Lagos state governor, Akinwumi Ambode, has affirmed that the intention of his administration was to intervene and upgrade the facility of the Imota Rice Processing Factory in Ikorodu to the standard that will achieve a 10 metric tonnes per hour from the current 2.5 metric tonnes per hour.
He made the commitment while speaking during a tour to the factory, adding that private investors will be invited to complement the intervention with an additional 10 metric tonnes per hour.
He also said a process to make the mill private sector driven would commence immediately, adding that a vibrant infrastructure that would attract the best professionals and experts to manage the facility would be put in place.
Ambode added that the need to enhance the state’s rice processing capacity was borne out of the recent memorandum of understanding between Lagos and Kebbi States so as to accommodate the rice paddies that would be coming from the northern state.
“The reason why we have come is to know the present status of the facility here and see how we can overhaul the equipment. We have a 2.5 metric tonnes per hour which is not meeting our needs.
“What we need to do now is to see how we can upgrade to about 10 tonnes per hour and allow the private sector to come and invest an additional 10 tonnes per hour facility and that is the only way we can allow the inflow of paddies from Kebbi State and also to cover all the rice fields within the Lagos and Ogun states axis and catchment areas,” he added.
He further noted that the ministry of Agriculture has to find a way to do it within the next three to six months, stressing that with the increased capacity at the rice processing plant; there will be an end to importation of rice from outside the shores of Nigeria.
Speaking further, Ambode assured that the Eko brand of rice would be ready in six months, that it would be made possible through a MoU signed with Kebbi state on rice cultivation.
During his visit to the factory, he was briefed on the present production capability of the Rice mill, which presently stood at 2.5 metric tonnes per hour.
He was also informed about the inadequacies of the rice mill which include its low capacity to parboil and dry effectively.
Ambode further assured of his administration’s commitments in ensuring that Lagosians are fed with locally-cultivated rice of high nutritional quality. “This is the only platform we can use to allow the inflow of rice paddy from Kebbi State. You will all recall that we just signed a MoU with Kebbi State and the intention is that we want a consistent flow of raw materials to come so that the era of importing rice from abroad would become a thing of the past.
“Asides Kebbi State, Lagos is also looking at possible partnership with other states on the long run, such collaboration will ensure that residents can consume locally processed rice within the next six months,” he noted.