The Dangote Group, controlled by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, plans to invest $3.8bn in sugar and rice, and $800m in dairy production in the next three years as the company seeks to expand and deal with a shortage of dollars needed to import raw materials.
The conglomerate plans to increase its production of sugar to 1.5 million tonnes a year by 2020 from 100,000 tonnes now and is seeking to add one million tonnes of rice, the Executive Director at Dangote’s industries’ unit, Edwin Devakumar, said on Tuesday in an interview with Bloomberg in Lagos.
The company also plans to breed 50,000 cows to produce 500 million litres of milk a year by 2019, he said.
A lack of foreign exchange means companies need to invest in local agriculture to help meet demand for food from Nigeria’s population of more than 180 million, Devakumar said, adding, “All raw sugar has to be imported today, same thing for flour milling.”
Dangote, whose cement unit is Nigeria’s biggest listed company, has been investing in agriculture as the government seeks to diversify away from oil, which accounts for 90 per cent of the nation’s export earnings and the bulk of revenue.
Dangote plans to cultivate 350,000 hectares of land for sugar cane and add 200,000 hectares for rice, according to Devakumar.
The company has ordered five plants for sugar milling and 10 for rice from Switzerland to be located in the north of the country, he said.