‘How rice-value chain can be stimulated for efficiency’

A rice milling plant in Nigeria.

A rice milling plant in Nigeria.

Worried by the low level of rice self-sufficiency attained by stakeholders, the President of Rice Millers, Importers and Distributors Association of Nigeria (RIMIDAN) and Group Managing Director, Elephant Group, Tunji Owoeye has urged the Federal Government to implement initiatives and policies aimed at driving the nation’s non-oil export and self-sufficiency plan on key export commodities.

According to Owoeye, various incentive schemes and interventions like the need for government to step up the access to credit for the value chain operators in the rice industry; improve the capacity of the Nigeria Incentive Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural lending (NIRSAL) and also build more storage facilities to guard against food insecurity in the nation would drive the growth of the non-oil sector.

Owoeye during a press briefing pointed out the need for government to also increase the provision of processing facilities for all products in the country, stating that the 10 rice mills approved by the then administration must come on stream to boost the processing of rice paddy in the country.
‎”We want government to continue with what they did in the past by continuing to work with stakeholders and together we believe 2016 will be a successful year ‎for the country.

“We want government to step up the access to credit for the value chain operators, improve the capacity of NIRSAL to take on insurance and risks much more to support the teeming value chain operators across all the products, while agribusiness must be technologically driven as it is done in the western world.

“It would be recalled that ten rice mills were approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) of the previous administration. We must ensure that those mills come on stream. If we put those ten mills on stream with the capacity of 35,000 metric tonnes per mill, that is about 350,000 metric tonnes added to the nation’s paddy processing. This is going to encourage our farmers, create employment and also bring down the pressure on foreign exchange. This should not only be done for rice but for all products”, he added.

He also stated the need to provide a market outlet for locally produced goods, saying that Elephant Group is willing and have also expressed its desire to work with the current minister to lend support in creating additional market outlets and marketing companies in order to get sales outlet for the products in the country.

“There is also a need to review the land reforms, because without it we cannot have a sufficient increase in the nation’s scale of production and the need to also develop entrepreneurial capacity to generate more employment and wealth,” he said.

According to him, a lot of attention needs be paid to value creation, saying that processing is one of the areas where the country has serious challenges.

“We need to take processing to the next level. These are things our new minister of agriculture should focus on. The government should lay emphasis on some products, provide enough funding to create employment for the nation’s teeming population and also earn foreign exchange for us‎,” he advised.

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