The Dangote Sugar refinery in Tunga,Nasarawa State, is expected to produce 450, 000 metric tons of sugar yearly, aswell as 90 megawatts of power yearly when completed.
Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Suledisclosed this at the Northern region sugar sensitisation workshop organized bythe National Sugar Development Council, in Lafia, on Thursday, December 12.
He said the Tunga plant will not requiremore than 45 megawatts to operate while the remaining 45 megawatts is more thanenough to power Lafia, the state capital, Obi, Keana and Awe local governmentareas.
The Governor used the opportunity todismiss insinuations that the Tunga sugar refinery is taking a long time tocomplete, stressing that the sugar industry has its inherent challenges forwhich many people fail to understand.
Sule pointed out that the Tunga sugar plantis being stalled as a result of the numerous challenges confronting the sugarindustry in Nigeria, adding that unless some of these challenges are addressed,the sugar industry will continue to suffer.
The Governor stated further that afundamental value chain in the industry is lost due to the constraints onagricultural financing in the country.
“The masterplan for Tunga sugar plantationstarted 7 years ago, but we have not gone more than 7 percent. We are supposedto be at 70 percent by now. And the reason is simple. The challenges areenormous, we are used to refineries in Nigeria.
“But with the refineries, you lose all theopportunities of the value chain. You lose the opportunity of the greatest ofall, employment opportunities,” he said.
The Governor equally spoke on thechallenges posed by the land tenure system, which he said, is making itdifficult for investors to acquire land.
“Sugar industry has an excellent formula ofwhat we call out grower. They can take land from a farmer, and give it back tothe farmer and also guarantee buying of this product so that at the end of theday, it’s the same sugar industry that is growing,” Engineer Sule said.
He commended the organizers of the workshopfor choosing Nasarawa State as host as it will afford the people theopportunity to understand more about the sugar industry.
(Source: The Nation)