…says unpatriotic to sell 50kg bag of rice over N14, 000
…as Stallion Group invests over $70m in rice, sesame production
By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA – THE Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Nanono, at weekend, maintained that Nigerian made rice can favourably compete in global market.
Nanono made the statement during his visit to rice farms and mills belonging to Stallion Group Limited, Popular Farms and Mill Limited in Kano, Kano State, where he expressed optimism that with the level of production of rice in the country there is no doubt that Nigerian made rice cannot match its counterparts in the global rice market.
He said: “With the improved production rate, Nigeria rice is bound to compete favourably in the global market the moment exportation begins.
“If we maintain this momentum in the next two years, we may export rice to other countries.
“With closure of the land borders there is now accelerated production of rice from milling plants across the country.
“We commend effort of rice farmers in Nigeria and this effort will help actualize government’s agenda to boost food security, availability, affordability and accessibility including job creation and economic growth.
“Particularly, we are happy with what Stallion Group is doing to boost rice production in the country. We appreciate their efforts towards improving rice production and creating jobs for Nigerians.
“We therefore urge other investors to key into agribusiness because of its numerous financial benefits.”
However, the Minister frowned at the price discrepancy of the commodity in most markets, “I see no reason why a 50kg bag of rice should be sold for N17,000, the same paddy rice is sold at N8,500 and maximum processing expense is N2,000 making a total of N10,500, it is unpatriotic to sell a bag more than N14,000 – N 15000.
“The Ministry would convene a forum for all relevant stakeholders in the rice sub-sector to dialogue on how to improve on rice seedlings, farm inputs, among others. This meeting should take place in the next three to four weeks”, he said.
He also maintained that the primary focus of the Ministry is on mechanization, boosting research institutions in the sector, extension agricultural services, and livestock/diary development.
In an earlier welcome remarks, the Managing Director, Popular Farms and Mill Limited, Mr. Amit Kumar Rai, disclosed investment of over $70 million on rice and sesame production including others.
Rai said, “Stallion Group Popular Farms and Mills Limited, has invested over US $70m to boost agricultural production and agribusiness, especially rice and sesame in Nigeria. It operates the biggest rice mill in Kano with an annual installed capacity of 430, 000 metric tonnes. It has a consolidated capacity of 1.7 million metric tonnes.
“The group is investing also in additional milling facilities locally in order to obtain self-sufficiency in rice production including some of the popular brands of the group, which are Tomato King, Double Bull, People’s Princess and Super Champion.”
He also made it known that the group is organizing training for out-growers of rice who also are supported with rice farming tools free of charge across the rice producing states in the country as part of its commitment to the rice value chain initiative.
“About 20 per cent of these beneficiaries are women who diligently work alongside their male counterparts in the fields to support their families. The group believes that focus on empowering communities leads to more progressive farmers and greater economic and social opportunities for households. It works through Public Private Partnership, PPP, with the Federal Government’s agriculture objectives to train small scale farmers”, he stated.