How BUA Group is tackling Sugar challenges in Nigeria

Sugar consumption is rapidly increasing with less sugar available to serve the growing 191 million populations of the 37 states in Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory.

According to statistics made available by the National Sugar Development Council, the demand for sugar grew from 442,867 metric tonnes from 1995 to about 1,301,494 metric tonnes in 2005 showing an average annual growth rate of 7% while local production accounted for less than 2%.
The 2015 statistics reveals that 1,499,724 tonnes of sugar was consumed with a low production of 15,000 tonnes and a whooping import index of 1,484,724, at the cost of over $552 million signifying a rise to about 1.5mmt while local production remained unseeded.

This is a great challenge for Nigeria as a developing country as the low sugar production has rendered her underprivileged of benefits derivable from an active sugar sector which is; the annual drain on the nation’s foreign exchange earnings, loss of hundreds of thousands of employment opportunities and food insecurity arising from sugar import dependence.

The statistics increased by the end of 2016 and this encouraged the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC) to reemphasize its position to ensure that Nigeria attains at least, 70% self-sufficiency in her sugar requirement within the shortest possible time and even export to earn foreign exchange.

To this end, BUA Group launched a $300 million investment in Kwara State known as the Lafiagi Sugar Company, (LASUCO) in line the Federal Government backward Integration Policy (BIP) to end importation of raw sugar by 2020.

Lafiagi Sugar plantation is another giant step by BUA Group to arrest the over dependence on Sugar importation and meet local demand promptly collectedly with the 21st Century Sugar Plant which was commissioned in 2008.

The 15,000 hectares of land for sugar cultivation, streetlights, road network, school, landing strip, sugar processing refinery and housing estate further reaffirmed BUA Group commitment to providing high quality products and services with a focus on total quality management.

BUA Group as the second largest sugar refiner in Africa is prepared to serve Nigeria as the largest consumer of Sugar in Africa after South Africa with the LASUCO project which will produce 2 million Metric Tonnes of sugar yearly.

An obvious indication that BUA Group is focused on actualization its goal of 2 million MTPA is displayed in the recent LASUCO recruitment exercise where over 38,000 applications was received to fill vacant positions.

The commencement of a new planting season with the cultivation of addition of 20 hectares of sugarcane nurseries aside the already cultivated 500 hectares is a visible clue to what will be achieved by the end of 2017.

BUA Group Executive Director, Alhaji Kabiru Rabiu and the BUA Sugar Managing Director, Mr. Ibrahim Yaro, who spoke respectively on the success of the LASUCO is a child of necessity that will improve local sugar production in the country.

Rabiu assured that the company would provide the entire agricultural infrastructure such as the primary and secondary irrigation canals pump stations, center pivots and drip irrigation systems to ensure efficient sugarcane production that is of world standard.

He stated that the company would establish a fully integrated sugar mill with accompanying refinery that would have a capacity to crush about 7,000 tons of cane per day.

He also said it was also expected that the community would utilize their 5,000 hectares to grow sugarcane under its grower’s scheme, adding that BUA Group was ready to support the growers with improved seed cane and farm inputs and would also purchase all sugarcane they produce.

On his part, Yaro said BUA Group remained committed to partnering the government in ensuring the success of the BIP for the sugar industry as well as in its drive to resuscitate and develop other areas of the agricultural sector.

“We are focused, determined and vigorously marching forward to meet our set targets with the National Sugar Development Council. LASUCO targets the production of two million tons of sugar cane yearly and this segment alone could produce over 4,000 jobs.

“BUA is serious and is ever-ready to surprise Nigeria and Nigerians to become a mega local sugar producer and first sugar exporter in the country,” Yaro added.

Meanwhile, the rate of development experienced in Lafiagi as a result of the investments has been lauded by the Emir of Lafiagi Alh Saadu Kawu Haliru.

The monarchs praised the commitment of the company in the development of the once moribund plantation into a modern sugar estate and assured BUA Group of the Community’s full support and cooperation.

Also, at the visit to LASUCO, the Minister of State for Trade, Industry and Investment, Haija Aisha Abubakar who was on an inspection tour to the plantation, BUA Lafiagi project will change the fortune of the country as a major producer of sugar.

She said: “We are, indeed, satisfied with the pace of work and commitment exhibited by BUA on its sugar plantation. We hope other sugar companies will emulate the proactive steps employed by BUA to achieving self-sufficiency in sugar production.

“This will eventually translate to positive gains in Nigeria’s efforts in becoming a sugar producing nation.”

More reason the Executive Secretary of the National Sugar Council, Mr. Latif Busari who was also in an official visit to the plantation noted that the commitment of BUA towards making Nigeria a sugar self-sufficient country was iconoclastic.
How BUA Group is tackling Sugar challenges in Nigeria  How BUA Group is tackling Sugar challenges in Nigeria Reviewed by Get it Right Nigerians on 08:16:00 Rating: 5

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