The Lagos State Government on Wednesday said all hands are on deck to complete the largest rice mill in Sub-Saharan Africa currently ongoing in Imota Local Council Development Area of the State within the first quarter of 2019.
Apart from ensuring availability of rice in the market, the mill, which is of 32 metric tons per hour production capacity, is projected to facilitate the creation of over 200,000 jobs across the agricultural value chain, while it will also bring about the cultivation of 32,000 hectares of farm land to produce rice paddy, equating to an estimated 130 million kg of processed rice per year (an equivalent of 2.6 million 50kg bags of rice).
Speaking during an extensive inspection tour of major projects in Ikorodu, Imota and Agbowa axis by members of the Lagos State Executive Council, the State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, said the project would be completed by January 2019, while the initial production would commence by February of the year.
The Governor, who was represented by Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Adebowale Akinsanya, said the project was part of the grand policy of his administration to ensure food security, and as well give a quantum leap to economic integration of the Southwest region as the land to be cultivated and rice paddy for the mill would be supplied largely by farmers from the region.
Briefing journalists alongside other Exco members after being taken round the level of work done so far by Project Engineer, Gboyega Odunlami, Ambode said it was gratifying to note that the project was progressing steadily and would be delivered on schedule.
He said: “The key take away from here is that the construction of the rice mill and the industrial park among other complementing facilities are going on as planned.
“The administrative building, the restaurant, fire station, power station and other facilities needed to support the park and the rice mill are all ongoing concurrently.
“The mill is part of the food security strategy of this administration as well as Southwest integration efforts.
“It will be the largest rice mill not just in Nigeria but in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Already, we have commitment from the contractors working on the project that it would be delivered by January 2019 and the rice mill that would be the food engine of the Southwest will be in production by February.”
At the Imota Regional Food Stuff Market, where the present Mile 12 Market and other markets within the axis would be relocated, the Governor said the first phase of the project which would accommodate about 1500 shops was already at 75 per cent completion stage, while the second phase, among other facilities such as concretized roads, fire stations, drainages, sewage system, power stations, sewage treatment, 1000 capacity Car Park, over 100 capacity Trailer Park, bus layby, among others would all be delivered before the end of the year.
The Governor said adequate provisions have been made in the new market to avoid the challenges which the present Mile 12 Market and other markets in the area constituted to the environment, saying at least 70 meters of buffer zone had been created between the proposed Ikorodu-Itoikin-Epe Road expansion project and the market to prevent interface.