Is Dangote serious about Agriculture?

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I don’t think so. Here’s why.

One, since he started promising that he would invest in agriculture (especially rice), he has opened more businesses even in foreign countries.

Two, these businesses are obviously more complicated than agriculture.

Three, Dangote is a smart guy. You can’t be the richest black man by being a fool.

Three, Dangote is tenacious and a stickler for what he wants. When President Obasanjo sold him one of the refineries and President Yar’adua came and revoke that arrangement, Dangote started his own refinery from scratch to be opened in 2018.

A refinery is more complicated than a rice business, but we’ve not seen any Dangote rice. But we’ve seen LAKE Rice which came long after Dangote’s noisy declarations of intent.

Therefore I get the sense that the man has done his calculations and reckoned that he wouldn’t be satisfied with what he’s going to make in this business.

To support my theory, I once read in the newspaper that he recommended that importation of foreign rice shouldn’t only be banned, but also such rice bags should be seized from shops and homes.

However, since this condition hasn’t been fulfilled, and recognizing that investing in agriculture offers him the right optics (making him appear patriotic), he’s decided to play along.

Some may argue that you can’t force a business man to invest his money. I totally agree with this sentiment. But what any reasonable person shouldn’t agree with is to take the nation for a ride.

He has recently entered into arrangements to use thousands of hectares of land in Jigawa, Nasarawa and Niger states.

In Niger State, he plans to use 53,000 hectares of which 16,000 would be devoted to sugarcane and the rest to rice. He also promised to invest 500 million dollars in the state. I gleefully announced that promise of Dangote on social media on June 21, 2016. But we’ve not seen any tangible outcome of this.

Therefore, I think Dangote is just smartly playing along to make northern states happy about his intention to invest in agriculture and grabbing land to keep until the conditions are satisfactory.

This is just a theory. What do you think?

@Ibraheem Dooba

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