This was the submission of the Deputy National Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Mr Segun Atho, during an interview with newsmen on Friday in Lagos.
Atho said the proposed rice mill will open a vista of opportunities for rice production and increase revenue generation for the Lagos state government.
“The proposed rice mill project promised by the Lagos state government for rice farmers in the state will shortly be launched.
“The rice farmers will be the major beneficiaries of the mills when completed as well as other stakeholders in the rice value chain.
“The rice mill will provide ample opportunity for us to have surplus in local rice production which will, in turn, open the gateway for local rice exports.
“With the running of the rice mill in Lagos, we will become self-sufficient in rice cultivation and also supply neighbouring nations and regions around us.
“The commencement of the rice mill will also increase revenue generation in Lagos state as rice farmers pay to process their produce.
“However, with the completion and launch of the Lagos Rice mills, this will further boost the rate of production of locally-grown rice in Nigeria,” Atho said.
RIFAN’s Deputy Chairman also noted that the operation of the mill will lead to a drop in the price of local rice, making it affordable to every Nigerian.
According to him, the increased quantity of rice production will help processors package the commodity in smaller bags, making it affordable for low-income earners.
“With the increased quantity of locally-grown rice in the market, the lower the price of local rice will fall. We want to sell local rice at considerable prices that will be affordable to everybody.
“When we have well-polished local rice in large quantities, the price will gradually drop and become more affordable. But the lower the quantity, the higher the price will be.
“We have even suggested the packaging of local rice in 1kg, 2kg and 5kg bags for low-income earners who may not be able to afford the 25kg-rice at once.
“This will be another strategy to lower the price of local rice, when packaged in smaller quantities. It is like taking a cue from the production of sachet milk as against the purchase of tin milk,” the Deputy Chairman said.