The Federal Government has said that Kaduna, Kogi, Benue, Anambra, Bayelsa and five other states will get 10 large integrated rice milling machines at the cost of N10.7 billion by December 2019.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, who stated this yesterday in Abuja during the pact signing with MV Agro Engineers, suppliers of the farm equipment, said the benefiting states would indicate interest as off-takers and make 10 per cent down-payment expressing their technical capacity to own and operate the mill.
However, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in April approved N10.7 billion for the establishment of 10 new rice mills in the six geo-political zones with the 10 participating states to include Kaduna, Anambra, Kogi, Benue, Bayelsa, Niger and Bauchi. Others are Kebbi, Ogun and Zamfara while the mills are expected to produce 100 tonnes of rice per day.
He stated that the Bank of Agriculture (BoA) is expected to take over the loans’ repayment in the next 10 years.“As these people arrive, they will instal these mills and the BoA will take over the loans’ repayment over a period of 10 years.
“Building machines is not cheap. It’s a scientific thing. These people say they may do it faster but we should give them 18 months so that there won’t be issues for delays,” Ogbeh said.
According to him, there are about 16 existing large rice mills from the already procured 100 mills, with the capacity to mill 100 tonnes of rice paddy daily while others could mill about 300 tonnes daily.He said: “Dangote just brought in 10 milling machines which will produce one million tonnes of rice per annum but there are smaller ones we gave out, about 200 mills of 10 tonnes and 20 tonnes per annum operating in villages and small corners equipped with the stoners.
“We are buying smaller mills and giving them out because the smaller mills produce more rice than the big mills added up but they are scattered all over the country. Virtually, every state has small rice mills somewhere, Niger, Bayelsa, Benue, Taraba, Adamawa, Ebonyi, Katsina and Jigawa.”
Meanwhile, Managing Director, BoA, Kabir Mohammed, who restated commitment to ensure the project is successful while meeting the delivery targets, said the project financing would not be a challenge. Also, Managing Director, MV Agro Engineers, Jamu Babba Dan’agundi, leader of the delegation, commended the Federal Government for the gesture.He promised to deliver the machines as scheduled.