Importers have ordered for some 1.89 million metric tonnes of raw sugar valued at N193.5billion ($602.15million) as local production fell by 95 per cent.
The import will be shipped into the country from January 2020, following dwindling local production estimated at 80,000 tonnes.
Statistics provided by International Sugar Organisation revealed that global price of the commodity had reached $321.35 per tonne as at September 2019.
Findings revealed that import since January 2019 was 1. 87million tones.
A global portal on Nigerian import, Index Mundi, further revealed that the 1.89million tonnage expected in 2020 was increased by 1.07 per cent over the 2019 import.
The Executive Secretary, National Sugar Development Council, Dr Latif Busari, had explained that the country was currently producing only five per cent of its total demand, while it depends on importing the rest.
The council’s objective is to boost domestic production of sugar to attain self-sufficiency by 2020, but currently, the country is able to meet only 4.96 per cent or 80,000 tonnes of the projected sugar production.
The Federal Government Nigerian Sugar Master Plan, which started in 2013, aims to achieve local sugar production level of about 1.7 million metric tonnes by 2023.
Government had in 2012 said that no sugar would be allowed to come into the country from 2019 but the country was unable to meet the projected 1.66 million metric tonnes of the commodity under the Nigerian Sugar Master Plan (NSMP).
In the plan, government introduced 20 per cent import duty and 75 per cent levy on refined sugar in 2019.
Part of the incentives to boost domestic production of sugar include a five-year tax for investors in the value chain; 10 per cent import duty and 50 per cent levy on imported raw sugar; 20 per cent duty and 60 per cent levy for imported refined sugar.
However, the total sugar production under the plan between 2013 and 2019 stood at 505, 000 metric tonnes.
This year, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA)’s shipping position revealed that Lagos Port Complex alone had taken delivery of 434,854 tonnes of the total imports.
Despite the short coming, Busari said in Abuja that the country would be self-sufficient in refined sugar production by 2023 during the signing of “Sugarcane Irrigation’’ agreement between BUA and Netafim.
The executive secretary added that the agreement would boost sugarcane farming, thereby, providing raw materials for refined sugar production.
He said: “We import raw sugar and our refineries which have a combined capacity of about three million metric tonnes refining capacity refined it.
“Dangote, BUA and Golden sugar import raw sugar, add a bit of value and in the process create some few jobs.”
Already, the Group Executive Director, BUA, Mr Kabiru Rabiu, said that the company was investing about N108 billion ($300 million) into backward integration of sugar in the country.
He noted that the agreement with Netafim would improve irrigation at BUA’s 20,000 hectares Lafiagi Sugar plantation, using artificial intelligence and highly sophisticated irrigation and mapping technology.
Kabiru noted: “Construction of the sugar mill at the plantation has started and upon completion will produce more than 1.8 million tonnes of sugarcane, yielding about 250,000 tonnes of white refined sugar.
“Also, it will produce 20 million litres of ethanol, employ more than 10,000 persons and generate some 35 MW of electricity every year.’’