Lagos denies disappearance of Lake Rice during yuletide
The Lagos State Government producers of Lake Rice told The Guardian last week that it sold a total of 18,494 bags of the 50kg size, 2,034 of 25kg and 72 bags of 10kg of the product between Saturday, December 22, 2018 and Tuesday, January 22, 2019, contrary to reports of its disappearance from markets during the festive period.
In addition, it said it has embarked on continuous production of the rice, with two to three trailers coming to Lagos daily from Kebbi State and offloading the commodity in Agege, Itoikin or Ojo, a suburb of Lagos.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Olayiwole Onasanya, who disclosed this to The Guardian in his office, said between December 2018 and March 2019, the state booked a total of 50,000 bags of the 50kg, 20,000 bags of 25kg and 40,000 bags of 10kg, noting that part of these had been sold out.
He said: “Though people will complain, especially due to the population of the state, but the fact is that we sold rice during the yuletide directly to the public through our designated centres and through our distributors and we are still selling. Our distributors are still coming to take rice to their shops. During festive period, like Christmas, New Year, and Ileya, we sell directly to the public.
“Our major challenge is just logistics, getting the rice down here from Kebbi. It takes four days for trailers to move the rice here from Kebbi, yet we are meeting distributors’ demand. We still have them in abundance in Oko Oba, Agege and other designated centres. We have 20 major distributors. It is not true that Lake Rice was not sold during the yuletide, we sold to the public and we are still selling.”
He noted that the state subsidise each bag with at least N3, 000, including the cost of transportation, and that a total of N1.5b has been spent on subsidy, to bring the price down for Lagosians.“We used to sell the rice at Surulere Farmers’ Mart, but last December, it was sold at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, many people did not know this, maybe because they are used to the farmers’ mart, that was why they claim the rice disappeared in markets. Now, our distributors in Daleko, Iddo and other major markets have the rice.
“We are already building our rice mill at Imota, Ikorodu, and installation has started. It will be the biggest mill in Sub-Saharan Africa, with 32 metric tons per hour to sustain the production and processing of local rice, which will create over 500,000 jobs directly and indirectly. When it is ready, the logistic challenge and other issues will be permanently removed,” he said.
The permanent secretary added that: “Lake rice will not disappear with our administration. With what government has put in place, other administrations will enjoy it. Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has put a lot of funds into the project and incoming administrations will not want it to waste.”
No comments yet