By AKOMA CHINWEOKE
AS part of its commitment towards revolutionizing the agricultural sector toachieve food security in the country Notore Chemical Industries Limited, agro-allied giant and Champion of the African Green Revolution has entered into partnership deal with Taraba State Government to erect a multi-billion Rice Mill in the state.
The largest fertilizer company in Sub-Saharan Africa has signed MoU with Taraba state
government to establish a 255,000 Metric Ton-producing Rice Mill and a 20,000 hectare rice farm. The Rice Mill which has the potential to create over 15,000 new jobs would complement the state wide out-growers buy-back scheme to supply extra paddy rice required by the massive mill.
Speaking at the ceremony, The group managing director Notore, Jite Okoloko noted that, â€œthe initiative is strategic to achieving three of the Federal Governmentâ€™â€™s 7point Agenda â€“â€“ food security, employment and wealth creation. Currently, Nigeria imports N2 billion worth of rice annually. This is why Notore is committed to investing huge resources to build our capacity for world class rice production and position the country for selfÂ sufficiency in food production.â€
According to him, Notore Foods, a subsidiary of Notore group, was taking up the monumental project to accelerate sustainable increase of rice production to enhance food security in Nigeria .
The company also recently signed MoU with Cross River State Government to establish the same multi-billion Rice Mill in the state. the two projects he said would establish over 500,000 MTâ€™s of rice milling capacity in Nigeria as well as provide employment for over 70,000 individuals. â€œThis will be achieved through the development of a 40,000 Ha farm settlement and 65,000 member out-grower programâ€.
Okoloko further explained that, â€œ Nigeria has the potential to meet its 5 million MT rice needs and export to other African countries. But imports stand now at 2 million MT worth over $1 billion annually from Asia . We consume about 5 million MT of rice per annum but produce 3 million MT, mostly of low quality. The demand is estimated to grow to over 8 million MT in the next decade while processing capacity is limited. The country operates significantly below capacity with insufficient raw materials.â€â€
He however expressesÂ optimism that the partnership wouldÂ equip farmers better with modern techniques in farming. â€œThe collaboration will put in place a long-term solution to the food crisis as well as proffer solutions to problems of agricultural value chain: from seeds and soil health to market development,â€ he noted.
The group managing director also thanked the Taraba state governor for being the first governor to adopt an agricultural voucher program forÂ effective distribution of agricultural subsidies to small holder farmers established in partnership with Notore.. He pointed out adoption of an agricultural voucher program similar to that in Taraba was a key step to ensuring the African Green Revolution.
In his response, the executive governor of Taraba State , Pharm Danibaba Danfulani Suntai stated that, he was delighted to partner with Notore on the scheme. He described Notore as a credible organization that has the same vision with the state. â€œâ€œOur land is very fertile for Rice cultivation. The partnership with Notore will certainly help develop our agricultural sector and effect most desired food sufficiency for our nation,â€â€ he said.
The governor thanked Notore for the initiative aimed at making the state the food basket of Nigeria adding that â€œ We have what it takes to achieve it.
The MoU was signed by the stateâ€™â€™s Attorney-General, Ibrahim El Sudi on behalf of the state and Notore CEO, Jite Okoloko on behalf of Notore.