NASARAWA- President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, commissioned Olam Integrated Farms, a US$90 million investment of a Singapore based foreign investor stretching on the land size of 10,000 hectares in Ondorie-Rukubi area of Doma in Nasarawa State, and reputed as Africa’s largest rice farm.
The president who visited the area stretching along the plains of the Benue River, touched down on the airstrip constructed by the investor to aid the takeoff and landing of light aircrafts used in the planting and spraying of chemicals on the fully irrigated and precision-leveled commercial farm.
President Jonathan, who was flanked by the minister of Agriculture, Professor Akinwumi Adesina, and Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura as well as the management of the farm, led by Mr. Regi George, commissioned both the farm which has clocked three years now, as well as the newly provided plant for processing of the produce.
The mill has the capacity to process 210,000 metric tones of rice per annum.
The president expressed delight with the investment which he promised full federal government’s support, through various ways including the designation of the farm as a staple food processing zone.
He gave directives to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and other allied ministries to jointly ensure its immediate takeoff.
Jonathan hailed the investment as keying into the administration’s transformation agenda and urged similar collaboration between states and the federal government to develop agro-allied businesses especially land acquisition, which he said is necessary for commercial scale farming.
He said his administration is working towards ensuring that Nigeria becomes a net exporter of rice by the year 2020.
Governor Al-Makura whose government provided the institutional support for the take off of the investment, said the government “has fast-tracked, facilitated and eased the process of land acquisition for OLAM Farms and other investors.”
“This is knowing the significance of the multiplier effect on the economy of the State and Nigeria at large in terms of employment opportunities, entrepreneurial development, creation of agricultural-cum-commodity trading and other associated value chain activities” he said.
Regi George said the farm uses 60 percent of its locally grown content and 40 percent of out-grower content, for processing at the plant.
He said they were currently employing 1,440 persons from the local communities, explaining that they only look outside the state for skills and expertise not available locally.
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