Dangote Sugar Group and the Nasarawa State Government have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a $700m sugar project.
The development is expected to boost the country’s quest to become self-sufficient in sugar production.
The signing of the deed of acquisition, lease and development agreement took place at the National Sugar Development Council, Sugar House, Abuja, on Thursday.
The President and Chief Executive Officer, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, said the integrated sugar complex would be located in Tunga, Awe Local Government Area of Nasarawa state.
According to him, the facility comprises 60,000 hectares of sugar plantation and two sugar factories with capacity to produce 430,000 tonnes per annum of refined white sugar representing about 30 per cent of the country’s consumption and the largest plant in Nigeria.
He said the sugar project would also provide 30,000 jobs for teeming youths in Nasarawa state, the company said in a statement.
Dangote was quoted as saying that the second of the project, when extended to cover 100,000 hectares, would make the sugar plant the largest in Africa.
He said that the project was meant to further align Dangote Group with the present government’s policy of diversifying the economy, by a renewed focus on the non-oil sectors like manufacturing, agriculture and solid minerals.
He said, “Agriculture is a key sector in the industrialization of any nation, therefore, Dangote Group in support of the Federal Government’s transformation agenda in agriculture developed a sugar backward integration project plan targeted at the production of 1.5MT/PA from various sites across Nigeria, in 10 years.
“We are acquiring about 150,000 hectares for sugar plantation in Adamawa, Taraba, Nasarawa, Kwara, Kogi and Niger states.
“However, we intend only to concentrate on Adamawa, Taraba and Nasarawa states in the phase I of the sugar project with a target to produce about 1.08m tons of white sugar in the next five years.”
Aside the over 100,000 employment opportunities that will be generated from the sugar plantations in addition to job creation, sugar sufficiency and the extended values chain, the group will establish integrated sugar mills, generate electricity, produce animal feeds amongst others, the statement added.
The Governor, Nasarawa State, Tanko Al-Makura, was quoted as saying that the investment by Dangote was a significant milestone in the history of the people of the state and Nigeria in general.
He was said to have commended Dangote, who was conferred with the title of Jarman Tunga by the royal father of Tunga community, Alhaji Bala Galadima, for the gesture.
The Executive Secretary, National Sugar Development Council, Dr. Latif Busari, was quoted in the statement as expressing hope that the sugar agreement contained clauses that would shield its execution from political interference suffered by most projects in recent times.