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NDDC steps up food sufficiency drive, set to raise delivery of Rice mills in Rivers, A’Ibom

Indication has emerged that several Rice mills in Rivers, Akwa Ibom will soon get facelift from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The NDDC Managing Director, of the agency, Mr Nsima Ekere, disclosed after inspecting the 180 tonnes per day facility at Elele Alimini that several other mills in both Rivers and Mbiabet-Ikpe in Akwa Ibom States will be upgraded to increase productivity.

He said the rice mills at Elele Alimini in Rivers and Mbiabet-Ikpe in Akwa Ibom States will be revived with a combined capacity of 210 metric tonnes per day.

However, while expressing displeasure with the non-utilisation of the rice mill which was completed in 2008, Ekere decried that the firm engaged to run the facility, allowed it to lie fallow for 10 years, which is “unconscionable” saying the situation will be redressed urgently.

“What is important is to get this facility up and running and stop the huge waste of government resources.

“We will negotiate with private investors and set the process rolling in the next couple of weeks,’’ he said.

According to him, “The resuscitation of the two rice mills would encourage the local communities to grow more rice, and expand the agricultural value chain”.

“You can’t put the kind of resources that NDDC committed to this project and then allow it to just lie waste.

“The wasting rice mill in Elele Alimini has the capacity to impact positively on the Nigerian economy, it could have created many jobs and increase the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“Nigeria as a nation is still importing a lot of rice and we spend billions of dollars importing food, yet we have a facility here that can actually help to reduce the amount we spend on food imports and we just leave it idle.

“Going forward, we will immediately go into partnership with the private sector to put this facility to use. We want to see that this mill is functional, so that we can begin to employ people.

“Hundreds of Nigerians will be gainfully employed, if we get this facility working and functional. Many others will be employed indirectly.

Apart from more jobs, NDDC observed that re-activation of the rice mills would also encourage local farmers to produce more rice.