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PJS Firm To Create 7,000 Jobs In Niger

A rice company Pearl Universal Impex Limited has disclosed that it is poised to create over 7,000 jobs in its gigantic rice farming project in Niger state.
This comes on the heels of an appeal to the federal government to provide more conducive and enabling environment for operators in the rice business in order to realise the dream of self-sufficiency in rice.
Chairman of the company, Pulkit Jain, said the project would create 3,000 direct and 4,000 indirect jobs through its out-grower scheme. However, the new Emir of Borgu, Mohammed Sanni has urged the government to lend its weight to rice farmers and millers in order to realise the value chain on the commodity, while commending the PJS for the project in his domain.
“Many firms came here and indicated interest in thought commitment. This PJS came and indicated stronger commitment and went into action immediately. We want the Government to support firms like PJS that goes out of their way to invest in agricultural background integration policy. This place is very remote/far from the city which is more than six hours drive from Minna and PJS is ready to do business here.” The Emir noted with delight.
He said the project on completion will engage 4,000 people directly adding the village might have to scout for workforce from neighbouring villages because if it lacks adequate manpower for the project. He commended the state government for signing an MOU with PJS on the rice project.
Alhaji Mohammed said that the villager have benefited immensely capacity building in term of knowledge, High tech in advanced rice farming and handling High tech machines.
“We will support the company to consolidate in growth. They would regret coming this way.”
The company, following a successful pilot phase of its rice project in June this year to determine the variety of rice most suitable to the region at 500 hectares of land in Saminaka, a community situated around Swashi Dam in Borgu local government area of the state is set to move into the next phase of the project.
Disclosing these when the top management of the company paid a courtesy visit on the new emir of Borgu, in Niger State, Barrister Mohammed Sani.
While commiserating with the emir over the demise of his predecessor, Jain said the project would create 3000 direct and 4000 indirect jobs through its out-grower scheme.
He said the company’s success on rice has resulted in its logical backward integration into rice milling and farming in Nigeria.
With an estimated amount of N356 billion spent on importation of rice annually, Nigeria is currently the second largest importer of rice in the world, and the largest net importer in Africa.
But Jain said the federal government’s call to replace rice and other imported goods with domestic production, and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s vision to achieve a hunger-free Nigeria through an agriculture sector that drives income growth, accelerates the achievements of food and nutritional security, generates employment and transforms Nigeria into a leading player in global food market growing wealth for millions of farmers, informed the company’s decision to invest in the project and develop an innovative approach to rice production.
The company’s model, he continued, combines a commercial farm with a programme that works with nearby farmers, called out-growers, allowing the company greater control over its product while still leaving room to foster and train local small-scale farmers in rice production.
To this end, Jain revealed that the $100million (N200bn) would be committed to the cultivation of 7,500 hectares of rice farm and construction of two rice mills in the state in the next three years.
He said the move was predicated on the successful rice yield of 7 metric tonnes per hectare at the trial phase of the project, adding that the company would now move to another 2000 hectares of land for cultivation this December.
He further disclosed that the focus would be primarily on dry season farming as it was easier to manage, even as the company intends to grow rice three times a year on the land.
While pointing out that the equipment for the next phase of the project had already been shipped and would berth the shores of Nigeria anytime in January 2016, Jain explained that the company has not spared any effort in training the local farmers on the scientific method of cultivating rice in order to get a better yield, adding that at the moment, there were 100workers in the company’s employ that have been well trained.
He also commended the Emir for a harmonious relationship between the company and community, stressing that it has been peaceful and the level of cooperation from the palace has been wonderful.
He clarified that the local farmers using their leased land for farming purposes had never been forcefully ejected from the place, but that it was a deliberate policy of the company to employ and train them instead of out rightly asking them to give up the land whenever there was the need for the company to use more land for cultivation.
Jain said the company has challenges in the areas of access road to its farm and also the near- absence of network services for effective communication and the technical know-how of the community.
He therefore called on the government to intervene adding that a support from government in terms access to loans from banks like the Bank of Agriculture and the Bank of Industry (BoI) would greatly help to speed up development in the area.
He said the company would never shy away from its corporate social responsibility to the community, as integrity was the foundation of its business ethics.
According to him, the company was committed to building well – equipped schools, hospitals and good medical facilities for the community as a top priority.
He also congratulated the new minister of agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, describing him as an experienced farmer who would no doubt impact the agriculture sector with grassroots policies that would advance the fortunes of the sector.

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