…Employs strict measures to keep estate Covid-19 free
Amid the ravaging coronavirus pandemic and the attendant job losses and salary cuts, the Sunti Golden Sugar Estates (SGSE) on Monday said it is retaining all its 2,400 employees to keep the facility at full operation.
To keep workers safe, SGSE, a subsidiary of the Golden Sugar Company had already employed strategic safety measures initiated by its parent group, Flour Mills of Nigeria PLC (FMN), Nigeria’s largest food and agro-allied group, to keep workers, suppliers and customers safe during the pandemic.
A statement issued on Sunday by the group’s Director of Corporate Services, Mr Joseph Umolu, said that the company was poised to sustain and even upscale its production capacity to forestall shortfall in local sugar production.
According to him, the new health strategy was part of the general measures being deployed by the FMN Group to keep all its facilities, including the Sunti Golden Sugar Estates Covid-19 free.
He stressed that prior to the pandemic, the Sugar estate already had strict health and hygiene measures in play, therefore all it needed to do was to upscale the measures to be Covid-19 specific.
“Proper safety measures have been put in place across the facility, including hand wash points, soaps and sanitisers at each operational entry point.
“Sunti already operates under the highest health and safety standards even before the coronavirus lockdown policy by the Federal Government.
“To help employees deal with the growing pressure of working during the current period, Sunti Golden Sugar Estates has created a strategic food reserve for employees, if the disease persists and conditions become tougher.
“This is in addition to standard benefits like regular food rations, free electricity and treated water,” he said.
He added that despite the lockdown, the estate is in the essential food sector had continued healthy operation to ensure the availability of sugar in Nigeria.
According to him, the company had just concluded its crushing season, harvesting 146,200 tons of sugar cane and producing 15,860 tons of sugar.
He said that the company also produced 9,640 tons of molasses and 11,600 MWh of electricity generated using bagasse (sugar cane fibre) as fuel. The company is now entering its cultivation season and will maintain high levels of employment to ensure a seamless process.
“At this time, when COVID-19 is causing so much job insecurity, Sunti has maintained its staff strength to do the cultivation of sugarcane, gapping, irrigation, weeding and fertiliser application, as well as maintaining the factory during the off-crop,” he said.
He, however, said that the community had not been left out, pointing out that the 26 communities that makeup Mokwa had benefited from 4,000 cartons of noodles as part of FMN’s N400m food relief programme.
He added that the company also planned to scale up its operation and utilise more contractors during harvest so as to create more jobs for the community.
Recall that the Chief Executive Officer of the FMN group, Paul Gbededo had restated the group’s commitment to ensure food safety in Nigeria by making all its agro-processing facilities operational.
“As one of the largest Foods and Agro-allied Groups in Nigeria, we understand that our role in society remains vital.
“To that end, FMN is committed to our purpose of ‘Feeding the Nation, Every day,’ and have taken strategic measures to safeguard the health and safety of our employees, suppliers, customers and other stakeholders.