Nigeria has no future outside agriculture, sustainable sugar production
By; Abdull-Azeez Ahmed Kadir, Kaduna.
Nigeria has no future outside agriculture as a sustainable source of income for the country in the face of dwindling oil price at the international market and the country has the capacity to produce and export sugar.
Various speakers at a one day sensitisation workshop organised by the National Sugar Development Council for the northern region in Kaduna stressed.
Declaring the workshop open, Kaduna State Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Alhaji Shehu Balarabe said with Nigeria’s potential in sugar production, the country has no business importing the commodity, but produce for local consumption and even export.
He stressed that adding value to sugar through industrial process, would go a long way in solving the problem of industrialization, create employment opportunities for the teeming populace and serve as a diplomatic brand for the nation.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of the Council, Lateef Busari represented by Mallam Muhammed Jika, enumerated what the council is doing to sustain the gains of the national sugar master plan (NSMP) for the nation self sufficiency in local production.
He assured of the council’s collaboration with development and business partners to achieve their aims and objectives.
The Director General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Dr. Paul Orhi, represented by Mr Keneth Azikiwe of Kaduna office, assured that the agency will continue to support the council’s master plan to ensure national self sufficiency. He also enumerated the various products and by-products that can be obtained from mass sugar production.
Kaduna State Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Manzo Daniel stressed that the nation must do a soul searching in the face of the dwindling crude oil price. He asserted that the time to walk the talk is now as experts are expected to put theory into practice.
He enthused that the free fall of oil price is good for Nigeria “as free money goes away and we can now concentrate on the right source of income” which has no alternative to agriculture.
According to him, the council need to focus on linkages that will bring investment into the sector. “If we do not link research with industry and enterprise, it will lead nowhere” he cautioned.
Delivering his welcome address, Mr Hezekiah Kolawole, Director Policy, Planning, Research and Statistics of the Council, said local Sugar production can generate 411 megawats of electricity and create 117 thousands of jobs.
He asserted that the council is doing its best to stimulate interest in investing in sugar to make Nigeria self sustaining in sugar production. They are ready to support any viable sector in Kaduna State he assured.
There were goodwill messages from stakeholders, investors and large scale sugarcane farmers represented by the Etsu of Tsaragi, Alhaji A. K. Abdulahi.