Lagos – Ahead of the expected completion and commissioning of the Imota rice Mill by December, Lagos State government has trained and empowered rice farmers on good agricultural practices to improve their yields.
Abisola Olusanya Acting Commissioner of Agriculture in the state while speaking at the opening ceremony of a three-day capacity building for rice farmers on current production practices in the rice value chain on Tuesday at the Agric Training Institute, Araga, Epe.
She pointed out that empowerment of the rice farmers was also geared towards ensuring the sustainable supply of paddy by the Rice farmers particularly bearing in mind the imminent completion of the State-owned Imota Rice Mill project.
“It is expected that if these farming techniques are adopted by the farmers in the next planting season, it will result in an increase in paddy production in the State to an expected average yield of four tonnes per hectare,” she said.
Olusanya explained that the capacity building was expected to give all participating farmers the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in modern and improved rice farming techniques.
She added that the training would also expose the farmers to efficient harvesting methods by using the most up-to-date agricultural practices to ensure maximum output, improved yield as well as to derive maximum return on investment.
“Due to the fact that the State has a limited agricultural cultivable land area and with the increasing rate of small and large scale Rice Mills across the nation, there is a strain on the State getting a constant supply of paddy to feed the mill when it becomes fully operational.
“It is to this end that the Ministry has embarked on the sensitization of Rice farmers to train and disseminate the current production practices and empowerment geared towards the sustainable supply of paddy by Lagos Rice farmers towards the Imota Rice Mill project,” Olusanya said.
She noted that the 32metric tonnes per hour Rice Mill at Imota was nearing completion stressing that at full capacity, it would produce 115,200Metric Tonnes of milled rice which would require about 280,000Metric Tonnes of paddy per year, hence the need to stock enough paddy to ensure a smooth take-off of the Mill.
According to her, the training was necessary in order to bridge the rice demand deficit of the residents of the State and the Federal Government’s current ban on importation of rice.
“The administration of His Excellency, Mr Babajide Olushola Sanwo-Olu, is committed to the delivery of his campaign promises to Lagosians as embedded in the “THEMES Agenda”. An important component of it is making Lagos State a 21st Century Economy in which Agriculture and food security have critical roles to play.
The farmers numbering 800 were also empowered with preferred high yielding Farrow 44 seeds, brand new high-quality knapsack sprayers, rain boots and farm coats.