Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President/CEO, Dangote Group has hired a Brazilian agricultural expert to replicate in Nigeria the model that Brazil used to transform the country from a net importer of rice in the year 2000 to a net exporter in the year of 2009.
In a statement, the company said that Mr. Lulu Carlos, the Brazilian, has already started work in the country as Special Adviser to Alhaji Aliko Dangote on Rice and Coordinator of Dangote Rice Farm Ltd’s out growers’ scheme.
Vanguard learned that the pilot test is being conducted by the company in Hago-Fadama, Kafin Hausa and Auyo community in Jigawa state.
It was further learned that the company has provided small hold farmers in these communities with quality inputs (certified seeds, fertilizers, agro-chemicals and petrol), improved agricultural practices and technology to increase yield and produce quality rice paddy which would also be bought back from them by Dangote Rice Limited.
Said Carlos: “We are happy to start the first phase of the out growers bloc of 200 hectares, shared among 8 communities. I’ve seen the same project born in my country, Brazil, whereby from 2.5metric tons in the beginning to today where we reached 9 tons of paddy rice per hectare in productivity.
“This has transformed my country (Brazil) from a net importer of Rice in the year 2000 to a net exporter in the year of 2009.
This was achieved through a big out grower scheme in the rice region, which today involves thousands of independent farmers responsible for 80 percent of the 12 million tons locally produced rice and a small number of large Commercial farms supplying the remaining 20 percent,” he said.
He continued: Alhaji Aliko has instructed me to conduct the project here for at least 30 percent from out growers and 70 percent from our commercial farm to be established in the state. But this is not our limit. We are convinced that this equation will have more and more out growers’ participation in the future, due to very good and welcome response we are getting from all the communities we are dealing with.
“We are bringing to the people top quality seeds, fertilizers and chemicals as well the training and teaching the best and most modern agricultural practices, to enable you to boost your productivity and quality of your rice. We are also committed to roll out the scheme to cover another 1,000 hectares for the coming rainy season in June / July, using the experience of this first plot to guide our progress.”
President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, noted that aside the out growers’ aspect of the investment, Dangote Rice is planning to plant approximately 150,000 hectares of long grain white rice and produce near one million tons of high quality par boiled white rice for sale into the Nigerian market.
“Our internal policy within Dangote Rice Ltd is to procure 30 percent of our rice production from local farmers who will be developed into out grower groups. These out growers will be simultaneously developed alongside our commercial farming operations,” he said.
Jigawa State governor, Alhaji Badaru Muhammed Abubakar thanked Dangote for the choice of Jigawa as the pilot state for the project.
He assured Dangote of his supports in making any policy and intervention that will make the investment profitable and generate jobs for the teeming population of the state.