Sugarcane production represents a promising source of biomass and source of thousands of jobs for Nigerians, the Minister of Trade and Investment in Nigeria, Dr Olusegun Aganga, has said. Speaking at Sunti sugarcane farms, Sunti, Niger State, Aganga said the government is reviving sugarcane crop to create jobs and increase local production of sugar cane as the economy still relies on imports.
To achieve this, he said the government intends to implement a full scale sugar programme to enable the nation produce over five million metric tonnes of sugarcane, which will far exceed the current domestic production of about 1.3 million metric tonnes per year. Besides, he said the government is to create about 200,000 jobs. With the economic crisis occasioned by the fall in oil prices, Aganga said agriculture is one of the priority sectors to sustain the economy.
He said that is why the government is pushing ahead with efforts to revive sugar cane crop to tap demand for molasses, bio-fuel and other derivatives. While reiterating the commitment of the government to reduce sugar importation, the minister said he is pleased with the efforts of private sector organisations such as Flour Mills of Nigeria to establish large scale sugar farms such as Sunti, adding that the government is determined to implement the National Sugar Master Plan (NSMP), since it is a core component of the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan to create jobs, generate wealth and enhance economic growth.
The minister said developing the sugar sector is clear, and the sugar master plan is the roadmap. In a bid to address the energy shortage affecting the country, he said the government will support projects designed to use sugarcane for bio-electricity plant and ethanol for export. According to him, the project will make a huge difference to the Sunti communities, as well as creating stable income for farmers involved in the sugar cane supply chain.