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Dangote To Resuscitate Rice Farming With N165 Billion Investment In 5 States

Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) at the weekend signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) to invest $1 Billion (N165 billion) for the establishment of fully integrated rice production and processing operations across Nigeria. President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan presided over the signing of the MOU.

The signing of the MOU which was presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan and the planned investment are a response to the on-going reforms of the President’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) launched in 2011. Following the launch, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has worked with various stakeholders to catalyse increased investments for agriculture with a particular 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 state-of-the-art large-scale rice mills each with a capacity to mill 120,000 Metric Tons of rice paddy, bringing total capacity to 240,000 Metric Tons, with plans to double capacity within two years. With this installed capacity, the Project will become the largest single investment ever made in rice production in Africa. The rice plant is estimated to produce 960,000 metric tons of mill rice, representing 46 per cent of rice imported into Nigeria.

President Jonathan commended Aliko Dangote for building a strong industrial base in Nigeria. “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”

Concerning our porous borders, the President vowed to put an end to the high spate of smuggling in the next 12 months. He cautioned that the days of smugglers are numbered and that the Government is determined to install electronic surveillance equipment that will depend less on human manipulations and interventions. He assured Dangote that his investment will be protected.

Dangote commended the Government for evolving a robust and consistent policy that has made Nigeria an irresistible place to invest. He urged other Nigerian entrepreneurs to join the moving train now, rather than sit back and complain of not having a level-playing field and later on wave the flag of monopoly for successful entrepreneurs.

He said: “Our goal of making Nigeria a net exporter of rice will be achieved faster by this significant investment, and 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” he added.

As an integrated operation, the Dangote farms and the mills are expected to significantly boost smallholder rice production in the regions through a nucleus and outgrower farming model, thereby transforming livelihoods in rural Nigeria. The sites selected are rice-growing communities and they will be supported by Dangote’s provision of agro-inputs, training, and marketing linkages in order to improve community farming operations. Employment opportunities will also be created for at least 8,000 Nigerians.

At the signing, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, Minister of Agriculture, said, “This investment by Dangote Industries Limited is transformational for Nigeria and the rest of Africa. The 150,000 hectares of rice farms and the planned 240,000 Metric Tons processing capacity of international quality grade rice is guaranteed to turn Nigeria away from being a rice importing country to a major rice exporter. Through this billion dollar commitment, Aliko Dangote, Africa’s leading business man, has clearly attested to the policies and approach that the Federal Government has undertaken to transform the nation’s agricultural sector”.

The Minister noted that the rice self sufficiency policy of the Federal Government was directed at saving Nigeria N 356 billion annually and putting this into the hands of Nigerian rice farmers and rural communities. Within three years, Nigeria’s national paddy rice production rose by an extra 7 million Metric Tons. Most importantly, the number of integrated modern rice mills in the country rose from just one in 2011, to 18 by 2014, all processing the local paddy into high quality finished rice. High-quality and well-packaged Nigerian rice is now in the local market, including Quarra Rice, Umza rice, Ebony super rice, Eko rice, Mikap rice, Ashi rice, Queen of the Niger and Mama’s Pride.





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