By Abolade Ogundimu
Kano-based Amarava Rice Mill says it is targeting to record 500 tonnes of daily production by June, just as it hit 250 tonnes to boost local self-sufficiency.
Mr Subhash Chand, the Indian Deputy High Commissioner in Nigeria, made this known to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.
NAN recalls that the multimillion Naira state-of-the-art rice mill, owned by an Indian national, was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari in Kano in December 2019.
The diplomat gave the assurance that the production capacity of the mill was being expanded to hit 500 tonnes by June.
He added that the investment was part of the overall efforts of the High Commission to help Nigeria attain self-sufficiency in rice production.
Chand said that India was supportive of Nigeria’s efforts to fully localise rice production, disclosing that many Indian companies were already among the leading millers in Nigeria.
He disclosed that the mill was built with machineries fabricated in Nigeria with local contents by Indian and Nigerian technological experts.
“India has been maintaining good relationship with Nigeria and will continue to do so.
“Through Nigeria-India’s cordial relationship, Indian investors are already investing in Nigeria to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production,’’ he said.
Chand noted that technical partnership was another area of mutual benefits to the two nations.
NAN reports that in 2017, Nigeria’s rice consumption stood at 7.9 million tonnes while the production rate has increased to 5.8 tonnes per annum from previous 5.5 million tonnes due to Federal Government’s local rice production policy.
The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) attributed the increase to the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme with a total of 12 million rice producers and four million hectares of FADAMA rice land cultivated.
NAN reports that Amarava Agro Processors Limited, a subsidiary of Fullmark Group was established at Amarawa Village, Gezawa Local Government Area of Kano State, with an initial 288 metric tonnes daily capacity.
NAN recalls that Buhari said at the inauguration that Nigeria’s continued dependence on rice importation had put a strain on the economy as well as the nation’s food flow.
Buhari added that a substantial amount of the nation’s foreign exchange went into rice importation yearly, noting the mill will help Nigeria to progress towards food self-sufficiency.
NAN reports that the bilateral trade between Nigeria and India between 2017 and 2018 was touching $12 billion (about N4.3 trillion), which can be expanded by both countries.