The Ogun State government has joined the league of rice-producing states in the country, with the launch of the MITROS Rice processing factory and formal launch of the rice, in Asero, Abeokuta, the state capital, boosting the Federal Government’s dream of attaining food sufficiency in the area of rice production.
At the launch, graced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Bagudu, who doubles as Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Agricultural Commodities and Production, among others, the state governor, Ibikunle Amosun said the boost in rice production would not only conserve the country’s hard-earned foreign exchange through less importation, but would further address the balance of trade in favour of the country.
The governor noted that the MITROS Rice, could not have come at a more auspicious time, but now when government is talking about ensuring food sufficiency, and, diversification of the economy from its over-dependence on crude oil earnings, ensuring not only food sufficiency in Nigeria, but also ensuring a boost in local production of rice.
He added that the production of the rice would go a long way in making Ofada rice available, at affordable prices, for people’s consumption. “I am pleased to note that this Rice Mill will produce not only parboiled rice, but also a vastly improved brand of Ofada. The new Ofada rice will be produced in a hygienic manner, and to high standards; and it will enjoy standardised packaging – in 1kg, 5kg, 10kg, 25kg and 50kg bags – and bear the MITROS stamp of quality, signifying goods produced to the highest standards.
“You will agree with me that the absence of artificial inputs has made the domestically-produced rice natural and healthier for consumption than the imported rice. No doubt, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, wait until you taste this rice,” said Amosun.
The governor said the availability of food is synonymous with the survival of the society as a whole, noting that besides, the state’s past efforts at tackling poverty in all ramifications would amount to nothing if concerted efforts are not taken to ensure food security to people at all income levels.
“This is why today is a significant day, not just for Ogun State, but for Nigeria as well. The MITROS Rice Mill, the first of its kind in Ogun State, will create jobs for our farmers. From now on, they will no longer need to travel far and wide in search of milling facilities. With this mill, they will not only benefit from high-quality processing of their output, but also enjoy guaranteed off-take,” he said.
In his speech, Bagudu said the country has the ability to produce rice competitively, stressing that currently, there is no nation that can produce rice cheaper and deliver it to Nigeria and to be imported properly and for such rice to compete with the rice being produced by Nigerian farmers.
“Therefore, it is important for us all to mobilise and patronise Nigerian rice and Nigerian commodities because if anything, we know how they were produced, we know the executive standards. We know the freshness, compared to commodities we know relatively nothing about, unlike MITROS Ofada Rice, or Ebonyi Rice or Confluence Rice or any other rice from any other state from Nigeria.”