Olam to scale rice production to 240,000mt yearly

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In a move to achieve self sufficiency in rice production and fill the demand and supply gap, Olam farm has unveiled plans to increase its current production capacity of 120,000 to 240,000 metric tonnes by 2022.

While Nigeria’s rice milling capacity currently stands at five million metric tonnes, it has not been able to meet the consumption average of 6.8million metric tonnes. Although the country is said to be the largest producer of paddy (unprocessed rice), not much is being off-taken by millers.

However the Senior Vice President Olam Farm, Anil Nair, while hosting the Governor of Nasarawa state, Abdullahi Sule on the farm in Rukubi community, Doma Local Government Area of the state, said the ongoing expansion is expected to contribute 90,000MT of milled rice to Nigeria’s domestic market.

He said: “In pursuit of President Buhari’s mandate of ‘producing what we consume,’ Olam Nigeria is pledging to continue its support in the fight to ensure food security and helping the country reduce its food imports by ramping up rice production through its over 5000 hectares, fully mechanised large-scale rice farm that produces two crops a year for the Nigerian market.

Describing the farm as the largest off-taker of paddy rice from Nigerian farmers, he said they have impacted the livelihoods of more than 100,000 farmers directly and indirectly.

“The farm which started as a model rice farm in 2011, transformed to a commercial operation in 2012 with a present size of over 4,400 Ha with a yield of 9MT per hectare over two annual crop cycles (Wet and Dry season cropping).

“In line with the local content policy, the company has over 2000 employees on its payroll, out of which 80 percent of this population comes from the host state,” he said.

He also explained that the farm has reduced its expatriate engagement, to allow for in-house training arrangement whereby the local staff are trained and specialize in operating and maintaining of heavy-duty machinery.

Nair lamented that despite the huge contribution of the farm to the nation’s economy they are faced with poor road infrastructure and security challenges that are militating the sustainable growth of the company.

“The construction/rehabilitation of the major road network across the country will have a direct impact on the sustainable growth of the company business,” he added.

In his remark, the Nasarawa state Governor, Abdullahi Sule, commended the management of the farm for the huge employment opportunities it has provided the people of the state. He noted that Olam has paved the way for indigenous farmers to succeed who are major out growers of the product.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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