By Princewill Ekwujuru
BUA Group says its $300 million investment in Lafiagi Sugar Company, LASUCO, in Kwara State would help grow the country’s sugar output by two million tonnes (mmt) per annum.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja, Managing Director, BUA Sugar, Mr. Ibrahim Yaro, said BUA is serious and is ever ready to surprise Nigeria and Nigerians in its current efforts of becoming a mega local sugar producer and first sugar exporter in the country. According to him, the company remains committed to partnering with the government in ensuring the success of the backward integration policy of the sugar industry as well as in its drive to resuscitate and develop other areas of the Nigerian agricultural sector.
He explained that BUA’s interest in the local production of raw sugar brought about the acquisition of LASUCO which he said has over 20,000 hectares of arable land, suitable for sugar cane plantation and is strategically located to serve the northern and southern markets of the country.
He stated that the 500 hectares earmarked for its nursery development in 2016 had been developed; adding that similarly, what is currently ongoing was the land clearing and development preparation for additional 5,000 hectares which would take the company through 2018. “We are focused, determined and vigorously marching forward to meet our set targets with the Sugar Council. LASUCO is targeting the production of two million tonnes of sugar cane annually and this segment alone could produce over 4,000 jobs, while thousands of employment would be generated at plant and at an indirect level,” he said.
Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar, alongside the National Sugar Development Council commended BUA Group for the extensive work achieved on its Lafiagi sugar plantation – a backward integration site for BUA Group’s sugar subsidiary, BUA Sugar.
Abubakar applauded the investments and extensive progress made on the plantation by the company and for its progress towards local production of sugar in the country. “We are indeed very satisfied with the current pace of work and commitment exhibited by BUA on its sugar plantation. We hope other sugar companies will emulate the proactive steps employed by BUA to achieving self-sufficiency in sugar production which will eventually translate to positive gains in Nigeria’s efforts in becoming a sugar producing nation,” she said.
Also speaking, Executive Secretary of the National Sugar Development Council, Latif Busari, extolled the commitment of the company in attaining self-sufficiency in sugar production through its investments in the once moribund sugar company. He encouraged the company not to relent on its efforts but continue to sustain its strategy to moving the country towards self-sufficiency in sugar in the shortest time possible.