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Agric: Nigeria can earn N2.5trn from sugarcane farming: Agriculture : Nigerialog.com - Nigeria's Premier Online Forum (46 views)

Agric: Nigeria can earn N2.5trn from sugarcane farming

By dayan (M)September 05, 2016, 10:16:35 AM


— 5th September 2016

Stories by Steve Agbota

Nigeria is yet to tap benefits of sugarcane farming despite the huge potential of raw sugarcane to generate about N2.5 trillion annually when turned to finished goods.
With overall sugar consumption in the region of 1.5 million tonnes, Nigeria is the largest consumer of sugar in Africa after South Africa, but the industry is still dependent on raw sugar imports.

In a recent statement attested to by African Development Bank (AfDB) President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Nigeria produces two per cent of its requirement, estimated at 1.7 million tonnes while importing 98 per cent of the commodity.

Despite the Federal Government’s interventions through incentives to create an enabling environment for investors such as zero per cent duty on machinery and spare parts by companies, as well as 10 per cent import duty and 50 per cent levy on imported raw sugar, recent statistics show that Nigeria currently spends N200 billion on importation of sugar and consumes about 1.43 trillion metric tonnes of sugar yearly.

The sugar sub-sector, which is classified as employment spinning sector of the economy, is capable of creating job opportunities for millions of Nigerians and generating income for farmers who are into sugarcane farming.
Recently, the Director of Policy, Planning, Research and Statistics of the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC), Mr. Hezekiah Kolawole, said that sugarcane can provide an alternative source of electricity in Nigeria, adding that sugarcane has the capacity to generate 411 megawatts of electricity and create 117,000 jobs but regretted  the business has been neglected in Nigeria.

He stated: “Sugarcane is not only used for the production of sugar and fuel ethanol but can also be used for the generation of electricity and in the production of a host of other derivatives including food preservatives and seasoning, as well as industrial chemicals used in the pharmaceutical, leather and other industries. The government should adopt sugarcane as a raw material for the generation of electricity and production of industrial goods, which would have gone a long way in solving the problem of shortage of power supply in the country.’’

The Coordinator, Agribusiness and Youths Empowerment of Community of Agricultural Stakeholders of Nigeria (CASON)/Managing Director, Universal Quest Limited, Mr. Sotonye Anga, said there is need to commercialise sugarcane production across Nigeria and emulating what other successful sugarcane economies have done.
He added: “A deliberate sugar policy that will be followed through is required now. If Nigeria has a sugar master plan, what are we doing? Is it about creating a master plan? What are the implementation strategies? We need to implement the sugar master plan to the letter and doing this means that we must deliberately boost our local production, which will solve the problem and it would be in the best interest of Nigeria.”

He said stopping importation of sugar completely and rebuilding sugarcane industry will enable Nigeria to reduce the pressure on the naira as so much is spent importing sugar into Nigeria, adding that if Nigeria can cut the massive import of sugar by replacing it with locally produced sugar, it will save the country a whole lot in terms of the huge spending that goes into sugar importation, which will also mean creating a lot of jobs for people.

Said he: “We need to come back to the basis and do things right. What we need to do now at this critical point is to stop complete importation of sugar. We need to rebuild our sugarcane industry. In building that, we need to enable our sugarcane farmers to go back to commercial sugarcane production and we have to support our agric businesses to go into serious and deliberate sugar product refinery.

“When they know there is enough business for them, it means they have a guaranteed market, then give them a justification to be stable in production of sugarcane knowing that there is existing capacity that would turn whatever sugarcane that is produced into finished product and once that is done, it means we have a enough sugar product for local consumption and we have enough to export across Africa and other places.”

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