NIGERIA – President Muhammadu Buhari has inaugurated an Integrated Rice Mill in Sheda, Abuja, aimed at expanding domestic rice production as well as achieving self-sufficiency in the Country.
According to The Guardian, the Sheda Integrated Rice Mill is one of 10 mills initiated under the Buhari administration’s plan under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model based on the “build, operate and own”.
During the ceremony, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar representing President Buhari, emphasized that for the past eight years, his regime had intensively promoted and supported Agricultural development in the country.
He added that the milestones were made possible through the Anchor Borrower’s Programme, the Grain Aggregation Centers amongst others.
According to Buhari, these programs demonstrate the Federal Government’s commitment to addressing critical infrastructural projects and in keeping with the ideals of the Change Agenda which is geared toward economic diversification from the Oil and Gas to the Agricultural Sector.
Early this year, President Buhari commissioned an ultra-modern Imota-Rice Mill complex in Lagos with a production capacity of 32 metric tonnes per hour, making it the largest in Africa and third globally.
Dr. Mohammad revealed that the country’s paddy yield per hectare has significantly increased to the extent of being adequate for raw material production.
“We have witnessed the rapid increase in domestic rice production from the incentives given to farmers and processors over the period as a resolution of leveraging our potentials, producing what we consume, and patronizing locally made products”, the president’s statement read.
He, therefore encouraged Nigerian Farmers to invest in any aspect of agricultural value chains by using the available incentives and undertake agribusiness to aid food production in the country.
Rice is one of the most consumed staples in Nigeria with a consumption demand of 7 million metric annually and a per capita consumption of 32kg.
However, the country produces an average of 5MMT annually and relies on imports to offset the remaining deficit of 2MMT.
Under President Buhari’s administration, however, the government is seeking measures to preserve foreign currencies following an economic slowdown by increasing local production.
Similarly, Buhle, a Swiss multinational plant equipment manufacturer recently announced that it has partnered with the government of Nigeria in a project to boost rice production.
The multinational player would provide reliable food processing technology, primarily through investing in rice mills across Nigeria that will support the nation’s goal of achieving food independence.
The highlight of the event was the cutting of tape, commissioning of the project, and inspection of the Rice Mill facility by the representative of President Muhammadu Buhari, Hon. Ministers, and other dignitaries.