A tripartite agreement spear-headed by the Dangote Rice Limited to create jobs for 16,000 outgrower rice farmers in Sokoto State, northern Nigeria, was recently signed amid excitement and a pledge by all parties to ensure the success of the scheme to make Nigeria self-sufficient in rice cultivation. The agreement was signed during the launch of the Dangote rice outgrower scheme in Goronyo, Sokoto, which was witnessed by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar. Farmers were presented with rice seeds, fertilizers, nets, agro-chemicals.
“This Scheme will help to diversify the economy, alleviate poverty and reduce the nation’s import bill. The scheme has been designed as a one stop solution for the rice value chain,” Chairman of Dangote Rice Limited, Aliko Dangote stated.
The Dangote Rice Project Director, Robert Coleman, said the Sokoto operation was a demonstration phase to familiarize the farming community with the programme, train extension workers, and lead farmers as well as test modern technologies. He noted that they would have 25,000 ha cultivated by nearly 50,000 outgrowers in 2017 in addition to hundreds of jobs expected to be created by the end of that year.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Alhaji Umar Tambuwal, disclosed that the scheme would cover 10 local governments in the stated and that the state government is committing several millions of naira to support the famers in the scheme. According to him, “the farmers participating in the 5000 ha pilot scheme, the state government is giving out free nets to fight against queue a birds during production which is costing the state N48 million. The state will release and sell 5000 units of water pump worth N170 million at a subsidised rate of N10, 000 each. We will also distribute 5000 bags rice seed (Faro 44) worth N32.5 million while fertilizer will be sold 50 per cent subsidised rate to complement the outgrower farmers.”
The National President of Rice Farmers Association, Alhaji Aminu Goronyo described the scheme as one of the potential means of making rice available and at low cost to the people because the farmers are encouraged to put all their best into it. He said he has no doubt the scheme would success because it a private sector driven and that given the pedigree of the Alhaji Dangote in business, he was sure there the scheme would be sustainable and sooner than later other states will key into it.