Mkpoikana Udoma 22 June 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, says it will soon revive its rice processing plants, with a combined capacity of 210 metric tonnes per day, at Elele Alimini in Rivers State and Mbiabet-Ikpe in Akwa Ibom State.
NDDC to revive rice mills, boost rice production in Rivers, Akwa Ibom
The NDDC Managing Director, Mr. Nsima Ekere, said this after inspecting the 180 tonnes per day facility at Elele Alimini, expressing displeasure with the non-utilisation of the rice mill which was completed since 2008.
Ekere lamented that the firm engaged to run the facility allowed it to lie fallow for ten years, an action he described as “unconscionable,” noting that the situation would be redressed urgently.
Ekere stated that the resuscitation of the two rice mills would encourage the local communities to grow more rice, and expand the agricultural value chain.
“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.
“You can’t put the kind of resources that NDDC committed to this project and then allow it to just lie waste,” he said.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer also stated that the wasting rice mill in Elele Alimini had the capacity to impact positively on the Nigerian economy, adding that it could have created many jobs and increased the country’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP.
“Nigeria as a country is still importing 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 other people will be employed indirectly.”
Ekere further explained that the re-activation of the rice mills would also encourage local farmers to produce more rice, noting that the Commission would develop an out-growers scheme where members of the communities will be encouraged to grow rice.
He said that NDDC would provide seedlings and other technical support to encourage local farmers to increase their production knowing that they would have a guaranteed market, and the economy in the rural communities will be positively affected and wealth created for the people.
Ekere further said that NDDC would do everything possible to ensure that farmers derived maximum benefits from the rice mills so as to guarantee massive cultivation and production of rice in the Niger Delta.