The National Sugar Development Council (NSDC) announced on Wednesday in Abuja that the country’s annual sugar production hit 3.5 million metric tonnes, which is more than twice the 1.7 million tonnes annual consumption quota in 2022. Although there are numerous obstacles facing the sugar sector of the country, NSDC Executive Secretary Mr. Zacch Adedeji has stated that different measures have already been set up to overcome the issues impeding the expansion of the production of sugar in the country.
He explained that the revised Nigerian Sugar Master Plan (NSMP), which was put in place to boost the sector, includes the government facilitating accessibility to a friendly environment, which will guarantee expansion to reach self-sufficiency in 2023. However, the agriculture component of the master plan had not been effective up to this point, but a significant increase was anticipated through the use of the new edition of the growth plan. He acknowledged that the sugar industry was a significant contributor to the Federal Government’s revenue.
Sugar sector contributes to the county’s industrialization policy.
When it was productive, the sugar industry was a significant contributor to Nigeria’s industrialization program, particularly in terms of the policy’s emphasis on growing the foods that are consumed and consuming those that are grown. However, with the introduction of the ambitious and well-planned 10-year plan to develop and reform the sector in an effort to recover Nigeria’s lost position in terms of sugar production in the world, the huge degeneration in the sector has improved and shown some signs of restructuring.
The policy, called the Nigeria Sugar Master Plan (NSMP), was made in 2012, but it didn’t start to be put into action until 2013. With the start of the NSMP, the sugar industry, which had not been relevant, rose up as locals and foreign investors became interested in the sector. According to the master plan, Nigeria’s 1.7 million metric tons of sugar needs would be reached in 10 years. Sugar cane would need to be grown on a total of 250,000 hectares, 28 factories would need to be built, and more than 100,000 jobs will be created.
Implementation of the initiative will be carried out till 2033.
After the first phase of the master plan’s implementation began in 2013 and will continue until the first quarter of 2023, the federal government approved the second phase, which will see actual implementation start in 2023 and continue until 2033 in a rare display of dedication to its economic transformation policy with the promotion of industrialization. Sugar self-sufficiency will be achieved as soon as possible, and then the country will begin exporting sugar to other African nations. Following the guidelines laid out in the Phase 2 Plan, they will make some minor adjustments to the current practices.
Adedeji has stated that the next phase of operations will be based on reliable information and new approaches to ensure the smooth operation of their operations. Raw sugar quotas for the upcoming year will be distributed to companies depending on their past performance. As a result, they are urging the operators to brace themselves for the new allocation order of raw sugar quotas, which is not dependent on the size of the refinery, as was the case prior to the approval of NSMP Phase 2.
Companies are also contributing to the initiatives and providing jobs.
Most Sugar firms employed skilled and unskilled workers at their full capacity. Young job seekers and graduates seeking opportunities flocked to the top sugar companies daily. He noted that four companies had joined the NSMP Backward Integration Programme (BIP) as of currently. Dangote, BUA, Golden, and KIA Africa Group Sugar Refinery. These BIP operators have facilities spread across the states of Nigeria, where they employ Nigerians and boost the local economies of the areas they operate in. Dangote Sugar Refinery has BIP locations in Numan, Adamawa State and Tunga, Nasarawa State; BUA Group in Lafiagi, Kwara State; Golden Sugar in Sunti, Niger State, and KIA Africa in Bacita, Kwara State.