Olam Nigeria Limited has unveiled plans to increase its stake in the rice industry as part of efforts to aid the realisation of the self-sufficiency and the job creation targets of the government.
A statement from the company disclosed that it had concluded plans to kick-start milling of 200,000 metric tonnes of paddy rice in Doma Local Government Council of Nassarawa State by June 1, 2015.
The backward integration plan in the sector is expected to aid local rice production and job creation at the firm which recently unveiled its locally produced rice.
Olam’s Business Head for Rice, Anil Nair, explained that the launch was designed to meet growing local demand for the commodity as well as reduce its importation.
On placing a total ban on the commodity, the company said, it should be a gradual process. “Before you ban rice or any agricultural commodity, you have to strengthen local rice production,” the statement read.
“Olam, for instance, is into commercial production of rice with 6,000 hectares in two cities, making it 12,000 hectares. That will, in addition to contribution from other rice millers, help bridge the demand and supply gap.”
A former Attorney General of the Federation and the Secretary, Rice Farmers’ Association, Michael K. Aondoakaa, in his presentation urged the government to urgently protect the local rice industry.
Aondoakaa, at the House of Reps hearing, expressed worry that corrupt actions by some rice importers could destroy government’s policy and truncate the local rice sub-sector.
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