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Improving Rice Productivity In Nigeria

Taiwo Hassan

Rice (Oryza sativa) is one of the most cultivated crops in the world. It is the third most important cereal grown and consumed globally after wheat and maize. In Nigeria, rice is cultivated in almost all ecological belts available in the country as they all provide favourable environments to support the crop. This has made rice a staple crop in the nation as it is consumed by almost every individual in the nation in different forms.

Inasmuch as the crop is cultivated extensively in the country, the country hasn’t been able to meet local demand, though efforts are underway to make the nation self-sufficient in the coming years. This is largely due to the low output from our local farms. This low output is brought about by several factors of which planting material variety plays a significant role.

Faro 44 Rice has numerous varieties that can be grown in Nigeria. Each variety possesses its individual production capacity in different ecological zones available in the country and the method through which it is cultivated; rainfed lowland, rainfed upland, irrigation lowland, etc.

That is to say that a cultivar that thrives in the rainforest belt may not thrive in the sahel savannah belt. From extensive research carried out on rice, it is obvious that rice crops in Nigeria have better output when they are cultivated under irrigation farming than when they are rainfed. New rice varieties are being developed in Nigeria. Faro 44, which is one of the many cultivars developed, is recently one of the most distributed rice varieties in the Nigerian rice sector.

It is an improved local semi-dwarf cultivar of rice grown in Nigeria. Its recent extensive distribution to Nigerian farmers has brought about an exponential increase in the farm output of the crop by farmers. According to the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, Faro 44 is driving rice revolution in Nigeria, better than imported rice and is grown by over 6 million farmers.

Considering the ever increasing demand for rice of good quality by Nigerian consumers, Faro 44 is one of the most preferred cultivars available to farmers as it is of better quality with an output and production success significantly above average in comparison to most local cultivars available.

Its grains come in different sizes which usually range between 3mm to about 5.5mm. It has moderate starch content with a high malting quality and germination capacity. Faro 44 under irrigation farming can be cultivated twice or more in a year depending on the climate and the fertility of the soil.

The output of Faro 44 under very suitable conditions can range from 7 to 10 tonnes per hectare. During milling, it is renowned for its outstanding milling properties that encourages better finished product. It has low breakage occurrence during processing as it has moderate water absorption and rupturing tendency at a temperature of 60-65°C.

Faro 44 is very productive under suitable conditions but the productivity level   of the crop can be hampered if the crop is infected with diseases like the root-knot nematode called Meloidogyne incognita. It is therefore advised that the planting material be treated and appropriate measures be observed while planting the cultivar to ensure optimal productivity of the crop.

Faro 44 is available in almost all input stores available in the country. It is distributed across the Nation by various research institutions scattered across the nation. These include institutions like the National Cereal Research Institute, The Ministries of Agriculture and Urban Development, etc.

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