough cash money to inject in powerful processing tools. This is a business opportunity for you who know where to source for funds easily from investors.
If you have plenty of money, invest in rice processing. Do not be afraid, I guarantee you of making the invested capital back within 12- 24 months if you can meet up with demand. I am telling you this because I’m into RICE processing and understand the A-Z of the business.
No matter your production capacity, you will never meet up with Nigerian demand for rice. I struggle with that weekly. About planting the seedlings, our rural farmers need intensive training on that aspect. Not just training, supporting them with improved seedlings will solve our rice problems in Nigeria.
Let me be frank with you on this, purchasing improved seedlings is not cheap and most rural farmers can’t afford to buy the required quantity. For example, the rice seedling I planted yesterday was worth N25,000 per hectare.
Let’s assume I am cultivating 50 hectares, a sum of N1,250,000 will be required for seedlings alone. Expensive right? Yes, but that is the best/improved seeds that can give a bountiful yield during harvest.
Now, can you see that both rice CULTIVATION and PROCESSING is capital intensive? Good, I am happy you are getting the gist now even though you are not a farmer yet.
Let’s close the discussion here because I can’t write all the challenges facing the rice cultivation/processing business in Nigeria in a single article. This is just a brief introduction.
The message I am trying to pass across to you is, Nigerian rice isn’t bad, but the type of seeds our rural farmers’ plant, and their methods of cultivation is the reason behind the stones and un-neat nature of our rice.
The punchline is, if you have the resources needed to improve/increase rice cultivation in Nigeria, invest in it now. Stop thinking rice cultivation/processing is for rural farmers. They do not have the financial power to milk this industry.
They don’t have the required knowledge or information about modern rice processing tools. But you have the finance, information, and knowledge required. Invest in rice cultivation and processing.
Invest in Agriculture!