Aliko Dangote, president of the Dangote Group, laid a foundation stone for the construction of the multi-billion processing mill.
Once completed the mill will have a capacity to process 16 tonnes of paddy rice per hour. The company estimates the mill will process 14 billion naira worth of rice per year, bought directly from the farmers in Jigawa at market rate.
Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony, Dangote said the commencement of the construction of the rice processing plant was the culmination of a series of events that began with the signing of a $1 billion agreement with the federal government for the integrated rice production in Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kano, Niger and Jigawa.
“We have continued to pioneer new approaches to empowering our primary stakeholders and our farmers, through the Dangote out growers program thereby creating thousands of jobs, increasing incomes, poverty reduction in rural communities by providing high quality agro-inputs, technical support and secured market for farmers,” Dangote said. “Also, creating access to finance, mechanization and irrigation services so as to enhance agricultural productivity.”
Dangote Rice Ltd. started the out growers scheme in 2016 with thousands of hectares of land in Hadejia, Jigawa state, creating over 10,000 jobs to farmers.
According to the president of Dangote, the Jigawa state mill is the first of five the company is planning to build. The others are planned to be built in Kano, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi and Niger States during a the first phase, as two more and possibly others in Nasarawa, Kogi, and other states.
“When these planned six mills come fully on stream, we will achieve a capacity of 700,000 tonnes per annum of parboiled rice, which will make Dangote Rice the largest rice producer in Africa and will make a bold step in making Nigeria self-sufficient in rice production, stop importation and save the nation foreign exchange,” Dangote said.
Dangote continued speaking of the company’s work of co-creating value for all stakeholders. The company has engaged about 20,000 out growers who are expected to produce an average of 180,000 tonnes of paddy rice on about 30,000 hectares of land.
“We are focused on engaging in the region of 300,000 farmers in the next 12 months when our rice mills are all functional and we achieve steady state,” Dangote said. “We will continue to launch massive agricultural projects across the country in rice and dairy farming. Our push for backward integration in providing our own raw materials on a massive scale has led to the planned investment of $4.6 billion over the next three years in sugar, rice and dairy production alone. That will eliminate the country’s reliance on imported materials, and the foreign exchange headaches that comes with it.”
In his opening remarks, Devakumar Edwin, executive director of the Dangote Group, said the Dangote Rice team has been involved in scaling up the out grower operations to at least 5,000 hectares this season and is working to increase and grow to over 15,000 hectares cultivated per cycle or season to fully optimize operations.
Edwin said the Jigawa state mill will be able to process at least 260 tonnes of rice paddy per day, which is produced from thousands of local rice out growers.
Edwin noted the mill is located on 25 hectares site in Hadin, a town in Jigawa State, and is scheduled to begin operations in the last quarter of 2018.
“During the construction phase and when it becomes fully operational, hundreds of employment opportunities will be created, knowledge transference and skills developed among our teeming youthful population thereby boosting local economy,” Edwin said.
He also noted that Dangote will purchase 14 billion naira annually from Jigawa farmers.
“We made commitment to Nigerians that we will produce 1 million tonnes of quality parboiled rice,” Edwin said. “Since then we have embarked on several initiatives toward achieving this objective with support and collaboration from state and federal government agencies, ministries and departments, non-governmental organizations, community based organizations, traditional and financial institutions, etc. We continue to pioneer new approaches to empowering our primary stakeholders and our farmers, through the Dangote out grower program thereby creating thousands of jobs, increasing incomes, poverty reduction in rural communities by providing high quality agro-inputs, technical support and secured market for farmers.”
Jigawa State governor, Alhaji Abubakar Badaru expressed delight at the stage of the Dangote Rice project in the state, saying it was in line with the vision of the Invest Jigawa, an organ set up to accelerate investments in the state.
He promised that the state will be willing to do whatever it will take to ensure that Dangote rice operates smoothly to the satisfaction of all parties in the state.