Executive Secretary, NSDC, Dr. Latif Busari who spoke at a roundtable organized by the Commerce and Industry Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CICAN) Abuja chapter, said the council was working hard to make Nigeria self-sufficient in sugar production.
He said: “If we are able to do it, we will have a number of deliverables. Apart from producing 1.79 million metric tonnes of sugar annually, we will be able to produce 116 million litres of ethanol, we will be able to produce and generate over 400 mega watts of electricity.
“We will be able to save Nigeria from expending over $500m annually on sugar importation.
“We are expected to gradually reduce Nigeria’s dependence on sugar importation by increasing the local production until we achieve national self-sufficiency. We are expected to provide Research and Development back up that will rapidly catalyze development in the sugar industry.
“We are expected to encourage private sector participation in sugar production while at the same time start reducing direct government involvement. We are expected to advise government on the appropriate tariff to be charged on sugar importation.
“The Sugar Master Plan projected that by 2020 Nigeria will be consuming about 1.75 million mt of sugar annually. In other for us to satisfy this local demand, we will need to bring about 250, 000 hectares of land under sugar cane cultivation.
“We will need to establish about 28 factories of varying capacities that will help us to produce this amount of sugar.”
By Pita Ochai