Dangote Group has disclosed plans to invest $3.8bn in sugar and rice, as the company seeks to expand and deal with shortage of dollars needed to import raw materials.

The Executive Director at Dangote industries’ unit, Edwin Devakumar, made this known in an interview with Bloomberg in Lagos.

The conglomerate plans to increase its production of sugar to 1.5 million tonnes a year by 2020 from 100,000 tonnes now and is seeking to add one million tonnes of rice, and also to invest $800m in dairy production in the next three years.

Devakumar further added that the company also plans to breed 50,000 cows to produce 500 million litres of milk a year by 2019.

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, adding that, “All raw sugar has to be imported today, same thing for flour milling.”

Dangote plans to cultivate 350,000 hectares of sugar cane and add 200,000 hectares of rice, according to Devakumar.

The company has ordered five plants for sugar milling and 10 for rice from Switzerland to be located in the northern part of the country, he said.