The minister of agriculture and rural development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has projected that Nigeria would become Africa’s largest exporter of rice in five years.
Adesina spoke on Monday during the inaugural ceremony of the 105,000-tonne capacity Olam Rice Mill in Rukubi, Nasarawa State.
He said that the federal government, in collaboration with the private sector, was determined to make the country a net exporter of rice.
He said that the era of being the largest rice importer in the world would soon end.
“We will become the largest rice exporter from Africa into the global rice market,” he said.
Adesina said that rice production and processing had attracted over one billion dollars of private investment.
This, he said, would not only position the country for wealth generation but also create employment for the teeming youths.
We have been able to attract over one billion dollars of private sector investors into commercial rice farming and processing.
He said: “One of our investors expanded their investment in commercial rice farms and milling from 300 million dollars to one billion dollars – and that is just one investor.
“We are closing Nigeria’s rice milling capacity gap.”
Adesina attributed the ongoing revolution in rice to the immense support of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
He said that additional seven million tonnes of paddy rice had been produced since 2011.
Olam country chairman, Mr Mukul Mathur, said the company is a Singaporean agro company that has been in Nigeria since 1989.
He said that in 2011, the company established 10,000 hectares of rice farm out of which 3,000 had been cultivated in Rukubi.
Mathur said Olam had the largest farm on the continent and had employed about 2,500 women and youths across the country.
He said the investment in the state was made possible by the friendly policies of the Jonathan administration.
Mathur said the company had invested over $100 million in Nasarawa State “in the last three years”.