‘Sunti Golden Sugar will save Nigeria $100m foreign exchange yearly’
This was disclosed by Chairman, Flour Mills Nigeria Plc, Mr. John Coumantaros, during the official commissioning of the factory on Thursday, noting that the company has again exhibited its commitment to the Nigerian economy, and indeed Africa, by unveiling what is yet another important project, considered as the single most substantial investments made by the organisation in Nigeria.
Located on the bank of the River Niger, the Sunti Golden Sugar Estates comprise of 16,000 hectares of irrigable farmland and a Sugar mill that process 4,500 metric tons of sugarcane per day.
He noted that the investment, unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari, totaling over N50b, directly demonstrates its confidence in the governments’ vision to overhaul the agricultural sector and particularly for the attainment of the National Sugar Master Plan (NSMP) target of achieving self-sufficiency in the production of sugar locally.
Coumantaros said the farm at its production peak would provide direct employment for about 10,000 people yearly, and impact up to 50,000 people indirectly, including 3,000 small-scale out growers who will be cultivating sugarcane to feed the mill.
“Like most of our investments in the agricultural sector, the Sunti Sugar Estates will serve to raise the living standards of people particularly those in the rural areas, strengthen the capabilities of small-scale farmers and provide them a route to the market.
“At FMN, we believe that the importance of integrating industry with agriculture cannot be over-emphasised. A farm, without a factory, will have no place for its produce, and a factory without a farm will have no raw materials. Here in Niger State, we have successfully united both industry and agriculture and in doing so have created jobs, developed capacities, and enriched livelihoods which opens the road to a greater future.”
In his speech, President Buhari said the project could not have come at a better time, as the country makes her journey out of recession and the economy continues to show considerable progress, “we are reminded of one of the cardinal objectives of this administration, which is to look inwards as we focus on our national endowments in agriculture, and other non-oil sectors for machine growth and development.
“The level of work and magnitude of investment that we are witnessing here today is a clear demonstration that our policies on economic diversification are on the right path.”
He said the world over; sugar has been identified as a key commodity that is critical to national food security, other than the development of local commitment, saying the investment of such magnitude will not only stem the tide of importation of sugar, but will also save foreign exchange.
“While we have had some challenges in the implementation of the National Sugar Master plan (NSMP) in the past, I believe that our vision of attaining self-sufficiency in sugar in Nigeria, is well within sight with the kind of investment that has been made here.”
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