Olam is one of the multinational companies involved in the production of rice in Nigeria.
With a farm situated in Rukubi village in Doma Local Government of Nasarawa State, it is currently cultivating 4,000 hectares of rice. The total hectare according to the farm officials is 10,000.
Mahesh Nimje, who led a team from the farm to the recent Daily Trust Agric Conference in Abuja said the farm is expanding annually.
“Every year we are increasing our capacity and very soon we will cover the 10,000 hectares with rice production. We are expecting yield of six metric tonnes per hectare for wet and dry season; 36,000 tonnes per season and 62,000 tonnes a year. That will amount to 60% milled rice, which can give 40,000 tonnes to sell in the market,” he said.
He said Olam milling capacity is 105,000 metric tonnes. To accommodate that capacity, Nimje said they buy paddy from the open market, which gives them the capacity to produce about 310,000 yearly.
The farm runs three programmes: One on their own farm, the second is that they buy paddy from the market and third they give out seed and fertilizer to farmers and buy back the paddy through the out-grower programme.
According to him, the farm has network of 20,000 farmers across Nigeria also feeding their mill.
Jayant Jagtap, one of the farm officials told journalists that they are using one of the best milling technology in the world-from Japan and Italy to produce Mama’s Pride and chef’s Choice brands of rice.
“These products are the true Nigerian rice from Olam’s farm. The quality is benchmarking the international quality which they have made available in Nigeria,” Mahatsa said.
To him, Nigerian high quality rice is enjoying more attraction as people are beginning to love what is grown from the Nigerian soil in terms of quality and packaging.
He noted that what is killing Nigerian rice is the cross border smuggling of the product which brings down the price of rice thereby making it extremely difficult for producers within the country to make money from their investments.
“We invested a lot of money in Nigerian rice, setting up mill plant, the farms and the people you are employing and so it becomes difficult to compete with the cross border rice coming into Nigeria; and we have to compete with that rice in the market, that’s the price challenge we have,” he said.
If the government is able to block the borders and give a level playing field, Nigerian rice will be cheaper than Thai rice or other imported rice coming into the market.
“If the cross border rice incursion is stopped, there will be better days for Nigerian farmers,” Nimje added.
On the available infrastructure in the farm, Mr. Jagtap said they have been talking to the federal, state and local governments to help, adding that they operate on 24-hour diesel which scales up cost of production.
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