The federal government has announced its goal to become the top producer of sugar in Africa within the next decade, while also utilizing ethanol to generate electricity. At a press conference in Abuja, the Executive Secretary of the National Sugar Development Council, Zach Adedeji, stated that a 10-year Masterplan was being implemented to significantly increase sugar production and meet the sugar demands of the entire African continent.
According to Adedeji, the Nigerian Sugar Master Plan (NSMP) was first launched in 2012 as a 10-year roadmap to revitalize the sugar industry and make Nigeria a leading sugar producer on the continent. The plan aims to make Nigeria self-sufficient in sugar production, create jobs, generate electricity, and produce ethanol for industrial use. He said that they have been successful in refining imported raw sugar and have met their refining capacity, but the same success needs to be replicated in the backward integration project, which is a major component of the NSMP and can address rising unemployment and other socio-economic challenges facing the country.
The speaker acknowledged that the success of the sugar sector relies on the ability to grow cane and produce raw sugar locally. Despite the challenges, they are committed and determined to meet their goals. In the past 10 years, the sector has made significant progress, including the development of a multi-billion dollar sugar factory and estate, the creation of over a million jobs, the revitalization of the Bacita Sugar Company, and other achievements. The sector is now well-regulated, with clear roles for stakeholders and laws and policies to support growth, using modern technology as a driving force. Going forward, the council will focus on research, data, innovation, and technology and will use the Nigeria Sugar Institute in Ilorin to support the sugar revolution.
He highlighted that the second phase of the National Sugar Master Plan (NSMP) has been approved by the federal government and will be implemented this year through 2033, leading to a turnaround in the country’s sugar production, creating employment opportunities, and generating electricity through sugar for the citizens. Adedeji stated that this is an ambitious and well-planned move to revive the sector and restore Nigeria’s position as a leading sugar producer on the continent. He emphasized that raw sugar quota allocation will be based on the performance of BIP operators rather than the size of their refineries and that stakeholders, particularly the operators, have been informed and have signed recommitment forms. This is not a targeting of certain individuals but a calculated effort to achieve self-sufficiency in sugar production.
He emphasized that the focus is shifting from a sugar industry to a sugarcane-based industry, with an emphasis on producing ethanol from sugar for power generation. The new Masterplan for the next 10 years has officially begun and the industry is open for new investors. He stated that the goal is to become the largest exporter of sugar in Africa by meeting local consumption and exporting to the rest of Africa within the next decade.
Source: ThisDay Live