The Federal Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with India to set up a Sugar Institute in Nigeria. This is in furtherance of the government’s course to increase the country’s sugar production capacity.
Appending the signature on behalf of both nations, the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC) and the National Sugar Institute (NSI) of India, signed the pact at the India High Commission on Wednesday in Abuja.
The partnership, according to the Executive Secretary of NSDC, Dr. Latif Busari, would address the challenges bedeviling the implementation of Nigeria’s sugar master plan unveiled six years ago, one of which is manpower shortage.
“We saw that if we must succeed in establishing the sugar factories, the factories will be lacking in the areas of managing the factories and the farms.
“Then we saw the need to set up an institution that will rapidly develop the technical manpower that is needed in the sugar industry in Nigeria.” He explained.
Busari assured that the establishment of the sugar institute would cause Nigeria to leverage on the huge market available, as there are a lot of economic benefits to be derived from the production of sugar.
“We will be able to generate more than 400 mega-watts of electricity. We will produce more than 160 million litres of ethanol. These are if we are able to completely implement the plan. ” He noted.
Revealing that the Institute would be sited in Ilorin, Kwara State, Director-General of NSI, Mr. Narendra Mohan said that plans are ongoing for the training of the institute’s tutors, as well as bridging the demand and supply gap of sugar in Nigeria.
He also stressed the need for capacity building, to engender the smooth running of the institute.
Speaking also, the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Abhay Thakur recognized his country’s involvement in other capacity building ventures in Nigeria, describing it as “one of the long standing cooperations” between both countries.
From all indications, the Sugar Institute could be a crucial step towards the actualization of Nigeria’s aim of achieving self-sufficiency in sugar production.