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President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday commissioned a 90-ton-per-day large-scale integrated rice mill in Sheda in Kwali Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

This is just as the President said that the country has adequate raw materials for domestic rice production as paddy yield per hectare has significantly increased within the last eight years.

The mill is one of the 10 Integrated Rice Mills in the six geopolitical zones that the president approved under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model based on the Build, Operate, and Own.

Buhari noted that the mill concept is a PPP arrangement between the government and the anchor investors to increase the country’s processing capacity for rice production and fill up the demand-supply gap making the country self-sufficient in the commodity value chain.

Represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, President Buhari said the country has witnessed a rapid increase in domestic rice production from the incentive given to farmers and processors over the past eight years.

This, according to him was achieved through the resolution of leveraging potentials in producing what the country consumes.

“In the agricultural sector, we indeed have the capacity to be food secure if we rightly harness and deploy our human and material resources.

“Paddy yield per hectare has significantly increased to the extent of being adequate in the raw material production.

“It shows the result of determination for backward integration and economic diversification within the ambit of comparative advantage of natural resource utilisation.

“A responsibility is to always use PPP arrangement to establish more integrated medium and large scale processing mills to reduce post-harvest losses, widen the derivate products of agricultural commodities and reduce food importation,” the President said.

Also, the Minister of State for Agriculture, Mustapha Baba Shehuri, noted that the project is part of the efforts of the government to achieve food security and eliminate the importation of rice.

He said Nigeria has the capacity to produce rice locally and create employment in the agribusiness sector.

The Minister, however, noted that the ministry will continue to ensure that the project is well managed.

“It is part of Mr. President’s legacy and we will ensure that the products are of high quality, meet the consumers’ expectations, and are safe for consumption”, the minister said.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr Ernest Umakhihe on his part, stated that the rice business is lucrative to farmers and connected entrepreneurs.

He added that the cultivation of the crop requires a dedicated agronomy practice and climate conditions, and the paddy materials need immediate off-take to process it into the desired grain.

The Permanent Secretary further said the establishment of the large scale integrated rice mills has been a commitment since the year 2018, and together with the parties involved, the Ministry will ensure their full completion and operation for rice production in Nigeria.


By oyonews

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