To develop 150,000 hectares for rice production
Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja and Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja
The Dangote Group is set to expand its businesses with $20 billion over the next decade and also to construct gas pipelines to transport about three billion cubic feet of natural gas from the South-eastern part of the country to Lagos.
The Group Executive Director in charge of Stakeholders’ Relations/Corporate Communications of the company, Mr. Ahmed Mansur, disclosed this yesterday at a media parley.
Mansur said plans were also underway to build a new cement plant in Edo State as part of efforts aimed at increasing the volume of cement production.
According to him, the company’s volumes of cement production had increased from the initial eight million tonnes per annum in 2010 to 40 million per annum presently, adding that the company was targeting at producing between 75-80 million tonnes annually by 2020.
He said the company was making huge investments in the nation’s agricultural sector to diversify the nation’s economy from dependence on oil revenues in view of the present realities in oil production and prices.
He mentioned that the company had already commenced rice production in Jigawa State through out-growers and that efforts are ongoing to begin rice production in Kogi, Niger and Kebbi States, among others.
He said such efforts would enable the nation attain food sufficiency and stop the importation of foreign rice which presently costs the nation about $2 billion annually.
He also disclosed that the company was investing in oil and gas, adding that a refinery that would refine 650,000 barrel of crude oil per day was being built in the country.
On the Obajana-Kabba road construction, he said they were still waiting the federal government’s final directive before the company can start work on the road.
Also speaking with journalists in Abuja yesterday, Mansur said Dangote Group, would develop over 150,000 hectares across the country for rice production in order to assist the federal government’s policy on food production and crash increasing price of the commodity in the country.
The group also said it plans to increase its cement production from the current 40 million tonnes per annum to about 80 million tonnes per annum in the years ahead, thereby becoming the largest producer of cement in Africa and one of the largest in the world.
According to him, ‘’In view of the prevailing economy situation in Nigeria and the urgent need to diversify our economy, Dangote Group is focusing on agriculture; we intend to diversify our sugar integrated manufacturing, and we are expanding our sugar plantation in states like Adamawa, Niger and others.
‘’This will increase sugar supply in this country and reduce importation. We are also going into rice production. We want to promote food sufficiency in this country; and we plan to encourage local rice production in Nigeria. We have started rice production in Jigwawa State and our intention to get involve in commercial rice farming to meet the demand of Nigerians.’’
He said in the next few years, the intention of the group is to develop about 150,000 hectares of rice production across the state in Nigeria, saying the company is currently working in states like Niger, Kogi, Sokoto, Kwara and Kebbi in order to expand rice production.
The Group Executive Director added, ‘’By doing this, we are supporting the food policy direction of the federal government—by significantly minimising rice importation in the country and bringing the price down.
‘’We have also started tomatoes processing in Kano State; we have tomatoes manufacturing company. We also plan to going into tomato farming for our operation.’’