It is unfortunate that President Tinubu did not take about three Niger Delta governors with him to India to study the rice industry and replicate it in Nigeria

Ayo Akinfe

[1] Worldwide, about 80m hectares of irrigated lowland rice provide 75% of output. Our Asian friends lead the world in this regard, while we African are loyal consumers

[2] Irrigated rice is grown in bunded fields or paddies, which are surrounded by a small embankment that keeps the water in. Our Niger Delta is tailor-made for this kind of rice production but alas, our domestic production still lags behind consumption

[3] Rainfed lowland rice is grown in river deltas and coastal areas, using bunded fields that are flooded with rainwater for at least part of the cropping season. Rainfed lowland rice predominates in areas of greatest poverty like South Asia and Southeast Asia

[4] Vietnam’s Mekong Delta produces about 20m tonnes of rice a year

[5] In India and Bangladesh, the Ganges–Brahmaputra Delta produces the bulk of their rice. It is really only Basmati rice that is grown upland at the foot of the Himalayas

[6] In Pakistan, the Indus Delta produces virtually all their rice. Pakistan is desperately trying to catch up with the likes of China, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Thailand, Burma, The Philippines, etc in terms of rice production. It is time Nigeria joined this race

[7] In Thailand, the Chao Phraya River Delta accounts for virtually all their rice production with an annual crop of about 30m tonnes

[8] Nigeria only produces about 4m tonnes of rice, which is way below our domestic consumption figure of 7m tonnes. Very little of this is lowland rice grown in the Niger Delta

[9] Our south-south governors have got to stop hiding behind oil pollution because less than 10% of the Niger Delta is polluted by oil spills. It is only really Ogoniland that cannot sustain lowland rice at the moment. There is absolutely nothing stopping us growing say 20m tonnes of rice across Ijawland today

[10] I challenge the Niger Delta governors to explain to us why they have not established industrial rice plantations and sought to woo major growers. It should be like building an industrial park and wooing manufacturers. Between them, the coastal areas of Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta and Ondo states should easily match say Burma’s crop of 13m tonnes