The over N4billion Kogi rice milling plant with the capacity of producing 50 tons of rice per day and capable of generating thousands of employments for the people, is set to commence operations soon.
The rice milling plant which is situated at Ejiba in Yagba East local government area of the state has been under construction over the past three years. Kogi State Commissioner for Agriculture, Kehinde Oloruntoba and his counterpart from the Ministry of Finance, Alhaji Asiwaju Idris Asiru recently took some journalists on a tour of the rice milling plant to ascertain the progress of work.
Oloruntoba, who spoke to journalists after the tour, expressed delight with the progress of work and quality of job done by the contractor. “It is 80 tons per day as per the paddy input. But after the processing, it is 50 tons per day rice mill in terms of the output. We also have 800 hectares of rice plantation that is meant to feed the mill when we start operation,” he said. Daily Trust on Sunday, however, learnt that the 50 tons process can be completed in eight hours, which means that when put to maximum capacity, the plant can easily run 3,000 tons per month and 36,000 tons per year. In other words, the yearly production output from the rice milling plant is an equivalent of about 720, 000 of 50kg rice bags per year. According to the Agric commissioner, the contractor handling the project has assured that the rice milling plant would be ready by the end of June this year. He explained that in 2017, the administration of Governor Yahaya Bello in Kogi began efforts in boosting local rice production with the launch of the Kogi’s Confluence Rice. “We launched Confluence Rice in 2017. We planted our rice then at Omi Dam with the expectations that the rice mill would be ready then to process it but that wasn’t possible because of so many instability in the system which was actually not our faults; if you are conversant with project procurement, the financial instrument we used needed to be confirmed by the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, the Ministry of Finance and Debt Management Office. “That took time. Again, when the equipment came from India to the port, it was a point when the port was congested and so clearing it also caused delay. “When we harvested our rice, we took it to Offa in neighbouring Kwara State to mill and package. That was why we were able to launch our Confluence Rice in 2017. And ever since then, we have been planting rice. “As we move ahead, you will see the paddy rice we have stored waiting for the commissioning and take off of this project,” he said. 800 Hectares Rice Farm He said the government currently has 800 hectares nucleus rice farm that will feed the processing plant, adding that the 800 hectares can produce around 3, 200 tons of paddy yearly while the processing plant when operational will consume the 3,200 tons in just a month. “We plan to purchase paddy from local farmers and also increase the capacity of our nucleus farm to meet up with the rice milling plant production capacity per year. “The farm is currently generating over 300 direct jobs, which comprises of farm staffs, hunters and equipment operators. “We can also generate over 5, 000 indirect jobs through our out-growers empowerment programme. Last year, we empowered 150 local farmers through the office of the wife of the state governor,” he said. He said land preparation on the 800 hectares for rice plantation has commenced ahead of the rainy season. “We have a little problem with the dam which the federal government has promised to fix. In fact, last year, most of our rice got dried up because of the problem with the dam. Now we are waiting for the rains because we cannot rely on the dam for now,” he added. “We have out-growers from the community. The land has been divided into one hectare each and we have about 800 youths that are involved in this programme. We pay them as they work. There is community participation in the whole project.
“We are not bringing people from anywhere. As they harvest, we share it and they take their own percentage and the government take its share. At that, they still sell their share to the government,” he explained. Daily Trust on Sunday reports that the rice milling process will not only produce finished international standard quality rice but also the following by-products and other benefits: Rice Bran The rice bran is part of the products used in making fish feed. Daily Trust on Sunday learnt that there is plan to set up a mini fish feed processing plant for community empowerment, which will generate up to 100 direct and indirect jobs. Rice Husk “The rice husk will be used as our 100% fuel to power the 500 kWh biomass generation plant. This will drastically reduce our operation cost as we will not be buying fuel to power the plant,’’ he said. Broken Rice He said the broken rice can be used to make rice flour depending on the quantity, adding “we can also produce Confluence Rice Flour or sell the broken rice to the open market.” Independent power generation. The plant has its own independent power generation plant which is powered through biomass gasification technology. The capacity of the plant is 500 kWh and the rice milling plant capacity at every processing line (shift) is 200kwh. This means there will be an excess power of 300kwh which will be used to power strategic locations in the host community. General employment “Once the rice mill commences operation, we will be employing another 50 staffs, as we plan to run the plant at the maximum capacity on two sessions- day and night shift per day. Each shift will produce 50 tons of finished Confluence Rice,” he said. Commenting on the project, the President of Isanlu Progressives Union, Ayo Oni Friday, commended the administration of Governor Yahaya Bello for bringing such a massive agricultural project to Yagba East. He said apart from creating jobs and wealth for teeming people of the area, the rice milling plant and the Omi Dam Rice project would go a long way in boosting the economy of the state.