By Dipo Olowookere
The Confluence Rice Factory located in Omi area of Kogi State would be launched in two months’ time, the state government has confirmed.
The factory, according to the state’s Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Kehinde Oloruntoba, would be commissioned before March 31, 2018.
Speaking at the maiden edition of the state Ministerial Media Briefing in Lokoja on Wednesday, the Commissioner noted that the state will strive to join leading rice producing states in the country.
According the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr Oloruntoba said, “We are one of the highest rice producing states in the country with Ibaji, Idah, Bassa, Girinya, Ofu, Omi and other rice producing areas but the state is always missing from the list of rice producing states in the country.
“We established a 50-metric tonnes rice mill at Omi in Yagba-West Local Government of the state.
“The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) is also complementing that effort by installing another 50-metric tonne capacity rice processing mill at Ibaji.”
He said that ISPO confirmation and other administrative bottlenecks delayed the take-off of the Omi mill but assured that it would be commissioned before the end of March, this year.
On the inauguration of the confluence rice on Dec. 23, 2017, the Commissioner said the rice was cultivated at Omi rice farm, harvested and was taken to Star Milling Company, Offa, Kwara State for processing.
“That does not make it Offa rice. We should remember that this is a pilot project and we need to keep faith with the promise made by the governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, to float the Confluence Rice before the end of December, 2017.
“We had an arrangement for the milling of the rice. The rice was not repacked. All the activities on production were done in Omi except the milling.
“Whatever we cannot do, we will not say,” he said, adding that about 4,500 hectares of land had been devoted to the production of rice.
He added that 1,000 hectares of the land would be strictly devoted to modern rice cultivation and processing deploying modern technology.
“The people will be encouraged to start their own rice farms and they will be supported with starter packs.
“Before March 31, the rice mill industry in Omi will be commissioned,” he said.
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