The Oasis Reporters
09 June, 2017
Sugar cane as a crop is grown all over Nigeria, but more widely cultivated in northern Nigeria that occupies two thirds of Nigeria’s landmass.
It is widely chewed but a lot of northern Nigerian youths have made a vocation out of it by hawking the sweet plant in wheelbarrows who are called ‘Mai reke’ ( sugar cane vendor).
Some northern Nigerian markets like in Kankia market, a town in Katsina, State, north western Nigeria, large portions of the market are designated the sugar cane section.
Little do they know that they are simply chewing money away in sweet past time.
If only they knew that:
Brazil makes more money from Sugar Cane than Nigeria makes from Crude Oil.
Brazil’s sugar cane industry employs 1.1million Brazilians and generates 86 Billion USD annually for Brazil.
Nigeria’s entire national budget for 2016 is 6 trillion naira. It was it’s highest budget then, about $17Billion, funded from crude oil receipts, meaning that if sugar cane was moved from it’s informal and subsistence level to industrial levels, it can easily add a whole lot to Nigeria’s GDP.
This is the opportunity that Africa’s richest man named so by Forbes Magazine global ranking of billionaires, Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote saw. His team led by Mr. Abdullahi Sule ,GMD, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc ,went to Tunga in Nassarawa State , a town noted for it’s sugar cane growing prowess to acquire several hectares of land for growing the crop that will be it’s first line feedstock for the refinery that will be established after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with the Nassarawa State Government.
At the signing ceremony on June 8, 2017, an elated Aliko Dangote went down memory lane on his foray into sugar refining out of the more capital intensive cement production that has been his forte all these years, describing this deal as a ‘sweet one’.
Sugar is sweet. He already has sugar holdings in Taraba, Niger, Kogi States and in Adamawa State, where he started the sugar business by acquiring the Savannah Sugar Company at Numan, in an investment worth 38 billion naira. He is currently acquiring more land up to 60,000 hectares to grow more sugar cane and truly be the biggest sugar company in Africa and beyond.
Dangote had praises for the Nassaraw State governor, Mr. Almakura for fast tracking the registration process and removing every hurdle to enable the company commence production in the largely agrarian state that neighbours Abuja, Nigeria’s federal Capital.