By Ruth Tene Natsa,
The Chairman Pearl Universal Impex Limited (APJS Group Company), Mr. Pulkit Jain has said the company has made tremendous investments and increased its local rice production to about 20,000metric tonnes.
Pearl Universal Impex is one of Nigeria’s integrated rice value chain companies with operations in Seed procurement, paddy cultivation, storage, parboiling,milling, bagging, logistics and marketing.
It will be recalled that Pearl Universal Impex Limited was one of the earliest companies to embrace the federal government backward Integration policy in the rice sector, by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development designed to boost local rice production and reduce Nigeria’s dependence on rice imports.
According to Mr Jain “Pearl’s farming strategy is to cultivate rice, three times in a year, covering both dry and wet seasons. He said The Company has kept faith with this strategy and so far harvested over 20,000 metric tonnes of paddy.
On his last visit to the farm in early May, he said he was” impressed that the investment by Pearl has brought significant improvements in the lives of several Nigerians by way of employment as well as out-grower rice farmers who are being trained by Pearl. Before the institutionalization of this policy, Nigeria was the second largest importer of rice in the whole world.
He added that, the company had to build new irrigation systems incorporating the latest technologies required in a 21st century mechanised farm as well as import several farming machinery and earth equipment to prepare the land for farming. These activities as well as the construction and maintenance of storage facilities, residential apartments, office and administrative buildings, provision of power and electricity have brought tremendous improvements on the land and the communities in the area.
Mr. Jain urged the government to sustain the ban on rice importation to enable rice producers and investors add value to the nation’s economy through backward integration into rice milling and farming in the country.
While Appreciating the warn reception of people and government of Nigeria, Mr Jain assured that Pearl Universal is in Nigeria for the long haul and will continue to increase its investment until Nigeria attains self-sufficiency in rice production and milling.
Mr. Jain who was present during the signing of the agreement with the Upper Niger River Basin Development Authority to lease 7,500 hectares of farmland has severally met with the Governor of Niger State, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, as well as district heads and people of New Bursa area on whose lands the farm is located.