Nigeria has moved closer to its goal of self-sufficiency in rice with the announcement of an investment of $1 billion (165 Billion Naira) for commercial rice farming and modern integrated rice mills by AlikoDangote, Africa’s richest man. The investment is expected to also turn Nigeria into the first and largest exporter of rice into the global market.Nigeria’s President, Dr.GoodluckEbele Jonathan, presided over the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Dangote Industries Ltd.
Nigeria has been pursuing an aggressive agricultural transformation agenda to unlock its huge agricultural potential, diversify the economy, revive its rural areas and turn Nigeria into a global powerhouse in food and agriculture. The government-enabled private sector-driven agricultural transformation agenda of Nigeria has continued to garner global acclaim and has attracted over $ 6 billion of private sector investments into the sector in a period of three years. At the forefront of the new drive on agriculture in Nigeria is unlocking its huge potential to produce rice.
President Jonathan expressed his optimism on the new investment “Nigeria recognizes that agriculture holds the key for inclusive growth that will help lift millions of our people out of poverty into wealth. I congratulate AlikoDangote for this $1 Billion (165 Billion Naira) investment for rice production in Nigeria. This is a mark of strong confidence in the success of our agricultural policies and the strength of our economy”. He further commented, “This investment shows the power of public-private partnerships to unlock Nigeria’s agricultural potential. I wish to commend the Minister of Agriculture, Dr.AkinwumiAdesina and AlikoDangote for developing this strategic partnership which will transform Nigeria’s rice sector”.
AlikoDangote expressed his new optimism “This rice project is part of my renewed commitment to developing Nigeria’s economy through agriculture. The Federal Government’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda is highly commendable as Nigeria is fast moving towards attaining food security thereby reducing the current high food import bill. With rice as a major staple, we have placed total self-sufficiency in rice production as a major priority for our country and key value chain for our economy. Today’s signing ceremony marks a revolutionary tipping point by the Dangote Group to make Nigeria a net exporter of rice within the next few years as well as boosting inclusive wealth creation and employment generation”.
Dangote Industries Ltd, a leading Nigerian conglomerate with domestic manufacturing operations across various sectors, is the latest private investor to venture into integrated agribusiness operations. The company 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. Furthermore, as part of the project, Dangote will 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 this within two years. With this installed capacity, the Project will become the largest integrated rice mill project in Africa.
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, commented, “This investment by Dangote Industries is transformational for Nigeria and the rest of Africa. Nigeria has no business importing rice. Our goal is to become self-sufficient in rice and become a global powerhouse in food and agriculture markets. Through this billion dollar commitment, AlikoDangote, 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”.
Nigeria has been recoding significant successes with its rice policy which is directed at saving Nigeria N 356 billion ($2.5 billion) annually and putting this into the hands of Nigerian rice farmers and rural communities. Within the past three years, Nigeria’s national paddy rice production rose by an extra 7 million Metric Tons. 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. Over 6 million farmers now grow improved rice varieties that meet international standards. 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. The expanded local rice production of the President’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda has added N 750 billion to the Nigerian economy, with over N407 billion as net incomes to farmers and rice processors, and boosted rural economy by 360,000 jobs.
Aliko Dangote, President of Dangote Industries said. “The vision, drive and innovative agricultural policies of Nigeria have opened up Nigeria’s agriculture sector as a business. I cannot think of a better place to invest today than in this rapidly changing agriculture sector. It just tells you what great leadership can do. The political leadership of President Jonathan and his dynamic Agriculture Minister, AkinwumiAdesina, inspired me to launch into agriculture. Without any doubt, the future of Nigeria is in agriculture”.
About Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda
The Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) is the largest ever government-enabled private sector-led effort to grow agriculture in Nigeria. This comprehensive effort aims to increase domestic food production, reduce dependence on food imports and expand value addition to locally produced agricultural products. Through de-regulation, provision of attractive financing, concentrated infrastructure investments, and competitive policies, the government will ensure the sector becomes more productive, efficient and competitive. Specifically, the plan will add 20 million tons of food to domestic supply and create 3.5 million jobs by 2015.
About Dangote Group.
The Dangote Group is an emerging African conglomerate based in Nigeria, West Africa, driven by a mission to touch the lives of people by providing their basic needs. Current interests of the Group, which started as a trading company in 1978, include cement, sugar, salt, pasta, beverages and real estate, with new projects underway in the oil and gas sector. Some of the Group’s 13 subsidiaries are listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). They include: cement, sugar, salt and flour.
Dangote Cement Plc (DCP) is a fully integrated quarry-to-depot cement manufacturer with a production capacity of 20 million metric tonnes (MMT) of cement per annum. Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc (DSR) is the largest sugar refinery in sub-Saharan Africa and the second largest in the world, with a production capacity of 1.44 MMT of sugar per annum. It is currently embarking on a backward integration programme with plans to grow its sugar plantation business across 200,000 hectares in Nigeria, to produce 1.5 MMT of sugar by 2017. DSR is the largest supplier of sugar to all industrial users as well as household consumers in Nigeria. The National Salt Company of Nigeria Plc (NASCON), its third listed subsidiary on the NSE, is diversifying into the production of vegetable oil, canned tomatoes and seasoning, in line with the Group’s mission. New projects underway include a 2.8 MMT fertiliser plant, a crude oil refinery with a crude capacity of 500,000 barrels per day, and a petrochemical complex. These projects will create thousands of jobs for Nigerians. The Group has won a number of laurels both locally and internationally in recognition of its achievements. Dangote Cement is rated the biggest listed company in West Africa, accounting for about 30 percent of the NSE in terms of market capitalisation.
The Group recently unveiled an audacious growth strategy that would take its current market capitalisation of about $24billion, to $120billion, by 2020. This would make it a Fortune 100 Company.
The Group is fully involved in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities, which it executes through the Dangote Foundation. In March 2014, AlikoDangote, Chairman of the Dangote Foundation, announced a $1.25billion endowment for the Foundation.
For more information, visit: www.dangote.com.[Source: FMARD]