Lagos- Lagos state government has disclosed that the 32 metric tons per hour Imota rice mill which is nearing completion has so far gulp N20billion out of the N25billion initially estimated.
Abisola Olusanya, Lagos state commissioner for Agriculture stated this on Thursday while addressing newsmen at the ministerial briefing to mark the second anniversary of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration in office, in Alausa.
She said the rice mill is world class and the first of its kind.
“When you move across the states like Kebbi, Kano which also have state of the art mills and when you come to Imota rice mill you will see that Imota rice is a world class on its own.
“Been the third largest of its kind in the world, we want to deliver value and we also want to make sure we have the best processing facilities such as to be able to meet the demands of our people,” she said.
“What has been spent so far from inception till date is N20billion, what was estimated was N25billion but looking at the exchange rate which is almost N500 per dollar now obviously the cost of putting up that mill will be reviewed upward,” she said.
Olusanya while speaking on the partnership between Lagos and Kebbi, she said it is still intact.
“With regards to the contract with Kebbi which is LAKE rice which is for us as a state to be able to have access to rice, Kebbi is the number one producer of rice in Nigeria, so the only way is for Lagos to partner with Kebbi for us to get processed rice into the state but part of that agreement also is that Lagos is putting up its mill so the agreement is going to shift from receiving processed rice to us receiving paddies for us to be able to process in our mill.
“It is not that the contract has been segregated. I don’t even want us to use the word contract, it is more of a partnership between two sister states, that sees many values from one another.
Speaking further she said the Mill at full capacity is capable of producing approximately 2.4 million (50kg) bags of rice for the over 22 million people in Lagos State and for Nigerians as a whole.
According to her, the Mill will further create employment of approximately 267,580 jobs in the State at different stages of the value chain, reduce cost of rice locally, enhance food self-sufficiency and revenue generation in the State and the country at large, as well as, ensure a sustainable supply of wholesome rice at an affordable price to the people in Lagos and its environs.
She further stated that in anticipation of the completion of the Mill and to boost the farming activities of rice farmers in the State, the State Government trained and empowered 800 rice farmers with preferred high yielding Farrow 44 seeds, brand new, high quality knapsack sprayers, rain boots and farm coats as a strategic intervention.
“We also have the World-Bank-assisted Agro-Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) Project which is aimed at enhancing the productivity of small-scale farmers in the three identified value chains of Poultry, Aquaculture and Rice through Capacity building, provision of infrastructure and empowerment.
“Under the Project, 8,156 Farmers and SMEs had been identified and verified and have received at least one form of training in relevant areas of agribusiness with a view to enhancing their agricultural productivity and improving value addition.
“Also, 462 beneficiaries under the Women and Youth Empowerment Programme (WYEP) had been trained in agribusiness management, soft skills among others; they have been empowered to start off production. Others will equally be supported before the end of the year,” the Commissioner said.
Speaking further she said the state has trained no fewer than 12,574 and empowered 19,207 youths and women in key agricultural value chains such as fisheries, poultry, rice and horticulture in two years.
She explained that the training was informed by the need to encourage more youth and women participation in agriculture as well as to curb the problem of women and youth unemployment.