The food sufficiency goal of the Federal Government is receiving a major boost in Kebbi State through the collaboration between WACOT Rice Limited and the Kebbi State government.
The food sufficiency journey started some time in June 2016, when President Muhammadu Buhari announced in a Ramadan meeting with members of the business community that his administration would make the country self-sufficient in rice production within 18 months.
The President was obviously not satisfied with the fact that the country was still importing food in the face of a foreign exchange crisis and Nigeria being Africa’s largest consumer of rice, consumes about six million metric tonnes of rice annually, which is mostly imported from India, Thailand and Brazil.
The President submitted that Nigeria should be able to produce what it eats and export its excess.
Fourteen months after his declaration, the President’s dream is gradually becoming a reality through the establishment of WACOT Rice Mill in Argungu, Kebbi State, which will produce 120,000 metric tonnes annually and 400 metric tonnes of rice daily. The multi-billion naira rice mill situated in Argungu, Kebbi State, which is the largest of its kind in Africa was commissioned by the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, recently.
Commending WACOT during the official commissioning of the rice mill, Osinbajo said the establishment of the mill “underscored the policy of the Federal Government that it is the private sector that must be the engine of development. But the private sector being the engine of development is not just the private sector leading growth. The growth must be growth with jobs; it cannot not be jobless growth.
“We have seen a lot of jobless growths, especially around the oil economy with a lot of revenue coming but very few jobs. One of the critical things we are seeing today, especially the development of agriculture, is that this is growth with jobs. Several thousands of our people are now farmers.”
The success of the WACOT Rice Mill is not without the support of the state government and especially, the state Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu. No doubt, Bagudu is one of the strongest believers in the food security initiative of the Federal Government and this is evident in the massive success his administration has recorded in the area of rice production much to the envy of other states like Kwara, Ondo, Kastina, Ogun, that have shown interest in the state’s agricultural policy.