The Lagos State Government has said that Lake rice, which is a collaboration between the Lagos State and Kebbi State Governments, is still in existence and will soon be back in the market on a big scale.
This follows the sudden disappearance of the Lake rice due to the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and last year’s devastating flooding, which wreaked havoc on rice plantations in Kebbi and other northern states.
This disclosure was made by the Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, during a ministerial briefing to commemorate the second year in office of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, admitting that 3 years of seamless record of providing the rice for Lagosians was broken last year, as the brand disappeared from the market.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture blamed flooding and the COVID-19 pandemic for the disappearance of Lake rice from the market.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Olusanya in her statement said, “It is not that Lake rice is missing to the extent that it will not surface again. Lake rice is still in existence. I think we need to go back to a lot of things that happened last year. Lake rice was available last year in January and February, COVID-19 hit us in March and subsequently, we had issues around flooding, particularly in Kebbi.
The impact of the flooding was grave on rice farms in the state. So, it is not so much about why it is not available, it is a function of why in the producing state there were so much issues of production and supply, for them to process and send to us,” she said.
The Commissioner further stated, “Kebbi is the number one producer of rice in Nigeria, so it only makes sense for Lagos to partner with the state to get processed rice.
But part of the agreement also is that if Lagos State is setting up its own rice mill, the agreement is going to shift from receiving processed rice to receiving paddy rice for us to process in our mill. So, it’s not that the partnership has been terminated.”
She announced that once the state mill in Imota, Ikorodu is completed, the state would have its own brand adding that the 32 Metric tonnes per hour capacity integrated rice mill under construction is the biggest in Nigeria and in West Africa and at full capacity is capable of producing approximately 2.4 million (50kg) bags of rice for the over 22 million people in the state and for Nigerians as a whole.
Olusanya said that the mill will further create employment of approximately 267,580 jobs in the state at different stages of the value chain, reduce the cost of rice locally, enhance food self-sufficiency and revenue generation in the state and the country at large, as well as, ensure a sustainable supply of wholesome rice at an affordable price to the people in Lagos and its environs.
The Lagos-Kebbi Rice christened Lake rice stemmed from the collaboration between Lagos and Kebbi State Governments and was launched at the Lagos House, Ikeja, Lagos on December 21, 2016, by the former Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode and his Kebbi State counterpart, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu.
The partnership which culminated in the launch was not only designed to ensure food security but also to showcase Nigeria’s ability to become a rice-producing nation. The partnership was also part of initiatives aimed at helping Lagos State succeed in its goal of achieving 40% food security and self-sufficiency status by the year 2023 in addition to being less dependent on other states for food production.