The rice sector revolution introduced by President Goodluck Jonathan has attracted over N256 billion worth of investment within the last three years. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Dr. Akinwumi Adesina revealed this throughout the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Bank of Industry(Bol) to construct rice and cassava mills over the country.
“Inside a three-year period, we’ve had the opportunity to attract $1.6bn of investment to the rice sector. The greatest one being Aliko Dangote that’s set up over N165bn, that will be $1bn into commercial rice production and also commercial rice milling,” Akinwunmi said
“I’ve undoubtedly that within 36 months, Nigeria is likely to be exporting rice the same as Thailand and India, and that’s the way it will be. However, we realize that as we’ve been producing plenty of rice, we don’t have sufficient mills to process the rice,” he added. Akinwunmi noted the nation lacked integrated rice mills to process the locally produced rice to global standards, adding it’s essential for Nigeria to close the milling gap. To make this happen, the nation needs to construct integrated rice mills.
“The 10 integrated rice mills will each have the ability of 36,000 metric tonnes, this means all of them is a total of 360,000 metric tonnes. So, this can be a huge investment. The rice mills will be positioned in Kebbi, Zamara, Kaduna, Kano, Benue, Kogi, Bayelsa, Bauchi, Ogun and Anambra states. Government does not have any part in this venture. The role of the federal government is always to facilitate use of finance for private sector investors to buy these mills and run them as an exclusive sector-driven operation,” the minister disclosed.
BoI’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Rasheed Olaoluwa said,
“We’re now at the critical stage where there’s a significance of effective processing of the agricultural produce. The MoU will address the modalities to ensure these 16 companies materialise next few months. It’s hoped that by the time the firms are operational, the total amount of rice being imported is likely to be significantly reduced or even completely eliminated.”
In moving Nigeria forward, President Jonathan’s Agricultural Transformation Age has unleashed the potential of the Nigerian agricultural sector, leading it to food self-sufficiency in the near future.