DANSA Industries, a subsidiary of Dangote Group, has announced its plan to set up a €36 million high energy food processing plant in Nigeria, which will be the largest of its kind in Africa.
Speaking at a press briefing at the sideline of the ongoing 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Monday, Minister of Agriculture, Akinwunmi Adesina, disclosed that the announcement was made on Monday in New York by the President of Dansa Industries, Sanni Dangote, at a meeting of a high level Advisory Group comprising global leaders.
He added: “As I have said many times, this is not a populist issue. We are seriously restructuring this sector for greater performance because the future of Nigeria is not in oil but in agriculture. It is not the agriculture in the way we have been doing it before but now as a business.
“Like you saw, Mr Sanni Dangote from Dangote Group, today said they are going to put £36 million to set up Africa’s largest high energy food plant in Nigeria. They are doing that because they can see that our reforms are working,” he said.
At the meeting which was held to support Nigeria’s agriculture programme, were Bill Gates, (Chairman of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), Kofi Annan (former UN Secretary General), Dr. Kanayo Nwanze (President of International Fund for Agriculture Development) and Dr Donald Kaberuka, President of African Development Bank (ADB).
The minister also noted that already, Bill Gates was spending millions of dollars in Nigeria to support this agenda for which the African Development Bank has also committed $500 million.
According to him, “so, this is about monitoring in Nigeria, giving it a push. Bill Gates said today that what Nigeria is doing in agriculture is extraordinary. And Kofi Annan said that what Nigeria is doing here makes it a leader in agriculture already in Africa, so is a further validation that Nigeria is on the right track.
“All these are world leaders who will not waste their time in what is not working,” he said, adding that they were very excited about Nigeria’s agricultural transformation agenda as they recognised it as something that would help Nigeria diversify the economy.
The agriculture minister said the reforms in the agriculture sector in the country had already created 3.2 million jobs, adding that the fertiliser reforms had saved Nigeria about N25 billion in the distribution following the elimination of corruption in the process.
He recalled that before now, Nigeria was spending about $5 billion for the procurement of fertiliser even though only about 11 per cent of the farmers had access to the commodity.
He said the agriculture revolution had helped the Federal Government to reduce food bill by N800 billion, reiterating government’s intention to ensure self sufficiency in rice production by 2015.