Lagos scales-up plans to increase rice production

Eniola Ajayi, Lagos

Efforts are being intensified to increase rice production in Lagos State from the present 56 metric tonnes per day to 384 metric tonnes per day.

In the same vein, private sector initiatives are being encouraged by the State government while the youth are also being co-opted into the government’s rice for job programme.

The Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Oluwatoyin Suarau revealed this at a news briefing on the activities of his Ministry to boost food production in Lagos.

According to Mr Suarau, the steps to boost rice production were borne out of the existing collaboration between Lagos and Kebbi States.

He added that already, the partnership had led to the production of the finest locally produced rice christened Lake Rice, explaining that the Lake Rice which was launched in December last year was fast selling across various centres in Lagos.

“The Ministry has sold 32, 647 bags of 50 kilogrammes, 32,539 bags of 25 kilogrammes and 30, 780 bags of 10 kilogrammes of Lake rice since the launch in December 2016; the government is planning to expand its rice mill at Imota from 2.5 metric tonnes per hour to 16 metric tonnes per hour and equally encourage private sector operators to invest in rice processing,” he stressed.

The Commissioner also dispelled allegations that the rice was being sold based on party affiliations, adding that gradual increase in the production would definitely lead to an all-year round availability of the product.

Rice is Nigeria’s most staple food with majority of the commodity being imported from Thailand and other nations of the world.

Meanwhile, the dwindling fortunes of the Naira against the dollar has led to astronomical increase in the prices of rice; but efforts such as those of the Lagos and Kebbi States will in no small measure force down the prices of the commodity.

Illegal abattoirs

On illegal abattoirs, Mr Suarau who said the Ministry vigorously ensured the dislodgement of illegal slaughter slabs across the state during the last one year noting that mini abattoirs were being developed in partnership with the private sector.

“Plans have been concluded for the establishment of two abattoirs in Epe and Ojo local Government areas of Lagos State,” he affirmed.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Food Security, Mr Sanni Okanlawon said all recommendations made during the food summit organized by the Ministry during the period under review would be implemented.

The Special Adviser to the Governor stated that farmlands acquired in other States, including the Federal Capital Teritory- Abuja were being cultivated and the farm produce would be transported to Lagos to further ensure availability of wholesome foods for residents.

 Omolayo.A