The much expected Dangote Rice is billed to hit the market very soon as the management has commenced the harvest of its first tranche.
Sources within the organisation said Aliko Dangote has been very happy with the news of the harvest, especially as it will be launched in the right time to ease the pains of Nigerians, who currently buy rice at N20, 000 per bag.
“We are really excited about the progress so far recorded in this our rice projects. Once we commence the sales of our rice, I can authoritatively tell you that the price of rice will crash in the country as we should have enough, in the next few years to make importation of rice non-attractive again into the country” the source said.
Earlier in the year, Dangote inaugurated its 8,000-hectare Rice Out-growers’ Scheme in Hadejia, Jigawa State, with the distribution of rice seedlings to farmers.
According to a statement by the group, the scheme, which is part of its partnership with government at all levels to reduce Nigeria’s food imports, has the potential to provide 10,000 direct and indirect jobs.
It said the rice project being executed by the Dangote Rice Limited would be replicated in six other states of the federation.
It said the project was the fallout of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between Dangote and the Federal Government, on the one hand, and the Jigawa State Government on the other.
Dangote lamented that the Nigerian agricultural commodities and food imports’ bill had averaged over N1tn in the past two years, with items such as sugar, wheat, rice and fish accounting for 93 per cent of the amount.
He described the situation as unacceptable, adding that this informed his decision to go into agriculture
According to him, under the Dangote Rice Out-growers Scheme, farmers will be given training and other necessary inputs with guaranteed buy-back at agreed prices.
The Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, was quoted as saying that the Federal Government was ready to support the scheme and make it a success.
It would be recalled that Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) to invest $1 Billion (N165 million) for the establishment of fully integrated rice production and processing operations across Nigeria. Former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan presided over the signing of the MoU then.
The company has acquired farmland in Edo, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kwara, and Niger states totalling 150,000 hectares to be used for the commercial production of rice paddy. Dangote has also established a two state-of-the-art large-scale rice mills each with a capacity to mill 120,000 metric tons of rice paddy, bringing total capacity to 240,000 Metric Tons, with plans to double capacity this within two years. With this installed capacity, the project will become the largest integrated rice mill project in Africa.