By Ebenezer Ishola
Barring any exigency, the 32-metric tons per hour Rice Mill being constructed by Lagos State Government in Imota area of Ikorodu division will start operations before end of first quarter in 2022. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu gave this assurance after touring the project site on Friday.
Sanwo-Olu said the facility would be subjected to a pre-production test run before the end of first quarter next year, after which the full production capacity would be activated rice production.
Two years after his first visit, the Governor went on an on-the-spot assessment of the biggest agro project being undertaken by a sub-national Government. He was accompanied by Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, and members of the State cabinet.
Sanwo-Olu said he was elated by the progress achieved on the site, having met the project from the foundation level. He said the project was expected to have been delivered by the end of 2020, but for the disruption occasioned by the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Governor said the new deadline remained sacrosanct, promising to prevail on all contractors working at the site to ramp up their activities before the next year first quarter.
He said: “I am happy with what I am seeing on the site and we are working to meet the deadline for the pre-production test run. We are going to charge on our contractors working on site to ensure that by the end of the first quarter next year, this mill should have started operations; that is, we should start producing rice from here.
“What is left is to see how quickly we can ramp up work on the storage facility, which has the capacity to take production up to three to six months. There are 16 silos which have combined capacity of 40,000 metric tons. Each has 2,500 metric tons. The two sections of the silos are at about 85 and 70 per cent completion.”
Sanwo-Olu said construction work on the storage facilities would be completed in the next four weeks, after which major cleanup would commence across the major site in preparation for production test run.
When delivered, the Governor said discussion around operation mode and production process would begin. He said full production of the facility would drastically reduce prices of rice and pressure to purchase the commodity.
“We are very much excited with how far we have gone on the construction. We are believing that all the contractors are working collaboratively to ensure the deadlines set are met,” the Governor said.
The rice mill has been built with a capacity to produce 2.8 million bags of 50kg bags of rice yearly, while generating 1,500 direct jobs and 254,000 indirect jobs.
The State Government is also developing an industrial park adjacent to the mill. The Governor said the park would have amenities that would make businesses thrive and bring returns on investment to business owners.