Nigeria’s foremost conglomerate, Dangote Industries Limited, is set to invest $300 million (N50 billion) in local rice production to make the country self-sufficient and stop importation of the produce.
The group’s President, Aliko Dangote who broke the news of the planned investment at the just-concluded World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, said his group planned investment in agriculture would create 180,000 jobs.
“If I dreamt five years ago that I would invest in agriculture, I will write it off as bad dream or nightmare but today, we’re investing $2.3 billion in agriculture, $2 billion in sugar, and $300 million in rice. In Nigeria, we have one of the most attractive investment policies through framework that the government has put in place to help businesses succeed,” Dangote said on the group’s foray into agriculture.
It is expected that the planned investment will enable Nigeria to become self-sufficient in food production, as it has become in the cement sub-sector.
The Dangote Group ended cement importation by establishing three plants at Obajana (Kogi State), Gboko (Benue) and Ibese (Ogun) to meet domestic demand.
The group, through massive investment in sugar cultivation – as part of the national sugar master plan – will put Nigeria on the world map and end importation of raw sugar.
Dangote Sugar, a subsidiary of the group, is a frontline player in the sugar backward integration policy. The company is working towards producing one million tonnes of white sugar by 2015, cultivating 100,000 hectares of sugarcanes in Sokoto, Kebbi, Jigawa, Taraba, Kogi and Kwara states.
The Dangote Group said its investment in rice would boost local production and in the next few years and end the nation’s dependence on imported rice.
The group is investing in agriculture because “it is motivated by the desire to create jobs and empower Nigerians, owing to a friendlier agricultural policy of the Federal Government.”
Reputed to be the single largest private sector employer of labour in Nigeria, the Dangote Group is investing in fertiliser plant to boost agriculture.