The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Thursday, inaugurated Nigeria’s large-scale integrated rice mill in Sheda, Kwali Area Council, Abuja.
He said the mill was one of the 10 mills embarked upon by his regime for the purpose of expanding domestic rice production and achieving self-sufficiency across the country.
“For the past eight years, this regime has intensively promoted and supported agricultural development in the country through the Anchor Borrowers Programme, the Fertiliser Initiative, Grain Aggregation Centres and Special Agro-industrial Processing Zone Programme.
“This is in line with the food security component of this government’s nine priorities. Indeed, as such, our agricultural development strategy has enabled the increased output recorded in critical arable and cash crops,” Buhari stated.
The President, who was represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural and Rural Development, Mahmood Abubakar, said the accomplishment demonstrated the government’s commitment to providing critical infrastructure.
“We have witnessed the rapid increase in domestic rice production from the incentive given to farmers and processors over this period as a resolution of leveraging our potentials, producing what we consume and patronising locally made products.
“In the agricultural sector, we indeed have the capacity to be food secure if we rightly harness and deploy our human and material resources. An aspect of this commitment is the establishment of 10 large-scale integrated rice processing mills located across the North-West, North-East, North-Central, South-South and South-West Zones of the country,” he stated.
Buhari explained that the rice mill was a public private partnership concept between the government and the anchor investors to increase Nigeria’s processing capacity for rice production.
He said the facility would also help to fill up the demand-supply gap in Nigeria and make the country self-sufficient in the commodity value chain.
“Nigeria’s paddy yield per hectare has significantly increased to the extent of being adequate in the raw material production. It shows the result of the determination for backward integration and economic diversification within the ambit of comparative advantage of natural resource utilisation.
“In this regard, we believe that all the institutional capacitation in place, in the areas of infrastructure, research, credit, insurance, quarantine, mechanisation and input, would be sustained by successive administrations to consistently make the country food secure,” Buhari stated.
He said it was the responsibility of the government to always use public-private partnership arrangements to establish more integrated medium and large-scale processing mills in order to reduce post-harvest losses, widen the derivatives of agricultural commodities and reduce food importation.
He urged all stakeholders of the mills, especially the management, to ensure efficient operations, good customer service and a maintenance culture in the operations of the facility.