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Governor commends TGI Group for investment in Kebbi 

Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Bagudu, has commended TGI Group’s subsidiary WACOT Rice Limited for boosting the government’s food security drive.

Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Bagudu, has commended TGI Group’s subsidiary WACOT Rice Limited for boosting the government’s food security drive.

The company received a $10.5 million (about N4.99 billion) investment partnership boost from the USAID-funded West Africa Trade and Investment Hub (WATIH) for its Argungu Rice Outgrower Expansion Project based in Kebbi State.

Bagudu said that the state government was pleased that the efforts of the Federal Government in the agricultural revolution were being recognised by international bodies like USAID and WATIH.

The governor, who is the Vice-Chairman of the National Food Security Council and also National Champion on Nigeria Rice Revolution, said: “WACOT Rice is the first major rice mill commissioned under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration and the support by both globally-reputable organisations is a big boost for private sector investment in the Nigerian agriculture sector”.

Through this partnership, WACOT Rice will bring into its outgrower network an additional 5,143 farmers to complement its existing investment in the state. The new farmers are expected to cultivate over 5,000 more hectares of land and produce over 20,000 tons of paddy, which will be utilised at WACOT Rice’s 120,000-ton rice mill in Kebbi. 

The mill was commissioned by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in 2017. It produces premium household brands of parboiled rice Big Bull and Patriot.

The average smallholder farmer in Argungu, Kebbi State, cultivates about half a hectare of land and earns less than $200 (N95, 000) net income annually, barely sufficient for the needs of a household. 

The Emir of Argungu, HRH Alhaji Samaila Muhammad Mera, described the partnership and the investment by WACOT Rice as a welcome development. “It is a win-win situation for our farmers, the state government, and the people of the state generally,” the traditional ruler further said.

He said the WACOT Rice project was timely coming shortly after the farmers experienced devastating floods that wiped out their farmlands.

On the partnership with USAID and its benefits, Strategy and Business Development Manager of TGI Group, the parent company of WACOT Rice, Habiba Suleiman, says: “The overall impact is to enhance yield per hectare and help farmers better their livelihoods. In terms of their earnings, this project will help them to be able to send their kids to school, access better livelihoods, access better healthcare and to have better nutrition, and quality of life”.

USAID Mission Director, Anne E. Patterson said: “The US government is pleased to partner with the private sector in Nigeria to develop market-driven solutions and sustainably improve food security by supporting local rice production.

“With this new co-investment partnership, smallholder farmers in Kebbi State can increase yields and improve the livelihoods of their families”.

WACOT Rice disclosed that it would be placing a strong emphasis on women and youth, with at least 50 per cent of the new farmers trained to be women and 70 per cent of all the farmers under 30 years old.

The Group Managing Director of TGI Group, Rahul Savara laid emphasis on the Group’s mission to always add value to its communities. “No doubt, this project not only supports our drive to support the government in achieving food security in Nigeria, but it also allows us to support our community, Kebbi, which was ravaged by a flood just a few months ago. For us, sustainability is a way of life. Therefore, we will continue to explore avenues to grow sustainably, while supporting others”.

WACOT Rice Limited operates a state-of-the-art rice mill in Argungu where it produces Big Bull Rice. It is one of the largest rice mills in Africa and sources paddy from various paddy producing states across Nigeria. WACOT Rice also engages in out-grower farming programmes with paddy farmers to boost their yields and guarantees off-take of paddy from farmers through buyback arrangements. WACOT Rice is a subsidiary of TGI Group.

Tropical General Investments (TGI) Group is a global conglomerate with a majority of its investments based in emerging markets. TGI’s investments focus on driving inclusivity and value addition using locally sourced raw materials, state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, and a highly-skilled workforce to produce world-class products that are consumed both locally and exported to global markets.

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