A recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on rice production in Nigeria has described the country’s mechanisation process for the production of the cereal crop as low.

PricewaterhouseCoopers made the observation in the report titled “Boosting Rice Production through Increased Mechanisation’’, a copy of which was e-mailed to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday.

It said that the number of agricultural tractors in the country was about 22,000, relative to one million tractors in China and 2.5 million tractors in India.

“Low income, limited access to affordable financing and the lack of technical skills have limited the adoption of mechanisation across the rice value chain,’’ it said.

The report stressed that for agriculture to be fully developed in Nigeria and for the country to attain sufficiency in rice production; efforts must be made to revamp the country’s system of production with improved mechanised processes.

It said that if tangible efforts were made to increase the mechanisation rate in Nigeria from 0.3hp/ha to 0.8hp/ha in the next five years, rice production in the country could be doubled to 7.2 million tonnes.

“To achieve this, we estimate that Nigeria will need to at least triple its current stock of machinery over the same period.

“In addition to raising production, adequately increasing mechanisation has the capacity to raise yields, increase labour productivity, reduce post-harvest losses, increase income generated by farmers and deepen import substitution,’’ it said.

The report urged the Federal Government to address challenges facing land tenure and ownership in the country, while providing rural infrastructure, extension services and ensuring availability of incentives to all investors.

It identified rice as one of the most consumed staples in Nigeria, with consumption per capita of 32kg.

“Given the importance of rice as a staple food in Nigeria, boosting its production has been accorded high priority by the government in the past seven years.

“Significant progress has been recorded in rice production in Nigeria, as it has reached a peak of 3.7 million tonnes in 2017,’’ the report added.