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Kebbi Government Allocates Land to WACOT for Rice Academy, Boosting Agricultural Development in Nigeria

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Kebbi State Governor, Senator Atiku Bagudu

Kebbi State, Nigeria – In a significant move to bolster agricultural development, the Kebbi State Government has granted land allocation to WACOT (West African Cotton Company) for the establishment of a state-of-the-art Rice Academy in Suru Local Government area. This announcement came during Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu’s recent facility tour of the second WACOT rice mill, accompanied by the state governor-elect, Dr. Nasir Idris, in Argungu.

Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu praised WACOT for its pivotal role in enhancing rice production and investment in Kebbi state. The governor acknowledged WACOT’s remarkable achievement as the largest rice mill in Africa, which was commissioned as the first major plant by the Buhari administration in Nigeria.

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Expressing gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Bagudu also highlighted the President’s approval of the establishment of an Agricultural Mechanisation Workshop and Skill Acquisition Centre in Kebbi state. These initiatives aim to further strengthen agricultural practices and provide valuable skills to the local workforce.

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Governor Bagudu commended the people of Kebbi state for their support and collaboration, emphasizing WACOT’s successful recovery of ninety-nine percent of the loan provided to rice farmers, which has maximized production. He further applauded WACOT for its significant contribution to achieving food security in Nigeria.

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Kebbi Governor-elect, Dr. Nasir Idris

Dr. Nasir Idris, the governor-elect and a former labor leader, expressed his admiration for WACOT’s commitment to providing substantial employment opportunities for the people of Kebbi state. This has resulted in a reduction in unemployment rates and enhanced wealth creation. Dr. Idris praised Governor Bagudu for creating an enabling environment for WACOT’s successful operations and pledged to continue the partnership between the state and the company.

During the announcement, Dr. Idris appealed to WACOT to extend financial and material support to rice farmers across all local government areas in Kebbi state, further empowering and improving their livelihoods.

Mallam Farooq Gumel, the Chairman of WACOT, shared that the construction of the second rice mill neighboring the existing plant is almost complete, with a progress rate of ninety-five percent. The mill is expected to be commissioned in the coming months. Gumel expressed gratitude to Governor Bagudu for his unwavering support, enabling WACOT to operate at full capacity. He also extended his appreciation to the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) for their efforts in galvanizing rice farmers to increase yields, which serves as raw material for the mill.

Highlighting WACOT’s commitment to food security, Gumel mentioned that apart from rice production, the company is also engaged in the production of vegetable oil, sesame, cashew, and chicken, among other food items.

In a heartwarming gesture, WACOT announced its responsibility for providing scholarships to four girls recently released from captivity at the Federal Government College Birnin Yauri. The scholarship will support their educational pursuits up to the university level, ensuring a brighter future for these courageous students.

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Alhaji Aminu Goronyo, the National President of RIFAN, congratulated WACOT on the impending completion of its second rice mill. He attributed this success to Governor Bagudu’s commitment to agricultural development. Goronyo also revealed that an Egyptian delegation had visited Kebbi state to explore partnership opportunities with the government for pilot agricultural projects, including rice production in Argungu and other regions of the state.

The visit by the Egyptian experts, in the company of Governor Bagudu, Governor-elect Dr. Nasir Idris, and WACOT Chairman Mallam Farroq Gumel, showcased the growing interest and international collaboration in Kebbi’s agricultural sector.

During the tour, Mr. Kumar, the Managing Director of WACOT, provided an insightful briefing on the various sections and functions of the mill. This demonstrated the company’s commitment to technological advancements and efficient production processes.

The establishment of the Rice Academy in Suru Local Government area signifies a significant step towards promoting knowledge and expertise in rice cultivation and processing. The academy is expected to offer comprehensive training programs and workshops to farmers, mill operators, and agricultural enthusiasts. By equipping individuals with the necessary skills and knowledge, the academy aims to enhance productivity, efficiency, and sustainability in the rice industry.

This initiative aligns with the broader vision of the Kebbi State Government to transform the agricultural sector and drive economic growth. The government’s commitment to creating an enabling environment for agricultural investments has attracted local and international stakeholders, resulting in substantial progress and achievements.

The collaboration between WACOT, RIFAN, and the Kebbi State Government exemplifies the power of public-private partnerships in driving agricultural development. With the upcoming commissioning of the second rice mill and the establishment of the Rice Academy, Kebbi state is set to become a key player in rice production not only in Nigeria but also across the African continent.

As Nigeria strives to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production and reduce dependence on imports, the efforts and investments made by WACOT, supported by the Kebbi State Government, are crucial steps in the right direction. The establishment of the Rice Academy will undoubtedly contribute to building a skilled workforce, improving farming practices, and ultimately increasing rice production and food security in the country.

With the successful allocation of land for the Rice Academy, Kebbi state reinforces its position as a hub for agricultural innovation and excellence. The collaboration with Egyptian experts further highlights the state’s growing international partnerships, opening doors for knowledge exchange, investment opportunities, and the implementation of best practices in agriculture.

The Kebbi State Government, WACOT, and other stakeholders are committed to ensuring the success of the Rice Academy and driving sustainable agricultural growth. Through continuous collaboration, knowledge sharing, and investment, Kebbi state is poised to become a model for agricultural development not only within Nigeria but also on the global stage.

As the Rice Academy takes shape, farmers, entrepreneurs, and enthusiasts eagerly await the opportunities it will bring for skills development, technological advancements, and increased productivity. With the support of the government, private sector, and international collaborations, Kebbi state is determined to revolutionize the rice industry and contribute to the overall development and prosperity of Nigeria.

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