Lagos - The Global Agriculture Information Network (GAIN) is pessimistic about Nigeria’s prospects of expanding domestic sugar production, describing such plans as “unrealistic.”
Nigeria plans to increase production of the crop to 1.7 million tonnes annually beginning 2018 from the current 65 000 tonnes.
In a report entitled: “Nigeria: Annual Sugar Report 2013,” GAIN pointed out that Nigeria's objectives required a 22-fold increase in domestic cane sugar production.
“Nigeria will require long-term massive area expansion and enormous funding in sugar cane production research, as well as long-term investment in public infrastructure and human and material resources,” GAIN stated.
The report cited recent trade policy proposals the Nigerian government had put forward to stimulate investment in the sugar cane industry.
These include reducing duties on equipment used in sugar cane production, eliminating duties on chemicals used in sugar production, granting a five-year tax holiday to investors in the sugar value chain, increasing import duties on raw and refined sugar and linking import licences to investments in local raw sugar production.
In addition, GAIN noted that the government was committed to providing a range of physical infrastructure in potential sugar growing areas, establishing credit facilities for sugar cane growers and allowing 100 percent foreign ownership of sugar complexes.
However, the organisation pointed out that while various schemes had been launched to promote domestic sugar production, including privatisation of existing estates, and while there had been some improvements in the “management and operation of the privatised sugar estates and some commensurate increases in sugarcane production,” overall, this represented little substantive progress given what was required to meet government’s objectives.
- CAJ News