The birth of Africa’s largest rice mill in Imota

THE formal inauguration of Lagos Rice Mill in Imota by President Muhammadu Buhari seems to have signaled abundance rice supply to the Nigerian populace and by extension the African continent.

The Rice Mill which is the largest in Africa and third largest in the world is expected to generate about 250,000 direct and indirect jobs for Lagosians which will in turn conttribute immensely to the economy of the immediate community playing host to the Rice Mill, Lagos State, Nigeria and Africa in general.

The Rice Mill, is a 2 by 16 Metric Tonnes per hour standing on an  area of 8.5Ha land with an annual paddy requirement of over 240,000MT to produce 2.5 million bags of 50kg rice per annum.

President Buhari performed the formal inauguration alongside governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, other dignitaries who were part of the epoch-making event are: Tokunbo Abiru, a Lagos senator, Cornelius Ojelabi, Chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC), Lagos State, Ganiyu Solomon, APC Presidential Campaign Committee Chairman, Lagos, Abisola Olusanya, Commissioner for Agriculture, Rotimi Fashola, the Special Adviser to the governor on Rice Initiative, traditional rulers among others.

Speaking during the tour of the facility, Sanwo-Olu, said Eko Rice, which is proudly Nigeria, is the best in town.

“Mr. President, this is the result of your rice revolution. This rice is called Eko Rice, proudly Nigeria. It is the best in town now,” he said.

Governor Sanwo-Olu, while addressing people after the inauguration of the Lagos Rice Mill by President Buhari, said Lagos is ready to support rice revolution and food revolution in Nigeria.

“The President is really delighted to be here to commission the largest rice mill in the entire sub Saharan Africa and one of the largest in the world, the Lagos Rice Mill in Imota.

“It is being done because of the agricultural revolution of Mr President, who when he started his government, said Nigerians should grow what they eat and they should eat what they grow.

“We are happy that Lagos is a testament of that. With 2.8million bags of 50kg rice per annum, Lagos is ready to support the rice revolution and the food revolution in Nigeria.

“The Lagos Rice Mill will create close to 250,000 direct and indirect jobs. We want to thank the local community of Imota, Ikorodu.

“We want to thank all of you that have waited patiently. Mr President is indeed excited that you have birthed another first in Nigeria and in sub Saharan Africa.”

Oba Gbolahan Lawal, the Oniru of Iru land, a onetime commissioner for agriculture in the state while speaking, said he is one of the happiest people at the commissioning that he remembered vividly when the Eko rice started around 2011-2012, it was a 2.5 metric tonnes capacity.

“When we started then, I also remembered that we were able to create lot of jobs through the rice value chain from production to the milling and transportation, so for the fact that we are here today, 8.5 hectare of land optimally utilized and the number of jobs that this mill will create is wholesome.

He appreciated the Federal Government for coming up with the initiative of banning the importation of rice.

“I remembered then in 2012 the narrative was that we were spending N1billion a day to import rice, so N365bn annually to import polished rice; we were the second largest importer of Thai rice after Philippines, but when the Federal Government came up with the policy of import substitution, industrialization, policy on rice which necessitated the different individuals private entities to start the rice mill factory, Lagos was the first State to have a state owned mill with just 2.5metric tonnes

“So for us to now have a 32MT, 16 MT in two phases again in Lagos it shows that the government of Lagos is a serious government, over 20 million population is a lot and you can look at the consumption rate of rice, rice is a staple food.

In his contribution, Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Lagos State and South-West Zone, Dr Femi Oke, commended the state government for the laudable initiative.

Oke said that farmers would continue to support the mill by providing more paddy.

the Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Lagos State chapter, Mr Raphael Hunsa,  said the new rice mill would encourage farmers to produce more in the state.

Hunsa urged the state government to continue to empower farmers with implements in order to increase paddy production to feed the mill.

“This project is very wonderful, it is a thing of joy to us as rice farmers in Lagos. I am happy that such a thing is happening in Lagos,” he said.

State government officials, traditional rulers, members of AFAN, Ogbonge Women Farmers Association, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria and secondary school students are among the dignitaries that graced the occasion.

Meanwhile, traditional rulers in Lagos State have applauded the State Government for the completion and inauguration of the Rice Mill.

The traditional rulers described the project as a landmark achievement.

The traditional rulers are: traditional ruler of Imota, Oba Ajibade Agoro, Oba Kabir Shotobi, the Ayangbure of Ikorodu; Oba Ajibade Agoro, the Oniru of Iruland.

Speaking during the inauguration, Shotobi commended both the federal and state governments for siting the rice mill in Imota and promised that the project would be maintained by the community.

He said the rice mill would bring enormous economic opportunities to the community and jobs for the teeming youths in the area.

According to him, the rice mill will bring great opportunity to Imota especially on employment.

“I urge our youth to stop searching for white collar jobs but focus on agricultural or study agric to increase the country’s food chain,” he said.

Also, the host traditional ruler of Imota, Oba Ajibade Agoro, said the project would boost the commercial and economic development of the Imota community.

He commended Sanwo-Olu for initiating and seeing to the completion of the rice mill, saying that the facility would have a multiplier positive effect on the community.

“I am the happiest man on earth today because it was during my reign as the Oba of Imota that this is happening.

“I am 30 years on the throne and I am going to celebrate it with this inauguration because it is a landmark achievement bestowed on the people of Imota during my tenure.

“This plant will bring about those factors of production that will promote commercial and economic development.

“This mill is projected to create up to 250,000 jobs, just imagine the multiplying effect of such number if added to our community with their dependents,” Agoro said.

Also speaking, Oba Lawal, the Oniru of Iru land, commended the Lagos State Government for being the first state to have a state owned mill and the host community for providing the land.

He noted that the rice project which was first initiated as Eko Rice had contributed immensely to the state growth and provided jobs through the rice value chain right from production to milling and transportation.

“I am very happy for this development. I remember 2011 to 2012, when the Eko Rice started, it was 2.5 metric tonnes capacity.

“We are able to create a lot of jobs through the rice value chain.

“Today, we are on eight hectares of land optimally utilised and the number of jobs it will create is awesome, this is the biggest in West Africa,” Oniru said.



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