NIGERIA – In a bid to bolster rice production and ensure food security, the Lagos State Government has announced a strategic partnership with Niger State, the largest producer of paddy in Nigeria.

This initiative, unveiled by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Dr Oluwarotimi Fashola, aims to enhance productivity and sustain the availability of paddy production through the Rice Mill Initiative.

Dr. Fashola emphasized the significance of the partnership during a report session led by the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, in Ikeja.

He highlighted that Lagos, particularly its Imota rice mill, required a substantial amount of paddy, estimated at 200,000 tonnes.

To meet this demand, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Niger State, leveraging its abundant paddy resources.

The partnership with Niger State and other states across Nigeria underscores our commitment to ensuring the sustainability of rice production,” stated Dr. Fashola. “We extend our hand of fellowship to all the South-West states, as collaborative efforts are vital in achieving our agricultural objectives.”

The strategic partnership comes after the Rice Processors Association of Nigeria (RIPAN) and other stakeholders in the sector have appealed to the federal government to save their businesses from collapse following the influx of imports into the country.

Speaking to reporters, Mohammed Abba Liman, an executive member of RIPAN, asked the government to provide serviceable loans to real and identifiable rice processors in each state of the federation to enable them to boost their processing capacity and, by implication, food security in the country.

In addition, Liman appealed to the government to discourage rice importation into the country, noting that it poses a big risk to the multi-billion-naira investments in rice production by local rice processors.

Rice is the second most consumed cereal after corn in Nigeria.  The country, however, produces around 70% of its consumption with the rest covered through import.

According to the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), rice production in the 2024-25 marketing year is poised to decline by 7% due to rising insecurity in grain-producing regions and higher input costs affecting planting decisions.

However, the country is getting back to normalcy as a recent survey conducted by DAILY POST at the Dutse and Kubwa markets in Abuja has reported that the price of rice in the country has declined 19% giving relief to consumers.

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