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Amid challenges, FG hopeful of 1.7 million tonnes sugar target in 10yrs

By Anthony Otaru, Abuja
08 December 2022   |   4:03 am
Nigeria needs another 10 years to meet its yearly sugar production target of 1.7 million metric tonnes capable of stemming the rising tide of sugar importation, while creating jobs, generating electricity and producing ethanol for industrial purposes.

Zacch Adedeji

Nigeria needs another 10 years to meet its yearly sugar production target of 1.7 million metric tonnes capable of stemming the rising tide of sugar importation, while creating jobs, generating electricity and producing ethanol for industrial purposes.

The Executive Secretary, National Sugar Development Council [NSDC], Zacch Adedeji disclosed this yesterday while briefing journalists on the state of sugar production in Nigeria.

Adedeji revealed that a total of 250,000 hectares would also be required for cane cultivation while 28 factories are expected to be established even as over 100,000 direct and indirect jobs are expected to be created within the 10 years time frame as encapsulated in the Nigeria Sugar Master plan [NSMP] phase 2.

He lamented that shortage of foreign exchange, technology for production, required land mass, and skilled labour pose serious challenges to the success of the sugar sector.

He explained that the good news is that presently, four companies have signed on to the backward integration programme [BIP] of the NSMP stressing, “The companies are Dangote Sugar Refinery, BUA Sugar Refinery, Golden Sugar Refinery and Kia Africa Group’’.

According to him, these BIP operators have their sites located in states across Nigeria where they are providing jobs for Nigerians and contributing to the economic fortunes of their host communities.

‘’With the phase 1 of the master plan which began in 2013 reaching its crescendo in the first quarter of 2023, the Federal government in a rare show of commitment to its economic diversification policy through the promotion of industrialization has graciously approved Phase 2 of the policy with actual implementation to begin in 2023 through 2033’’, he said.

He noted, ‘’I am pleased to also announce to you today that we have two new investors who are set to come on board in a week or two from now and we are going to sign a Memorandum of understanding [MOU] between the Nasarawa State government and one of the investors, as well as another between the Oyo State government and the second investor. All the necessary policies and technology guidelines have been concluded. These new investors would focus on the field and agricultural aspect of the NSMP, which is the engine room of the master plan.”