Rice farming in Nigeria is a major agricultural activity that plays a vital role in the country’s economy. Nigeria is the largest producer of rice in West Africa, and it is also one of the largest consumers of rice in the world. The country’s rice production has been on the rise in recent years, driven by government policies and private sector investments.

However, rice farming like other kinds of agricultural businesses is capital intensive but lucrative. As a matter of fact, it produces one of the highest yields when compared to other agricultural products. For example, a well-cultivated one hectare of land produces 2-3 tonnes of rice. 

It takes about four months between planting and harvesting. You may need a large expanse of land, equipment, packaging materials, storage space, labour, transportation, etc. to start a rice farm.

Although rice farming has its challenges, such as being capital intensive and requiring a large workforce, it is still a very profitable business for an aspiring entrepreneur to enter.

How to Start

  • Seed Quality: 

You must get a good quality of seed so that you can get the expected and desired result. This is because no amount of land preparation or fertilizer application can make a bad seed good.

  • Planting Site:

Experts have said clay or clay loam soils are most suited for rice cultivation because soils with good water retention capacity and a high amount of clay and organic matter are ideal for rice cultivation.

  • Land preparation

After the right land area has been acquired, you must then wet the land area; this can be achieved by irrigation or by rainfall. This is to soften the soil and also prevent unwanted weeds from growing.

Afterwards, you plough the land; the purpose of plowing the land is to soften the earth so that there can be proper root penetration of the soil for proper uptake of nutrients.

The next step in land preparation is harrowing the land, which involves breaking the bowl of earth formed during plowing. It is done to smooth the soil. This can be done twice to achieve a better result.

Level the land; the purpose of this is to achieve proper distribution of water in all parts of the field. It should be done by a leveler.

Planting Operations: 

You can plant your rice seedlings in two possible ways known as Transplanting Pregrown seedlings in seedbeds, or the direct seeding. The direct seeding involves pre germination of the seeds i.e. complete submersion of seed inside water for 24hours then incubates the seeds for another 24hours.

Then broadcast the seed on the field evenly.

Drain the field; this should be done from 0-9 days after sowing for good seed emergence.

  • Transplanting:

Maintain around 2-3cm water depth to prevent soil hardening and aid seedling pulling. Then uprooting of seedlings should be done by holding the seedling close to the root and then pull towards oneself. The transplanting can be done manually and mechanically with seed spacing 20x20cm in the row and depth of 2-3cm.

  • Fertilizer Application:

You must then spread fertilizer evenly on the field to supply the nutrient needed by the rice to survive the early stage of growth.

It is important to note that top dressing is done between 35-55 days after planting. It provides Nitrogen, Potassium, Sulphur, Calcium, and Chlorine.

  • Weed management:

Weed can be controlled by spraying herbicides. Spraying can also be done before the plant to prevent the emergence of weed.

Maintain around 2-3cm water depth throughout the planting period to prevent weed germination.

  • Harvesting:

The harvest should be done when 80-85% percent of the grains (rice plants) have turned golden yellow to avoid shattering. It could be done manually by using a sickle or mechanically using harvesters. Thresh immediately after harvest to avoid post-harvest losses.

The post How to Own a Rice Farm in Nigeria first appeared on AgroNigeria.

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