Lagos State Government has said that the multi-billion Naira, 32 Metric-Ton-per hour Rice Mill at Imota will be delivered on or before the end of this year.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, who disclosed this recently at the Y2020 Ministerial Press Briefing organised to commemorate the one year anniversary of the State Government, explained that the Rice Mill has attained 80% completion level compared to 35% when the administration came in May last year.
The Commissioner explained that the Mill, when operational, would ensure a steady supply of about 2.4 million freshly processed 50kg bags of rice per annum, in addition to over 250,000 jobs that would be created in both the upstream and downstream sectors of the Rice Value Chain.
Lawal noted that efforts have been put into backward integration along the Rice Value Chain to ensure an adequate supply of Paddy to the Mill for smooth operations, stressing that the integration includes the identification of farmers’ groups, in conjunction with other States, to cultivate the required amount of paddy as well as the provision of inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and irrigation facilities, where applicable, to the farmers.
In his words “To meet the Paddy requirement of the Mill, we have undertaken a backward integration in the form of collaboration with other States like South-Western States, Kwara, Sokoto, Benue, Borno and Kebbi. This will be done leveraging on the Anchor Borrower Scheme of the Central Bank with the Rice Mill as the off-taker of the products”, Lawal averred.
The Commissioner disclosed that the Agricultural Youth Empowerment Scheme (Agric-YES) has been revamped within the last one-year in such way that a total of 15,000 women and youths would be trained and empowered in the various Agricultural Value Chains especially poultry, aquaculture, rice, piggery and vegetable production by the year 2023.
“One of its major objectives is to achieve a significant reduction in unemployment, create more jobs and wealth and significantly enhance food security in Lagos State by the year 2023. It also seeks to promote the State’s target of producing at least 25% of the food consumed by residents of the State before the end of year 2025″, he added.
Lawal noted that the need to meet the challenges of upscaling food production in the State made the Ministry treat agriculture as both a business and development platforms by using strategic partners to stimulate investment in the State.
“The increasing population in Lagos has put pressure on the State’s food security, supply mechanism and available infrastructure, hence the need to prepare adequately to meet the challenges of upscaling food production cannot be over-emphasised. The Ministry has, therefore, treated agriculture as both a business and development platforms with a plan to use strategic partners to stimulate investment”, he said.
The Commissioner explained that the Ministry’s roles in the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda are to ensure food security and improved nutrition for Lagosians; wealth and employment generation with inclusive participation of youth and women; creating an enabling environment for private sector investment; and institution of policies that support sustainable agri-business practices.