Dan­gote to in­vest in food

The Star Early Edition - - INTERNATIONAL -

THE DAN­GOTE Group, con­trolled by Africa’s rich­est man, Aliko Dan­gote, plans to in­vest $3.8 bil­lion (R51.41bn) in sugar and rice and $800 mil­lion 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 tons a year by 2020 from 100 000 tons now and is seek­ing to add 1 mil­lion tons of rice, Ed­win De­vaku­mar, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor at Dan­gote’s in­dus­tries unit, said in La­gos, Nige­ria’s com­mer­cial hub. The com­pany also plans to have 50 000 cat­tle pro­duc­ing 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. “All raw sugar has to be im­ported to­day, same thing for flour milling,” he said. Dan­gote, whose ce­ment unit is Nige­ria’s big­gest listed com­pany, has been in­vest­ing in agri­cul­ture as the coun­try’s gov­ern­ment seeks to di­ver­sify away from oil, which ac­counts for 90 per­cent of the na­tion’s ex­port earn­ings.

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