The Federal Government is to establish 17 rice processing centres at the cost of N23.8 billion, the Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources, Dr Sayyadi Ruma, has said. Ruma disclosed this at the groundbreaking ceremony for the establishment of a large-scale rice processing plant in Patigi, Kwara, on Monday.
He said that each centre would cost N1.4 billion and identified the benefitting states as Kwara, Kano, Adamawa, Benue, Niger, Taraba, Kebbi, Enugu, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Anambra and Ogun. According to him, the centre in Kwara is a joint venture involving the Federal and Kwara Government and Olam Nig Ltd.
The project, he said, was aimed at providing critical facilities for numerous rice producing areas in the country to encourage massive production of paddy. When completed, the project would create more than 400 direct jobs and indirect employment for more than 6,000 people per centre.
â€œThis will provide in excess of 60,000 on-and off-farm jobs nationwide. More than 1,000 farmers having an average land holding of five hectares each will be engaged as outgrowers per centre,â€ the minister said. Ruma said that the Federal Executive Council had also approved the establishment of Export Crop Handling Preservation and Conditioning Centres in 10 states.