NIGERIA – The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), a federal government agency, has announced plans to re-open its rice mill at Elele Alimini, as part of the federal government’s effort to guarantee food security in the Niger Delta region

Victor Antai, NDDC Executive Director of Projects, revealed this during an inspection of the facility in Elele Local Government Area of Rivers State on Thursday February 1.

The 180-ton-per-day rice mill in Emohua began operation in 2008. It was later leased to Elephant Group PLC, an agri-business company to guarantee its sustainability and efficiency. Unfortunately, the mill stopped production in 2022.

“The rice mill was established as part of NDDC’s industrialisation strategies to ensure food security and job creation but suspension of production at the factory is disheartening,” Antai said.

He noted that the rice mill is a gigantic project and the biggest in the Niger Delta operating in partnership with the Elephant Group.

“We decided to visit the facility to know why they stopped production and to also look for the possible ways of bringing it back to production again,” he said, expressing optimism that when it returns to full production, the factory would create employment opportunities for the youth.

Mr Antai said the new NDDC board was dedicated to improving food security in the region and was taking actionable measures to achieve the goal.

“The chief engineer of the facility has assured us that all the equipment is still functioning, and so, what is left is to interface with the management of the Elephant Group”

Earlier, Uchechi Emejuru, a representative of the Elephant Group, cited the substantial challenge of maintaining a steady electricity supply to the facility.

According to him, the rice mill was currently powered by a 500 KVA power line instead of the required 800 KVA supply to operate the facility.

Mr Antai said that Dr Samuel Ogbuku, the Managing Director of NDDC and NDDC management will take a decision on how best to handle the rice mill to get it running.

The facility consists of various sections, such as boiler, parboiling, colour sorting, and bagging, with the ability to process six tonnes of rice per hour, depending on the availability of rice paddies.

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