In­side Olam Rice Farm

Daily Trust - - FOCUS - Con­tin­ued from page 36

niegh­bour­ing vil­lages and towns, job­less­ness will soon be­come a thing of the past. The farm will cer­tainly be a ma­jor player in rice pro­duc­tion in Nigeria.

Ac­cord­ing to the farm man­ager, the In­dian com­pany has so far spent over N12 bil­lion, with in­vest­ment likely to dou­ble by the time the project is fully com­pleted.

Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment, Dr Ak­in­wumi Adesina, who vis­ited the farm last week, said the coun­try is wit­ness­ing a new era in rice pro­duc­tion, adding that im­por­ta­tion will soon stop as the coun­try steps up lo­cal pro­duc­tion to meet the 2015 tar­get for self suf­fi­ciency in rice.

Adesina noted that poverty is not an in­dus­try and, as such, it should not be grown in Nigeria. “We must stop ex­port­ing jobs and im­port­ing poverty,” he stressed.

He reck­oned that for Nigeria to be­come self suf­fi­cient in rice, we must be pro­duc­ing at least 5 mil­lion met­ric tonnes of rice an­nu­ally.

He added: “With what I see here to­day, I see no rea­son why we should not be self-suf­fi­cient or ex­port­ing rice from Nigeria. This is commercial agri­cul­ture which we need to have with our own small holder agri­cul­ture. They are work­ing right now to also have al­most 3,000 out grower farm­ers around them.”

The min­is­ter noted that the coun­try pro­duced in 2012/2013 sea­son a to­tal of 1.4 mil­lion met­ric tonnes of paddy rice. By 2013/2014 dry sea­son, it in­creased pro­duc­tion by 2.94 mil­lion met­ric tonnes of paddy rice, he added.

“If you con­vert that into mill equiv­a­lent that will give you about 1.9 mil­lion met­ric tonnes of high qual­ity milled rice,” the min­is­ter said.

Adesina was con­fi­dent that with what he saw in Olam Rice farm, Nigeria will soon ex­port rice if the smaller in­te­grated rice millers and pro­duc­ers are also en­cour­aged all over the coun­try.

Olam also pro­duces the high yield­ing qual­ity seeds that are dis­trib­uted to farm­ers un­der the Growth En­hance­ment Scheme (GES) - a scheme that gets sub­sidised in­puts di­rectly to farm­ers through their mo­bile phones.

Adesina also an­nounced that the Olam Rice Farm is go­ing to be a Sta­ple Crop Pro­cess­ing Zone (SCPZ) bring­ing the num­ber to be so es­tab­lished across the coun­try to 15. With this, he said, power and good road will be pro­vided to the farm in or­der to cut the cost of op­er­at­ing on diesel.

For Adesina, the $72 mil­lion of in­vest­ment in rice pro­duc­tion by Olam Rice Farm is mak­ing things work.

“I firmly be­lieve Nigeria will be a net ex­porter of rice, we should be the Thai­land for rice in Africa,” he said.

The com­bine har­vesters in ac­tion in the farm

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