The much awaited Lake Rice has been launched by Lagos and Kebbi State Government.
At the Lagos House in Ikeja, Governor Akinwunmi and his Kebbi State counterpart, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu officially unveiled Lake Rice for public consumption.
Lake is coined from the first two letters of Lagos and Kebbi and is bagged into 50kg (kilogrammes), 25kg (kilogrammes) and 10kg (kilogrammes).
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode described the event as a historic one, the concept of which was birthed with the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the two states nine months ago.
“In March 2016, we signed an MOU to proudly produce what is made in Nigeria and what is good for Nigeria, we took the gauntlet by what was said by President Muhammadu Buhari that we need to grow our own food, so two states, one from the Northwest and one from the Southwest of Nigeria decided to prove a point with Lake rice, so we are launching it by eating it to show our people that this is the way to go,” he added.
He announced that the 50kg would be sold for N12,000 while the 25kg would go for N6,000 as the 10kg to sell for N2,500.
According to Governor Ambode, Lake Rice is what is made in Nigeria and what is good for Nigeria because it was cultivated within the last one year.
He was also full of appreciation to the Minister of Agriculture- Dr Audu Ogbeh for facilitating the donation of two rice mills to Lagos State by the Nigerian Government, noting that the mills would be operational from the first quarter of 2017.
On his part, Governor Bagudu said that the feat was in line with the All Progressives Congress (APC) manifestoes to ensure food sufficiency and food sufficiency.
The Kebbi State Governor affirmed that unlike imported rice which was often stored for about five years before being brought into the country, Lake Rice remained healthier as it was cultivated within a year.
The two Governors and their entourage later proceeded to the State House canteen to have a lunch as they were all served the newly launched rice.
In an earlier announcement Special Adviser to the Governor on Food Security, Ganiyu Okanlawon Sanni, who explained the process of purchasing the rice, said collection would be allowed after payment at designated banks or through POS, while an individual would only be allowed to buy one bag at a time to make the product reach vast majority of the people.
In Lagos East Senatorial District, Sanni said the rice would be available for sale at Odogunyan Farm Service Centre in Ikorodu; Temu Farm Service Centre in Epe; Naforiji Town Hall in Eredo; Magbon Alade School in Ibeju and SUBEB Premises in Maryland.
In Lagos West, the Special Adviser said the rice would be available for sale at LSADA Farm Service Centre, Oko-Baba in Agege; LAISA in Ojo; Coconut House in Mowo; Farm Service Centre, Marina in Badagry and Ikeja Grammar School in Oshodi.
According to him, in Lagos Central, the rice will be available for sale at Agric Area Office in Ajah; LASTMA Works Yard in Adeniji/Freeman, Lagos Island; Alakoto Senior High School, Tolu in Ajegunle; Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere and Mobolaji Johnson Sports Centre (Rowe Park) in Yaba.
He said officials of the Committee set up by government to monitor and be in charge of the sale would be present at all the centres from Tuesday, while payment can be made to bank officials at the centres, after which the product would be given to buyers.
“Slip will be given to each customer willing to buy indicating the quantum of rice the buyer wishes to buy and we will also have officersfrom the bank at each of the centres where people can make payment and confirmation can be done immediately.
Once they pay and we are very sure they have made payment, the bag of whatever quantum they have paid for will be given to them there and then and so we will continue this exercise until we are satisfied that Lagosians are very much satisfied based on our promise.
“An individual will only be entitled to buy one bag whether it is 50kg, 25kg or 10kg. We are about 22 million people in Lagos State andwe believe there is need for the government to make sure that at least every individual is given the opportunity to buy the rice as promised earlier so that at this time of the Yuletide, everybody can have opportunity to buy and because the prices of the rice outside are so exorbitant, we believe we should allow everybody to have opportunity to buy,” he said.
Rice is Nigeria’s number one staple food and tons of it is often imported from Thailand and some other Asian countries.
In recent times, due to the dwindling fortunes of the naira against the US dollar which is the major means of exchange, prices of the commodities have sky-rocketed, a development that has been a source of worry to many citizens.