February 14, 2018
Towards Nigeria's self-sufficiency in rice production, in addition to the quantity, Nigerian government has made efforts for producing quality paddy. As one of these efforts, Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) has drafted and published a paddy grading standard in October 2017. Since 2014, Japan International Organization Agency (JICA) and Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) have contributed to its drafting process. Paddy grading manual developed by JICA with FMARD is designated as the standard grading method in the SON's standard.
Development of Paddy Grading Standard and its importance
Towards Nigeria's goal of self-sufficiency in rice production, cultivating sufficient quantity of paddy is of utmost importance. In addition, it is also important that Nigerian farmers produce quality paddy products that can compete against the imported rice. Development of the grading standard by SON is thus critical for achieving this goal. Since 2014, JICA and FMARD have contributed to development of this standard.
In addition to the grading standard itself, development of a standardized grading method is critical, in order to ensure that the paddies of same quality would be graded as same grade even if it is graded in a different mill. Therefore, JICA in collaboration with FMARD developed the paddy grading manual. The first work was to study paddy grading methods in Integrated Rice Mills (IRMs) with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in December 2014. In February 2016, JICA conducted further study on these methods. Taking into account results of the studies and references, through consultation with SON and IRMs, FMARD and JICA developed a manual on paddy grading. In addition, JICA and FMARD also developed the farmer friendly paddy quality checking manual to enable farmers to check the quality of their paddy by themselves.
While developing the standard and the manuals, JICA, SON and FMARD convened several workshops in December 2015, February and March 2016 to sensitize stakeholders on importance of standard and standardization of the grading method. JICA has also alarmed stakeholders such as IRMs, Rice Farmers, Paddy Traders and other development partners, since out-of-grade paddy could no longer be officially traded once this standard comes into force.
The paddy grading standard and grading/quality checking manuals were adopted by SON's technical committee in February 2017. Subsequently, JICA set up a briefing meeting for various stakeholders to enlighten them about the standard.
At last, the paddy grading standard was published in October 2017 and the grading method in the paddy grading manual is mentioned in the document as the standard grading method. The grading standard can be obtained from SON Headquarter Library, while the manuals can be downloaded from the following URL. We hope that Nigerian farmers produce quality paddy products utilizing the standard and manuals.