The chairman, Flour Mills Nigeria Plc, John Coumantaros has said that the newly commissioned Sunti Golden Sugar Estates in Mokwa, Niger, totaling over N50 billion, demonstrates the company’s confidence in the governments’ vision to overhaul the nation’s agricultural sector.
He said that Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc supports the government’s efforts towards the attainment of the National Sugar Master Plan (NSMP) target of achieving self-sufficiency in the production of sugar locally.
He said that the investment would save the nation $100m in foreign exchange every year, with the production of one million tons of Sugarcane, which roughly translates to 100,000 metric tons of sugar yearly.
Located on the bank of the River Niger, the Sunti Golden Sugar Estates comprise of 16,000 hectares of irrigable farmland and a Sugar mill that process 4,500 metric tons of sugarcane per day.
Coumantaros said the farm at its production peak would provide direct employment for about 10,000 people yearly, and impact up to 50,000 people indirectly, including 3,000 small-scale out growers who will be cultivating sugarcane to feed the mill.
“Like most of our investments in the agricultural sector, the Sunti Sugar Estates will serve to raise the living standards of people particularly those in the rural areas, strengthen the capabilities of small-scale farmers and provide them a route to the market.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari, while commissioning the sugar estate in Niger State last week, said the project could not have come at a better time, as the country makes her journey out of recession and the economy continues to show considerable progress, “we are reminded of one of the cardinal objectives of this administration, which is to look inwards as we focus on our national endowments in agriculture, and other non-oil sectors for machine growth and development.
“The level of work and magnitude of investment that we are witnessing here today is a clear demonstration that our policies on economic diversification are on the right path,” he said
He also explained that the world over; sugar has been identified as a key commodity that is critical to national food security, other than the development of local commitment, saying the investment of such magnitude will not only stem the tide of importation of sugar, but will also save foreign exchange.