Olam Integrated Rice Farm in Rukubi, Nasarawa State, has announced plans to increase its production capacity from the current 120,000 tons to 240,000 metric tons of paddy per annum.
The Senior Vice President of Olam Rice Business, Anil Nair, disclosed this in Nasarawa State while hosting the Executive Governor of the state, Abdullahi Sule in a courtesy visit.
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Mr Nair said the current growth is expected to contribute 90,000 tons of milled rice to Nigeria’s domestic market, adding that Olam participates across the country as the biggest off-taker of paddy rice from Nigerian farmers, impacting the livelihoods of more than 100,000 farmers directly and indirectly.
“In pursuit of President Buhari’s mandate of ‘producing what we consume,’ Olam Nigeria is pledging to continue its support in the fight to ensure food security and helping the country reduce its food imports by ramping up rice production through its over 5000 hectares fully mechanized large-scale rice farm that produces 2 crops a year for the Nigerian market.
“The Farm which started as a model rice farm in 2011 transformed to a commercial operation in 2012 with a present size of over 4,400 Ha with a yield of 9MT per hectare over two annual crop cycles (Wet and Dry season cropping,” he said.
The Senior Vice President said that with the local content policy, the company has over 2000 employees on its payroll, out of which 80 per cent are from Nasarawa State, adding that the farm had reduced its expatriate engagement to allow for in-house training arrangement whereby the indigene staff are trained and specialized in operating and maintaining of heavy-duty machinery.
He decried the state of insecurity and poor road infrastructure as some of the challenges confronting the farm.
“The construction/rehabilitation of the major road network across the country will have a direct impact on the sustainable growth of the company business,” he added.
Responding, the Nasarawa State Governor applauded the management of the farm for creating jobs for the citizens of the state, noting that the farm has made it possible for the indigenous farmers who are major out-growers to succeed.
“It is very encouraging to know that Olam patronises our local farmers which are the out-growers.
“The out-growers scheme has led to the growth of so many communities. So, I want to encourage our farmers to keep at it,” Gov Sule said.