There is no doubt that the National Sugar Master Plan (NSMP) road map requires strategic implementation especially in partnership with the private sector to drive the suger self-sufficiency in Nigeria as it is expected that strict compliance to the NSMP can save the country from spending about $700 million in foreign exchange.
Some experts argued that the journey to achieve Nigeria’s sugar sufficiency is far from being reach at the moment.
They adduced that the challenge of sugarcane cultivation and processing to finished products, which has been underutilised over the years in Nigeria is responsible for arguments in this direction.
Although the continue importantation of raw sugar into the country has deprived Nigeria of more than $100 million foreign exchange earnings annually coupled with the loss of hundreds of thousands of employment opportunities for skilled and semi-skilled labour arising from dependence on sugar importation.
However, all these are about to change now as the drive towards Nigeria’s sugar self-sufficiency is set for a boost with the Dangote Sugar Refinery (DSR).
Nasarawa Sugar Company
The Nasarawa Sugar Company Limited, is one of the Dangote Sugar Refineries that is leveraging the federal government backward integration to drive sugar sufficiency in Nigeria.
The 78,000 hectares sugar project site in Tunga, Awe local government area, of Nasarawa state is targeting crushing capacity of 12000 ton cane per day (TCD) with 160,000 tons of cane, amounting to 14000 tons of sugar.
The manager in charge of agriculture, Simon Ibbetson, hinted journalists in Tunga during a tour of the project that the company will hopefully commence sugar production in 2025.
“ What we’re doing at the moment is bulking up the canes, we’re going to have 3000 hectares that will be ready to harvest in January 2025, when that goes in there, we will be putting the other 3000 hectares and that will be up to 6000 by the end of 2025, so hopefully production will start in 2025, he said.
The cane plantation also engages about 50 agricultural experts and 650 other farmers working in the field to bring the project to fruition.
The farm currently boasts of four pump distribution points powered by a station equipped with capacity to deliver up to 648 kpa 368/s water to irrigate the plantation on 12 hours basis.
According to the manger, community relations, Saidu Mohammad, some of the local farmers within the host community have been trained in sugar cane management, preparing them ahead of time.
“At present, construction of canal and piping for irrigation are ongoing and by 2024 a factory with the cruising capacity of 12,000 tonnes cane per day will be commissioned with 160,000 tonnes of cane amounting to 14,000 tonnes of sugar,” Mohammad said.
In addition to sugar production, he added that more than 50 megawatts power will be generated in the second phase with animal feeds production in the third phase of development.
In the area of corporate social responsibility, the company has constructed 10 solar powered boreholes, building of primary health care centre staff quarters, renovation of the centre, renovation of government secondary school Tunga and a scholarship scheme for 200 students.
Confirming the development, Emir of Tunga, Muhammad Ibrahim Shuaibu IV said, “The coming of Dangote sugar project has reduced unemployment drastically with attendant results, this is a big achievement to me, once it says 6 o’clock, you’ll see them in troops going to the farms.
In the area of development, they have started one or two things, the boreholes in the town is part of the community social responsibility, they have sponsored some of our youths from the secondary school level up to tertiary and the scholarship scheme covers the entire local government with 200 beneficiaries”.
They have assisted in reconstruction of primary health care centre’s health staff quarters and renovation of secondary school class rooms”.
Savannah Sugar Company
Since February 2013, when Dangote Sugar Refinery, DSR, announced the acquisition of 95 per cent equity stake in Savannah Sugar Company Limited, Numan SSC, in efforts to maintain major lead in the Nigerian sugar industry, the company which used to be a shadow of itself with low production capacity of sugar is now gradually becoming one of the best sugar industry in West Africa.
This would be made possible with the ongoing upgrading of the Sugar Refinery, with the ultimate target of 9,800 tonnes per day, where the factory is not producing even 2000 tonnes per day at present.
The company is committed to the project in line with the National Sugar Development Master Plan to raise local production of sugar to attain self sufficiency and create job opportunities.
Chief executive, DSR, Mr Chinnaya Sylvain Judex, during tour of the factory in Numan told LEADERSHIP that although, the company experience delayed for two to three years in the expansion processes due to global distruption due to COVID-19, adequate equipments and new farming technology for optimal performance has been introduced.
He said the company is putting what has been invested into operation, inorder to reach the NSDC demand in sugar production.
He disclosed that, in October this year, the company plans to commission a boiler and turbines to produce 6000 TCD tonnes of cane per day by 2023.
“We have assembled inputs and equipment, We are confident of investing whatever is need to reach NSM plan target.
He added, the company is working to train staff on sugar technology to have good brains, that can make good performance ahead of reaching highest capacity level of production and establishing new factory in Lau town in Taraba state.
“The extension is taking about 3,000 increase in hectares of land, per year, as we produce 3,800 tonnes of sugar per day, we are upgrading to another 6,300 tonnes per day additional 6000 is coming.
“The ultimate purpose is to have 9,800 tonnes per day, where the factory is not producing even 2000 per day at present.
The company is also designed to generate 32 megawatts of electricity from installation of new turbines and 2-high pressure boiler of 90 tonnes of stem per hour.
The electricity hopefully can meet up power supply of the entire Adamawa state.
This singular feat alone can create job opportunities through Public Private Partnership with Adamawa state government as well as boost production capacity to 9,800 metric tonnes of sugar per day which translate into series of interventions on the host Communities of five local government areas of Lamurde, Numan, Guyuk, Shelleng and Demsa in Adamawa state as part of the DSR cooperate social responsibility
Security And Health
Judex said Fadama police station has been rehabilitated to give security protection as well provision of free medical out reach and treatment of citizens from host communities within by the company clinic manned by 24 medical person and two medical Doctors.
Total Land Cultivation
THE CEO Said “Ultimate target in terms of land is 32,000 hectares, then in 2022, we are reaching, 8,650 hectares of land.
“Each year, we have projected to increase by 3,000 and within four years, we would be about 4000 hectares.
Out-growers Scheme Programme
The Out Growers Scheme Program, was adopted by the company to engage host communities into a profitable farming activities, where DRS plays the role of offtaker .
For instance , in Mbare a host community 450 hectares of land has already been cultivated by the beneficiaries of the scheme
“We have just introduced drip irrigation technology to Out Growers farmers on win-win parameters to encourage them to produce 50 tonnes of sugar can per hecter the CEO added.
He further said the company introduced Sugarcane Outgrower Schemes Model where space, land, seeds, fertilizer and other inputs made available to host community farmers as strategy to meet up target set out by the national sugar development master plan.
He explained, “ We are looking at varieties of yield in direct relations with NSDC in order to get best results.
The model is targeted to enriched many farmers in the host communities five local governments, that surrounded the factory.
“We have enough room for improvement in the Outgrower Scheme Program, which the gains goes to the communities.
“The scheme is a win-win business, hoping the business would better living standard of people host communities”.
Dialogue With Host Communities
Meanwhile, the company at it’s stakeholders engagements with 57 villages, 13 District Heads, 51 Village Heads urges for mutual synergy with the people where the company is located.
Henceforth, he company promised to liaise with host community towards strengthening community relations.
Closing communication gap with host community, the said,
would curb the menace of vandalism and stealing of company’s property.
Ismaila Mure, Youth Leader from Numan federation, lauded the company for providing free medical outreach, renovation of school and construction of road network as cooperate responsible to the people.