La­gos Spends N1bn on Lake Rice Sub­sidy in Three­Years

THISDAY - - NEWS EXTRA -

The La­gos State Gov­ern­ment yes­ter­day said it had sub­sidised LAKE Rice to the tune of N1.049bil­lion from De­cem­ber 2016 till date, as part of efforts aimed at sus­tain­ing food suf­fi­ciency and food se­cu­rity in the state.

Speak­ing at the on­go­ing an­nual Min­is­te­rial Press Brief­ing to mark the third an­niver­sary of Gov­er­nor Ak­in­wunmi Am­bode’s ad­min­is­tra­tion held at Ba­gauda Kaltho Press Cen­tre in Alausa, Com­mis­sioner for Agri­cul­ture, Mr. Oluwa­toyin Sua­rau, said the LAKE Rice, which is be­ing sold at a highly sub­sidised rate of N12,000 per bag of 50kg, has helped crashed the sky­rock­et­ing price of rice in the coun­try.

“The state gov­ern­ment has sub­sidised LAKE Rice un­der this review pe­riod with N1,049,140,395.00. This is tar­geted to­wards en­sur­ing food sus­tain­abil­ity and food se­cu­rity in the state and as an end re­sult, mak­ing Lake Rice a na­tional brand,” he said.

Sua­rau ex­plained that the sub­sidy in­clude cost of trans­porta­tion, bag­ging and difference in cost price of the rice from other brands, adding that a to­tal of 150 mar­keters and other an­cil­lary ser­vice providers have been em­pow­ered through the sale of LAKE Rice.

The com­mis­sioner, while re­stat­ing the com­mit­ment of the Am­bode -led ad­min­is­tra­tion to boost the pro­duc­tion of rice, dis­closed that the state gov­ern­ment has com­pleted an agree­ment to ac­quire and es­tab­lish a 32 tonnes per hour rice mill with AG (“Büh­ler”), a lead­ing rice-mill pro­ducer in the world, stress­ing that the es­tab­lish­ment of the rice mill is tar­geted at en­hanc­ing food se­cu­rity and cre­at­ing em­ploy­ment in the state.

“It is es­ti­mated that the part­ner­ship would fa­cil­i­tate the cre­ation of 274,000 jobs across the agri­cul­ture value chain, and will also bring about the cul­ti­va­tion of 32,000 hectares of farm land to pro­duce rice paddy, equat­ing to an es­ti­mated 130mil­lion Kg of pro­cessed rice per year which is an equiv­a­lent of 2.6mil­ion 50kg bags of rice”, he said.

The com­mis­sioner said the es­tab­lish­ment of the state-ofthe-art rice mill will serve as a plat­form for La­gos to part­ner with other South-west states aside the ex­ist­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion with Kebbi State.

This, he said, was in con­so­nance with the re­gion’s re­solve to­wards achiev­ing eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion, en­sure that ad­e­quate rice is sup­plied to the 32 met­ric tonnes per hour rice mill and make pro­vi­sion for em­pow­er­ment pro­grammes for farm­ers across all the value chains of agri­cul­ture.

Sua­rau said the present ad­min­is­tra­tion has since in­cep­tion em­barked on agri­cul­tural poli­cies and pro­grammes aimed at en­hanc­ing food se­cu­rity in the stated noted that state gov­ern­ment has made a lot of de­lib­er­ate efforts to en­hance agri­cul­ture with the in­tro­duc­tion of pro­grammes in veg­etable farm­ing, poul­try, cas­sava farm­ing and var­i­ous forms of agro- pro­cess­ing pro­grammes to the youths.

He said the com­mit­ment of the state gov­ern­ment to­wards the at­tain­ment of food se­cu­rity de­pended largely on co­op­er­a­tion of ev­ery res­i­dent of the state, stress­ing that food se­cu­rity and hy­gienic en­vi­ron­ment oc­cu­pies the front burner of the present ad­min­is­tra­tion’s plans to fa­cil­i­tate job and wealth cre­ation as well as re­duce poverty in the state.

He said dur­ing the pe­riod un­der review, a vil­lage list­ing sur­vey was car­ried out in three agri­cul­tural zones of the state with re­sults re­veal­ing that about 711,736 fam­i­lies now take farm­ing as oc­cu­pa­tion in the state.

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