IN an apparent bid to reduceÂ the volume of rice imports into the country, Notore Chemical Industries Limited, and Taraba State Government have signed a memorandum of understanding, MoU, to build a multi-billion naira rice mill in the state.
The factory after completion, will have capacity to produce more than 250,000 metric tonnes of the commodity.
Currently, Nigeria imports N2 billion worth of rice annually.
The MoU was signed by the stateâ€™s Attorney-General, Ibrahim El-Sudi on behalf of the state and Notore Group MD/CEO, Jite Okoloko on behalf of Notore.
Speaking at the ceremony, Notore Group MD/CEO, Jite Okoloko,Â noted that the initiative was strategic to achieving three of the Federal Governmentâ€™s 7-point Agenda â€“ food security, employment and wealth creation.
â€œ This is why Notore is committed to investing huge resources to build our capacity for world class rice production and position the country for food sufficiency,â€ he said. According to him, Notore Foods, a subsidiary of Notore Group, is taking up the monumental project to accelerate sustainable increase in rice production and enhance food security in Nigeria.
He disclosed that the company also signed an MoU with Cross River State Government to establish the same multi-billion naira rice mill in the state.
He said the two projects will establish over 500,000 MTâ€™s of rice milling capacity in Nigeria providing employment for over 70,000 individuals. This will be achieved through the development of a 40,000 Ha farm settlement and 65,000-member out-grower programme.
â€œNigeria 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.Â 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€ he said.He believes that the partnership will better equip farmers 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 said. In his response, the state Governor, Danbaba Danfulani Suntai stated he was delighted to partner with Notore on the scheme.
â€œTaraba is the food basket of Nigeria. We have what it takes to achieve it.â€ He described Notore as a credible organisation that has the same vision with the state. Our land is very fertile for rice cultivation. The partnership with Notore will certainly help develop our agricultural sector and effect the most desired food sufficiency for our nation,â€ he said.