LASG Assures Of Sustainable Supply Of Paddy For Imota Rice Mill
Lagos State Government has given assurance of a sustainable supply of Paddy from local farmers for the 32 metric tonne-per-hour Rice Mill at Imota upon completion by December 2020. The Acting Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, made the disclosure today in Lagos, during an inspection tour of the Rice Mill by members of the State House of Assembly Committee on Agriculture led by its Chairman, Mr. Kehinde Joseph.
Olusanya explained that rice farmers in the State are currently getting the needed support of the government to ensure that they have a hitch-free planting season of steady and sustained supply of Paddy for the mill. According to her, a lot is being done by the State Government in partnerships with the corporate and local aggregators, as well as other rice-growing State Governments, about Paddy aggregation and its supply to ensure the smooth running of the mill.
She said, “On Tuesday, we kicked off the rice farmers’ sensitisation, training and empowerment programme for over 800 rice farmers in Lagos State. The programme is designed as a back up to the Imota Rice Mill Project”. “If we are going to source for paddy from other localities, we should start from our own Lagos farmers, our Eko rice farmers, which is why we are giving them the full support and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is fully committed to ensuring that this Mill runs sustainably”, she averred.
Olusanya recalled that when the present administration came into power in 2019, the mill was at about 10 to 15 percent level of completion, noting that as at today, it has attained over 85 percent rate with the installation of the new lines and equipment as the only outstanding thing to be done. “I want to assure Lagosians that hopefully, this mill will be completed by December 2020. By right, it should have been completed much earlier, but we all understand the issues around the pandemic, the total lockdown and the unavailability of flights; we have the biller team based in Switzerland and India who are supposed to help with ensuring that the Mill lines are adequately inspected before installation for the warranty process to take effect”, she noted.
She pointed out that a good operating model has been put in place to ensure that the mill is efficiently and effectively managed to ensure its sustainability upon completion. On the issue of the management of the mill to ensure that taxpayers’ money does not go down the drain, she revealed that the services of one of the World’s leading Consultancy Firms, E.Y, had been secured to ensure that the right operating model was adopted for long term sustainability of the mill.
“We do not want it to be another white elephant project. This is why we have taken our time to develop adequate business and management models, not leaving out the financial analysis around how and how soon we can recoup our investment back. As a result, we have come up with a standard operating model that we believe will make this mill sustainable”, Olusanya declared. The Acting Commissioner opined that no fewer than 250,000 job opportunities would be created, from the input aggregators, providers, farmers, logistics and service providers, marketers and distributors along all the entire value chains, in addition to the ripple effects of the project on the locality among others.
She explained further that the Ministry is working closely with the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure as well as the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development to do a triangulation of the area in order to ease traffic movement among other things. In her words: “We have in this axis, the Imota Rice Mill, the Imota Regional Market and at the Agbowa axis, the Housing Development Scheme coming up. Therefore, a triangulation is being done to see if another access road can be constructed to ensure that we do not impede the flow and movement of people on the roads that we have already”.
“We will also explore the waterways as well to ensure that going forward, we do not put so much pressure on our roads. A lot also is actually being done at the Ministry of Waterfront Infrastructure around how we can increase the use of our waterways. I believe that a holistic solution will be proffered around the issues we currently have in Lagos, especially as regards logistics of goods”, the Acting Commissioner opined.