NIGERIA – The Imota Rice Mill, touted by the Lagos State Government, as one of the largest mills of its kind in the world, is now expected to be ready before the end of the first quarter of next year.

While delivering news on progress of the mill’s construction, Lagos State’s Commissioner of Agriculture Ms Abisola Olusanya said that the rice mill was currently at 85% completion level.

On completion, in line with the estimated installed infrastructure of the facility will have capacity of processing more than 2.5 million, 50 Kg rice bags annually.

It also expected to create close to 250,000 jobs both the upstream and downstream sectors of the rice value chain.

While speaking at a Webinar on “Lagos State 2021 Budget Review Session,” Ms Olusanya said that the move to fast-track construction works at the mill was driven by the need to ensure food security in the state and across the nation.

Developing the mill is however one step towards achieving self-sufficiency in rice production, growing the rice is another critical step that the state needs to address.

According to Mr Segun Atho, Deputy National President, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Lagos has the potential to achieve self-sufficiency when it comes to rice production.

“We have almost 114,000 hectares of land earmarked for agriculture in Lagos, if at least 10 to 15 per cent is open to rice cultivation, I believe that the sky is our limit,”Atho said.

He further noted that the state had a lot of resources at its disposal including underground water, lagoon water, swamp water, and rainwater which could all be harnessed to ensure rice was grown in the state all year round.

He however notes that work has already began in earnest in the state adding that, “by the time the rice mill at Imota is completed, we will support the working capacity of the mill to the fullest”

Atho further noted that to realise the dream of self-sufficiency, the government needed to support rice farmers through provision of storage facilities, and equipment, such as bulldozers and planters which are necessary for optimum rice production.

Back at the Imota Rice Facility, Ms. Olusanya notes that the facility will help to create wealth across the Agricultural value chain, from the input supply to the paddy aggregation process, storage and warehousing, processing, distribution and then final consumption.

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