The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has revealed that no less than 250,000 Kebbi farmers will be made millionaires by the end of 2017. This was disclosed by the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele when he visited the WACOT Rice Factory in Argungu on Thursday. Addressing the farmers, Emefiele said:
“I was told by a permanent secretary that 88,000 millionaires had been created through rice and agricultural revolution. I am assuring you that by the end of this year, 200,000 to 250,000 farmer millionaires will be created through the revolution.”
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.
Emefiele also commended the Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Sama’ila Mere, for providing land for the company and for his desire to stimulate the agricultural revolution in the country. The CBN boss also called on other royal fathers to emulate the monarch’s desire to drive the agricultural revolution in the country.
In the same vein, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, applauded the focus of the Kebbi State government on Agriculture, and expressed optimism that farmers in the state, will soon receive national recognition. He, however, underscored the need for other states in the country to use the agricultural best practices of Kebbi as a benchmark, while embracing farming as a sustainable means of wealth creation, promotion of food sufficiency and economic development in the country. He added that for the country to have lasting security, there must be a 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.
Chief Ogbeh stated that the Federal Government will continue to encourage and support organizations such as WACOT, in its efforts to enhance and stabilize food production in the country. He commended WACOT for having faith in Kebbi State and Nigeria. Governor Bagudu also commended the management of WACOT for locating the mill in his State and for completing it within a short period. Bagudu said, “what WACOT has done shows that Nigeria has friends and a friend in need is a friend indeed”, adding that WACOT is investing in Kebbi because the state has created the enabling environment for business to thrive. According to the Governor, once the WACOT Mill starts full operation, a large part of the rice cultivated in the State will be processed within the state, instead of being taken elsewhere for milling. He also used the opportunity to reiterate the fact that Kebbi state is endowed with massive arable land, fit for production of rice, wheat, maize, sorghum, groundnut etc. The rice processing mill with a 120,000 metric tonne capacity was established in Argungu, Kebbi State by WACOT Rice Limited, a member of the TGI Group as part of national efforts to boost food security and employment.
The rice mill is part of WACOT’s expansion plan, which targets a capacity increase with additional rice plants to overall 500,000 metric tonnes in the next years. Located in Argungu Local Government Area, along the Argungu-Sokoto road, 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 May, 2017. WACOT’s Chief Executive Officer, Rahul Savara, disclosed that the rice factory would generate 3,500 jobs and engage the services of 6,000 farmers.
He said that the rice factory was capable of producing 120 tonnes of rice daily, adding it could also generate one megawatt of electricity. He commended the state government and other stakeholders for partnering with WACOT Rice Factory.