By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigeria and India have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will see the establishment of a sugar institute in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.
The MoU was signed by the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC) for Nigeria and the National Sugar Institute of India (NSI) at the India High Commission in Abuja recently.
The Executive Secretary of NSDC, Mr Latif Busari, who signed on behalf of Nigeria, said that said the collaboration with NSI would help address the challenges faced in the implementation of Nigeria’s sugar master plan which was launched in 2014.
According to him, one of the challenges was the inadequate technical manpower to run sugar factories.
“As you all know that the Nigerian sugar master plan was lunch six to seven years ago, and it became clear that we have a serious challenge in terms of the technical manpower needed.
“We saw that if we must succeed in establishing the sugar factories, the factories will be lacking in the areas of managing the factories and the farms.
“Then we saw the need to set up an institution that will rapidly develop the technical manpower that is needed in the sugar industry in Nigeria.
“So, when we decided on that we started looking for where we could leverage on the experiences that several nations have had already.
“We do not have to reinvent the wheel and looking round we came to two institutions, and one of them is the National Sugar Institute Kanpur, India and what you see today is the outcome of the interaction we had in past few months,” he said.
Mr Busari further said that when the institute is established, it would boost the Nigerian sugar industry which would benefit from the huge market available.
“How it will factor into the Nigerian industries and energy is if you see the sugar master plan? – We will be able to generate more than 400 mega-watts of electricity.
“We will produce more than 160 million litres of ethanol. These are possible if we are able to completely implement the plan,’’ he said.
On the part of NSI Director-General, Mr Narendra Mohan, who signed the pact for India said that the agreement for setting up an institute in Ilorin in Kwara State and to see what structure it would implement.
“We are going to give the first detail of the extraction such as what type of classrooms, laboratories, equipment and all that.
The second part is about the training of the trainers because ultimately you do not have the faculty of your own at present.
“So we are going to begin the training sessions, and we have identified the faculty and initially 10 people are to be trained at the faculty in NSI.
“The third, which is important, Nigeria is having few sugar factories and there is a huge gap in meeting the demand for, sugar.
“But the capacity building is one thing. We will give advice on capacity building and also address the challenge for the smooth running of the institute,” he said
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