Lagos State Government has committed N20 billion on the construction of the 32 metric tonnes per hour Imota Rice Mill in the state.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Bisola Olusanya, gave this hint on Thursday during a ministerial press briefing to mark Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s second anniversary in office.
The N25 billion the rice mill, which is billed to be commissioned before the end of 2021, is expected to be the largest rice processing plant in sub-Sahara Africa.
According to her, while Kebbi rice is the upstream of the value chain Lagos is in the downstream and midstream with the latter having the capacity for rice production and a huge market for the commodity.
She expatiated: “The mill will help to strengthen the economic rigour of the nation and enhance economic resilience as the facility seeks to provide employment opportunities for Nigerians, through the creation of 250,000 jobs across value chain when completed, not only in Lagos alone, but across Nigeria.”
Olusanya further explained that the partnership between Lagos and Kebbi States over the production of Lake Rice still remained intact as the transportation of paddy from Kebbi State to Lagos for processing is ongoing, adding that the observed scarcity of Lake Rice in the market was due to the effect of COVID-19 pandemic and heavy flooding that affected rice production last year in Kebbi State.
The commissioner clarified: “The Imota Rice Mill is referred to as Rolls Royce of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa. We want to deliver a value chain with the best processing facility. Since its commencement, N20 billion has been spent out of the initial budget of N25 billion earmarked for the construction of the mill and looking at the exchange rate the cost is likely to be reviewed upward.
“The Rice Mill is going to be world class which is expected to kick off before the end of this year. On Lake Rice, the partnership has shifted from processing of rice to shipment of paddy so that we can beat down prices.
“The Partnership between states should not be tenured, the partnership should be enduring. The idea is to bring rice at a subsidized price. We have to balance it so that we allow private sector to flourish. It is a function of how much paddy we are taking to Lagos”, she added