Dangote Rice, a subsidiary of Dangote Group is set to launch a 25,000 hectares of rice outgrower scheme with a prospect of creating employment opportunities for rural communities in Sokoto.
A statement issued by Mr Francis Awowole-Browne, the Head of Media, Dangote Rice, said President of the Group, Aliko Dangote would on Wednesday inaugurate the pilot project of 500 hectres at Gonroyo Dam, in Goronyo community.
Awowole said that the inauguration which would be performed by Governor Aminu Tambuwa would witness seedlings being distributed to both primary local farmers.
According to him, the company plans to purchase harvested rice from the farmers under the Outgrower’s programme for milling and final processing at Dangote Rice mills.
The head of media noted that through the Dangote Rice Outgrower Scheme, the company would partner with smallholder rice farmers to cultivate and grow rice paddy.
“ The company will provide inputs, technical assistance, extension services and land preparation services and equipment directly to farmers.
“At harvest, Dangote Rice will recoup the costs of inputs and services in-kind and will act as a guaranteed off taker for paddy that meets certain pre-agreed quality standards.“Smallholder farmers will provide land and labour.
“By end of 2017, Dangote Rice will have 25,000 hectres cultivated across three sites in Northern Nigeria having identified as rice-growing communities.
“In Jigawa State , 5000 hectres will be cultivated, Sokoto State 10,000 hectres and Zamfara State 10,000 hectres.’’
He also said that additional 260 jobs would be created by the end of 2017.“These individuals will serve as agronomists, credit officers and staff of the mill.’’
According to him, Dangote Rice plans to produce one million metric tonnes of rice from 150,000 hectres in the next five years over in the long run.
“We intend to accomplish this by scaling the business model described above to more sites and rice growing communities.
“In addition, the company plans to establish and manage a high-quality seed development farm at Numan in Adamawa to reduce the costs of seeds.
“Raw materials reception, drying, hulling, parboiling units and silos will be established in strategic areas throughout the country near Outgrower communities,’’ Awowole-Browne said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Statistics from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development estimates that rice demand in Nigeria reached 6.3 million metric tonnes in 2015.
However, local production which currently stood at 2.3 million metric tonnes leaves a gap of opportunities.
Recently, several programmes such as Anchor Borrowers Programme have been initiated by the government and private sector to make the country food sufficient.