Elephant Group invests US$300 million in rice value chain
The Nigerian agri-commodities company Elephant Group has issued a Letter of Intent to invest US$300m in sustainable agricultural growth in Nigeria over the next three years.
The period of investment, which will run from February 2015 to 2018, will see the business introducing a policy of backwards integration in the agricultural sector with investment in rice farm plantations, rice milling plants, and fertiliser blending plants.
Specifically, a $15m investment is planned in rice farm plantations in the states of Oyo and Niger, with increased local paddy production there expected to create more than 500 jobs.
The $300m investment will consist of $100m of raised equity, along with loans totalling $200m through Nigeria’s Bank of Industry, Central Bank of Nigeria, and other international development banks and financial institutions.
Olatunji Ayoola Owoeye, Chief Executive Officer of Elephant Group, attributed the move to the more favourable investment climate for agri-businesses generated by Nigeria’s government over the past four years under its Agricultural Transformation Agenda, with its emphasis on boosting domestic production.
“Policy has been favourable over the past four years, and the Elephant Group is moving from being an import company to a producer company, investing across the value chain,” said Owoeye.
“We’re investing in rice processing, marketing and in supporting our growers. For serious companies that are passionate about investing in agri-business, the changes we’ve seen have shown the impact that policy can have, and how revolutionary it can be.”
Founded in 1994, the Elephant Group is one of the largest agri-commodities players in Nigeria, where it imports, exports, markets and distributes rice, fertilisers, crude palm oil and vegetable oil. Its Elephant Fertiliser and Elephant Gold Rice are leading brands in the country. The company also operates in Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire.