Healthy Eating

FOODIE NAIJA UPDATE (CHARTING WAY FOR NIGERIA’S SELF- SUFFICIENCY IN RICE PRODUCTION)

Nigeria’s rice self-sufficiency
struggle has been on for a long
time now, yet the country remains
the largest importer of the staple
food commodity with an average
annual spending of about $2
billion with the bulk of the imports coming from Asian countries, mainly Thailand and India.

According to the Federal Ministry
of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) estimated
rice demand in Nigeria reaches 6.5
million MT in 2015, but less than
half of it is produced locally leading to a deficit that is being filled by imports which cost the country over $2 billion of foreign exchange per annum. This local production shortfall leave a gap 4.0 million MT that is currently being filled through formal importation of rice or illegal imports over land borders.

To address such an untenable
situation, the government of
Nigeria has proposed policy
incentives, including under its
Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) that encourages
investment in domestic paddy
production and milling with the
objective of making Nigeria self-
sufficient in rice.

The federal government of Nigeria
policy direction coincides with the
mission of the Dangote group
which has always focused on the
provision of basic need that touch
the lives of peoples. In line with
this mission and encouraged by
the clear policy commitment of the Buhari Administration, the Dangote Group are committed to making significant investment in the Nigeria Agricultural sector
including the Rice Value Chain
established the Dangote Rice
Limited (DRL) as its vehicle for the
execution of its strategy in this
regard.

Dangote Rice has a mandate to
locally produce high quality milled, parboiled rice for the Nigeria market. This goal will be achieved by sourcing the raw material (paddy) requires from the Dangote Rice Outgrower Scheme.

In ensuring this, Dangote Rice, a
subsidiary of Dangote Group multi- million naira 25,000 hectares of rice Outgrower Scheme in Sokoto State having a prospect of hundreds of thousand of employment opportunities for the rural communities inhabitants.
Sokoto state is the second after
Jigawa out of the 14 states spread
across the state where Dangote
Rice plans to operate outgrower
scheme to empower local farmers
and create job opportunities for
community dwellers and reduce
migration to the cities.

Dangote Rice Projects in the 14
states, when, operational, will
generate a significant number of
jobs and increase take-home
income for smallholder farmers, all while diversifying Nigeria’s
economy and reducing the nation’s food import bill.

By year-end 2017, Dangote Rice
plans to produce 225,000 MT of
parboiled, milled white rice. This
will allow the company to satisfy
4% of the total market demand within one year. The company’s model can then be successfully scaled to produce 1,000,000 MT of milled rice in order to satisfy 16% of the domestic market demand for rice within the next few years.

The president of Dangote Group,
Aliko Dangote never relent in its
chart for paving way for the country to become rice self sufficiency. It would be recalled
that Dangote said, Nigeria would
be self-sufficient in rice, sugar and
other commodities in 2019.
Speaking at the launching of
Sokoto rice Outgrower scheme,
Dangote said, “Agriculture remains
an important sector in our economy despite the neglect it has suffered over the years. The
uniqueness of the agricultural
sector in our economy is buttressed by crucial role it can pay in addressing the challenges of unemployment, rural-urban
migration, low level of our
industrial capacity and poor living
standards of Nigerians.”

According to him, within the next
three years Dangote Rice Limited
(DRL) is aiming to produce at least
one million tonnes of high quality
parboiled rice which will be made
available to the Nigerian market,
making the commodity affordable
to ordinary Nigerians.

“To achieve this, objective, our
plans include cultivating about
160,000 hectares of irrigable rice
farmland in selected states,
including Sokoto State that will be
cultivated to grow paddy during
two cropping-seasons per year
and achieve a minimum yield of
five to six tons per hectare.
“DRL is committed to off-taking not less than 80% of the paddy
produced by the outgrowers.

We will also develop our own farm operations to include seed
multiplication capabilities. With this ambitious programme, DRL aims to boost the local economy, create jobs along the value chain and make a significant contribution to the transformation of subsistence farms into market-oriented agribusinesses.”

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