Rice farming business is a profitable business to venture into. This is because it is the most consumed staple food in the world, especially in Asia and Africa. Also, rice is the third-highest produce worldwide after sugarcane and maize.
In Nigeria, about 7 million tonnes of rice is consumed in a year. Rice is food to many people in Nigeria and it’s popular in homes, events, and public places. Despite our consumption rate, it’s sad that only a few percents of the rice we consume is produced in Nigeria.
However, there has been an upturn since the closure of land borders for food security purposes by the Nigerian government. Also, the World Bank, Central Bank, and other governmental bodies are beginning to boost the agricultural industry by providing support to smallholder rice farmers in varying degrees.
As a result, the agribusiness narrative is changing and rice farming is becoming more and more profitable for rice farmers.
Do you want to join the league of entrepreneurs who are creating a positive economic impact by embracing rice farming? If your answer is yes, then stay with us as we are about to show you how to start a profitable rice farming business.
Watch the full video on how to start the rice farming business here. Also, subscribe to our channel to get more business ideas and insights.
Rice farming like other kinds of agricultural business is capital intensive but lucrative. 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.
The farming process takes about four months between planting and harvesting. You need a large expanse of land, equipment, packaging materials, storage space, labour, transportation, etc. to start your rice farm.
Although rice farming has its challenges besides being capital intensive and demanding a large workforce, it’s still a very lucrative business to venture into by an aspiring entrepreneur.
To start your rice farming business, you need to follow the steps below:
Create A Business Plan
Rice farming requires adequate planning and conducting feasibility study. One of the ways to ensure that you consider every aspect of the business is by drafting a business plan.
The business plan will serve as a guide on the steps to take to make the vision achievable. While preparing your business plan, you will take into account important elements of the business such as location, marketing, funding, etc. The business plan is a breathing document that can be updated at any time as the business grows.
In addition, with a well-written business plan, you can access loans from financial institutions or seek funding from investors.
Register Your Business
After creating a business plan, the next step is to register your business. In rice farming, aside registering with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), you will need to register with agencies like the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), e.t.c
The Corporate Affairs Commission is responsible for registering businesses in Nigeria. There are different business structures to choose from and there are different factors that will influence the type of business structure you choose.
You can go directly to the CAC website and register your business or let firms like ReDahlia handle your business registration seamlessly for you. ReDahlia is a solution center for the entrepreneur and is widely known for providing business solutions to business owners.
To get your NAFDAC registration, visit the official website of NAFDAC to start and complete the process.
Rice farming is capital intensive as we mentioned and requires huge investment in terms of human resources and finance. If you don’t have enough funds to start this business, you can approach investors or meet with partners who have the same vision as you do.
Also, as part of the Nigerian government’s effort to boost the food supply for her citizens, funding is readily available for agricultural businesses. Therefore, you can access government grants or loans at low-interest rates from commercial or microfinance banks.
Furthermore, there are other benefits and supports asides from money available for agric focused businesses like tech support. To access these opportunities, you need a well-written business plan
If your funding is secured or you have the requisite capital to start this business, you are on your way to becoming a bonafide rice farmer in Nigeria.
Step By Steps Plan On Rice Farming Business
Step 1 – Choose A Quality Seed
The first essential step to rice production is seed selection. There are different varieties of rice seeds suited for various ecologies such as lowland, upland, deep water, mangrove swamp, etc.
A good rice seed is resistant to disease and yield much grain during harvest.
Therefore, you need to choose a quality seed suitable for the environment it will be grown.
Step 2 – Choose The Right Land
After choosing the seed to plant, the next is to choose a suitable land area. Rice requires slightly more water to produce than other grains. Therefore, it is advisable to choose lands with water retention capacities, such as swampy (clay), or loamy soil that contains organic matter.
Rice can be grown in different environments as long as there is water. But, it’s advisable to plant in ecological areas where rice is traditionally grown such as Kebbi, Benue, Ekiti, Jigawa, Ogun, Kaduna, Kano, and other states known for rice production in Nigeria.
Step 3 – Land Preparation
For rice farming, land preparation needs to be done to put the soil in the best condition for the best yield. It involves plowing and harrowing to till and level the soil.
You can till with a hoe, tractor, or other machinery. This will allow the seeds to be planted at the right depth and help with weed control. Land leveling is also important and should be done as it will help the seedling become more established and reduce erosion.
The land for rice farming is better prepared from November to February when the rainy season is over. As the rainy season approaches, the land would have been ready for planting. However, if your land is in the savannah region, your land preparation can start in February.
Step 4 – Choose A Planting Method
After the land has been prepared, the next step is to plant the seed. This planting can be done in two ways; direct seeding and use of nursery and subsequently transplanted.
Direct seeding involves dibbing or broadcasting dry seed or pre-germinated seeds by hand or by machine. In rainfed and deep-water ecosystems, dry seed is manually broadcast unto the soil surface and then incorporated either by ploughing or harrowing while the sun is still dry.
While, in irrigated areas, seeds are normally pre-germinated prior to broadcasting.
With direct seeding, weeds can begin to affect the plant at the early stage, but with the use of herbicides, they can be controlled.
When the seedlings are raised in the nursery, they are transferred from seedbed to the wet field. It requires less seed and is an effective method to control weeds. Seedlings can be transplanted by machine or hand and it’s the most popular technique across Asia.
Step 5 – Water Management
Rice is highly sensitive to water shortages and the process of water maintenance differs from one ecological area to another. Therefore, you need to maintain the water level in the field up to 5cm one week after transplanting until grain matures.
Step 6 – Apply Fertilizer
There are different fertilizers that can be applied at different stages of the growth of the rice. This means you need to apply specific nutrients at different times.
You need to speak to a pedologist to advise you on the right organic fertilizer to use, the right quantity and the right time to use them to ensure you have the best yield.
Step 7 – Control Weed And Pest
Weed, pests, viruses are enemies to rice plants and can reduce the yield or value of the crop. Climatic factors, improper irrigation, overuse of insecticides, weather condition and high rates of nitrogen fertilizer application exposes rice plant to diseases. So the sooner you begin to treat the plant and fight these elements, the best for you.
Weeds can be managed through hand weeding or herbicides application. Pests like termites, armyworms, insects, nematodes, rodents, birds, pathogens, e.t.c can be managed by using chemical controls.
Step 8 – Harvest And Thresh
Depending on the seed variety, rice crops can be harvested after about 105 – 150 days of planting, about the time when the plants are already turning yellow/brown. It involves cutting, stacking, handling, threshing, cleaning, and hauling. harvesting can be done manually or mechanically.
Manual harvesting involves cutting the rice crop with sickles and knives, while mechanical harvesting involves using reapers to cut down the rice. Thereafter, you begin to thresh.
Threshing involves separating the paddy grain from the rest of the crop on a mat or tarpaulin. It should be done either immediately or within a day or two after harvesting.
Also, after harvesting, you can plant leguminous crops like beans, chickpeas, lentils, soya e.t.c in the farm, This will serve as organic matters and help to maintain the soil nutrients for another planting season.
After threshing, cleaning, and hauling, the next step is to field dry the paddy and then mill.
First, paddy is dried to bring down the moisture content to no more than 30% for milling. You can manually dry paddy by spreading them on a clean concrete floor, mat, or tarpaulin, while they sun dry for 1-3 days manually. After drying, you then mill.
Milling is a crucial step in the post-production of rice. It is done to remove the husk and the bran layers to produce an edible white rice kernel. A good mill can achieve a paddy-to-rice conversion rate of up to 72% but smaller, inefficient mills often struggle to achieve 60%. Also, there should be a minimum number of broken kernels in the conversion process.
If you successfully follow the above process, you will have rice grains ready to be sold. The next step is to package your rice for sale and consumption.
In packaging, ensure to have your logo, farm address, name, and other identification numbers branded on the packaging sacks. It’s expected that during the business plan stage, you already know who your target market is. It’s actually nice to have a ready market; people ready to purchase your rice before starting the planting process.
To market your rice, you can create a website and social media pages where your farming activities can be showcased and orders booked. Also, you can invest in radio, television, and billboard advert to create awareness.
Most importantly, if you produce quality rice, free of weevil and other kinds of ants, people will patronise you willingly and this will reduce your marketing cost and increase your profit.
Just like every other agricultural business, rice farming is a profitable agribusiness to venture into. Although it can be time-consuming, capital intensive, and require expertise, it is a good business area to invest in especially with its local demand and very high export potential.
Are you currently dealing in rice farming business, and will like to share how you started? OR Are you an aspiring rice farmer in need of guidance? We will like to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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