The Head of the Sugar Research Institute, University of Ilorin, Prof Gbadebo Olaoye has said that with the ongoing efforts to improve domestic sugarcane production of 65,000 tonnes with new high yields varieties, the targeted production of 1.7 million tonnes by 2018 will be achieved.
Olaoye made this disclosure to pressmen, while explaining that the United Nation’s Common Fund for Commodities had given $1.6 million (about N246 million) for a research in Ivory Coast and Nigeria to test various species of sugarcane in order to boost production.
The Sugar Research Institute, Olaoye informed NaijaAgroNet was reviewing the characteristics of potential sugarcane varieties, with the aim of increasing output and profitability for the industry that has recorded consumption of an estimated 1.45 million tonnes of sugar by Nigerians.
In the United States-based Global Agriculture Information Network (GAIN) report entitled ‘Nigeria: Annual Sugar Report 2013,’ GAIN stated that Nigeria’s objectives required a 22-fold increase in domestic cane sugar production, long-term massive area expansion and enormous funding in sugar cane production research, as well as long-term investment in public infrastructure and human and material resources.
The Executive Secretary of the National Sugar Development Council, Dr. Latif Busari said the nation’s sugar production level would hit about 1.79 million tonnes by 2020, higher than the 1.5 million tonnes consumed annually, produce about 161 million litres of ethanol and also generate over 117,000 jobs for the economy.
International Sugar Organisation currently puts Nigeria’s total sugar production at 30,000 tonnes, however, Busari said the implementation of the Nigeria Sugar Master Plan would require massive private sector investments of more than $3.1 billion, (about N496 billion) over the next 10 years, which will involve the 28 sugar projects sited across 17 states.