BusinessDay
Nigeria's leading finance and market intelligence news report.

Kwara, Oyo, Ogun sugarcane farmers to benefit as FG plans curbing N128b sugar deficits

Boosted by the aggressive drive currently being pursued by the Federal Government on backward integration centred around the entire sugar production value chain in the country, Sugarcane farmers under the auspices of the Sugarcane Farmers Association of Nigeria, are going back to sugarcane plantations in order to benefit from the public and private partnerships on sugar production.

The willing Sugarcane farmers are going back to the farm in Kwara, Oyo and Ogun farming corridors of the country based on the assurances and commitments from government and investors centred on the largescale investments in Nigeria Sugar Institute, Jimba-oja; BUA Sugar Refineries and LASUCO in Lafiagi; and Nigerian Sugar Company, Bacita, all in Kwara state.

Farmers who spoke with Businessday expressed satisfactions over the current drive of both the Federal Government and investors in the industry, but asked for credit facilities, easy access to farmland from government, provision of high- yielding sugarcanes and other inputs at subsidised rate for farmers.

Latif Busari, executive secretary, National Sugar Development Council of Nigeria, has solicited for improved technical expertise, land availability and adequate finance for sugar and ethanol production as well as electricity generation in order to cut sugar imports drastically. This is expected to save Nigeria huge capital flight, saying with the Nigeria Sugar Institute, BUA Sugar Refineries and Bacita Sugar reactivation, among others, Nigeria would achieve 160 million litres of ethanol and 400 megawatts of energy in the first instance from sugarcane.

In order to achieve the goals on sugar production, Nigeria’s Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with India, with the National Sugar Institute of India and National Sugar Development

Council of Nigeria partnering to exchange ideas on technical expertise and areas of comparative and competitive advantages. This finally gave birth to the Nigeria Sugar Institute recently inaugurated in Kwara state.

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Speaking at the inauguration of the Nigeria Sugar Institute at Jimba Oja in Ifelodun local government area of the state, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara state lauded the Federal Government for siting the research institute in Kwara and went on to urge quick resolutions of all pending issues around the moribund Nigerian Sugar Company Limited, Bacita.

“We implore the Minister to help us to talk to AMCON to urgently resolve the issues surrounding the Bacita Sugar Company. We have met with AMCON and we are aware they are trying to unbundle it. Once that is done, with Bacita and BUA Refineries, Kwara will be the leading producer of sugar in the whole of West Africa,” he said.

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