Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal has assured that the State Government-owned Integrated Rice Mill at Imota, a suburb in Lagos, will be completed within the next seven months.
Lawal disclosed this today during his facility tour of the Rice Mill to assess the progress of work being done and expressed satisfaction with the stage of work done so far.
He added that the Imota Rice Mill upon completion would not only ensure that people eat nutritious rice but it will also create jobs and wealth for the people as well as enhance the supply value chain.
The Commissioner, who was accompanied on the inspection tour by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Olayiwole Onasanya as well as other top officials of the Ministry, noted that the 32 metric-tonnes capacity mill is the biggest in Nigeria and indeed West Africa.
He recalled that Governor Sanwo-Olu had during the electioneering campaign promised to continue with projects left by his predecessor, adding that the visit of the Governor to the Imota Mill as soon as he assumed office was indeed a demonstration and commitment of the State Government to the completion of the project.
Lawal noted that even though the 32 metric-tonnes Mill should be able to cater to the rice needs of a substantial percentage of Lagosians, it is a far cry from the rice needs of the people.
He attributed his position to the fact that the rice consumption rate of an average person in this part of the world hovers between 32 and 40 kilograms, thus necessitating the State Government’s collaborating with the South West and the Northern States as well as the Rice Farmers Association (REFAN) for the acquisition of rice paddy.
While reiterating the commitment of the State Government to put effect to the Federal Government policy on rice importation, the Commissioner explained that the State Government is already in discussion with other States who have promised to make available about 72,000 hectares of land in their States for rice cultivation.
“The 2017/2018 report from the Rice Farmers Association (REFAN) shows that they have the capacity to produce 10 million tonnes of rice but as at today only two million is being utilised with 30 Integrated rice mills that are available currently, leaving a shortfall of 8 million; but going forward l see opportunities, I see jobs, I see wealth being created and see better nutrition,” the Commissioner opined.
Lawal explained that the World Bank is also supporting the State Government with focus on the Value chain (rice, poultry, piggery and aquaculture), adding that there is need to enhance the capacity of the rice farmers and the entire value chain.
Earlier, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, stressed the need for the State to follow the examples of some countries such as China, Thailand and Vietnam in generating a lot of revenue from rice production in addition to ensuring food security for the State in particular and Nigeria in general.
The integrated rice mill at Imota is a 22-hectare facility with the rice mill taking about 8.5 hectares and consists of a complete set of new mills, two warehouses, 16 silos with a storage capacity of 40 metric tons each, water treatment plant, effluent processing plant, staff quarters, administrative block, car park and firefighting facility amongst others.