The Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday inaugurated the N10 billion WACOT Rice Mill in Argungu Emirate of Kebbi state.
Osinbajo pledged that mining and agriculture will be the focus of the Federal Government for rapid economic development.
He said the continued investment in agricultural production by the private sector had vindicated the resolve of the Federal Government to invest in agriculture for revenue generation and development.
He said that investment by the private sector in agricultural production was a sign of support to the priority accorded food production by the current regime.
Osinbajo commended investors in the WACOT Mill for establishing the largest single line rice processing mill, especially on the employment of Nigerians.
He called on more investors to engage in agricultural production, especially considering that investment in oil production had resulted in loss of jobs unlike investment in agriculture that had resulted in employment.
The Acting President assured that the Federal Government would sustain support to the private sector “being the engine room for development and employment opportunities’’.
He enjoined WACOT to fulfil its pledge to train and engage 5,000 rice farmers as well as improve their economic status.
Gov. Atiku Bagudu said his regime had encouraged the increase of rice yield from two tonnes per hectare to 11 tonnes per hectare.
He said collaboration between state and private sector had contributed to the improvement of food production and food security.
He, however, urged the Federal Government to sustain its support to small and large scale farmers for increased agricultural production.
The General manger of WACOT Mill Nig. Ltd, Mr Rahul Savara, said the firm would sustain processing of 120,000 metric tonnes per annum as well as employment of 35,000 workers, while 50,000 farmers would be engaged to provide paddy to the company.
He said the firm would train 5,000 small holder rice farmers on good farming practices, financial management, production costs optimisation and yield demonstration.