KWSG signs N70bn mou with Spain consortium for rice prodcution
From LAYI OLANREWAJU, Ilorin
Friday January 27, 2012
In its bid to boost rice production and employment opportunities, the Kwara State Government yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on rice cultivation, processing and packaging with a Spain-based Vasolar Consortium.
In the arrangement, the consortium would contribute N70 billion over a period of four years while the state government would make 20,000 hectares of land available for the project as its own contribution to the project.
In his opening remark at the ceremony, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Investment to the state governor, Mr. Yomi Ogunsola said the consortium would also be responsible for sponsoring farmers in the state for overseas training on rice production and processing.
According to him, the project would be in four modus with 5,000 hectares per year and is expected to produce 40,000 tons of rice per year which is expected to be run over four years.
Speaking after signing the MoU, the state Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed said the event marked another giant stride in his administration’s determination to use commercial agriculture as bastion of economic growth of the state. Ahmed who pointed out that majority of the people of the state were peasant farmers noted that the new arrangement would make it easy for them to transform from peasant farming practice to commercial farming.
“We want to move agriculture from peasant level to commercial level in order to improve upon the state’s economy. Lessons have been learnt from the Shonga commercial farming initiative and we are using the experience gained from there to further enhance agricultural practice in the state,” he said.
The governor added that aside from employment generation, job opportunities for the rural dwellers, the new rice production project would assist the state in getting the youths positively engaged. He added: “The proceeds from this project would further enhance the state’s internally generated revenue (IGR). This is because the market is huge because of the fact that rice is consumed everywhere in the world.”
He expressed confidence in the ability of Vasolar group to deliver the good. Earlier, the leader of the Vasolar Consortium, Mr. Niguel Anyon Garkardo Macais had commended Governor Ahmed for his initiative while noting that the nation had not been able to exploit its agricultural potentials.