BusinessDay

Lagos commits to sustainable supply of paddy to Imota rice mills

The Lagos State Government has said that it is committed to ensuring sustainable supply of paddy to the 32-metric ton/per hour rice mill at Imota upon completion later in the year.

Abisola Lucania, Lagos acting Commissioner for Agriculture, gave the assurance today on the sideline of an inspection tour of the rice mill by members of the State House of Assembly Committee on agriculture.

Olusanya explained that rice farmers in the state are currently getting the needed support of the state government to boost the productivity of rice in Lagos.

She says a lot is being done by the Lagos state government in partnerships with the corporate and local aggregators as well as other rice growing states’ around paddy aggregation and for the supply of the grain when the mill commence operation later in the year.

“We have kicked off the rice farmers’ sensitization, training and empowerment programme for over 800 rice farmers in Lagos State. That is just a kick-off as a back up to the Imota rice mill project,” she said in a statement.

“The reason is even if we are going to source for paddy from other localities, we should start from our own farmers, our Eko rice farmers which is why we are giving them the full support and Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu is fully committed to ensure that this mill runs sustainably,” she further said.

Olusanya recalled that when the administration of Gov. Sanwo-Olu came into power in 2019, the mill was barely at about 10 to 15 percent level of completion noting that as it has attained over 85 percent rate currently with the installation of the new lines and equipment as the only outstanding things 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 regards to ensuring that the mill lines are adequately inspected before installation for the warranty process to take effect,” she said.

She pointed out that a good operating model has been put in place to ensure that the Imota mill is efficiently and effectively managed in order to ensure sustainability.

She says the issue of effective management of the rice mill has been raised which has made the administration to hirer leading consultancy firm -E.Y to ensure that the state get the right operating model in place.

“We do not want it to be another white elephant project. This is why we have taken our time to develop the adequate business and management models, not leaving out the financial analysis around how and how soon we can recoup our investment back,” she said.

“As a result, we have come up with a standard operating model that we believe looking at the terrain globally of what is tenable in other countries and in other milling operations to get what will make this mill sustainable,” she added.