By Godfrey Bivbere
The Kebbi State government last year earned about N150 billion from the sale of its locally cultivated rice, the Governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, has said.
The governor disclosed this when he played host to Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, Hassan Bello, in his office.
Bello had gone to inform him of the plan to develop an Inland Container Depot, ICD and a Truck/Trail Transit Park in the state.
Bagudu assured the management of NSC that any people oriented project embarked upon by them that will ensure trade facilitation and sustained economic growth will be supported by his administration.
As part of measure to earn more from the popular staple food and shore up the economy of the state, the governor said three giant rice millers, Wocat Rice Processing Mill, Dangote Rice Processing Mill and Dadangari Rice Processing Mill are working at full capacity with the state earning about N150 billion from sale of rice last year alone.
He equally stated that Kebbi State as an agrarian state has enormous potentials in agriculture coupled with acquatic splendour which positions the state as part of the Blue Sea economy.
Bagudu explained that the ICD and the Transit Park are strategic projects given the enormous agricultural and mineral potentials in the state.
Kebbi State with a population of about 15 million, sharing borders with Niger and Benin Republics places it on an advantage in terms of trade facilitation and export of commodities. The state has 7 big rivers with River Niger traversing all the 3 Senatorial Zones of the state while Argungu River that houses the International Fishing Festival has become a tourist destination.
According to Bagudu, Kebbi State is the highest producer of rice, onions and pepper in the country. This places the state on advantage for the Lolo Inland Container Depot and Vehicle/Truck Transit Park to help in the evacuation of farm produce from the hinterland to the urban areas and for export.
He further informed the NCS team that the Federal Government’s grand design to open the hinterlands so as to achieve sustainable growth will help Kebbi State as the agricultural belt of the nation. “We have provided enabling environment to our teeming farmers in the rural areas with farm implements, seedlings and fertilizer thereby encouraging them for all season farming,” he stated.
Explaining further why his administration is desirous to partner with NSC on the proposed projects, the governor revealed that apart from his being the National Vice-Chairman of Food Security Committee, a nation’s health and economic growth is measured on food reliance and self sufficiency.
“A nation that cannot feed its people will suffer a lot of international market vagaries. The Lolo Inland Container Depot will help in galvanizing the evacuation of farm produce to the urban areas and for export.
“We have also entered into partnership arrangement with an indigeneous company for an ultra modern World Class Sugar Processing Plant with a total cost of about $330million when completed. The project is sited in Augie Local Government Area, a border town between Kebbi State and Sokoto State. All these agricultural transformation drive of this administration has encouraged farmers to not only be active and productive but has to a large extent reduced youth restellness as the state is adjudged as the most peaceful state in the northern geo-political zone . We believe that your twin projects can que into our model,” Bagudu noted.
In his remarks, Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council Hassan Bello informed the Governor that their decision to construct the two projects in the state after a careful study showed that Kebbi State is strategically located not only to stimulate the economy of the state but the multiplier effect of its location is enormous.