By Emmanuel Afonne
The Chairman of JOSAN Integrated Rice Mills and Farms, Chief Oliver Okeke, has commended the Anambra Government for the successful inauguration of the JOSAN Rice Mills, with about 10,000 farmers.
Okeke said on Saturday in Abuja that the resuscitation of the JOSAN Giant Mill, formerly Omor Rice Mill, meant that the country would soon bounce back as the largest rice mill in West Africa.
Okeke, who is also the Chairman of Joseph Agro Industries, commended the administration of Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra for rising to the occasion and seeing to the resuscitation of the mills located at Umumbo community.
He said that the industry had a capacity to produce 30,000 metric tons and a current expanded annual capacity of 80,000 metric tons of paddy rice input and 50,000 metric tons of milled rice.
“JOSAN integrated rice mills and farms is a Private Public Partnership (PPP) scheme between Joseph Agro Industries and the Anambra Government.
“JOSAN is first given the former dilapidated World Bank Rice farm in Ufuma in 2015, as a pilot test scheme, whereby JOSAN installed two new rice mills in Ufuma, built all year round irrigation facilities and engaged in a large co-sponsored out-growers scheme with IFAD-value chain.
“JOSAN also won the National award as the IFAD (the agriculture and rural development agency of the United Nations) State off-taker.
“The Anambra Government then handed over the giant mill at Umumbo in 2018 to JOSAN (formerly known as Omor Rice mill) for complete rehabilitation.
“Successive federal and state governments since 1997, were unable to successfully rehabilitate the vandalised and abandoned giant mill. JOSAN did the technical resuscitation and all investments to this effect,” Okeke said in a statement.
According to him, the inauguration of the giant mill is a testimony of the federal and state governments successful agriculture policies to bring in genuine investors into the agriculture sector.
He said: “Anambra State Rice, produced by JOSAN (different from Anambra Rice), was also inaugurated at the event as a testimony to rice that is grown in Anambra, milled in Anambra and packaged in Anambra.
“This will become a proudly Anambra State Rice, ‘made in Nigeria’ product, to reduce the importation of rice and save foreign exchange for Nigeria.”
He appreciated Umumbo community for agreeing to give them 5,000 hectares of land to develop a highly irrigated and mechanised farm which would also see JOSAN be the anchor off-taker for the Lower Anambra Irrigation Project (LAIP) in conjunction with NISRAL, IFAD, FADAMA and other development partners.