The Kebbi State government has approved the allocation of land to WACOT Rice Limited to fast track establishment of a rice academy in Suru Local Government Area of the state.
Governor Atiku Bagudu announced this after a facility tour of the second phase of WACOT Rice Mill under construction in Argungu on Saturday.
Bagudu toured the facility alongside the Governor-elect, Dr Nasir Idris.
He commended the company for enhancing rice production and investment drive in Kebbi, acknowledging that WACOT Rice Mill had become the single largest mill in Africa.
The governor recalled that the mill was the first major plant to be commissioned by the Buhari administration in the country.
He expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the establishment of Agricultural Mechanisation Workshop and Skill Acquisition Centre in Kebbi.
Bagudu described the people of Kebbi as good partners, expressing happiness that WACOT had recovered 99 per cent of the loan provided to rice farmers in the state.
The governor further commended the company for its immense contribution to the attainment of food security in Nigeria.
In a remark, Idris said as a labour leader, he was overwhelmed by the magnanimity of WACOT to provide massive employment to indigenes of the state, thereby reducing unemployment and enhancing wealth creation.
He lauded Bagudu for providing an enabling environment within which WACOT had been operating peacefully and successfully, while pledging to sustain partnership with the company.
The governor-elect appealed to WACOT to extend its financial support to rice farmers across the local government areas of the state.
The Chairman of WACOT, Malam Farooq Gumel said work on the second rice mill of the company had reached 95 per cent completion and expected to be commissioned within the next few months.
Gumel thanked Gov. Bagudu for his unrelenting support to the company to operate in full capacity and extended similar appreciation to the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) for galvanising its members to increase productivity.
According to him, in addition to rice production, WACOT is also producing vegetable oil, sesame, cashew and chicken as well as other food items in furtherance of the quest for food security.
The chairman announced that the company had provided scholarship to four freed girls of the Federal Government College, Birnin Yauri, to enable them to
pursue their education up to university level.
Also speaking, the National President of RIFAN, Alhaji Aminu Goronyo congratulated WACOT for successfully establishing a second rice mill which was at the eve of completion.
Goronyo observed that such effort was made possible with the Bagudu’s commitment to agricultural development.
He disclosed an Egyptian delegation was in the state to enter into partnership with the government to begin pilot agricultural project, including rice production in Argungu and other parts of the state.