Olam Nigeria has expressed commitment to make Nigeria the agricultural hub of the African continent, adding that it would produce a total of 240,000 metric tons of rice in the new farming season.

All this is meant to save Nigeria from the effects of a post-COVID-19 food crisis,

Olam Nigeria, one of the leading players in the Nigerian agriculture value chain, said it will continue to cultivate its 5000 hectares which produce 40,000 metric tons of paddy.

However, the company off-takes paddy from farmers across the country to balance its milling capacity of 240,000 metric tons for both its farms in Rukubi Doma, Nasarawa State and Amarava Agro in Kano State which have milling capacities of 120,000MT respectively.

According to a statement issued to journalists in Abuja, Olam Nigeria said it is working with more than 20,000 direct out-grower farmers and sensitising more farmers to plant rice and hand-holding them with training and inputs in five states of Nigeria.

It said the move became even more necessary as President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerian farmers to embark on massive food production this farming season.

It pledged to continue its support in the fight against hunger to ensure food security and helping the country reduce its food imports by ramping up Rice production through its over 5000 hectares, fully mechanized large-scale rice farm that produces 2 crops a year for the Nigerian market.

The statement read in part: “The farms which have an integrated rice mill with a production capacity of 120,000 metric tonnes respectively are committed to producing only local and homegrown quality rice with the variants of Mama’s Pride and Mama’s Choice”

“In addition, Olam participates across the country as the biggest off-taker of paddy rice from Nigerian farmers impacting livelihoods of more than 100,000 farmers directly and indirectly.

“We must not forget that COVID-19 pandemic is arguably the biggest challenge facing humanity today. It is ravaging not only Nigeria but the global economy.

“As part of the efforts to support Nigeria’s fight against Covid-19, Olam has successfully given palliatives to host communities, women were given rice, and medical kits were given to the Rukubi Clinic in Doma, Nasarawa State apart from undertaking various other community support programs.

“Enlightenment and educational campaigns in form of radio and tv jingles in local languages to stress the need for social distancing, wearing of masks as well as washing and rinsing of hands whilst ensuring they are all in line with Covid-19 protocols as espoused by WHO and NCDC”, Olam said.

Furthermore, it said Olam Rice Farms and Mills in Rukubi, Nasarawa State and Amarava Agro in Kano State have created both direct and indirect employment to the tune of over 2500 people, thereby helping the local community survive and enriching the farmers around and within the environs.