Governnment’s policies to encourage investments in the agricultural sector seem to be working as WACOT limited has opened a N10 billion rice mill in Agungi, Kebbi state.
The rice mill which has a processing capacity of 120,000 tonnes per annum was commissioned yesterday by Acting President Yemi Osinbanjo.
GMD of WACOT rice mill has also stated the company intends to make further investments in various agriculture value chains.
Why companies are investing heavily in the rice agriculture value chain
The present administration’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) has agricultural self-sufficiency as a key agenda. The government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrower Scheme has lent billions of Naira to rice farmers.
Under the scheme, farmers are grouped into cooperatives and given loans through commercial banks. The CBN provides the funds at an interest rate of 2% and put a cap on the interest rate banks can charge at 9%. This has encouraged many farmers to go into cultivation of rice and other crops covered by the scheme. Processors have also signed agreement to purchase the rice cultivated.
The scheme is thus a win for both farmers and processors. Farmers get paid, and processors get guaranteed supply. A break in supply has led to the Dangote Tomato paste factory to shut down several times.
How the country benefits
The higher the quantity of food produced in the country, the lower the amount of foreign exchange that has to be spent importing food items.
Developing the agriculture value chain also leads to creation of more jobs for both farmers and processors. Jobs mean income for people who were before now unemployed, and that improves purchasing power in the economy and increases economic growth.
WACOT rice mill is a subsidiary of West African Cotton (WACOT) limited. WACOT is owned by Tropical General Investments Limited. The company has operations in the agro allied, manufacturing and trading operations in Ghana, Nigeria and Benin Republic.