The Federal Government has commended the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) over the completion of rice mill in Elele-Alimini, Emuoha Local Government Area of Rivers.
The Minister of State for Agriculture, Mr. Heineken Lokpobiri, made the commendation during a meeting with NDDC and the Elephant Group in Port Harcourt on Monday.
He expressed optimism that the mill would ensure food sufficiency in the country in addition to creating thousands of jobs for youths in the Niger Delta region.
According to him, the rice mill project is part of the Federal Government’s drive to ensure food security and end rice importation within the shortest possible time.
“Before the Buhari-led administration took office; the Federal Government spent five million dollars daily on rice importation to the country.
“NDDC has over the years started building a rice mill which has not been put to use,’’ he said.’
He explained that the government embarked on the project is because the region had potential to grow rice in commercial quantity even without fertilizer.
“The Federal Government believes that the time has come for the country to use the rice mill NDDC has built to create employment and guarantee food security for the masses.
“The Federal Government wants to make the nation to be self- sufficient in rice production at least by the year 2018,” he said.
Lokpobiri said that Elephant Group, an indigenous company, would manage the rice mill and employ thousands of workers at the facility.
He called on state governments and stakeholders to key into the Federal Government’s drive to ensure rice sufficiency in the country.
The Managing Director of NDDC, Mr Nsima Ekere, said that the commission spent N1.5 billion on the rice mills in Rivers and Akwa Ibom states.
He said that facilities, completed 10 years ago, were left to rot by previous governing boards and management of the commission.