RICE is considered a staple food for Nigerians. Statistics indicate that rice imports gulp several millions in foreign currency, even as the country depends hugely on rice imports to meet local needs.
It was perhaps in an attempt to boost local production that the Federal Government in 2009 through the Private Partnership Project (PPP) approved the setting up of 17 rice mills in the country.
Investigations have however showed that although it could not achieve the 17 mills, it however, set up some in various parts of the country including Kano, Ebonyi, Taraba, Kebi, Niger and Nnewi.
The aim was to enhance and encourage local production of rice and boost agriculture. This followed the discovery that the country produces rice, but lacks facilities that could enhance processing to enable them compete favourably with those of the foreign countries.
Although the project commenced with setting up of rice mills in some places, including the mills at Ebonyi State (Ebony agro) and Enugu State (Tara agro), the inability to access local paddy, power, water, and favorable credit facilities among others are now threatening the mills in Enugu and Ebonyi, three years after their commissioning.