Dangote tasks Northern governors to invest more in agriculture

Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the President of Dangote Group, has called on the 19 Northern State Governors to invest more in the agricultural sector for the steady development of the region.

Dangote made the call on Wednesday while delivering his keynote address at the ongoing fourth edition of the Kaduna Investment Summit, tagged KADInvest 4.O in Kaduna.

He said Nigeria had been ranked 157 out of 189 countries on the Human Development Index, attributing the rating to the myriad of challenges confronting the country.

According to him, the widening gap between the rich and poor Nigerians as very alarming as such collective efforts must be made particularly in agriculture to change the narrative.

Dangote, however, commended Gov. Nasir El-Rufais drive to address the critical issues of development by attracting investments to the state, stressing the need for other governors to take a cue from the laudable initiative.

According to him, agriculture is one of the priority sectors that can create employment opportunities especially in Northern Nigeria, adding that with sustained investments, significant progress would be recorded in rice and sugar production.

If we have 10 Governors like El-Rufai, Nigeria would move forward in the next 10 years. The sector can create more revenue better than crude oil with proper investments, he maintained.

He expressed concern that more than 60% of the population live in extreme poverty in the Northeast and Northwest of Nigeria, saying Northern Nigeria will progress more if the 19 state governments would work together close the widening development gap.

He expressed the conviction that only private investments can create jobs and reduce unemployment and poverty in the region with agricultural potential, vast land and conducive climate.

According to Dangote, his conglomerate is working towards building 10 rice mills with a combined capacity of one million tonnes, which would come on stream before the end of 2019.

He said the Dangote Fertiliser Plant will also be ready in 2019, and has the capacity to produce three million tonnes of Urea and Ammonia per annum.

He added that project is geared towards making Nigeria the highest exporter of fertiliser sub Saharan Africa.

The business tycoon further said there were plans to build East-West Gas Pipeline which can produce power equivalent to Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG), with the capacity to generate 12,000 Mega Watts.

He gave assurance that his company is committed towards exploring new opportunities to invest in the state especially in the agricultural sector.

Dangote said:As a group, we are willing to partner state governments to address the menace of poverty, in the North in particular and the nation in general.

Source: Pulse.ng

Nigeria: Largest African Tomato producer imports Tomato paste

Nigeria is Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest producer of tomatoes and at the same time the largest importer of tomato paste. It is said that the nation consumes more 900,000 tons of tomato paste annually.

The reason for the shortfall in the local supply of tomatoes can not be far-fetched, it is not due to the failure of the farmers to produce tomatoes but the lack of processing plants and storage facilities, hence 75% of locally produced tomatoes get wasted.

So as to meet the demand from the local markets, the Nigerian government now source tomato paste from other countries, these imports mostly come from China and Italy. The imports from China and Italy threaten to completely override the local tomato paste industry if Nigeria fails to come up with measures to step up production and processing of tomato paste.

Imports coupled with the recession which hit the North African country further worsened the situation in Nigeria with companies in the tomato paste industry feeling the negative effects. Most companies have closed shop due and left the country due to the recession that has hit the country. The unfavorable exchange rate has also made it difficult to do business and government has not helped matters at all.

One of Africa`s top tomato paste maker Erisco Foods quit its Nigeria operations to open up shop in Kenya, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Ethiopia. Erisco Foods had the largest tomato paste processing plant in Nigerian and is the 4th largest in the world. Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote also shut his new tomato paste plant in Nigeria months after opening it.

Tomato paste is such a big deal in Nigeria as it is widely used in many Nigerians dishes such as the popular jollof rice soups.

Ref: http://www.esaja.com/yesafrican/nigeria-africas-largest-tomato-producer-importing-tomato-paste/