The Dangote Group and the Nasarawa State Government have signed a $700m (about N220bn) sugar project.
The signing ceremony of the deed of acquisition, lease and development agreement took place yesterday at the National Sugar Development Council, Sugar House in Abuja.
President/CE, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, said the integrated sugar complex would be located in Tunga, Awe Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.
He added that it will comprise 60,000 hectares of sugar plantation and two sugar factories with the capacity to produce 430,000tpa of refined white sugar representing about 30 percent of the country’s consumption and would be the largest plant in Nigeria.
He said the sugar project would also provide 30,000 jobs for the teeming youths in Nasarawa State.
The richest man in Africa, Aliko Dangote, said the Phase II of the project, when extended to cover 100,000 hectares would make the sugar plant the largest in Africa.
Dangote Group has already committed the sum of N250m for community development of Tunga in line with its corporate social responsibility initiative to improve the people’s well-being.
He said the project was 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, where the group was already well-positioned and a leader.
“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 the sugar plantations in Adamawa, Taraba, Nasarawa, Kwara, Kogi and the Niger States. However, we intend only to concentrate on Adamawa, Taraba and Nasarawa states in phase I of the sugar project with a target to produce about 1.08m tons of white sugar in the next five years,” he said.
Besides the over 100,000 employment opportunities that will be generated from the sugar plantations, sugar sufficiency, and the extended values chain, the group will establish integrated sugar mills, generate electricity, produce animal feed, amongst others.
Meanwhile, Nasarawa State is also to benefit from rice mills by the end of this year.
Governor of Nasarawa State, Tanko Al-Makura, said the giant multi-billion naira investment by Dangote was a significant milestone in the history of the people, the state and Nigeria in general.
He commended Dangote, who was conferred with the title of “Jarman Tunga” by the royal father of Tunga community, Alhaji Bala Ibrahim Galadima, for the gesture.
In his welcome address, Executive Secretary, National Sugar Development Council, Dr. Latif D. Busari, expressed hope that the sugar agreement contained clauses that would shield its execution from political interference which most projects had suffered from in recent times.