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FG in second phase of sugar master plan

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By Abraham Adekunle

Forms part of the plan to ensure food security across the country.

The Federal Government of Nigeria has announced the launch of the second phase of the Nigeria Sugar Master Plan (NSMP), signalling a strategic move to address the escalating demand for sugar in the country. This ambitious initiative requires an estimated investment of over $3.5 billion to propel the sugar sector towards self-sufficiency, job creation, and industrialization. At the Sugar Industry Monitoring Group (SIMOG) meeting held in Abuja, Mr. Kamar Bakrin, the Executive Secretary of the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC), highlighted the council’s unwavering commitment to the NSMP’s objectives.

These objectives encompass achieving a minimum sugar production of 2 million metric tonnes, generating 400 MW of electricity, and creating 110,000 jobs across the sugar value chain nationwide. In his address, Mr. Bakrin underscored the significance of adhering to commitments outlined in the NSMP, emphasizing the pivotal role of stakeholders in driving the sector’s growth trajectory. He also stressed the imperative of collaborative efforts to empower host communities associated with sugar projects, reflecting a holistic approach to sustainable development within the sector.

Legislative enhancement to bring competitiveness, FDI and integration.

Moreover, the NSMP II is projected to necessitate between 200,000 and 250,000 hectares of suitable land and will require substantial investments totalling over $3.5 billion. This phase is strategically designed to leverage synergies across various stakeholders, foster technological advancements, and enhance productivity within the sugar industry. Moreover, the implementation roadmap for NSMP II, includes a robust monitoring framework aimed at ensuring accountability, tracking progress, and making timely adjustments to optimize outcomes. One of the key initiatives being pursued by the NSDC is the amendment of the NSDC Act to create an enabling environment that supports sectoral growth and instils confidence among investors.

This legislative enhancement is poised to bolster the industry’s competitiveness, attract foreign direct investment, and facilitate the seamless integration of domestic production through backward integration programs. The NSMP, originally launched in 2012, has been instrumental in charting the strategic course for the sugar sector’s development while fostering a conducive policy environment for its execution. Notably, the policy framework incentivizes domestic production through tax incentives and promotes collaboration between local sugar manufacturing companies, as exemplified by the collaborative efforts of industry leaders such as Dangote Sugar Refinery, BUA Foods, Flour Mills, KIA Africa, among others, within the SIMOG platform.

Potential solutions to the food crisis in Nigeria.

As well, the SIMOG platform serves as a catalyst for peer review, knowledge sharing, and the validation of performance data, thereby enhancing transparency, credibility, and collective problem-solving within the sugar industry. The participation of industry stalwarts in SIMOG meetings underscores their commitment to driving sustainable growth, innovation, and inclusive development within Nigeria’s burgeoning sugar sector. The Nigerian government recently acknowledged challenges with food security and rising food prices. While details are still emerging, the government have announced a part of their plan.

It includes short-term relief as well as long-term solutions. On short-term solutions, the government might distribute fertilizers, grains, and other essentials directly to farmers and vulnerable households. This aims to counteract the effects of subsidy removal on food affordability. The government can also consider improved collaboration. Increased cooperation between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Water Resources is expected to improve food production in the country. This could focus on ensuring efficient irrigation systems to support crop production.

Related Article: Impact of potential increase of sugar tax

Finally, long-term solutions might include re-establishing a Commodity Board, which would regulate food prices and potentially create a buffer stock system to stabilize prices during fluctuations; and agricultural development, where the government might focus on long-term plans to revitalize the agricultural sector. This could involve supporting local farmers with better access to resources, training, and technology to increase food production. Importantly, these are potential aspects of the plan, and official details may emerge in the coming days or weeks.

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