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Nigeria spends $1.8b yearly on rice import, says Dangote - The Nation Nigeria

  • Launches Rice Outgrowers Scheme
Alhaji Aliko Dangote
Africa’s richest man and President, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote has lamented that Nigeria spends nearly $1.8billion per year importing (approximately 3.2 million) metric tons of rice to feed its population.

He said this huge foreign exchange (forex) would have been used on more impactful social development interventions if they were not needed for food imports.

Speaking during the launch of the Dangote Rice Outgrowers Scheme in Jigawa State at the weekend, he  said the nation’s  agricultural commodities and food imports bills averaged over N1trillion in 2013 and 2014, with foods such as sugar, wheat, rice, fish accounting for 93 per cent of the total cost of imports.

He described the situation as unacceptable for anyone who loves the country.

To check the the unncessary waste of forex on food importation, the Dangote Group has made investment in the agrci sector to create jobs and assure food security in the country.

The Rice Outgrowers Scheme was launched in Hadejia, Kafin-Hausa Local Government Area of Jigawa State.

Starting with 20,000 hectares of rice cultivation to be expanded to cover 800, 000 hectares over the next three years, Dangote said there was no better time than now to turn to agriculture to save the  economy.

The scheme started  with the distribution of treated rice seedling for planting to some 5000 farmers.

He said: “We are committed to the development of outgrower scheme by providing local, value added products and services that meet the ‘basic needs’ of the populace. To this end, the Dangote Rice Farm Ltd, will run an initial pilot in Hago-Fadama, Kafin Hausa and Auyo areas which would see Dangote Rice developing small hold farmers by providing quality inputs (certified seeds, fertiliser, agro-chemicals and petrol), improved agricultural practices and technology to increase yield and produce quality rice paddy which would also be bought back from them by Dangote Rice Limited.

“The programme in Jigawa State is expected to create more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs to the host communities.”

Aside the outgrowers aspect of the investment, he said Dangote Rice is planning to plant approximately 150,000 hectares  of long grain white rice and produce near one million tons of high quality par boiled white rice for sale into the market.

Furthermore, he said the internal policy within Dangote Rice Ltd is to procure 30 per cent of rice production from local farmers who will be developed into outgrower groups. According to him these outgrowers will be simultaneously developed alongside the company’s commercial farming operations.

Dangote said before the discovery of oil, the economy was built around potentials from palm oil, ground nut, cotton, and rubber plantations. “Now the price of oil has plummeted from a peak of $116 per barrel in June 2014 to as low as $29 per barrel in January this year. This means there is huge loss of revenue to the government,” he said.

Currently the average yield of rice in the country is between 1.8 to 2.5  metric tone per hectare (MT/ha), depending on the region and the crop (wet or dry) and with or without irrigation 1.8 MT/ha, which is significantly lower than the best practice yields in Africa of 9.2 MT/ha generated in Egypt. Locally produced rice is more expensive than imported rice due to the high cost of production relative to the low yields in the country because of poor agronomic practices.

In addition, the Federal Government has implemented policy incentives that encourage investment in domestic rice production and milling.

Dangote disclosed that the Dangote Rice Outgrowers Scheme was designed as a one stop solution for the rice value chain.

In his remark during the rice seedling distribution, Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heneiken Lokpobiri lauded the initiative of Dangote, saying the intervention in the government efforts at providing food security for the citizenry, creating jobs and reducing dependence on food importation is appreciated by being boosted.

According to him, so much forex is spent on importation of food items that could be produced locally.

While expressing the government readiness to provide all the needed support to make the Dangote Rice Outgrowers Scheme a success, the minister said the government is putting in place a strategy that will make farmers have greater access to farm implements to help them produce with ease.

Also speaking the Special Adviser to Alhaji Dangote on Rice and Coordinator of the Outgrowers Scheme, Mr. Lulu Carlos explained that 6.1million metric tone (mmt) of rice is consumed annually but not more than 2.6 million metric tons are produced locally leaving the rest to importation.

Lulu said: “We are happy to start today the partnership with the First Out Growers bloc of 200 hectares, shared among 8 communities. I have seen the same project grow in my country, Brazil, whereby from 2.5 Mt tons in the beginning to today where we reached 9 tons of paddy rice per hectare in productivity.

“This has transformed our country (Brazil), from a net importer of Rice in the year 2000 to a neýt exporter in the year of 2009.   This was achieved through a big out grower scheme in the rice region, which today involves thousands of independent farmers responsible for 80 per cent of the 12 million tons locally produced rice and a small number of large Commercial farms supplying the remaining 20 per cent.

“Also, Alhaji Aliko, has   instructed me to conduct the project here for at least 30 per cent from out growers and 70 per cent from our commercial farm to be established in the state. But this is not our limit. We are today convinced that this equation will have more and more out growers participation in the future, due to very good and welcome response we are getting from all the communities we are dealing with.

“We are bringing to the people top quality seeds, fertilizers and chemicals as well the training and teaching the best and most modern agriculturalý practices, to enable you to boost your productivity and quality of your rice. We are also committed to roll out the scheme to cover another 1,000 hectares for the coming rainy season in June / July, using the experience of this 1st plot to guide our progress.”

The Jigawa State governor, Alhaji Badaru Muhammed Abubakar thanked the Dangote Rice Limited for choosing Jigawa as the pilot state for the project. He pledged the readiness of his administration to provide all necessary support to the project.

He said, the project was part of his government’s commitment to improve agriculture and industrialize the state for job creation and poverty eradication. “Right from my inaugural speech, I made it clear that, agriculture was one of my government cardinal points and we are ready to collaborate with private investors in achieving the desire goals.

“The project we are launching today is one of the numerous projects we intend to embark in collaboration with private investors from within and outside the country and we have already signed memorandum with many of them,” the governor said.

The governor then assured Dangote Group of the state government’s support in making any policy and intervention that will make the investment profitable and generate jobs for the teeming population of the state.
Nigeria spends $1.8b yearly on rice import, says Dangote - The Nation Nigeria Nigeria spends $1.8b yearly on rice import, says Dangote - The Nation Nigeria Reviewed by Emeka Oparah on Tuesday, February 23, 2016 Rating: 5

1 comment

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    Be sure you have a fan with me.

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