By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos
As part of efforts aimed at sustaining food sufficiency in the state, the Lagos State Government has said that it has subsidized LAKE Rice to the tune of N1.04bn from December 2016 till date.
The Commissioner for Agriculture , Mr. Oluwatoyin Suarau who disclosed this Thursday while giving the scorecard of the Ministry in the last one year at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa, Ikeja noted that LAKE Rice which is being sold at a highly subsidized rate of N12, 000 per bag of 50kg, has helped crashed the skyrocketing price of rice in the country.
Said he, “the State Government has subsidized LAKE Rice under this review period with One Billion, Forty Nine Million, One hundred and Forty Thousand, Three Hundred and Ninety Five Naira (N1, 049, 140, 395.00) This is targeted towards ensuring food sustainability and food security in the state and as an end result, making Lake rice a national brand”.
Suarau explained that the subsidy include cost of transportation, bagging and difference in cost price of the rice from other brands. He added that a total of 150 marketers and other ancillary service providers have been empowered through the sales of LAKE Rice.
The Commissioner while restating the commitment of the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode led administration to boost the production of rice disclosed that the State government has completed an agreement to acquire and establish a 32 tonnes per hour rice mill with AG (“Bühler”), a leading rice-mill producer in the world stressing that the establishment of the rice mill is targeted at enhancing food security and creating employment in the State.
“It is estimated that the partnership would facilitate the creation of 274,000 jobs across the agriculture value chain, and will also bring about the cultivation of 32,000 hectares of farm land to produce rice paddy, equating to an estimated 130million Kg of processed rice per year which is an equivalent of 2.6milion 50kg bags of rice”, he said.
The Commissioner noted that the establishment of the state-of-the-art rice mill will serve as a platform for Lagos to partner with other South-West States aside the existing collaboration with Kebbi State.
This he added that this is in consonance with the region’s resolve towards achieving economic integration, ensure that adequate rice is supplied to the 32 metric tonnes per hour rice mill and make provision for empowerment programmes for farmers across all the value chains of Agriculture.
Suarau who stated that the present administration has since inception embarked on agricultural policies and programmes aimed at enhancing food security in the Stated noted that State government has made a lot of deliberate efforts to enhance agriculture with the introduction of programmes in Vegetable farming, poultry, cassava farming and various forms of agro- processing programmes to the youths.
He opined that the commitment of the State government towards the attainment of food security depends largely on cooperation of every resident of the State, stressing that food security and hygienic environment occupies the front burner of the present administration’s plans to facilitate job and wealth creation as well as reduce poverty in the state.
The Commissioner disclosed further that a total of 1,500 farmers and marketers across the Five administrative divisions of the State has ben empowered adding also that the Agric Youth Empowerment Scheme has trained over 600 youths in various agricultural enterprises such as Poultry, Fishery and Crop production.
“The State government has also provided 12 units of coconut processing equipment for coconut processors in the State and this include Stainless two ton per hour coconut greater, 7.5 H.P Electric motor, Industrial burners, Aluminium bowls and spoon among other equipment”, Suarau added.
He assured that the present administration will always be committed to ensuring that the State becomes food secured and continue to demonstrate its all-inclusive system of governance as a means to gaining the dividend of democracy.