- FG Confident that Wacott Rice Investment will Boost Food Security, Jobs
The food security and youth employment goals of the federal government is receiving major support with the establishment of a rice processing mill with 120,000 metric tonnes capacity in Argungu, Kebbi State by WACOT Rice Limited, a member of the TGI Group. The rice mill is part of WACOT’s expansion plan, which targets a capacity increase with additional rice plants to overall 500,000 metric tonnes in the next years.
Located in Argungu Local Government Area, along the Argungu-Sokoto road, the rice processing plant is the first rice mill to be conceptualised, executed and to be commissioned during the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. Work started on the Mill in February 2016 and is scheduled to be formally commissioned in May, 2017.
During a pre-commissioning visit to the 120,000 metric tonnes mill on Thursday, the Governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, and the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, commended the Board and Management of WACOT Rice Limited for keying into the ‘self-sufficiency in rice production’ goal of the federal government.
While conducting the special visitors round the N10 billion state of the art Mill, the Group Managing Director of TGI Group, Mr. Rahul Savara disclosed that the Mill will produce top quality rice, and that it will generate direct and indirect employment for 3,500 people, adding that over 50,000 farmers will have ready market for their produce. WACOT’s Managing Director, Mr. Ujwalkanta Senapati, adds that “WACOT views farmers as partners with whom we work hand-in-hand to improve agricultural production.”
Savara further revealed that the Mill is “the first rice plant in Nigeria with captive power co-generation facility and that it will generate 1 MW electricity from rice husks, thereby ensuring that all by-products and waste products are fully consumed and the environment is protected.
While commending the management of WACOT for locating the mill in his State and for completing it within a short period, the visibly elated Governor Bagudu said, “what WACOT has done shows that Nigeria has friends and a friend in need is a friend indeed”, adding, WACOT is investing in Kebbi because we have created the enabling environment for business to thrive”.
The Governor also declared that once the WACOT Mill starts full operation, a large part of the rice cultivated in the State will be processed within the state, instead of being taken elsewhere for milling. He also used the opportunity to reiterate the fact that Kebbi state is endowed with massive arable land, fit for production of rice, wheat, maize, sorghum, groundnut etc.
Also, speaking during the visit, Chief Ogbeh stated that the Federal Government will continue to encourage and support organisations such as WACOT, in its efforts to enhance and stabilise food production in the country. He commended WACOT for having faith in Kebbi State and Nigeria.
While applauding the focus of the Kebbi State government on Agriculture, the Minister said that it is anticipated that more state governments will embrace this laudable path, in order to promote food sufficiency and economic development in the country. He added that for the country to have lasting security, there must be concerted effort by all tiers of government to tackle the twin issues of food security and unemployment, as youth unemployment could be a time bomb for the country.
The Minister concluded by saying that “a time is coming when the most important person in Kebbi State will not be a politician but a farmer”.
On his part, the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele lauded WACOT Limited for the feat, adding that the mill will save the country substantial amount of foreign exchange that would have gone into rice importation. He also assured the farmers that government will continue to do everything to ensure that their products are sold.
Stallion Group Bags Special Agric Sector Awards
Stallion Group has been awarded the prestigious IBCA-Outstanding Projects and Business Leader of the Year Award.
The award was bestowed on the Popular Farms and Mills Limited, a company under license of the Stallion Group.
The Popular Farms and Mills Limited, said in a statement on Sunday that the Stallion Group “would like to acknowledge the quintessential and impeccable leadership qualities and magnanimous approach of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh in the agriculture sector and their pathfinder initiative of the change agenda.”
The statement further thanked the “IBCA for creating this platform to acknowledge the real positive change makers in the agriculture sector and OPAL nomination committee for nominating and rewarding Stallion Group for the Business Leader of the Year and Outstanding Project awards.”
According to the statement, “these awards are testimonials to our efforts at expanding operations in Nigeria’s fully integrated rice value chain, resulting in a boost of 430,000 metric tonnes of rice production per annum.
“The Group is targeting production of 1.5 million tonnes of rice in Nigeria through the setting up of more milling capacities and structured farming activities.
“Stallion has established fully integrated agricultural operations including world-class rice mills at strategic locations, with the aim of promoting milling and paddy cultivation in the captive areas, thus creating a catalyst for increased local production of paddy and, ultimately, Nigeria’s self-sufficiency in rice production.
The Group’s Director, Mr. Harpreet Singh commenting on the awards said that “sensing the need for local self-sufficiency and government’s ambitions for food security, Stallion pioneered investments into backward integration, creating a fully integrated value chain.
“We are working tirelessly to improve farm yields and bring in sustainable and scalable growth to farmers,” Singh said.
To energize its backward integration value-chain chain, Stallion Group embarked on an initiative to include local manufacturing facilities for packaging and countrywide distribution infrastructure designed to meet the demands of the Nigerian people across the various states.
Consequently, the company has also established several collection centres spread across rice producing states of Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Niger, Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi.
The statement noted that the countrywide distribution centre initiative is driven towards not only assisting farmers in understanding modern rice farming techniques, but also focuses on distributing farm inputs and forming associations with various farmers cooperatives to lead the Nigerian rice revolution.
“It is on the imperative of this initiative that Stallion Group came up with extension services such as the Village School (a farmer’s training model) and ‘On Farm Trials’(practical demonstrations) that are being executed to import technical know-how to promote advanced rice farming.
“The major focus of Stallion has been to strengthen the farmers and their rice farming knowledge in order to bring in a rice revolution into the country. It is a multi-leveled approach not only to increase the area but also to transform the rice farm business sector through quality rice produce and farm productivity.”