KWARA STATE: HOME OF SUGAR? By Adetola Kehinde

KWARA STATE: HOME OF SUGAR? By Adetola Kehinde

After reading, Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq speech headlined “Nigeria Must Look Beyond Oil”. These got me thinking and I saw great potentials and benefits in Kwara State through investments in sugar production.

Over the years, Kwara state has been known as the home of sugar production in Nigeria, courtesy Bacita Sugar Company. The company, Bacita Sugar Company was established in 1956 at a point in time had over 4000 workers. Sadly this company is now a ghost of its former self, begging for attention from government and right investors while it has also rendered thousands of youths in the state unemployed.

How did Bacita Sugar Company got to where it is today? That’s a story for another day. A story for another day because, presently, the company has caught the attention of the Governor of the state, H.E. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq who has often times reiterated the readiness of his administration to revive Bacita Sugar Company and return it to his glory days.

Also, the governor, recently made it known that his administration is currently talking with AMCON to revive Bacita Sugar Company. The gain here is that, if the government is able to achieve his plans for Bacita sugar company with over 30,000 hectares of sugarcane farm positioned for backward integration into planting, harvesting, milling and processing as well as refining sugar; and a production capacity of 300 metric tons of sugarcane per day coupled with sugar refining capabilities will create far more than 4000 jobs for the state teeming youths thereby reducing employment in the state, lifting thousands out of poverty line, reduce crime rate in the state and increase the revenue generation of the state.

Away from what the government can do, it is worthy to note that there has been interest from the private investors to make Kwara state a sugar production state.

Presently, BUA Group has invested heavily in sugar production via Lafiagi Sugar Company (LISACO) in the state with an investment of $300 million. This investment will see BUA improve irrigation at our 20,000hectare Lafiagi Sugar plantation using Artificial Intelligence. Upon completion, LISACO will be able to produce over 1.8 million tons of sugarcane yielding about 250,000 tons of white refined sugar, 20 million litres of ethanol, employ over 10,000 people and generate some 35 MW of electricity every year.

Another good news, a few months ago, Dangote Group confirmed its acquisition of over 16,000 hectares out of the 50,000 hectares of land it needs for the sugar production in Patigi Local Government Area of the state.

How can the government come in to safeguard these massive investment? The Government of Kwara State is aware that in the presence of increased wage bill, the only alternative available for the state to attract the right investments that would increase the revenue and economic growth of the state. In the light of this, the Governor, AbdulRahman Abdulrazaq has assured and promised these investors and potential investors that his administration would work with them to ensure that they make their investments a reality in the state by providing enabling environment.

The gain for Kwara state is that, aside increasing the sugar production in the state which will be very significant in making Nigeria self-sufficient in sugar production, the investment will also reduce unemployment in the state because these investments have the capability to employ about 25000 people. In addition, engaging the unemployed youths in production activities through these investments will help to reduce crime rate in the state and Nigeria.

Also, these investments will help to pull thousands of Kwarans away out of poverty Line. Lastly, government will also smile to the bank has they will have more money in the coffer through increased IGR.

About the Writer
Adetola A. Kehinde is a public affairs analyst and he writes from Ilorin. He can be reached on:
Phone Number: 08068218386
Twitter: @Optimistic_Ade
Email: kennydee055@gmail.com

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