Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja
The 14 new rice mills being expected in Nigeria in few weeks’ time will attract N250bn worth of investments to the sector, the Federal Government has said.
On March 4 this year, The PUNCH reported a statement by the Federal Government that Thailand had commenced moves to establish rice mills in Nigeria following the over 90 per cent reduction in the importation of rice from the country.
Although the government did not name those who were to establish the 14 new rice mills, it told participants at the AgroNigeria High-level Rice Conference in Abuja that the move would attract hundreds of billions of naira to Nigeria’s rice value chain.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said, “There are presently 21 large integrated rice mills with a total processing capacity of 1.22 million metric tonnes yearly and spreading across the country, from Kano, Enugu, Ebonyi, Kebbi, Anambra, Edo, Nasarawa, Benue, Kwara, Jigawa, Niger and Kogi states. The challenge associated with local rice, which has discouraged consumers, especially when compared to imported rice, has been overcome.
“Today, several integrated local rice mills have their milled rice in the Nigerian market and consumer demand and preference for local rice has risen due to better quality and taste compared to imported rice. Home-grown international grade rice can be found across Nigerian markets and a total of 14 mills will soon come on board.”