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Nigeria targets 250,000 jobs with sugar master plan in 10 years 

Nigeria targets 250,000 jobs with sugar master plan in 10 years 
January 25
21:22 2023

Zacch Adedeji, executive secretary, National Sugar Development Council (NSDC), says Nigeria will generate over 250,000 direct jobs from sugar production when it cultivates 300,000 hectares of land in the next 10 years.

Adedeji, who spoke at news conference in Abuja on Tuesday, said 300,000 irrigated hectares of land needs to be cultivated to meet the two million metric tonnes of annual sugar consumption in the country.

This, he said, is achievable under the 10-year Nigeria sugar master plan programme (NSMP) approved by the federal government in 2012.

TheCable had reported that 2022 marked the end of the implementation of the NSMP phase one.

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The second phase also commencement the same year, after it was approved by federal executive council (FEC).

“As of today, our consumption of sugar is two million metric tonnes of sugar per annum,” the executive secretary said.

“We need 300,000 hectares of land to satisfy two million metric tonnes. Netafim and Jain, those two are from India and are the best in irrigation in the world, will help us to handle the irrigation aspect of it.

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“We have doubled our capacity now because we are in the region of 3.8 million metric tonnes refining capacity. We have effectively stopped the importation of refined sugar into the country. We only import raw sugar that is now being refined in Nigeria. If you ask, for the next 10 years, the investment in that region is more than 3 billion dollars. It is only those investors that we give quota to import raw sugar while planting cane.

“If we are able to cultivate that, it is in the excess of 250,000 direct jobs. If you go to Zunti in Niger state, from 7 am, you would see women coming out for planting. They have an estate, and by 7 am, you would see people trooping out for planting, cutting, harvesting, and all that. At the end of the day, they are paid for the work.”

With 800,000 hectares of arable land available in the country, he said Nigeria would be able to export sugar and meet up with Africa’s needs in the next 10 years.

Adedeji said the government has been creating a conducive environment for investors to operate in the industry because the commodity is a major export after rice, wheat, and petroleum.

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He noted that the major sugar consumption in the country is for industrial and domestic consumption and accounts for less than 5 percent.

“Any sugar that you can see by your eyes is less than 5 percent of total consumption in Nigeria. The major sugar consumption is in industry, that’s when you talk of beer, bread, Cadbury, Coca-Cola, and others,” he said.

According to Adedeji, Nigeria is the net importer of sugar in Africa to the tune of 11 million metric tonnes, and the council is regulating the industry through the backward integrated programme under which private investors are invited to the sector.

“We say if you can invest and establish refineries, then you would be allowed to participate in the backward integrated programme,” he said.

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“At that time, our expected consumption was 1.7 million metric tonnes, which was 10 years ago. Then, Aliko Dangote came up with a refining capacity of 1.5 million metric tonnes, BUA 750,000 metric tonnes, and Flour Mill came up with the same capacity.”

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