Lagos set to produce 2.5 million 50kg bags of rice annually

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IBRAHIM QUADRI

Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal said on Thursday the Imota Rice in Ikorodu area of the State will provide over 250,000 jobs, noting when fully operational it would provide 2.4 million bags of 50kg of processed rice annually.

The Commissioner stated this during the ministerial press briefing to mark one year in office of the State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu at JJT Park, Alausa Ikeja.

According to him, “The mill has attained 80% completion level compared to the 35% completion level it was in May 2019.

“When operational, the Mill will ensure a steady supply of freshly processed rice of about 2.4m bags of 50kg per annum to Lagosians in addition to over 250,000 jobs that would be created in both the upstream and downstream sectors of the Rice Value Chain.

He recalled that, “The Rice Value Chain Development initiative in the State dates back to Year 2009 with the introduction of the Rice for job programme which was to encourage youth’s involvement in Rice production in the State.

“To process the products from these youths, two cottage mills were established at Itoikin-Epe and Itoga -Badagry.  The expansion of this initiative led to the establishment of a 2.5tons per hour Rice Mill at Imota.

“This initiative is to enhance food security in the State by ensuring supply of quality and nutritious Rice in the State.

“In order to ensure that the Mill work effectively, the State collaborated with Kebbi State in the area of Paddy Supply. Lagos State in its quest for food security later went into partnership with Kebbi State government with intent to boost rice production. Lagos has the population, the purchasing power, processing plant as well as manpower to translate whatever amount of rice paddy that is produced from Kebbi State to finished consumable products of international standard.

“The partnership thrives on pragmatic use of existing resources for the common good of the citizenry. The two States made strict use of their areas of comparative advantage to realize the production of the Lake Rice.”

The Commissioner explained that “Lagos State consumes 3 million metric tonnes out of the 5 million Metric Tonnes consumed in Nigeria.

“The resultant effect of this was the massive flooding of the State with uncertified rice whose cost rose to N28,000 per bag in 2016.  These products most times have been preserved for more than ten years before it gets to Lagos Market, and as such are not rich in nutrients. The intervention of Lake Rice in the market reduced the price of rice to between N16,000-N18,000 during the period of sales.

“The scenarios above formed the basis for the partnership agreement that was signed on 23rd March, 2016 by both States. This collaboration brought about the production of Lake Rice launched on 21st December, 2016.

To ensure that the product gets to the target beneficiaries, various distribution channels are used which include sales points at various centers and Local Governments & LCDAs,” he added.

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