The newly built WACOT Rice Mill in Argungu, Kebbi State will create 3,500 jobs and produce 120,000 metric tonnes of top-quality rice annually. The rice mill is part of WACOT’s expansion plan, which targets an increase in its rice milling capacity to 500,000 metric tonnes in the next years.
These facts were revealed on Thursday by Mr Rahul Savara, Group Managing Director of the TGI Group, the parent company of WACOT Rice, during the pre-commissioning visit to the plant by the Governor of Kebbi State, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele.
The rice processing plant is the first rice mill to be conceptualized, executed and to be commissioned during the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. Work started on the mill in February 2016 and is scheduled to be formally commissioned in April 2017.
WACOT, one of the largest agribusiness operations in Nigeria, supports Nigeria’s objective of food self-sufficiency with significant investments in seed multiplication, out-grower farming, food processing and distribution. In this context, Mr Savara disclosed that “total investments in the WACOT Rice Mill exceed N10billion, covering the entire rice value chain from seed multiplication and improving farming practices, to processing, branding and distribution of the rice”. WACOT’s CEO, Mr Ujwalkanta Senapati, adds that WACOT “views farmers as partners with whom we work hand-in-hand to improve agricultural production.”
Mr. Savara also informed his august visitors that the WACOT Mill is the first rice plant in Nigeria with captive power co-generation facility as it will generate 1 MW of electricity from rice husk. “This is in a bid to ensure that all by-products and waste products are fully consumed and the environment is protected. It is also fully equipped with a plant for treating water, which can then be used for irrigation”, the Group Managing Director added.
Governor Bagudu used the opportunity to reiterate the commitment of his administration to increased food production in the State. He commended WACOT Limited for locating the rice plant in Kebbi, a state which he said is endowed with vast arable land suitable for rice, wheat, maize, sorghum and groundnut production.
Also, speaking during the visit, Chief Ogbeh stated that the Federal Government will continue to encourage and support organisations such as WACOT, in its efforts to enhance and stabilise food production in the country. He commended WACOT for having faith in Kebbi State and Nigeria
While applauding the focus of the Kebbi State government on Agriculture, the Minister said that it is anticipated that more state governments will embrace this laudable path, in order to promote food sufficiency and economic development in the country. He added that for the country to have lasting security, there must be concerted effort by all tiers of government to tackle the twin issues of food security and unemployment, as youth unemployment could be a time bomb for the country.
The Minister concluded by saying that “a time is coming when the most important person in Kebbi State will not be a politician but a farmer”.
On his part, the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele lauded WACOT Limited for the feat, adding that the mill will save the country substantial amount of foreign exchange that would have gone into rice importation. He also assured the farmers that government will continue to do everything to ensure that their products are sold.