Inside Olam Rice Farm
One of the things that have happened in the rice value chain in recent times is the reinvigoration of synergy to step up rice production in Nigeria.
In Nigeria, rice production is marred by its importation, a situation that has almost turned the country into a dumping ground. This is coupled with lack of commitment by government, at all levels, to encourage local production to meet home demand. But now a new leaf is in the offing.
The opening up of the country to investors has seen many companies across the globe indicating their interests in the huge potential which abounds in the country’s agricultural sector.
One of these investors in the country’s agricultural sector is the Olam group of agro allied industries - one of the biggest global players in agriculture with over 100 years of experience in production, processing and marketing of agro products worldwide.
Olam Rice Farm is one of the biggest rice farms in West Africa. Located in Rukubi village about 60 killometres from Doma, the headquarters of Doma local government of Nasarawa State, the farm sits on 9,000 hectares of land.
With average yield of 5.5 to 7 tonnes per hectare, the farm currently produces about 72,000 metric tonnes of paddy rice of international standard per year.
The quality of rice planted such as faro 44 and faro 52, according to the Country Head, Olam Rice Farm, Mr. Mukul Mathur, are excellent varieties which have better quality yield than most imported rice grain.
The farm which started operation in 2012 is mechanised with high powered farm machines, some fully automated.
The combine harvester’s machines can harvest up to 20 hectares per day. The farm’s new aircraft is efficient for spraying fertiliser, herbicides and pesticides. The network of artificial dams created all over the farm meets its dry season water need.
With the irrigation water channel that allows water flow from River Benue where the farm taps it water, rice production will not be defined by seasons, as all seasons mean the same to the farm.
In fact, with new technology, the farm could alter the dry and wet season dichotomy - a third season could be developed!
Built into the farm system is
...how technology may shape the future of rice production in Nigeria
a 60, 000 tonnes state-of-theart milling plant which has met international standard to process high quality rice. The plant has capacity to process many thousands metric tonnes per hour; the farm is a city of it own. Olam Farm mill is expected to commence milling in June, this year.
Daily Trust recently visited the farm and discovered that about 952 workers, including women and youth, are engaged in the farm. At least, for the
The 60,000 tonnes capacity Rice Mill plant in the farm which will begin operation in June
Minister of Agriculture Dr Akinwumi Adesina with some of the women working in the farm