“Since sugar projects are located in flood plains and close to water sources, hence sugar companies must invest in early warning systems and also construct flood protection dykes.”
The Executive Secretary of the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC) Dr. Latif D. Busari, made the call during Sugar Sensitisation workshop held in Edo State.
The theme was ‘The emerging challenges in the implementation of the NSMP towards the realization of National self-sufficiency in sugar’
Dr. Busari who noted the negative impacts of flooding on investments in the nation’s sugar industry over the years, said investors have continued to record huge losses which he said must be addressed in order to encourage investors to remain in business.
To cushion the effects of the yearly losses recorded by sugar companies owning to floods, Dr. Busari said “as a solution Council will support the provision of loans under liberal terms to any operator who wishes to construct dykes for flood control.
“On our part, we shall continue to welcome and support initiatives that would make the nation’s sugar industry attractive to local and foreign investors, ” he said.
On recurring clashes between sugar companies and host companies, Dr. Busari said ” the Sugar Council has ongoing activities to sensitize host communities on economic prospects of sugar projects”.
He said the Council is also encouraging the establishment of sugarcane outgrower schemes and other Corporate Social Responsibility projects by sugar projects.
Speaking at the event, Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki commended the Council for how well it has implemented the National Sugar Master Plan (NSMP), noting that Edo State would take lessons from the sugar industry to develop its agribusiness sector, especially the oil palm sub-sector.
He described the workshop as an opportunity for the state to expand her knowledge base in making agriculture the mainstay of the state’s economy.
“We are one of the states endowed with numerous agricultural resources. We believe that agriculture is what will take us to our Eldorado, especially with increased investment in oil palm and rubber,” he said.
Mr. Obaseki maintained that the state will grow crops with comparative advantage in yield, and assured that necessary measures are being put in place to ensure that the state does not only produce raw materials but also processes them into finished goods.
Also speaking at the workshop, the Director, Policy Planning Research and Statistics, NSDC, Mr. Kolawole Hezekiah, said the Council has put in place necessary measures that would attract investors to the sector.