Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa state has disclosed that the Dangote Sugar plant in Tunga, Nasarawa State, would produce 450,000 metric tons of sugar as well as 90 megawatts of power.
Sule disclosed this at the Northern region sugar sensitisation workshop organised by the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC) in Lafia on Thursday.
He said the plant would require about 45 megawatts to cater for its production and other needs.
Sule added that the remaining 45 megawatts would be enough to power Lafia, Obi, Keana and Awe local government areas.
He explained that the concept was for Dangote to acquire 68,000 hectares of land in Tunga for setting up two 12,000tcd plants.
The governor dismissed insinuations that the sugar factory was taking a long time to complete, stressing that the sugar industry has its inherent challenges.
Sule pointed out that the Tunga sugar plant was being stalled as a result of the numerous challenges confronting the sugar industry in Nigeria.
He stated that a fundamental value chain in the industry was lost due to the constraints on agricultural financing in the country.
“The masterplan for Tunga sugar plantation started 7 years ago, but we have not gone more than 7 per cent. We are supposed to be at 70 per cent now. And the reason is simple. The challenges are enormous, we are used to refineries in Nigeria.
“But with the refineries, you lose all the opportunities of the value chain. You lose the opportunity of the greatest of all; employment opportunities,” he said.
The governor said the challenge of land tenure system was making it difficult for investors to acquire land.
“Sugar industry has an excellent formula of what we call out-grower. They can take land from a farmer, and give it back to the farmer and also guarantee to buy of this product so that at the end of the day, it’s the same sugar industry that is growing,” Sule said.
He commended the organisers of the workshop for choosing Nasarawa State, adding that it would make the people understand the sugar industry.
Dr Latif Demola-Busari, Executive Secretary, NSDC, said with the completion of the Dangote Sugar project in Tunga, Nasarawa State would be one of the major contributors to the national sugar output.
“I’m more delighted that all these positive developments are happening during the administration of the current Executive Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, who was and is still very passionate about the fortune of the Nigeria sugar industry,” Demola-Busari said.
He added that this year the workshop would create awareness on the huge opportunities in the Nigeria sugar subsector.
He added that it would also focus on the issue of sugar, nutrition and health, which has become of concern to both producers and consumers.