A tripartite agreement initiated by Dangote Rice Limited to create jobs for 16,000 outgrower rice farmers in Sokoto was signed yesterday, with a pledge by parties to ensure the success of the scheme to make the country self-sufficient in rice cultivation.
The agreement was signed during the launch of the Dangote rice outgrower scheme in Goronyo, Goronyo Local government, Sokoto State, witnessed by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa'ad Abubakar, where farmers were presented with rice seeds, fertilizers, nets and agro chemicals.
Chairman of Dangote Rice Limited, Aliko Dangote, said he moved into rice cultivation because of the genuine interest of the Federal Government to revive agriculture as the mainstay of the economy, and reduce importation of foods that could be produced locally.
He lamented that Nigeria consumes 6.5 metric tons of rice, which costs the nation over $2 billion annually, pointing out that it was heartening that the government now has policy direction that encourages private sector's active participation in agriculture.
According to him, "buoyed by the policy direction of the Federal Government, we at Dangote decided to key into this.
"In the next three years, we want to produce one million tons of quality rice and make it available and affordable to the people. We hope to do 150,000 hectares and when we are done, Nigeria will not have anything to do with importation of rice."
In his remarks, Governor Aminu Tambuwal expressed delight, saying the coming of Dangote to invest in the state was as a result of his sustained effort towards inviting prospec-tive investors to the state.