By Oludele Taiwo
The Ranodu of Imota, Oba Ajibade Agoro, has assured Nigerians that the community and its people would do everything possible within its means to ensure it protects the Lagos Rice Mill situated in his domain.
He gave the assurance in an interview with our reporter during the commissioning of the rice mill by President Muhammadu Buhari. He said that he is the happiest man on the planet earth that the commissioning came during his reign as the Oba of Imota.
“I am 30 years on the throne now; I will celebrate my 30 years on the throne with this inauguration. It is a lifetime achievement that was given to Imota by God almighty through some people in my own tenure as the Oba.
“This mill has brought all the factors of production to Imota; and when you have all the factors of production in any area, it would engender both economic and commercial development that will in turn engender development. Talking in terms of population, it has been estimated that we would have 250,000 direct and indirect jobs there, if you add 250,000 to the population of Imota you would know what will happen
“These people that will come will have dependants; wife, children, so by the time you multiply 250,000 by three you have about 750,000, if you add that to the present population of Imota, we will be competing with many areas in Lagos like Idumota and other Lagos business districts and that will open up the area here.
Also, the Oniru of Iruland, Oba Gbolahan Lawal said he is one of the happiest people at the commissioning that he remembered vividly when the Eko rice started around 2011-2012, it was a 2.5 metric tonnes capacity.
“When we started then, I also remembered that we were able to create a lot of jobs through the rice value chain from production to the milling and transportation so for the fact that we are here today, 8.5 hectare of land optimally utilised and the number of jobs that this mill will create is wholesome”, the monarch said.
He appreciated the Federal Government for coming up with the initiative of banning the importation of rice. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos State Governor while speaking during the tour of the facility, said Eko Rice, which is proudly Nigeria, is the best in town.
“Mr. President, this is the result of your rice revolution. This rice is called Eko Rice, proudly Nigeria. It is the best in town now”, he said, adding that Lagos was ready to support the rice and food revolution in Nigeria.
“The President is really delighted to be here to commission the largest rice mill in the entire sub Saharan Africa and one of the largest in the world, the Lagos Rice Mill in Imota. It is being done because of the agricultural revolution of Mr President, who when he started his government, said Nigerians should grow what they eat and they should eat what they grow.
“We are happy that Lagos is a testament of that. With 2.8million bags of 50kg rice per annum, Lagos is ready to support the rice revolution and the food revolution in Nigeria. The Lagos Rice Mill will create close to 250,000 direct and indirect jobs. We want to thank the local community of Imota, Ikorodu. We want to thank all of you that have waited patiently. Mr President is indeed excited that you have birthed another first in Nigeria and in sub Saharan Africa.”
It would be recalled that the integrated rice milling operation in the state started on the success of the Rice for Job Programme, which started in 2008. The programme covered all aspects of the rice value chain, while paddy processing was done in cottage mills. The programme graduated about 1,000 rice farmers across the value chain with different brands of packaged Ofada Rice in 500g and 1kg. The programme birthed the first integrated mill in SouthWest, Nigeria, a 2.5MTPH mill in Imota, which was in operation till 2016. The mill had an annual output of 120,000 bags of 50kg rice.
The Lagos Rice Mill, Imota as presently called, is a two 16metric tonnes per hour mill standing on an area of 8.5Ha land with an annual paddy requirement of over 240,000 metric tonnes to produce 2.5 million bags of 50Kg rice per annum. The rice mill is the largest in the sub Saharan Africa and the fourth largest in the world.