By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government says the recently commissioned large-scale Integrated Rice Mill will expand domestic rice production as well as achieve self-sufficiency in the country.
The event, which took place at Sheda, Kwali Area Council, Abuja recently, was in line with the federal government’s mandate to achieve food sufficiency, security and income generation.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, revealed that for the past eight years, the government has intensively promoted and supported agricultural development in the country through the Anchor Borrower’s Programme, the Grain Aggregation Centers amongst others.
He noted that these programmes demonstrate the federal government’s commitment to addressing critical infrastructural projects and in keeping with the ideals of the Change Agenda, which is geared towards economic diversification from oil and gas to agricultural sectors.
President Buhari pointed out that “we have witnessed the rapid increase in domestic rice production from the incentives given to farmers and processors over the period as a resolution of leveraging our potentials, producing what we consume and patronising locally made products”.
Speaking further, he emphasized that the country’s paddy yield per hectare has significantly increased to the extent of being adequate for raw material production.
He, therefore, encouraged Nigerian farmers to invest in any aspect of agricultural value chains by using the available incentives, and undertake agribusiness to aid food production in the country.
In his remarks, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Mustapha Baba Shehuri, emphasized that the plant mill commissioned was one of the 10 Integrated Rice Mills that President Buhari approved under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model based on the “build, operate and own”.
The Minister commended Messr. Ocean Glory (Development partner) for their full support to ensure the successful delivery of the mill, adding that the successful execution had acted as a catalyst for the speedy delivery of the remaining mills located in Adamawa, Bayelsa, Ekiti, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Niger and Ogun States.
He expressed optimism that the remaining nine Rice Mills would be commissioned soon.
In his goodwill message, the representative of the FCT Minister, the Secretary for Agric and Rural Development, Mr Abubakar Ibrahim, pointed out that the occasion marked a momentous step towards achieving the goal of self-sufficiency in rice production and transforming the Agricultural land scale for a great nation.
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