The Flour Mills Group’s investment of N50 billion in Sunti Golden Sugar Estates Ltd., Mokwa, Niger State is set to raise Nigeria’s sugar output by 100,000metrics, according to the group.
The estate commissioned by president Mohammadu Buhari is expected to convert one million tons of sugarcane into 100,000 metric tons of sugar annually, create about 10,000 direct jobs and 50,000 indirectly with 3,000 smallscale out growers sugarcane to supply the mill sugarcane.
The investment, it said, would realise the Nigerian Government’s Sugar Master Plan (NSMP) built on a backward integration programme to place the country on the path to self-sufficiency in sugar production.
The subsidiary of FMG, one of the largest agro-allied investments in Nigeria has 17,000 hectares of arable farmland and a sugar mill with a capacity to process 4,500 metric tonnes of sugarcane daily. Buhari, accompanied by Abubakar Sani Bello, the governor of Niger State, and Okechukwu Enelamah, the minister of industry, trade, and investment, commended investor’s display of confidence in the country’s development policies through their various investments.
“The world over, Sugar has been identified as a key commodity that is critical to national food security. Other than the development of local communities, an investment of this size in the sugar value chain will not only stem the tide of importation of sugar and save foreign exchange but enhance rural industrialization, create wealth and alleviate poverty. For this, I must commend Flour Mills of Nigeria – Your mantra, “Feeding the Nation, Everyday”, is truly an inspiration to us all,” he said.
Abubakar Sani Bello, Niger state governor, described the project as another milestone in the drive to make agriculture attractive to Nigerian youth. Yahaya Abubakar, the Etsu of Nupe said: “Nupeland is home to agriculture. Our people have for many years cultivated the lands to grow cash crops like rice, sorghum, millet, yam, maize and of course sugarcane.
“So, it is quite fitting that a project of this size and relevance to the economy of our country is located here in Mokwa. It gladdens my heart that the Sunti Golden Sugar Estates will provide jobs, improve trade and commerce and considerably uplift the standards of living of our people and the community”.
John Coumantaros, the group chairman said food importation should be jettisoned as it was time to turn the economy around with production of locally consumed items.