The Dangote Group has promised to step up its investment in sugar production to meet the country’s annual demand of 1.3 million metric tonnes. Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the chairman of Dangote Group, said the company was working to see how the success it had in cement could be transferred to sugar. According to him, investment in sugar production is more difficult because of the issues of the weather, water, the quality of land for production and irrigation.
The business tycoon, who spoke with journalists at the FMN Sugar Plantation in Sunti, Niger State during the tour of the estate by the minister of industry, trade and investment, said self-sufficiency was in sight, but not without the challenges of getting enough good quality land and water. “I’m sure that as soon as we get enough land to grow sugar, we are ready to invest, and we will continue to invest,’’ Dangote said. Asked if he was working on one presently, Dangote said, “Building a cement plant is easier, but sugar plantation and factory take longer time – you are talking of something of four to five years. Nigeria currently produces less than 10per cent of the country’s national demand, with FMN Sugar, Sunti, Niger State and Savannah Sugar in Adamawa State doing between 60,000 and 70,000 metric tonnes.
The chairman of Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc (FMN), Mr John Coumantaros, told journalists that the company had so far invested over N64 billion, adding that Sunti Sugar Estates was, till date, the most significant investment of a Sugar Backward Integration Project under the 2012 Nigeria Sugar Master plan. “But we remain committed to investing even more as we pursue the strategic vision of achieving self-sufficiency in the production of sugar in Nigeria. We know that this is attainable, and we are committed to that vision,” he said.
SOURCE: DAILY TRUST