The Dangote Group, yesterday launched 20,000 hectare rice production scheme, aimed at making the country self-sufficient in rice production and food secure by the year 2018.
Speaking at the flagging-off of the scheme at Hago Fadama kafin-Hausa local government area of the state, the state governor Alhaji Badaru Abubakar Badaru said, the project was part of his government’s commitment to improve agriculture and industrialise the state for job creation and poverty eradication.
“Right from my inaugural speech, I made it clear that, agriculture was one of my government cardinal points and we are ready to collaborate with private investors in achieving the desire goals. The project we are launching today is one of the numerous projects we intend to embark in collaboration with private investors from within and outside the country, and we have already signed memorandum with many of them,” the governor said.
The governor assured Dangote Group of the state government’s support in making any policy and intervention that will make the investment profitable and generate jobs to the teeming population of the state.
Speaking at the occasion, the minister of state for agriculture Mr Heineken Lokpobiri said the federal government was worried over the production gap it has in rice and the millions of dollars spent annually on its importation despite having vast arable land that can make Nigerians rice exporters if properly utilized.
He disclosed that presently the country needs 6.8 million metric tons of rice annually for consumption, but that “we are locally producing only 2.6 million metric tons. In view of this, the federal government has come up with plan to encourage massive investment in rice production and agricultural sector in general to end rice importation by the year 2018,” he said.
In his remarks, the president, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, said his company targeted 120,000 hectares for rice production across the country by the year 2020.
He said the Jigawa rice scheme targets 20,000 hectares in which the out growers will produce 8,000 hectares while the company will cultivate 12,000 hectares.
According to him, the project will provide direct job opportunities to over 10,000 youths in addition to food security and internally generated income to the state government.
He expressed appreciation to the Hadejia Emirate Traditional Rulers, the Jigawa State government and federal government for the support given to the company, and also called for more policy and incentives that would create more enabling environment and encourage private sector investment in to the sector.