By Ralph Omololu Agbana, Lokoja.
At maximum capacity, the Kogi Rice Milling Plant located on 800 hectares in Ejiba, Yagba West Local Council, Kogi State is expected to create 6,000 direct and indirect jobs.
The rice mill, now completed, is part of the projects embarked upon by the Yahaya Bello administration and is billed to be commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari as part of the activities marking the 28th anniversary of the creation of Kogi State on August 27, 2019.
The Guardian gathered that the plant could easily run over 3000 tons of rice per month and over 36,000 tons per year. This is equivalent to the production of over 720,000 50kg rice bags per year.
Currently, the Industry has 800 hectares nucleus rice farm that feeds the processing plant. While the 800 hectares produce around 3200 tons of paddy rice yearly, the processing plant will consume the 3,200 tons in just a month meaning that expanded rice cultivation is encouraged to meet the feedstock.
The industry will purchase paddy from local farmers across the state and also increase the capacity of its nucleus farm to meet up with the rice milling plant production capacity per year.
The Kogi rice milling process will not only produce finished international standard quality rice but also by-products such as rice bran, brown rice, rice husk and broken rice, among others. It also operates on independent power generation plant in excess of 300kwh.
Kogi State Commissioner for Agriculture, Kehinde Oloruntoba who spoke to The Guardian on the potentials of the industry said: “As at today, the farm is currently generating 300 direct jobs, which comprises of farm staff, hunters and equipment operators. The industry can also generate over 5000 indirect jobs through its Out-Growers empowerment program. Last year, it empowered 150 local farmers through the office of Kogi State Governor.
He said: “As a catalyst for direct, indirect and general employment, once the rice mill commences operation, the industry will be employing other hundreds of staff, as its plans to run the plant at the maximum capacity on two-session day and night shift per day. Each shift will produce over 50 tons of finished Confluence Rice.
“The Kogi Rice Milling industry, through its processing operation, gives more nutritive food and conserves rice by way of recoveries. It also increases the shelf life of rice.
“By establishing the Rice Milling Industry, Governor Yahaya Bello is Using one stone to kill two birds; while fighting food insecurity by increasing food production, he is also fighting the scourge of unemployment by creating direct and indirect jobs. This is what the ‘New Direction Government” stands for and Governor Yahaya Bello is steering the ship to the next level of development,” he said.
Oloruntoba explained that nearness to the Kampe Dam at Omi, also in Yagba West Local Council informed the citing of the rice mill at Ejiba for irrigation purposes and dry season farming.
“We needed to utilize that dam for the economic prosperity of our people. The dam was commissioned in 1999 and never put to serious use. The target is to cultivate 4000 hectares of rice plantation there to feed the mill. 800 hectares will produce 6,400 tonnes of rice yearly because we will plant during the wet and dry seasons”, he said.
First published by Guardian