Abuja - President Goodluck Jonathan has commissioned the Olam Integrated Rice Processing Mill in Nasarawa State.
He praised the company for the 105 000-tonnes project as a worthy investment in the Nigerian agriculture sector.
“This is a mark of confidence in the success of our agricultural policies, their effective implementation, and the resilience of our economy," Jonathan said.
"We must continue working towards becoming the largest producer, and exporter of food. It is my firm belief, that with our vast land, water and labour resources, Nigeria has no business being a net food importing country. We shall continue to work very hard to meet our goal of unlocking all our agricultural potential,” he said.
He mentioned some milestones in the sector, such as the electronic wallet system, which has empowered 10 million farmers with access to subsidized high quality seeds and fertilizers.
Over the past three years, local farmers have produced over 17 million tonnes of food.
The country is said to be on course to surpass the 2015 target of 20 million tonnes of food by the end of this year.
“We were the first country in Africa to launch this system that has now assured greater transparency and better productivity in the sector. Now with better policy articulation and enhanced technology, our farmers, small and large, are all being touched by the new drive for food production across the country,” said Jonathan.
The President added that he was pleased to see that OLAM’s rice farm is inclusive of the rural communities, especially women and youths.
"As we encourage large commercial farms, we will ensure that their development empowers subject communities and protects their land rights, while boosting their shared participation in wealth creation, within their communities," he added.
The current and planned investment of over $100 million by OLAM has been hailed as a good example of how to build integrated rice value chains, combining commercial rice farms, out-grower schemes of small farmers, and modern rice mills.
Based in Singapore, Olam is a global integrated supply chain manager, processor and trader of soft commodities.
- CAJ News