The implementation of the Federal Government’s incentives on agriculture, otherwise known as Agriculture Transformation Agenda (ATA) has led to the expansion of rice production and changed perception that local rice is ‘inferior’ rice with stones and unsavoury odour.
Investigations by NaijaAgroNet revealed that in response to government policy and incentives for rice, 14 large-scale integrated rice mills were established by the private sector in two years, producing international quality long-grained parboiled rice.
The rice which is said to be in the market are well-packaged, long grained parboiled local rice, from Kano (Umza rice), Ebonyi (Ebony rice), Benue State (Mikap rice), are tastier and healthier than imported rice which are often 15 years old rice dumped on the Nigerian market.
It was further revealed that, Dominion Farms, a foreign investor, has invested $40 million (N6442, 000,000) in a commercial rice farm, and 30,000 ha field, including community out-grower farms in Taraba State would hit the market in 2014. Olam has expanded its rice cultivation by 10,000 ha, in response to the policy incentives by the government.
Lagos State Government is said to have recently bought seventeen trailer loads of paddy rice from Kebbi state, to Lagos to mill in the rice mill set up by the Lagos state government instead of importing brown rice from Thailand and India.
NaijaAgroNet discovered that this paddy rice fields in Kebbi has stimulated the economy by adding N37 billion of incomes to farmers in Nigeria, created 467,000 jobs, while Lagos State sells the milled paddy rice from Kebbi State that has come to be known as Eko rice.
pix: President Goodluck Jonathan