State Governors, especially in the South have been urged to promote the cultivation of rice, so as to make the product available in the region, at an affordable price.
The founder and Chief Trader of Titan Farms (TF), an agro-commodity processing and trading outfit, Gbenga Eyiolawi, who gave the advice, decried the practice by some of the governors setting up rice processing plants, with no farms in their states where paddy could be supplied regularly.
He said: “Little wonder some of these processing plants are redundant or at best, have low production output. The way forward on this is for us to have massive rice farms across the country, in places where the land can grow rice. Also, farmers whose products are good should be afforded easy export licenses.”
Eyiolawi, who disclosed that the company is set to feed the nation through its fully automated rice mill, with extensive research on food processing development, said the project would encourage agro-business in the country.
“TF has perfected plan to build processing plants for massive agricultural products. We will also be organising various agricultural programmes for youths to encourage them into agriculture and grants will be given to students.”
He however, noted that rice production in Nigeria desperately needs Federal Government’s assistance. “FG needs to assist by breaking monopolies. Most of those in the rice production business in large scales before us met favourable government incentives like tax relief, provision of land and funding of machineries. But for new entrants, this is a challenge as we are still looking forward to the government to open more opportunities to us.”
Eyiolawi said the ban on importation of rice has turned out to be a big boost for farmers in the industry, as it encouraged new farmers into the business. “In addition, there is a paddy aggregation scheme funding opportunity by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for rice processing and trading companies. So, I will say they have done well to encourage us to push even harder. That is not to say everything is perfect.
“FG can do better by ensuring the security agencies on the road understand the difference between Nigeria rice and foreign rice to avoid clamping unnecessarily on innocent Nigerian rice traders moving their merchandise from one part of the country to another. Government can also help by providing more resources to farmers so they can expand and increase their output gradually.”
On its mode of operations, Eyiolawi said: “We buy produce directly from farms and process them with our partner-mills and processing facilities using their high-tech equipment in the Northern part of the country. These processed goods are packaged in our brand and sold directly to distributors across the Southwest states. Pioneer of such goods is our rice brand known as Titan Rice, which is produced and packaged in the North and then sold in the south.
“We are confident to say that our rice is about the most affordable Grade A Nigeria Rice. Titan Rice is stone free, clean, polished and sweet with less starch content, and comes in 50kg, 25kg, 10kg and 5kg. We also have Titan Vegetable Oil, which we are launching soon. It is going to be of high quality as we only produce and sell premium affordable products.”