Abuja - Nigeria currently consumes about 1.5 million tonnes of sugar
annually, Dr. Latif Busari, Executive Secretary of the National Sugar
Development Council, said in Abuja on Sunday.
Busari who stated this at a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) forum made a
projection that the nation’s sugar production would hit about 1.79
million tonnes by 2020.
"Currently we are consuming about 1.5 million metric tons of sugar,” he said.
NAN reports that the International Sugar Organisation currently puts Nigeria’s total sugar production at 30 000 tonnes.
The executive secretary said that some measures had been put in place
to ensure that the country achieved self-sufficiency in sugar
production by the year 2020.
He said to achieve this; the Federal Government approved the Nigeria
Sugar Master Plan last September to transform the nation’s promising
sugar industry into a major revenue earner driven by the private sector.
Busari said the implementation of the master plan would require
massive private sector investments of more than 3.1 billion dollars
(N496 billion) over the next 10 years.
He added that one of the key elements of the master plan was to have 28 sugar projects sited across 17 states of the federation.
"If we are able to implement the master plan as projected, we should
be looking at producing about 1.79 million metric tons of sugar between
2020 and 2023 which is also what is projected to be our demand about
"We should be able to produce about 161 million litres of ethanol;
we should be able to also generate over 117,000 jobs for the economy.
"And then save something in the neighbourhood of 350 million to 500
million dollars annually on foreign exchange. And then we will also
generate about 411 megawatts of electricity from the various projects.”
Busari said government had also put in place some strategies, which
included a backward integration plan to ensure successful implementation
of the master plan.
The backward integration plan requires that sugar refiners in Nigeria
gradually begin to source raw sugar locally by owning their own
sugarcane plantations and encouraging out-grower farmers to produce the
canes for refining.
Busari said this was because refiners had misused the opportunity
given to them in the past to encourage raw sugar production locally.
"An additional strategy that has been adopted to be able to get this
BIP work is that the raw sugar they are importing would be benchmarked
because we are now going to be giving quota for raw sugar.
"It’s no longer going to be the all-comers game that it used to be
where everybody just imports whatever he wants. It’s going to be
benchmarked on the local production efforts.
"So if you are able to produce, you get a chance to import, and if
you insist on not producing, then you do not get raw sugar.’’