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May 31, 2008

South Korea to fund rice mill in Nigeria

Nigeria and South Korea have signed an agreement to set up a rice processing mill in the west African country in a bid to boost production and fight spiralling food prices.

The signing of the memorandum of understanding coincided with the start of a three-day summit in Japan to help African nations double rice production within a decade, Nigeria's agriculture ministry said.

Under the agreement, the Korean government will provide the 1.8-million-dollar (1.1-million-euro) funding for the mill to be set up at Bida in the central Niger state. The project is expected to be completed by next year, officials said.

Rice is the staple cereal in this oil-rich country of 140 million, but its price has more than doubled in the past months. A 50 kilogram (110-pound) bag of rice which cost 6,000 naira (51 dollars) in December is now sold for 13,000 naira.

Nigeria has pledged to increase rice production from 2.8 million metric tonnes to 5.6 million annually over the next four years.


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