The Federal Government on Monday inaugurated the country’s first sugarcane bio-factory in Zaria, Kaduna State, as part of efforts to achieve national self-sufficiency in sugar production. The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, said the one-million-seedling per annum capacity plant was the first in the series of bio-factories to be established in the next five years, with combined capacity estimated at 12.5 million cane seedlings per annum.
Aganga spoke while declaring the factory open for operations at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State. He said, “The provision of high grade and quality seedlings of sugarcane is essential for the attainment of the set goals of the National Sugar Master Plan. A bio-factory is a facility where disease-free crop seedlings are rapidly micro-propagated under controlled laboratory environment for planting in the fields. “This facility is designed to address a critical constraint facing Nigeria’s sugar industry – timely provision of high quality and clean seeds to sugar estates and farmers across Nigeria. We expect that, in four years, five of this kind of facility would have been established across Nigeria with capacities of between two million and 2.5 million seedlings per annum each.”
The minister explained that the projection in the NSMP was that at least 250,000 hectares of sugarcane fields would be required for processing in about 28 mills of varying capacities to produce 1.79 metric tonnes of sugar in the first phase of the master plan.