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Imota rice mill ready by end of 2020 – LASG

The Lagos State Government, says its multi-billion Naira 32-metric tonnes per hour rice mill at Imota, will be completed and delivered on or before the end of the year.

The state’s Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Gbolahan Lawal disclosed this on Sunday, while highlighting activities to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration.

Lawal said that the rice mill had attained 80 per cent completion level compared to 35 per cent when the administration assumed office in May 2019.

According to the commissioner, the mill when operational will ensure a steady supply of freshly processed rice of about 2.4 million bags of 50kg per annum to Lagosians, in addition to over 250,000 jobs to be created in both the upstream and downstream sectors of the rice value chain.

Lawal said that effective efforts had been put into backward integration along the rice value chain to ensure an adequate supply of paddy to the mill for smooth operations.

He said that the backward integration included the identification of farmers’ groups in conjunction with other states to cultivate the required amount of paddy and the provision of inputs such as seeds, fertiliser and irrigation facilities were applicable to the farmers.

“To meet the paddy requirement of the mill, we have undertaken a backward integration in the form of collaboration with other states like Southwestern states, Kwara, Sokoto, Benue, Borno and Kebbi.

“This will be done leveraging on the Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with the rice mill as the off-taker of the products,” Lawal said.

The commissioner explained that the Agriculture-based Youth Empowerment Scheme (Agric-YES) had been revamped within the past one year in such way that a total of 15,000 youth and women would be trained and empowered.

He said beneficiaries would be trained in the various agricultural value chain such as poultry, aquaculture, rice, piggery and vegetable production by the year 2023.

“The Agric-YES is an initiative of the Lagos state government which targets to encourage youth and women who are interested in agriculture to embrace the sector.

“One of its major objectives is to achieve a significant reduction in unemployment, create more jobs and wealth, and significantly enhance food security in Lagos state by the year 2023.

“It also seeks to promote the state’s target of producing at least 25 per cent of the food consumed by residents of the state before the end of the year 2025,” the commissioner said.

Lawal said the need to meet the challenges of upscaling food production in the state made the ministry to treat agriculture as both a business and development platforms by using strategic partners to stimulate investment in the state.

“The increasing population of the state put pressure on the state’s food security, supply mechanism and available infrastructure, hence the need to prepare adequately to meet the challenges to upscale food production cannot be over emphasised.

“The ministry has, therefore, treated agriculture as both a business and development platforms with a plan to using strategic partners to stimulate investment in the state,” he said.

The commissioner explained that his ministry’s roles in the (T.H.E.M.E.S) developmental agenda are to ensure food security and improved nutrition for Lagosians; wealth and employment generation with inclusive participation of youth and women.

He listed other roles to create an enabling environment for private sector investment and institution of policies that supported sustainable agri-business practices.

“It is important to reiterate that the vision of making Lagos a 21st century economy through Agri-business transformation would result in the attainment of four goals.

“To contribute to job and wealth creation by training 15,000 people, ensure food security and improved nutrition, move to the top of the key agricultural value chain and increase Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for the state government,” Lawal added.

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