The Federal Government has officially launched a $73 million intervention fund for sugar irrigation, in a bid to boost Nigeria’s Sugar backward integration programme.
This was signed on Tuesday between the FG and operators of the Sugar backward integration programme, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.
The event was chaired by Nigeria’s Trade Minister, Niyi Adebayo, at the Presidential Villa, as he stated that the project involves irrigation infrastructure on 10,000 hectares of sugar plantations located in six sites
Adebayo said, “The intervention is the setting up of a 73 million-dollar-intervention fund for irrigation, for operators of the Sugar backward Intervention Programme.
“The goal is to support the development of irrigation infrastructure on 10,000 hectares of sugar plantations located in six sites in Numan (Adamawa State), Sumti (Niger State), Lafiagi (Kwara), Bacita (Kwara) as well as Toto and Tunga, both in Nasarawa state.”
“The Central Bank of Nigeria is also involved in the provision of the required funding for the project as well.”
He said that the aim is to increase significantly the sugar yield so that we can work within the National Sugar Development master plan, with a view to Nigeria becoming self-sufficient in sugar production and possibly becoming a net exporter of sugar.
“This would save the country the large bill that it presently incurs in foreign exchange for the importation of sugar,” he said.
Executive Secretary, National Sugar Development Council (NSDC), Mr Zacch Adedeji said the Preliminary activities would be the identification of the specific project sites for each operator, which include the framework for design and engineering services for the in-field and bulk water supply systems, project management and maintenance specifications.
Also, the adoption of a business model and costing, among others, have been concluded long before the formal commissioning of this laudable initiative.
It would be recalled that in September, Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man and Chairman of Dangote Sugar Refinery stated that the strict compliance to Nigeria’s sugar master plan can save the country up to $700 million annually in foreign exchange.