The Lagos State commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya has confirmed that the Rice Mill in Imota, Ikorodu will be ready for commissioning in the next 10 weeks.
Olusanya stated that the contractors have started test running the mill, and that the Special Adviser to the Governor on rice, Dr Rotimi Fashola, would see to the completion by July.
“We are commissioning by June/July or the end of July. Within the next 10 weeks, that place will be ready for commissioning.
”The special adviser is working towards that and they were still there yesterday and they have started test running.
”Paddy is already there. we have rice paddy. Thousands of tons are there. I can’t ascertain the figure but what I know is that the silos are being filled right now with paddy,” she said.
Speaking on whether the operation of the mill will reduce the rising cost of rice in the country, she said that such will only be possible if the government is in full control of processing, production and marketing.
She said, “You expect a crash when you are also experiencing value chain from the production itself up to processing and marketing; when you are in full control.
”Right now, we are in just the processing part which is the middle labour.
”If the price at which paddy is being procured is not low enough to crash it except you’re asking for a subsidy which is not sustainable.
”Subsidy is not a sustainable route to go, so the best thing is getting the paddy at cheaper price.
“If the farmers don’t feel secure up north, you have more of them coming down south to do other things.
”It means you have fewer farmers, you have less paddy, and it means the little that is available the price is going to be high.”
Olusanya, however, called on the people of the west to up their farming game, and ensure that the dependability on the north for food is reduced.
“The westerners, South-West need to wake up, we have to get back into agriculture as a full-time business.
”We have to go into commercial size agriculture not small old farm agriculture that we are doing that we are really not seeing the impact.
”In the north, they do commercial size farms and they own commercial size farms; down here in the south, we are not doing so much of that and that one needs to change.”
It was learnt that the rice mill has 16 silos with a capacity of 40,000 metric tons, each having 2,500 metric tons.
The mill was built with a capacity to produce 2.8 million bags of 50kg bags of rice yearly while generating 1,500 direct jobs and 254,000 indirect jobs.