DANGOTE Group is to reduce food importation into Nigeria by investing in the production of dairy products
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Oct 31, 2016 @ 01:00 GMT |
ALIKO Dangote, chairman, Dangote Group, has plans to reduce food importation into the country. According to him, 98 percent of all dairy products consumed in the country are imported. He said the nation was at the risk of hunger in the next few years if the mass food importation was not checked.
“This is why Dangote Group has planned to develop dairy plants, and develop homegrown milk production to reduce importation. By 2020, it is estimated that the Nigerian population would have risen to between 207 million and 210 million. If we do not make efforts to grow and process our own foods, God forbid, we will go hungry.
“We have been in talks with the Central Bank of Nigeria on ways we can add value to our local produce, and we have marked massive dairy production for the next three years. We cannot solve all Nigeria’s problems, but at least we can embrace and add value to areas where we have comparative advantage.”
Dangote made this assertion in Lagos on Monday, October, 17, while addressing some students of the Executive MBA class of the Lagos Business School who visited the Dangote Petrochemical Refinery.
The Dangote Group is the most capitalised company on the stock exchange, with investments which include six ongoing projects that would create not less than 250,000 jobs across the nation. He said that the refinery, which primarily majored in gas plants, petrochemicals and fertiliser production, could generate an annual foreign exchange savings and earnings of $15billion dollars.
He said it would also generate up to 1500 direct jobs and 15,000 indirect jobs in support services and logistics, which would also include up to 22,000 housing facilities. Dangote also said that the East West Onshore Gas Gathering Section pipeline of the refinery was a $3bn investment especially dedicated to generate 12,000 mega watts of power for industries.
He urged the students and other potential entrepreneurs to endeavour to venture into businesses that they are familiar with.
Dangotes’s prediction has justified the warning by Heineken Lokpobiri, minister of state for agriculture and rural development, that a bag of rice may sale for N40,000 before December 2016 if Nigerians fail to produce rice. He had warned Nigerians over the skyrocketing of some of the imported items in the country mostly rice. Lokpobiri, who stated this at a town hall meeting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, added that Nigeria spend about $22billion a year importing food into Nigeria. We know how many more dollars … and that is why you see the price of rice going up. Price of rice was N12,000 some months ago, but it is now about N26,000 and if we don’t start producing, by December it could be N40,000.
“Rice matures in three months. So, this is a wakeup call for Bayelsa people to take the four farms we have seriously. The federal government has four farms in the state in our records. The average land you see in Bayelsa can grow rice, so the colonial masters were not wrong in their assessment when they said Niger Delta could feed not only Nigeria but the entire West Africa sub-region. Unfortunately, agriculture till today is not a priority of the Niger Delta as far as the state governments are concerned because of oil.”
He said the development had led to the astronomical rise in price of rice and other commodities. The minister said there was a projection that by 2050, Nigeria’s population would be 450 million, wondering what would happen then if the people could not feed themselves now.
He said the states in the Niger Delta had yet to give priority to agriculture the way the north-west states such as Kebbi, Jigawa, Kano as well as other states like Lagos, Ebonyi, Anambra, have prioritised it.