President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has predicted that home-grown African brand, Dangote, may become the largest exporter of rice in the world by 2021
Speaking at the Mo Ibrahim Forum in Morocco, Adesina said that Africa must focus on agriculture to drive growth and create jobs on the continent.
Akinwumi, who was Nigeria’s agriculture minister when Dangote was the largest importer of rice into the country, recounted how Dangote had once walked into his office and resolved to switch from import to home-based production and export of rice few years ago.
Dangote has recently signed an agreement with Sokoto State government to create 16,000 jobs for out-grower rice farmers in the north-western part of the country.
Speaking on his plans to Dangote said, “In the next three years we want to produce one million tons of quality rice and make it available and affordable to the people. We hope to do 150, 000 ha and when we are done, Nigeria will not have anything to do with importation of rice,” Dangote said.
He also pointed out that Nigeria consumes 6.5mn tonnes of rice, which costs the nation over US$2bn annually. According to him his investments into the rice sector was largely due to the genuine interest of the Federal government to revive agriculture as the mainstay of the economy, and reduce importation of foods that could be produced locally.