Federal Government has inaugurated Nigeria’s first Sugarcane Bio-factory in Zaria as part of efforts to achieve national self-sufficiency in the nation’s sugar requirements.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, said the inauguration of the one-million seedlings per annum capacity bio-factory was the first in the series of bio-factories to be established in the next five years, with combined capacity estimated at 12.5million cane seedlings per annum.
Aganga spoke while declaring the Sugarcane Bio-factory open for operations at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State.
He said, “The provision of high grade and quality seedlings of sugarcane is essential for the attainment of the set goals of the National Sugar Master Plan. A bio-factory is a facility where disease-free crop seedlings are rapidly micro-propagated under controlled laboratory environment for planting in the fields.
“This facility is designed to address a critical constraint facing Nigeria’s sugar industry – timely provision of high quality and clean seeds to sugar estates and farmers across Nigeria. We expect that, in four years, five of this kind of facility would have been established across Nigeria with capacities of between 2million and 2.5million seedlings per annum each.”
The minister explained that the projection in the NSMP was that at least 250,000 hectares of sugarcane fields would be required for processing in about 28 mills of varying capacities to produce 1.79 metric tons of sugar in the first phase of the Master Plan.
He said, “The event today marks another milestone in the implementation of the Nigeria Sugar Master Plan, which was approved by the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan in September 2012. The NSMP is one of the major sectoral policies under the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan, enunciated by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and launched by the President in February 2014. The ultimate goal is to make Nigeria’s manufacturing sector highly competitive and dynamic”.
Speaking during the event, the Executive Secretary, National Sugar Development Council, Dr. Latif Basari, said the new bio-sugarcane factory would fast-track the development of the nation’s sugar industry, boost industrialisation and generate employment