Dangote: Changing the story of sugar in Nigeria, one hectare at a time

NOTNigeria is one of the largest sugar importers in sub-Saharan Africa, second only to South Africa.

With an annual domestic import of over $337 million (N202 billion), the management of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc has declared its irrevocable commitment to the Federal Government’s Forward Integration Policy (BIP) to reverse the trend and make Nigeria self-sufficient in sugar. production.

The company, which commits more than $1 billion (600 billion naira) to its sugar projects, hopes to revolutionize the economy of the states where the plantations are located and uplift its people through the infrastructure that would come with the sugar projects. .

Daily Trust journalist was conducted around the company’s 78,000 hectare upstream integration project in the Tunga Awe local government area. It was exciting to see the amount of investment that has already gone into the massive project that underpins a country’s hope of turning its fortunes into sugar production.

It is worth recalling that in 2017, Dangote Industries Limited signed a landmark $700 million Memorandum of Understanding with the Nasarawa State Government.

The integrated sugar complex will be located at Tunga, Awe Local GGovernment of Nasarawa State, includes a first sugar cane plantation of 60,000 ha and two sugar factories with a production capacity of 430,000 tpy of refined white sugar representing approximately 30% of the country’s consumption and would be the most large factory in Nigeria.

When Phase II of the project is completed, according to the company, it will make it the largest sugar refining plant in Africa.

When the plant is fully operational, it will have the capacity to grind 12,000 tonnes of cane per day (TCD), while 90MW of electricity will be generated for both company use and local communities. welcome.

Daily Trust further learned that some 500 km of roads in total will be constructed to facilitate transportation in the surrounding area.

Dangote Sugar targets additional 14,000 tonnes from Tunga project

The Dangote Sugar Refinery (DSR) aims to increase production capacity by an additional 14,000 tons of sugar from the Tunga factory in Nasarawa State.

The plant, which sits on 78,000 hectares of land acquired by Dangote Industries Limited, is targeting a crushing capacity of 12,000 tons of cane per day (TCD) with 160,000 tons of cane, or 14,000 tons of sugar will be put into service by 2024.

Agriculture director Simon Ibbetson told the Daily Trust that the company is currently scaling up sugar cane planting with the aim of reaching around 3,000 hectares of cane harvest. by January 2025, while initial sugar production begins in June of the same year.

He also said that the current yield per hectare is between 70 and 75 tons on the 600 hectare crop at Tunga sugar plantation with the hope of reaching more.

The cane includes different improved varieties ranging from D8687, M1392/00 and R579 among others.

He said: “We have a factory site but we don’t have a factory at the moment, we’re probably looking at 2025 somewhere there, the cane right now is just getting bigger because what we need to do is when the mill gets going, we need to have a rod available right away, to run through the mill so that we are in full production.

“So what we’re doing right now is pumping up the canes, we’re going to have 3,000 hectares that will be ready to harvest in January 2025, when that goes in there, we will put the other 3000 hectares and it will be up to 6000 by the end of 2025.”

The sugarcane plantation engages about 50 agricultural experts and 650 other farmers working in the field to carry out the project.

The farm currently has four pump distribution points fed by a station equipped with the capacity to deliver up to 648 kpa 368/s of water into the plantation on a 12 hour basis.

Although approximately 625 workers are currently engaged in the sugar project, when completed the venture will employ over 30,000 people from and within the host community.

According to community relations officer, Saidu Mohammad, some of the local farmers within the host community have been trained in sugarcane management, preparing them in advance.

“At present, the construction of a canal and pipelines for irrigation is underway and by 2024 a factory with a cruising capacity of 12,000 tons of cane per day will be commissioned with 160,000 tons of cane representing 14,000 tons of sugar,” Mohammad said.

The technical team on the ground to start the construction of factory

A technical team from Dangote Group is currently in Nasarawa State to commence civil works for the construction of Dangote Sugar Mill.

Maryoud Elsunni, a member of the two-man team, from Dangote Group headquarters, revealed this during a courtesy visit to Governor Abdullahi Sule at the government residence in Lafia.

Elsunni said he was tasked, along with the contractor, to manage the project by Aliko Dangote, Chairman and CEO of the Dangote Group, which when launched will generate employment for over 1,000 people in the immediate community.

He explained that they will first undertake the construction of a larger water pumping station which will supply water to 15,000 hectares, in addition to the already existing water pumping station which can cover 600 hectares.

Governor Sule noted that peace and stability were key to attracting investors, which is why his administration does not take the issue of security lightly.

“When there is complete peace and stability, things flourish. Opportunities are blooming. Investors are looking for where there is peace, where there is stability to invest their money.

Rachel J. Bradford