Dangote to resuscitate rice farming with N165b in five states
Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) signed, at the weekend a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to invest $1 billion (about N165 billion) for the establishment of fully integrated rice production and processing operations across Nigeria.
President Goodluck Jonathan presided over the signing ceremony.
The MoU and the planned investment are a response to the reforms of the President’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) launched in 2011.
Following the launch, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development worked with various stakeholders to ensure increased investments in agriculture with emphasis on private sector investments.
Dangote has acquired farmland in Edo, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kwara, and Niger states, totalling 150,000 hectares, to be used for the commercial production of rice paddy.
As part of the project, Dangote will also establish two modern large-scale rice mills each with a capacity to mill 120,000 metric tonnes of rice paddy, bringing the total capacity to 240,000 metric tonnes.
The company also plans to double the capacity within two years.
With this installed capacity, the project will become the largest single investment in rice production in Africa.
The rice plant is estimated to produce 960,000 metric tonnes of mill rice, representing 46 per cent of rice imported into Nigeria.
President Jonathan hailed DIL Chief Executive, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, for building a strong industrial base in Nigeria.
He said: “It takes a lot of hardwork, commitment and discipline to achieve the feat, accomplished by Aliko Dangote. Today is a great day for Nigeria, and this investment is worth the risk. The country is capable of producing rice that can feed the whole of West African sub-region”
On Nigeria’s porous borders, the President vowed to end the high spate of smuggling in the next 12 months.
He cautioned that the days of smugglers were numbered and that the Federal Government was determined to install electronic surveillance equipment that would depend less on human manipulations and interventions.
Jonathan assured Dangote that his investment would be protected.
Dangote hailed the government for evolving a policy that has made Nigeria an irresistible place to invest.
The foremost industrialist urged other Nigerian entrepreneurs to join the train for making the country a haven for investments.
Dangote said: “Our goal of making Nigeria a net exporter of rice will be achieved faster by this significant investment. I congratulate the Minister of Agriculture and his team for the very strong demonstration of public-private sector partnerships and collaboration to drive significant transformation in Nigeria’s agriculture sector.”
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