Mr Mahesh Nimji the Project Coordinator, Olam Farm located in Nasarawa state, on Tuesday urged the Federal Government to create a paddy rice market that would link rice farmers to millers.
Nimji in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja decried the low availability of paddy rice for the company’s production capacity.
“First of all, the amount of paddy rice which is projected by several agencies including USAID in Nigeria is close to three million tonnes of paddy or more than that, but that is not what you see on ground.
“When you go to the market you will discover that the paddy rice is not that much.
“May be the reason is that most of the paddy rice grown are consumed within the vicinity of 50 to 100 kilometres from where they are produced and processed in small local mills around.
“We also do not know where to go and buy the paddy rice, when we go out; we discover it is not available.
“There is need for government to put in place a mechanism for growing more rice in Nigeria”, he said.
“Nigeria has a great potential to grow rice, if the government can come up with a mechanism to group farmers in Local Government Areas that grow rice together, it can empower them.
“That way we will not need to go into the fields to look for where to buy paddy rice.
He said when farmers are put in groups they would be encouraged to go into large production of rice.
The coordinator said Olam, the largest rice mill in the country, had 10 thousand hectares of land used to grow rice with about three thousand local employees.