The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alh. Sabo Nanono has commended Stallion Group’s Popular Farms and Mills Limited, for investing an additional USD $70million to boost production of agric business, especially rice and sesame in Nigeria.
Nanono during a visit to the Popular Farm and Mills Limited, a Stallion Group Company stated that Nigeria has the necessary resources to achieve self-sufficiency in rice.
According to him, there are over 50,000 agric graduates that can get associated with Agric Extension services to drive better yield in the country.
He said, new technologies in farming should now percolate from the research institutes to actual farming practices in the field.
The minister hinted that the Federal Government will soon introduce Mechanisation Hub for all 650 local governments that will support the farming community with training and stocking of farming equipment like tractors, power tillers, harvester combiners etc.
Nanono said, “I see no reason why a 50kg bag of rice should be sold for N17,000, the same paddy rice is sold at N8,500 and maximum processing expense is N2,000 making a total of N10,500, it is unpatriotic to sell a bag more than N14,000 – N 15000.”
He explained that a meeting will soon be convened with the rice millers to conclude on an affordable rice price for the consumers.
The minister also highlighted the Federal Government’s plan to initiate privatization of the fertilizer business and the use of husk as bio fuel to run the rice mills for better output.
He applauded Popular Farm’s local rice value chain from farmers to final retailers and clearly sees the huge potential in self sufficiency.
The Mmanaging Director of Popular Farms & Mills Limited, PFML, Mr. Amit Kumar Rai, stated that the company has entered into a partnership with over 1,151 cooperative groups, having 41,486 member-farmers as well as 65,715 hectares of rice farm area for developing the rice business.
He said the group trains and distributes rice farming tools free of cost to out growers across the rice producing states in Nigeria as a part of fulfilment of dedicated service towards achieving its rice value chain initiative.
He noted that PFML as an organization is pushing forward the agenda of opportunity, sufficiency & security in the country.
According to him, Stallion Group has transformed itself into a productive and community sensitive company helping outgrowers with all farming needs.
Kumar said, “The group believes that focusing on empowering communities leads to more progressive farmers and greater economic and social opportunities for households. Popular Agric Centers” (also known as Aggregation Canters) spread across rice producing states of Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Niger, Jigawa, Sokoto, Kebbi, Kano, Zamfara, Kwara in Nigeria are nodal points at the door step of farmers for all backward integrated activities which includes training, knowledge disseminations, input distributions, quality testing, off-taking and transit storage. It has established collection centers across rice producing states to not only help farmers embrace modern farming techniques but also focus on distributing agric inputs through farmers cooperatives and associations.”