President of Nigeria, H.E. Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, March 15th commissioned the Sunti Golden Sugar Estates Ltd., a subsidiary of Flour Mills Group, in Mokwa, Niger State.
According to the Group, the Estate is a representation of the Nigerian Government’s Sugar Master Plan (NSMP) with a backward integration program that intends to set Nigeria on the path to self-sufficient sugar production.
Enclosed within a 35-kilometer dyke, the N50bn investment, one of the largest Agro-allied investments in Nigeria has 17,000 hectares of arable farmland and a sugar mill with a capacity to process 4,500 metric tonnes of sugarcane daily. The estate is expected to produce 1million tons of Sugarcane which translates into 100,000 metric tons of sugar annually and jobs for up to 10,000 people directly and 50,000 people indirectly, including 3,000 small-scale out growers who will be cultivating sugarcane to feed the mill.
The President, who was accompanied by the Governor of Niger State, H.E. Abubakar Sani Bello and the Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Hon. Okechukwu Enelamah commended the efforts of investors who have hitherto demonstrated confidence in the country’s development policies through their various investments.
“The world over, Sugar has been identified as a key commodity that is critical to national food security. Other than the development of local communities, an investment of this size in the sugar value chain will not only stem the tide of importation of sugar and save foreign exchange, but enhance rural industrialization, create wealth and alleviate poverty. For this, I must commend Flour Mills of Nigeria – Your mantra, “Feeding the Nation, Everyday”, is truly an inspiration to us all”, he said.
The Governor of Niger State, H.E Abubakar Sani Bello also identified the project as another milestone in the drive to make agriculture attractive to Nigerian youth.
Also speaking at the event, His Imperial Majesty, the Etsu of Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar said: “Nupeland is home to agriculture. Our people have for many years cultivated the lands to grow cash crops like Rice, Sorghum, millet, yam, maize and of course sugarcane. So, it is quite fitting that a project of this size and relevance to the economy of our country is located here in Mokwa. It gladdens my heart that the Sunti Golden Sugar Estates will provide jobs, improve trade and commerce and considerably uplift the standards of living of our people and the community”.
The Chairman of the Group, Mr. John Coumantaros in his speech also said: “The importation of food should be left behind us. If there was ever a time to produce our food, this is the time and Sunti Sugar Estate is indicative of our faith in the Nigerian government’s to turn around the economy.
Other dignitaries present at the event were the Governor of Kebbi State, H.E. Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele.