Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Republic of Korea, through its agency, Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), recently handed over modern Integrated Rice Milling facility in Bida to the Niger State Government.
KOICA’s Country Director, Mrs. Sook Hyun Park, disclosed that the project which has the capacity of processing 1.5 tons of rice per hour (1.5t/h) with parboiling, drying, sorting and packaging facilities and can be increased to 3.0t/h, was started in 2008.
According to a statement from KOIKA’s Communication Division, the handing-over ceremony which took place in Bida was attended by Etsu Nupe of Bida, Yahaya Abubakar; the state Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello; Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Nigeria, Mr. Noh Kyu-duk, Hyun Park, state Commissioner for Agriculture, Abdullahi Aliyu, and other high level dignitaries.
Speaking at the occasion, the Korean Ambassador to Nigeria, Noh, stated that the project was part of South Korea’s effort in assisting Nigeria to champion her economy with agriculture.
According to the statement, statistics show that Nigeria is producing approximately five million tons of rice annually and imports an estimated three million tons to meet demands.
The statement claimed further that an estimated N356 billion is spent on rice importation in Nigeria annually, making the nation rank among the top 12 rice consuming countries in the world.
It noted that it is expected that the facility would not only assist the local rice farmer and millers in Bida, and boost creation of jobs for thousands of unemployed youths, it will also contribute to helping Nigeria become self-sufficient in rice production and stop importation of rice from other rice-producing countries.
As key stakeholders, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Niger State Agricultural Mechanisation Agency (NAMDA) were fully involved in the implementation of the project and the facility will be managed by NAMDA