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Agricultural Reforms: Nigeria records $1.6bn investments in two years via rice production.
The Nigerian agricultural sector has witnessed increased tempo of both domestic and foreign investments amounting to $1.6 billion in the past two and half years, Akinwunmi Adesina, minister of agriculture and rural development, has said.
This is as a result of the proactive and strategic reforms being undertaken to upscale the country’s rice value chain through the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) of the Federal Government’s agricultural transformation agenda (ATA).
Adesina made the disclosure on Monday while declaring open the second Nigeria Rice Investment Forum in Abuja.
“From 2012 to date, in a span of just two and a half years, the reforms we have brought to bear on Nigerian rice farming have added 6 million more farmers to preexisting ones and have also created an additional 2 million hectares of rice farmland, adding about N400 billion worth of value to the national economy”, the minister said.
Some of the projects which have resulted from these reforms include the development of 18 integrated rice mills in different locations across the country that had only one integrated rice milling facility in 2012.
Uzza Rice in Kano with a capacity for milling 40,000 metric tons of paddy per annum was the only one of such facility in the whole country.
However, at the moment Olam has established a 210,000 metric tons capacity integrated rice mill in Nasarawa State, which has been adjudged to be the largest on the African continent.
Olam has also developed a large scale mechanised farm to feed the mill and has aimed to expand it to 6 million hectares through a total commitment of $70 million covering both the rice mill and the farm project.
Another company, Dangote Group, with an investment commitment of $1 billion, plans to cultivate 150,000 hectares of land each year across Nigeria in an attempt to churn out 1 million tons of milled rice in the next five years.
Other rice mills include Eko in Lagos as well as Ashi and Miva in Benue State, among others, in various parts of the country.
In order to achieve this, the company will establish five integrated rice mills in different parts of Nigeria where rice is produced in great quantities.
While 50 percent of required paddy will be produced from farms run by Dangote Group, the remaining 50 percent is expected to come from out-growers that will be supported by the company with modern farming technologies and hybrid seeds.