As part of efforts to promote the value chain potentials of Nigeria’s Agro commodities and commit to food security agenda of the federal government, the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), has commissioned a high grade Rice Processing Centre in Kwakuti, Niger state.
Giving a keynote address during the inauguration in Kwakuti, Niger State, the director general and chief executive officer of the Council, Professor Hussaini Doko Ibrahim said the Rice processing centre was initiated and built to reduce rural poverty, create employment and achieve accelerated production and economic growth for women rice processing group in the community on a sustainable basis.
Ibrahim, who was represented at the occasion by the director Chemical Materials and Pharmaceuticals Department, RMRDC, Mrs. Hajara Tanko, said the Council had embarked on this project in partnership with Niger state government through IFAD value chain development programme and various processors of commodities. He said the objective was to put up common facilities for the processors across board in Nigeria to reduce their operational costs even as he maintained that the processors will have to pay a token for their commodities to be processed.
“The operation of this common facility will entail that the money realized from these charges shall be used to purchase spare parts, fueling, and payment of electricity and water bills”, he added.
Speaking further, the RMRDC boss stated that the interest of RMRDC in cluster arrangements is to promote local raw materials processing for domestic use and export, saying the deliberate attempt by the Buhari administration to stop the importation of rice is yielding a lot of dividends.
“This is why we have totally resolved to give our widows mite in the establishment of rice clusters to promote local production and create employment opportunities for our teaming youths in Nigeria. And we will also like to appeal to beneficiaries of this project to continue to cooperate with one another for progress and further development of this cluster.” Prof Ibrahim concluded.
Also speaking at the commissioning, the Honourable Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development, Niger State Engr. Ibrahim Muhammad Panti acknowledged the effort and collaboration between the IFAD Value Chain Development Programme Additional Financing and the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) which had ensured the successful completion and equipping of the Kwakuti Rice Processing facility.
optimism that the rice project would improve the quality and standard of the milled rice in the state to meet the requirement of the local and International markets.
Engr Panti also noted that in the past, Kwakuti women processors had lacked modern milling equipment to mill quality rice of international standard, and that the new rice processing plant was a welcome intervention which would provide an enabling environment by which women groups can be trained on False Bottom Technology to improve the quality of milled rice in the State.
He therefore called on the beneficiaries of this intervention to take ownership and good care of this facilities provided to ensure its sustainability
Earlier, the Niger State programme Coordinator Value Chain Development Programme Dr. Mathew Ahmed said the aim of providing this infrastructure and equipment was to increase the income and food security for poor rural households.
He said efforts have been intensified to train the rice processors on packaging to meet high quality rice of international standard while disclosing that processors have been supported with 50kg, 25kg, 20kg, 10kg and 5kg packaging materials branded for marketing.
He urged Kwakuti women rice processors group to link up with NAFDAC and SON for certification of their products.