Compnay plans to grow and process rice in seven Nigerian states over next five years.
Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock.
ABEOKUTA, NIGERIA — Dangote Group is planning to invest more than $1 billion over the next five years to grow and process rice in seven Nigerian states, according to a report from Bloomberg. The announcement, which would bring Nigeria closer to its goal of self-sufficiency, was made at the conclusion of the 2017 Gateway trade fair held in Abeokuta and later confirmed by Robert Coleman, a project director with Dangote.

“Ultimately, at harvest, Dangote guarantees to buy the farm produce back from the farmers at an agreed/prevailing market price,” Coleman told Bloomberg.

Headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, Dangote Group is one of the most diversified business conglomerates in Africa with activities in cement, sugar, salt, flour and semolina, pasta, noodles, poly products, logistics and real estate. Through Dangote Rice Ltd., a unit of Dangote Group, the company plans to increase cultivation of paddy (also known as raw rice) to 150,000 hectares and harvest an annual 1.7 million tonnes by 2019, according to Bloomberg.

Coleman told Bloomberg that most of the output will be grown by medium and smallholder farmers through an “outgrower scheme” in which Dangote Rice would provide the equipment and training.

He said the company also plans to build mills to transform the paddy into approximately 1 million tonnes of high-quality parboiled rice by 2019. The first set of imported mills is expected to be delivered by early December and operational by July 2018, Coleman told Bloomberg.

In April, Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), while speaking at the Mo Ibrahim Forum in Morocco, said he believes billionaire businessman Aliko Dangote, owner of the Dangote Group, may become the largest exporter of rice in the world by 2021.

Earlier, Dangote Rice starting work Feb. 15 in Sokoto, Nigeria, on its multi-million naira 25,000-hectare rice cultivation project. The company began with a 500-hectare pilot project near Gonroyo dam, the second largest dam in the country.