Fashola, Agric Minister Commission 20,000 Metric Tonnes Imota Rice Mill
…Governor charges Youths to take up challenge to work on state government farms
May 15, 2012 - Lagos State Governor Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) in company of the Minister of State for Agriculture, Mallam Bukar Tijani on Tuesday handed over the 20,000 metric tonnes Imota Rice Processing factory, with the Governor charging youths to roll up their sleeves to work on the farms being created by the Government.
Governor Fashola who spoke at the processing factory in Imota before he embarked upon a guided inspection of the rice factory said the time of miscreancy by some youths in Lagos State is over.
"The time for wealth without work is over. You must all understand that no nation prospers if it seeks wealth without work. This is one of the places where we can create wealth if we go back to the land and farm".
"Our land is too green for us to be hungry. It is too green for us to export agric jobs outside the country. Go back to the land and the farms we are creating", the Governor stated.
Governor Fashola who acknowledged the support and innovativeness of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture led by the Minister, Dr Akinwunmi Adeshina stated that for the present administration in Lagos, it beliefs that once elections are over, the only task remaining is service to the people and hard work.
He explained whenever the State Government disagrees with any policy of the Federal Government it is because the administration believes that there are better options and not that it is fighting the FG.
He added that if there are programmes being undertaken by the Federal Government which the State believes it should not reinvent the wheel over, it would wholeheartedly support it.
The Governor, while commending the purposeful collaboration that exists between the Lagos State Government and the Federal Government, reiterated that hunger and poverty knows no political party or colour but strikes with equal measure.
Also speaking, the Minister of State for Agriculture, Mallam Bukar Tijani commended the present administration in Lagos for putting the state in the rice production map of the country with the rice mill factory.
He said if all states in Nigeria follow the footsteps of the Lagos State, Nigeria will achieve the target for self sufficiency in food set by the President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan before the target year of 2015.
He said it does not speak well of a country like Nigeria whose need is about 5million metric tonnes of rice annually if it continues to spend its hard earned foreign exchange of importation of rice from Asian countries of Thailand, Bangladesh and even sister African countries.
The Minister said governance is all about responding to the needs of the people who voted in the government and said Governor Fashola should be commended for taking care of the needs and aspiration of his people.
He commended Governor Fashola for buying in into the transformation agenda of President Jonathan, adding that it is the preoccupation of those at the helm of affairs in the agric ministry to ensure that the rice value chain support all Nigerians in food security and nutrition.
The Minister said the commercial agriculture project being undertaken by the Federal Government will get added boost if it succeeds in Lagos State because it will make farmers very rich.
The Governor added that the Rice mill story started four years ago when he was sworn in to office and he was informed that the rice production capacity of the state yearly is 30 hectares.
He added that through sustained efforts spread over two and half years, it was increased to 250 hectares, adding that government was also concerned about embarking upon strategic irrigation to keep the farm wet always.
"We resolved to do 500 hectares per annum but we were now told, if you do this, how do you process it?. So, we decided in 2011 to building this processing mill before we increase production so that there will be no wastages when we achieve increase production".
"But also we had a problem of yield per hectare. We are doing average of one tone per hectare and we want to go to at least two hectares and progress from there. So, in Araga, Badagry, we are doing a strategic irrigation intervention that will keep the field land wet all through the year with water to grow the rice. In addition we have also written to the minister of agric to give us land in the River Basin Authority. I am made to understand that that request is receiving favourable consideration", the Governor stated.
The Governor charged all business minded Nigerians to look towards the prospect that exists with the rice that will be cultivated in Ogun State but transported to Lagos, adding that all those who are making okada riding a way of life now should think of embracing the business of driving farm trucks to convey the rice.
Governor Fashola who also spoke on the 4.65km network of roads in the Ikorodu fish farm estate and the poultry farm estate said the rice mill will produce enough rice which is staple food, chicken, eggs and fish which is the food chain the Minister talked about and where everybody will have a place if they can think through.
The State Governor said the fish farm in Odogunyan is one of the examples of the strategic intervention of the State adding that the impact of a 4.5 kilometer road constructed in the estate is already obvious in the fortunes of the fish farmers in the area.
"There are so many ways in which we can intervene. We can intervene by infrastructure, by inputs, by increased budgetary allocations, innovative policies at the State, Federal and other levels".
The Governor stated that at the Erikorodo Poultry farm estate, the government has intervened to give land to about 136 poultry farmers with the opening of a broiler house where10,000 day old chicks are processed into full chicken.
"We also opened a feed mill that will serve all the farmers in the Poultry estate so that the mill is being produced there and the chicks are also produced there. We also have a feed mill and a processing plant where all the chicken can get to the consumers after being cleaned".
"This is a fully integrated poultry estate. This is government intervention to provide a breeding facility for 10,000 broilers per day, to provide also a feed mill to produce all the feed to support all the farmers in this estate and I believe there are 137 farmers here and also a processing facility to process all your chicks, clean them, package them, freeze them and get them ready for delivery to the market. We will walk our talk and give every support to anybody who takes farming seriously", Governor Fashola explained
Governor Fashola reiterated that he sees business opportunities for people in terms of how the processed chicken can reach the market, adding that drivers would be needed to drive the refrigerator vans that will be used to preserve the chicken just as he urged all entrepreneurs who deal in refrigerated vehicles to head to Lagos where business opportunities looms.
The Governor who emphasized that the story of the development does not end there because the Imota Industrial Estate is a 23 hectare estate that will involve the Ministries of Commerce, Works and Energy providing network of roads, regular water supply and uninterrupted power supply in the estate so that people can invest there.
He also spoke on the challenges of illegal settlement on government land in the Ikorodu area especially as it involves Ikorodu/Mile 12 road as many structures have been developed on the setback.
He said the State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development has the go ahead of the State Executive Council to remove to remove all such structures on the road.
Speaking earlier, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Co-operatives, Prince Gbolahan Lawal said the State Government remains fully committed to ensuring that Lagosians have unhindered access to affordable quality food and agricultural produce.
He said it is based on that conviction that agriculture featured prominently at the just concluded Ehingbeti 2012 Lagos Economic Summit which focused on the PATH which is an acronym for Power, Agriculture, Transportation and Housing.
The Commissioner said the test run of the factory has been completed and the main product (well polished rice) compares favourably with the best quality rice from any part of the world and is estimated to produce between 350,000 and 400,000 bags of rice every year.
He said the Poultry estate is one of the five farm estates located in different parts of the state to bring self sufficiency in chicken production and is expected to produce about one million eggs and 600,000 live birds annually.
"Our collaboration with the Federal Government and the World Bank in the Commercial Agricultural Development Projects (CADP) has continued on a fruitful path especially in the areas of improving the business environment for agriculture by assisting participating small and medium scale commercial farmers to the market", Prince Lawal stated.
In his solidarity message, a member of the Presidential Committee on Agricultural Transformation, Mr Emanuel Ijewere commended the agricultural policy been embarked upon by the Lagos State Governor.
He added that several more farmers are needed in Lagos and that the time for people to become farmers in Lagos State is now because they will profit from it.
Also speaking, the Ranodu of Imota, Oba Ajibade Bakare Agoro commended the State Governor for fulfilling his electioneering campaign and ensuring a completion of the project.
He expressed the hope that the project will signpost several other laudable projects that will sited in Imota by the present administration.
The Governor was accompanied to the commissioning venues by members of the State Executive Council, Senator representing the Lagos East Senatorial District, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, member of the House of Representatives, Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, and was conducted round the Erinkorodo Poultry farm estate coordinator, Mr Kamara Chopra while the consultant to the state on rice mill project, Mr Oluwarotimi Fashola conducted him round the rice mill.