No fewer than 800 rice farmers in Lagos state have been trained on efficient planting and 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.
Abisola Olusanya, Acting Commissioner for Agriculture, speaking at the capacity building at the Agric Institute Araga Epe, said 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.
“Due to the fact that the State has 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 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 sensitisation of rice farmers to train and disseminate the current production practices and empowerment geared towards 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.
“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.
“Hence, the commitment of the government to construct the 32MTPH Rice mill at Imota in order to bridge the rice demand deficit of the State and indeed, the nation especially due to the current ban on importation of rice into the country,” she asserted.
She averred that the training would take place in 20 locations cut across Ikorodu, Epe, Badagry, Gboyinbo, Idena, Obada, Ito Ikin, and Ise , adding that they would be trained on global best practices and the most effective ways to grow their rice.
“We would be monitoring these farmers to see how their yield improvement is going to be such that we can take the training forward from there, while also helping them around empowerment issues such as land clearing tractorisation, swam buggies and others which I believe we would be able to provide for them.”
“The rice will be very healthy. A lot of what we import is over-processed and what we end up getting is the white rice which means that the bran is completely off which is the most proteinous part of the rice grain. What we are going to be producing here is local rice, but it is going to be of very high quality. That is why we will be getting the improved seedlings from IITA,” Olusanya affirmed.
Segun Atho, National Deputy President, Rice Farmers’ Association of Nigeria, (RIFAN) appreciated the State Government for the training initiative and especially on rice farmers in the State.
He noted that the training and capacity building would go a long way in providing the needed paddy for rice production for the nearly completed Imota Rice Mill while simultaneously improving the economic status of rice farmers in the State.
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.