The federal government has restated its determination to ensure Nigeria attains self-sufficiency in sugar production.
Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo who stated this position of the federal government while on assessment tour of Sunti Golden Sugar Estates in Mokwa, Niger State last week, said he embarked on the tour to see the progress made so far in the journey towards attaining self-sufficiency in sugar production in the country.
He said, “The whole idea of this visit is to see how we can get Nigeria to the position of self-sufficiency in sugar. It will also help me to know what we have done and what we still need to do to achieve the target. Nigeria is desirous of being self-sufficient in sugar, we’ve been able to do it in cement, we want to do it in sugar.”
While commending the owners of Sunti Golden Sugar Estates, the minister expressed happiness with the investment they have made so far. “I am very happy for this massive facility especially because of the number of people that are employed,” he said.
“Efforts like this will go a long way to reducing the number of unemployment in the country and take people out of poverty. This is also part of backward integration. In the very near future we would not have to import sugar anymore, in fact we would be exporting sugar.”
While welcoming the minister and his entourage which included the president of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, to the Estates, the chairman of Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc (Fmn), owners of Sunti Golden Sugar Estates, Mr John Coumantaros, informed them that Sunti Golden Sugar Estates remain the first and only greenfield investment under the National Sugar Master Plan that is currently producing raw sugar.
He said the company has so far invested over N64 billion and still committed to investing even more in pursuit of the strategic vision of achieving self-sufficiency in the production of sugar in Nigeria.
In his words, “We know that this is attainable, and we are committed to that vision. Soon, you will witness the demonstration of our full commitment to the Backward Integration Program (BIP).”
He pleaded with the minister to recognise the commitment the company is making by ensuring that operators continue to get the necessary support. According to him, “We trust that the minister will continue to ensure that all operators are allowed a level playing field in the monitoring, assessment of BIP and allocation of quota.”
Sunti Golden Sugar Estates is the first and only Greenfield investment under the NSMP currently producing raw sugar. The sugar estate which was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2018, is a 17,000 hectares of irrigable farmland with 3000 hectares under cultivation and a Sugar mill that processes 4,500 metric tons of sugarcane per day.
It has about 10,000 employees in the factory and another 50,000 indirect jobs around the area. When fully develop it has the capacity to produce between 100,000 and 150,000 tonnes of sugar per annum.