Nigerian Floods Destroy 1 1/2 Months of Nation's Rice Supply

  • Plantations in four states in country's northwest affected
  • Imports to make up for the losses would cost $225 million

Floods in Nigeria destroyed rice plantations that produce about 11 percent of what Africa’s biggest economy needs to meet this year’s consumption.

Above-normal rainfall in the country’s northwest region caused the banks of the Sokoto and Rima rivers to overflow in the Sokoto and Zamfara states, flooding rice plantations and destroying about 626,250 metric tons of the staple, Lawal Shehu, Kebbi state’s director of produce, said by phone. In the Kebbi and Jigawa states, a combined 635,000 hectares of low-land, rain-fed plantations have been affected.

About 350,000 hectares of rice plantations spread across 12 local government areas in the state are totally submerged in flood water across Kebbi alone, Shehu said from its capital, Birnin Kebbi.

Africa’s most-populous nation produces less than half of the 6 million tons of rice it consumes annually, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department. The losses are equivalent to 1 1/2 months of Nigeria’s rice consumption, based on data from the United Food & Agriculture Organization. Imports to make up for the losses would cost $225 million, based on Thai export prices.

Half of Jigawa’s 135,000 hectares under cultivation have been affected, Abdu Auwalu, an officer for the World Bank’s Fadama rural-farmer project, said by phone from Dutse, the state capital.

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