The Lagos State Government on Tuesday said it had started constructing Nigeria’s biggest rice mill, which it said, has a capacity to produce at least 16 metric tonnes per hour and 10,000 metric tonnes per annum.
When completed by December this year, the state government said the rice mill would significantly help the state to actualise its strategic food security plan, which he said, was designed to end hunger.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Oluwatoyin Suarau, disclosed this at a news conference he addressed at Alausa yesterday alongside his information and strategy counterpart, Mr. Steve Ayorinde and the Special Adviser on Food Security,Mr. Ganiyu Sanni-Okanlawon.
Suarau said the administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode had awarded the contract for the construction of the rice mill with the capacity to 16 metric tonnes per hour, though acknowledged that the state currently had the capacity to produce 2.5 metric tonnes.
He explained that the new rice mill was part of the government’s plan to increase food supply; end the vicious trend of food shortage and equally ensure food security across the state.
He said the state government “is vigorously implementing its Strategic Food Security Plan with programmes and projects that have remarkable impact on food security in the state.”
He added that the collaboration between Lagos and Kebbi States on the development of commodities such as rice, wheat, ground-nut, onions, maize, sorghum and beef “has yielded positive fruits with the launch of LAKE Rice on December 21, 2016.
Since it rolled out LAKE Rice December 2016, the commissioner said the product “has since the launch being on sales at various centres across the State. So far, a total of 32,647 bags of 50kg; 32,539 bags of 25kg and 30,780 bags of 10kg have been sold.”
He said no fewer than 100 farmers through the FADAMA III additional financing programme are producing rice at Itokin in Epe Local Government in furtherance of the state government’s effort to engage youths and boost rice production in the state.
“In all, rice cultivation has so far improved in the state from less than one ton per hectare to about three tons per hectare with double cropping in some areas where irrigation facilities are provided.”
He, therefore, explained different programmes the Ambode administration had initiated to ensure food security in the state, saying food security “is in the front burner of the administration policies to facilitate job and wealth creation as well as poverty reduction.”
He named some of the state’s food security programmes “to include Agric Youth Empowerment Scheme (Agric-YES) and the establishment of infrastructural facilities at Songhai-Avia, Badagry under the Agricultural Youth Empowerment Scheme.
“We have intensified efforts to establish additional farm estates in Eluju-Mowo and Igbodu respectively to foster public-private partnership arrangement. Also we are making efforts to set up a cattle fattening estate in Imota through a public-private partnership.”