Lagos - Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote plans to launch
a rice mill backed with a farm scheme to tap growing demand for Nigeria’s
commonest staple food.
Price of 50kg of rice has risen by over 120% from N9, 500 to
about N20, 000 over the past six months.
Only 2.3 million metric tonnes are produced at home, leaving
the country reliant on imports, with yearly growing demand of more than 7
million metric tonnes.
This is what is set to change with the launch of a pilot
project starting with 500 hectares of farmland by Gonroyo Dam, Nigeria's
second-largest dam, located in the northern state of Sokoto.
The project will be expanded to cover a land area of 25,000
hectares across three sites in northern Nigeria by the end of the year.
"By year-end 2017, Dangote Rice plans to produce
225,000metric tonnes of parboiled, milled white rice. This will allow us to
satisfy four per cent of the total market demand within one year," the
company said in a statement.
"Our model can then be successfully scaled to produce
1,000,000 metric tonnes of milled rice in order to satisfy 16 percent of the
domestic market demand for rice over the next five years."
Also read: Dangote remains Africa's richest man, Otedola drops out
The company also said it would partner with smallholders and
contract farmers to grow paddy rice for milling. It will offer inputs to
farmers while the smallholders provide land and labour.
At harvest, Dangote will recoup input costs and buy the
paddy rice from farmers for processing at market price.
The 25,000-hectare land will be cultivated by nearly 50,000
farmers, organised into groups. Dangote will engage with the groups to sign
contracts with each farmerFor
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- News24 Nigeria