￼￼By Victor Ahiuma-Young
THE Dangote Group has said it will invest $1billion on rice cultivation in five states to boost food self-sufficiency in Nigeria.
The group, which made this known at the Gateway Fair in Abeokuta, Ogun State, where it emerged as the second most patronised exhibitor, has already started rice cultivation in Sokoto, Taraba and Zamfara states.
To mark its day at the fair, a subsidiary of the group, Dangote Cement, gave out several tools and implements to the block makers in Ogun State in appreciation of their patronage. Tools such as wheel barrowers, shovels, umbrellas and hand gloves were donated to block makers who assembled from different areas of the state.
A director of Dangote Group, Tunde Mabogunje, who represented the group at the special day, said the partnership with OGUNCCIMA was beneficial as Ogun State is the host to Dangote Cement Plant, Ibese, the second largest cement plant in Nigeria.
Dangote Cement, he said, “through the plant provides thousands of direct and indirect jobs in the state. As a responsible corporate citizen, we participate fully in all events and activities designed to drive social and economic welfare of the state.”
He described the theme for this year’s Trade Fair: Promoting Agricultural Value Chain through SMEs for Nigeria Economic Recovery as being apt, given the nation is now paying attention to Agriculture, which has the potential of becoming the major driver of the economy instead of oil, pointing out that in line with the theme the Group is at the forefront of job creation and is the largest employer of labour outside government.
Mabogunje stated “We have been contributing our quota to the growth and development of the Nigerian economy. Towards aiding agriculture, we are building a fertilizer plant in the Lekki Free Trade Zone, Lagos State. When completed, farmers will have regular access to fertilizer for their farming activities. The delays and disruptions experienced in waiting for imported fertilizer will cease. We are investing about $1 billion in rice cultivation. We have an outgrowers scheme where thousands of farmers are empowered with improved seeds and items needed to cultivate rice.”
During the 10-day trade fair, Dangote Flour delighted customers and participants with free sampling of its new pasta products. The wet sampling made the Group’s pavilions the center of activities at the Fair as participants trooped in for their daily meal. Customers were rewarded with branded coolers, kitchen aprons, exercise books and customized ladles.
Commending Dangote Group for its sponsorship and participation at the Fair, President of Ogun State Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (OGUNCCIMA) Mrs. Adesola Adebutu said the support given by the Group went a long way in making the staging of the Fair a success.
She commended the Pan African Conglomerate for its giant strides in economic development of the country through massive investments in several sectors of the economy describing the feat as worthy of emulation by other Nigerians