Lagos State government has made known its plans to increase capacity
in rice production from the present 2.5 metric tonnes per hour to 10
metric tonnes per hour within the next six months.
Government also hopes to partner the private sector to further shore-up the capacity to 20 metric tonnes per hour.
Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode made this known while on a tour of facility at the Imota Rice Processing Factory in Ikorodu area of the state.
Governor Ambode said the need to enhance the state’s rice processing capacity was borne out of the recent memorandum of understanding between Lagos and Kebbi States so as to accommodate the rice paddies that would be coming from the northern state.
“The reason why we have come is to know the present status of the facility here and see how we can overhaul the equipment; we have a 2.5 metric tonnes per hour which is not meeting our needs, so what we need to do now is to is to see how we can upgrade to about 10 tonnes per hour and allow the private sector to come and invest an additional 10 tonnes per hour facility and that is the only way we can allow the inflow of paddies from Kebbi State and also to cover all the rice fields within the Lagos and Ogun States axes and catchment areas, the ministry (of Agriculture) has to find a way to do it within the next three to six months,” the governor stressed.
No more rice importation
Governor Ambode maintained that with the increased capacity at the rice processing plant, there will be an end to importation of rice from outside the shores of Nigeria.
He stressed that Lagos state would also encourage other states with rice paddies to bring them into Lagos for processing.
Some of the things which are expected to be fixed at the rice processing factory established in May 2012 include the parboiling line, the drying line up to the milling line as well as the colour sorter.
Meanwhile, the Governor while at the proposed site meant for the relocation of the popular Mile 12 market in Imota, gave a directive to the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development to begin work within a week.
“Development work on our new commodities market would take off from here within the next one week. We believe that if we start within the next seven days, within the next six months, Mile 12 Market Ketu will be a thing of the past. I want to appeal to people in Imota that you will be having new set of investors; new set of traders and then new set of tenants. You should be very accommodating because we are bringing a whole lot here,” Ambode advised.
Governor Ambode also assured residents that the State government will consider the possible expansion of the road network around the market and connecting the Ikorodu and Epe area, saying the relocation of the Mile 12 Market as well as the Oko Baba Sawmill Market to the axis will have multiplier effect on the Lagos economy.
The Governor who also visited the new site for the relocation of Oko Baba Sawmill Market commended the contractor for the work done so far, assuring that project will be delivered before the end of September 2016.
He said the project would ensure that the Ebute Metta, Third Mainland Bridge loop would be cleaned up, saying that the traders were excited and looking forward to moving to the new site.
“There is no form of resentment from the traders; they are excited about this place. I am assured that before the end of September, we would have commenced operation in this place. I must commend the ministry officials also that we should remain steadfast so that this project becomes a reality before the end of September,” he said.
A lawmaker representing Ikorodu Constituency II at the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr Nurudeen Saka-Solaja expressed gratitude to the Governor for the proposed relocation of the Mile 12 Market to Imota, just as he urged the government to commence the project in earnest.
Also speaking, the monarch of Imota, Oba Adeniyi Agoro, thanked Governor Ambode for considering the area for such laudable projects as he assured that residents would cooperate with the government to ensure the success of the projects.