The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Abubakar Kyari, says the 200 metric tonnes per day capacity rice mill situated in Suleja, Niger, will soon be inaugurated.
Kyari disclosed this when he led Directors in the Ministry and the Managing Director of the Bank of Agriculture, Alwan Hassan, on a tour to the Mabeli Rice Mill in Suleja on Thursday.
BRANDPOWER reports that the rice mill which is one of the 10 Integrated Rice Mills situated around the country is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
Two of its kinds are situated in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT)– Suleja and Gwagwalada, while the other eight are spread across the country.
Kyari said that the project would attract investors to come into the country, and by so doing, local production would be enhanced.
“In the eight-point agenda of President Bola Tinubu, number one is food security and this project is one of them.
“What we always stress is not only on production but also processing.
“In the past, we always rely on imported foods but what we have seen today is rice fully grown in Nigeria and processed in Nigeria and can stand with other imported rice.
“We are very happy we have our mill production and cultivation of what is being harvested.
“We will try to complete and commission this one and the others; we will also look at it in such a way that it will not only be for rice production but also for staple foods.
“This is to enhance food processing because food quality and food security is important and key to this administration.’’
The minister said that production was key to the sustainability of the project hence would work towards enhancing production in the mill.
He, therefore, encouraged rice farmers to make themselves ready as they would be contacted to double their efforts on rice cultivation especially in the dry season.
On his part, Hassan said that the project was not completed because of the challenges of foreign exchange to pay for the balance of the project.
More so, the Managing Director, MV Agro Engineers Nigeria Ltd., Jamu Dan’agundi, said that the rice mill had a double capacity compared to the other mills across the country.
Dan’agundi also explained that the mill with four sessions such as the intake, per boiling, milling and packaging sessions, was put in place to enhance the nutritional value of rice.
Afterwards, the minister proceeded for a tour to the Nigerian Agricultural Technology Demonstration Centre in Bwari.
At the centre, the minister expressed satisfaction at the level work in the centre saying it would advance seed production and extension service for farmers.
“We have seen the kind of advancement they have done especially in seed production.
“We are impressed with the Gawal R1 rice that can produced up to eight tonnes per hectare so this is a very good development.
“The Gawal R1 variety is sort after by our farmers so we implore them to give us more of the seed.
“This is what the President has directed that we must produce as much rice in this dry season.
“So, we are going to assiduously ramp up the production of rice and we are going to invest a lot of money into it,” he said.
He, however, said that the demonstration equipment would be handy for small holder farmers.