The Lagos State government, on Wednesday, said it has commenced the distribution of Eko Rice to various major markets in the state ahead of the Yuletide.
Oluwarotimi Fashola, special adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Agriculture, stated this during a facility tour of the Lagos Rice Mill, Imota, in the Ikorodu area of Lagos State.
Mr Fashola said a 50kg bag of Eko rice would be sold between N43,000 and N45,000 while the 25kg bag would be sold at N22,500.
He said residents could purchase the Eko Rice through the Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange (LCFE), which manages the mill.
Mr Fashola said residents can purchase the rice from some markets, which include Daleko in Mushin, Ketu and Iddo, Ikorodu and other major markets in the state.
He said for public servants, provision had been made for them to buy from the Lagos State Inputs Supply Authority (LAISA), Oko-Oba, Agege.
“I also need to let you know that we do not sell rice directly. We are in partnership with the Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange.
“They are the major and are the owners of our rice, let’s put it that way.
“Because the partnership that we have with them is that they buy and pay the distributors or the suppliers of the paddy and distributors of the head rice equally pay to them.
“You cannot buy outside commodities exchange, the partnership is such that they are the only one that sells the rice. LAISA pays for the commodities and sells them within Alausa.
“So every paddy that comes into this mill is through commodity exchange, and every head of rice that goes out is equally through commodity exchange.
“We are like the power room that makes all this activity happen and that’s a major investment or partnership between the private and public sectors, which Mr Governor has made possible.
“It’s the first time in this nation that a public company is managed by a private company.
“So, while we have rice going to the public market, we equally have the interest of the civil servants and the public servants at heart. LAISA is that intermediary that does that,” he said.
The special adviser said the LCFE has a representative in the rice mill that oversees the approved sales and distribution.
“The commodity exchange has collateral managers that serve as their eye here. So, when you pay to commodities exchange, the manager ensures that things are done properly,” he noted.
Mr Fashola said the state government would improve the distribution channels with time.
He, however, urged the residents to bear with the present reality.
Mr Fashola noted that the government was hoping to improve the mill’s capacity by 20 per cent.
“But right now, the mill could only produce 10 per cent,” he said.
Mr Fashola said the rice could not be available in all markets now but promised to improve the distribution with time.
“We need to manage our expectations when it comes to seeing it in the market; it is in the market but let us understand something.
“Lagos is the largest consumer of rice in Nigeria. Lagos consumes 40 million bags of rice annually.
“On a daily basis, we have about 25 million people and each person consumes on a yearly basis about 50kg, so we can start breaking it down to what a person consumes in a year.
“We produced 10 per cent of what Lagos consumes. We’re hoping we will go to 20 per cent, but right now, we produce 10 per cent.
“Now, if you look at that proportion, you will see that we can only do as much, and that is why we’re saying that go to this market, go to that market, and you will get.
“We cannot flood all markets in Lagos with Eko Rice. So, if you go to Ikorodu, you will get it; if you go to Daleko Market in Mushin, you will get it; if you go to Ketu Market, you will get it.
“You can go to Lagos Commodities Futures Exchange, and if you want to buy a bag, you can buy,” he noted.