Jite Okoloko, Notore Group MD/CEO said, ‘The initiative keys in to 3 of the Federal Government’s 7 point agenda in the areas of food security, employment and wealth creation. Notore is strategizing and committing huge resources to build capacity in Nigeria for world class rice production. Overall, this will boost food production, reduce rice importation, stimulate rice exportation and aptly position the nation towards food sufficiency.’
He stated that Notore Foods, a subsidiary of Notore Group, is embarking on the project to fulfil the multinational’s dream and desire that Nigeria must be a self-sufficient and food secure nation. We have plans in progress to also establish another rice mill and another 20,000 hectare rice farm in Taraba State to augment efforts of the Calabar rice mill. This will ensure a steady supply flow after take-off.
‘Nigeria has the potential to meet its 5 million metric ton rice needs and export to other African countries, but for now imports stand at 2 million metric tons worth over $1 billion annually from Asia. We consume about 5 million metric tons of rice per annum but produce 3 million metric tons, mostly of low quality; demand is estimated to grow to over 8 million meric tonst in the next decade while processing capacity is limited. The country operates significantly below capacity with insufficient raw material, and there is huge preference for long grain polished rice over local varieties.’ he noted.
In his remark, the Cross Rivers State Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, expressed great delight on the partnership and said such private public initiatives would immensely benefit people of the state and Nigerians at large.
The Governor emphasized that agriculture is a priority for the state and promised that his government would give necessary support to the company to make Calabar the hub for rice processing and exportation. He said the state will provide suitable land, collaborate with the company and create appropriate enabling environment for the rice industry to thrive.
Okoloko further added that: ‘Notore has already established a world class supply and distribution system that will guarantee the off take of paddy rice from the small scale out grower farms established nationwide to ensure that the required quantity of paddy rice be consistently achieved and channelled to the global and local market.’
He said the company will also guarantee the supply of premium fertilisers and improved seeds which would ensure optimal produce yields. The project has the potential to create 15,000 new jobs, support the development of 500 Commercial Farms, and create $50 million in additional FOREX.
Notore is well positioned to champion increasing local production of rice by leveraging world class agricultural skills, building relationships with farmers and a wide distribution network (for fertiliser and seeds) which will also serve as a guaranteed market (foods) for the farmers output.
JUNE 4, 2009