In­side Olam Rice Farm

Daily Trust - - FOCUS - By Vin­cent A. Yusuf who was in Doma Con­tin­ued on page 37

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

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