The Nasarawa State Governor, Abdulahi Sule has visited the Olam Multimillion dollar Rice Farm and Mill in Rukubi Doma Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.
Speaking while making his welcome remarks, Mr. Anil Nair, Senior Vice President and Head of Olam Rice Business, a $140million investment said, it gave him great pleasure and a rare privilege to welcome the Executive Governor of Nasarawa State to Olam Integrated Rice Farm despite his tight schedule. He thanked the governor on behalf of the entire Management Team of the Farm, for the interest he has shown for the activities of Olam Business in Nasarawa State and said this goes to show the level of the governor’s passion towards the development of Nasarawa State Economy.
The Olam Vice President, Mr. Anil Nair, noted that the governor’s visit yesterday, 2nd of November, couldn’t have come at a better time than now considering the on-going expansion works in Olam milling facilities which is expected to process about 240,000 MT of rice paddy per annum as against the present capacity of 120,000MT effectively making it the largest Rice Mill in Nigeria.
He said the on-going expansion is expected to contribute 90,000MT of milled rice to the Nigerian domestic market. Also, he said the Farm which started as a model rice farm in 2011 has transformed to a commercial operation in 2012 with a present size of over 4,400 Ha and a yield of 9MT per hectare cultivated over two annual crop cycles (Wet and Dry season cropping).
Mr. Anil noted that in line with the local content policy, the Company has over 2000 employees on her pay roll, out of which 80% comes from the host State. He said further that, it may also interest the governor to know that, Olam’s expatriate engagement has drastically reduced from inception of the project due to its deliberate in-house training arrangement, whereby the local Staff are trained and specialized in operation and maintenance of heavy-duty machineries which was exclusively undertaken by expatriate Staff on inception.
Addressing the governor and Royal Fathers present, Mr. Anil said, Olam is committed to a strong and sustainable long-term relationship with her host communities and other interested parties, through its public relation programs and activities that foster understanding and peaceful co-existence with the host communities and other critical stakeholders. On that note, he commended their Royal Highnesses, the Andoma of Doma and Osakpa of Akpanaja for their strong support and commitment to the sustainable peace and harmony of Olam with the host communities.
He said as a matter of policy, the company had undertaken some Corporate Social Responsibility projects that have direct bearing on Olam’s host communities. These projects include Construction and Rehabilitation of Rural Roads, construction of classrooms for schools, employment of teachers, payment of scholarships and provision of Relief materials for Flood victims etc.
Mr. Anil noted also that, Olam Rice Business was as well building a seed breeding facility targeted at providing high yielding seeds adapted to local conditions. He said this will benefit the company and community by the production of higher yields.
Mr. Anil Nair, Snr. told the governor that, despite the achievements of the company highlighted above, it still has very big challenges that are obviously militating against the sustainable growth of the company. He said the strongest challenge is the road from Doma to Akpanaja which was included in the Nasarawa State 2021 budget. He noted that the construction and rehabilitation of this road will have direct impact on the sustainable growth of the company’s business in the state. He prayed that God give’s the governor the Grace to start and finish the construction within the shortest possible time.
Finally, he took the governor on a tour round key areas of activities at the facility which include the Rice Mill, Farm and Workshop to avail him with an eyewitness account of Olam operations in the State.
Present at the event were Traditional rulers and State government functionaries.