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Dangote to revive local production of rice with N50bn

By The Citizen
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Nigeria's foremost conglomerate, Dangote Industries Ltd is to invest $300 million (N50 billion) in rice production to make the country, self sufficient in rice production and also stop importation of the product into the country.

The President of the Group, Aliko Dangote last week at the World Economic Forum (WEF), Davos Switzerland said his Group's planned investment in the agriculture sector will create additional 180,000 jobs in the economy.

Explaining his Group's foray into agriculture, Dangote said. '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.'

It is expected that the planned investment will effectively enable the country become self-sufficient in food production as it did in cement sector. Dangote Group ended cement importation with three plants located at Obajana, Gboko and Ibese meeting domestic demand for cement. The Group through massive investment in sugar cultivation as part of the national sugar master plan will put Nigeria on the world sugar map and end importation of raw sugar.

Dangote Sugar, a subsidiary of the Group is a front line player in the sugar backward integration policy. The company is working towards producing One million tons of white sugar by 2015, cultivating 100,000 hectares in about six states of Sokoto, Kebbi, Jigawa, Taraba, Kogi and Kwara State.

Also, the investment in rice cultivation will boost local production and in years to come end the nation's dependence on imported rice. The Group is investing heavily in agricultural sector principally because it is motivated by the desire to create jobs, empower Nigerians, and owing to a friendlier agricultural policy of the federal government. Reputed to be the single largest private sector employer of labour in Nigeria, the Group   is currently investing in fertilizer plant in order to boost agriculture.