Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal and Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, flanked by contractors at Imota Rice Mill, Ikorodu Lagos

By Taiwo Okanlawon

The Lagos State Government on has said the Imota Rice Mill at Imota, in Ikorodu Lagos, will be completed by the second quarter of 2020, with a production capacity of 32,000 tonnes per hour.

According to the Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, the State Government-owned Integrated Rice Mill will be also created about 250, 000 jobs from the production down to market.

Lawal disclosed this during an inspection tour of the mill alongside other members of the State Executive Council.

The Commissioner, who was accompanied on the inspection tour by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Olayiwole Onasanya as well as other top officials of the Ministry, noted that the 32 metric-tonnes capacity mill is projected to be producing 2.4million/50kg bags annually.

Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal and Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, with contractors at Imota Rice Mill, Ikorodu Lagos

He added that the Rice Mill would also have a warehouse to accommodate 20,000 metric tonnes of rice.

“The social-economic importance of this Mill is very significant to Lagos State government, considering the situation that we are in now, considering the policy of the national government on rice, and considering the impact of rice in Lagos, people that are rice,” he said.

“We are happy with the level of development and after the completion, I see jobs created, considering the numbers of people that are currently working on this site now, the cost-benefit importance of this mill is very phenomena. 250, 000 jobs from the production down to market just because of the investment and initiative of this administration to ensure that this site is completed on time.”

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“I see opportunities in the Agric space, I see jobs been created in the Agric space, I see poverty been reduced in the Agric space and I see more foreign and local investments in the Agric space.”

Some of the ongoing works at Imota Rice Mill, Ikorodu Lagos

While reiterating the commitment of the State Government to put effect to the Federal Government policy on rice importation, the Commissioner explained that the State Government has shown that its ready but calling on Lagosians to tap into the opportunities.

“We have demonstrated that we have the capacity to complete this Mill, what we are showing is for private investors to see the opportunities, we will still have people that will be barging the rice, people that will open new stores, people that will also be coming to off-take the rice.”

“This mill is projected to be producing 2.4million/50kg bags annually. So considering the cost-benefit analysis, it is very significant and I want to commend the governor of the state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu for putting more investment into the project.”

Special Adviser to the Lagos Governor on Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, with contractors at Imota Rice Mill, Ikorodu Lagos

Lawal explained that the Sanwo-Olu administration is also supporting continuity by taking on the project that was started by the previous administration.

“This is more like a continuity of government, there are some other governments that do not continue with what their predecessor put in place but this administration has vowed that all the ongoing projects will be completed and that’s what is happening here, don’t forget this project started by last administration but we are continuing and we are going to complete.”

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Speaking about logistics challenges like a heavy downpour, narrow road that is slowing down the completion of the projects and collaborations with other rice-producing states to address the short flow of productions, said Lagos state will come up with a climate-smart agriculture to mitigate or resilient enough for the mill.

Some of the ongoing works at Imota Rice Mill, Ikorodu Lagos

“That is something we have to mitigate against, what we will do is to buy the paddy on time so that the flow of milling is not disturbed and we also see opportunities in oatgrass scheme that the federal government has initiated, with that, Lagos will be more like aside the production will be doing with our farmers in Lagos, will also be outsourcing paddy aggregation. It is business, there will be business risks but we will find a way of mitigating any risk that may come up.”

“The movement is also very important, this is a mill that will create jobs, we are working with the ministry of works, they are more like our consultant and we already have plans to open up the roads, you can see that coming in is very narrow. We are also in discussion with stakeholders within the community to let them know that we need to expand the road and they are ready to support the government because they are going to be beneficiaries from the jobs that will be created.”

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“So if you look at the benefit analysis, it is going to be more impactful, first on the community and the state as a whole,” he added.

Special Adviser to the Lagos Governor on Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, with contractors at Imota Rice Mill, Ikorodu Lagos

Earlier, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, who expressed satisfaction with the progress of work being done so far assured that the entire project will be ready by the second quarter of 2020.

In her words, “We are here to continue with our fortnight meeting with our contractors at Imota Rice Mill and we are all also see the progress and see what we discussed with the contractors at our meetings and to ensure that contractors keep up with the time they have given us and as you can see from last month till this month, the amount of progress we have witnessed has been phenomenal.”

“The workers are here and they are doing a very good job, I am sure you can see the work, you have also seen pictures on social media, on TV from last month compared to what we have now.”

Some of the ongoing works at Imota Rice Mill, Ikorodu Lagos

“So with the timeline that we have to commission this Mill by the second quarter of 2020 with the rate at which work is been done here, we think that it can be completed. If you remember, the raining season for this year has been very abnormal and that actually reduced the timeline we had in terms of getting this completed.”

“So next year we might see a little shift here and that is normal in a civil work construction ongoing and we hope that by the second quarter of 2020, this mill should be ready for commissioning,” She added.