Minister of Agriculture

  • True! Nigeria is the largest producer of rice in Africa, 14th in global ranking

    Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture claimed Nigeria is the largest producer of rice in Africa, ranking 14th in the world.

    True. The Minister was right with his comment that Nigeria is the largest producer of rice in Africa. Data sourced from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and United States Department of Agriculture confirm the minister’s claim.

    Full Text

    On Monday 17th August, 2020, in a report in one of Vision FM’s Flagship Programme in Hausa, Taskar Vision, the Minister of Agriculture, Sabo Nanono, said Nigeria is ranked 13th in the production of rice in the World, and the 1st in Africa.

    In the Current Affairs programme aired in all Vision FM Stations in seven (7) Northern states (Abuja, Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi, Kano, Kaduna and Gombe), the minister said in Hausa, “We are currently the 13th position in Rice production in the World. In Africa we are the 1st.”

    The Minister was answering questions as to whether or not there will be a food crisis in Nigeria due to COVID-19 Pandemic.

    Nanono continued “With what we are seeing, God willing, we won’t experience food shortage like people are expecting.”

    “Rainy season is here and people are farming more than they used to. I’m not ruling out that there is no insecurity. But that won’t stop people from farming” he said.

    Food Crisis

    In July this year, the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Gutteres, said the world stands at the brink of suffering a food crisis the globe has not experienced in the past 50 years.

    “Unless immediate action is taken, it is increasingly clear that there is an impending global food emergency that could have long-term impacts on hundreds of millions of children and adults,” Angonio Gutteres said. 

    He added: “We need to act now to avoid the worst impacts of our efforts to control the pandemic.”

    According to the UN, about 820million people are already going hungry, saying the number will definitely rise.

    “Our food systems are failing, and the COVID-19 pandemic is making things worse,” he said.


    Nigeria is estimated to produce 8 million tonnes of rice in 2020, according to an estimate by the United States Department of Agriculture.

    Nigeria’s rice produce has continued to rise since 2014 at 6million tonnes and 2015 6.2million tonnes. It peaked in 2016 at 7.5million tonnes but dropped to 6.6million tonnes in 2017, before rising again to 6.8million tonnes in 2018, data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) revealed.

    The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) source data largely from member countries and based on imputation methodology.

    In 2014, Nigeria overtook Egypt to become Africa’s Largest Producer of rice when production reached 6million tonnes from 4.8million tonnes in 2013, according to Index Mundi which sourced it information from the United States Department of Agriculture.

    Media Bias/Fact Check, a media bias resource, ranked IndexMundi ‘High’ in Factual Reporting.

    Not all Rosy — Nigeria still import rice

    Nigeria only produces 55% of its rice consumption, according to the Rice Industry Review. 

    In 2019, Nigeria produced 8 million metric tonnes of rice, puting the country among the top 20 producers of rice in the world, according to Data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

    Although Nigeria has been the largest producer of rice in Africa since it overtook Egypt in 2014, Nigeria is still the 4th Largest Importer of Rice, estimated to import 1.4 million tonnes in 2020, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

    Nigeria still maintains the first place in Africa with Egypt and Madagascar following closely in the second and third place respectively.

    However, despite Nigeria being one of the largest producers of rice in the world, it is still among the largest importers, like China which is the largest producer in the world and one of the largest importers of rice.


    The Minister was right with his comment that Nigeria is the largest producer of rice in Africa. Data sourced from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and United States Department of Agriculture confirm the minister’s claim.

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship partnership with Vision FM to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country. 

  • Is Nigeria Producing Enough Food to Satisfy Her Citizenry?

    Full Text: 

    On October 14, the Minister for Agriculture, Sabo Nanono addressed journalists in an event celebrating the international World Food Day. But, it was a particular comment from the minister that made headlines! He said that there is no hunger in the country but inconveniences

    “I think we are producing enough food to feed ourselves and I think there is no hunger but if you say inconveniences I would agree. There is no hunger in the country and when people talk about hunger, I just laugh because they do not know hunger.
    Food in Nigeria is fairly cheap compared to other countries. In Kano, for instance, you can eat N30 worth of food and be satisfied. So, we should be thankful that we can feed ourselves and we have relatively cheap food in this country.”

    Alhaji Sabo Nanono- Minister of Agriculture

    Red flags 

    We acknowledge the fact that this claim alludes to a simple true or false verdict; but, these matters are a tad more complex. What do we mean? Saying “there is no hunger in the country” is not a quantifiable statement. This is because no metric was used. An authority cannot simply make such statements (opinion or fact) with zero evidence. Conversely, one cannot say there is hunger based on common rhetoric. Hence, we look at the facts!

    What is Hunger?

    When you talk about hunger on a national scale, there are few succinct details to note- other than just an achy belly. The Food and Agriculture Organisation, explains it as relating to food security and food insecurity. Food security is essentially having the economic and financial means to satisfy ones dietary requirements per time; the opposite applies to food insecurity. 

    How do you measure hunger nationally, or globally?

    Early on, we established that the Minister did not reference any evidence in making his assertion. This brings us to the question of how you measure global hunger… There are a few initiatives available; one of which is the Global Hunger Index (GHI). 

    GHI is a tool used to measure, track and raise awareness and understanding about hunger across global, regional and national levels. Recently, it ranked Nigeria – 93 out of 117 – with a score of 27.9; meaning the country is in serious hunger. 

    Additionally, the Global Food Security (GFS) Index prepared by The Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Nigeria 96 in the world with an overall score of 38.0. It also ranked Nigeria – 14 – in sub-Saharan Africa. 

    The Global Food Security Index uses the following parameters of assessment:
    1. Physical availability of food
    2. Economic and physical access to food i.e. affordability
    3. Food utilization or quality and control i.e. nutritional value
    4. The stability of all the three other factors over time.

    The GFS index scored Nigeria’s Food availability, Affordability and Quality and Control – 44.4, 26.5 and 49.4 respectively. When you compare this below-average rating against the Minister’s bold statement that Nigeria is producing enough food, it does not add up. Or even the fact that he said “food is fairly cheap”- the affordability score begs to differ! This essentially shows that the country is not food secure.

    The Country’s performance over a seven-year trend from 2012- 2018 tells a shaky story. From 2012-2013, it was on a decline. 2014-2016 were good times- as the index celebrated some increment. However, this came to a halt the following years- 2017 and 2018. 

    Researchers- Saheed Matemilola and Isa Elegbede- from the Brandenburg University of Technology, Germany outlined some of the challenges of food security in Nigeria. The publication took cognizance of the following factors:

    • Inefficient Policies and Corruption
    • Insufficient Production of food supplies 
    • Gender inequalities
    • Conflicts and Civil Insecurity
    • Low Technology for Processing and Storage 
    • Climate Change Natural Disasters.

    All these challenges cannot be put in the bracket of inconveniences as suggested by the minister.

    Bringing it home: what prices are obtainable locally?

    To understand the prices of commodities natively, we referred to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics. Our search was narrowed down to the October 2019 release of the selected food price watch. Findings revealed that there is no commodity that can be bought for N30; although, we found the average price of an egg in Kano to be N38.62. 

    Let’s bear in mind the yet-to-be-implemented national minimum wage of N30,000. Said salary gets an earner approximately N1000 per day; part of said money attributed to feeding and domestic expenditure. Whilst keeping that in mind, we recall the “N30 worth of food and being satisfied comment”. Now, we investigate. Is there really a meal out there worth N30- and filling? Perhaps sachet water- N10- and probably roadside snacks like biscuits, bean cake or fried yam- N20. Anything else, findings show is above N30.

    Here is an abridged version of the Selected Food Price Watch for October 2019

    Commodity (1kg)Average National Price (N)State with the Lowest Price (N)State with the Highest Price(N)Kano Price  (N)
    Rice (Local)303.69Gombe (226.88)Bayelsa (437.78)300.83
    Rice (High-Quality Imported)382.57Niger (307.21)Bayelsa (559.21)365.85
    Yam Tuber179.75Kwara (101.87)Bayelsa (329.45)365.85
    Sweet Potato138.46Gombe (90)Akwa Ibom (208.1)154.40
    Garri White162.42Akwa Ibom (106.15)Bayelsa (259.02)130.49
    Garri Yellow175.57Akwa Ibom (107.1)Bayelsa (276.29)137.53
    Bread (500g) Unsliced278.66Katsina (216.15)Bayelsa (412.5)240.91
    Beans (Brown)308.93Adamawa (226.03)Ebonyi (539.59)238.93
    Beans (White)292.00Kano (182.7)Ebonyi (500.78)182.70
    Palm Oil (one Bottle)464.70Kwara (395.56)Kogi (602.22)452.31
    Groundnut Oil (One Bottle)562.59Kebbi (429.74)Cross River (837.78)558.89
    Plantain (ripe)208.69Katsina (137.5)Borno (295.39)200.00
    Plantain (Unripe)200.11Sokoto (133.34)Borno (283.33)200.30
    Agric Egg (one Piece)40.51Jigawa (37.19)Edo (49.62)38.62
    While we usually do not fact-check opinions, the exception made was predicated on the nature of the assertion. For such an authority to make a claim- fact or opinion, it still carries a certain amount of sway consequent on their status; thus buttressing the need for this fact-check. 
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