News / Africa

In Nigeria, Sugar at Home, Sweets from Abroad

A laborer gathers sugarcane at a commercial farmland in Numan community, Adamawa state, northeast of Nigeria, Nov. 2009.A laborer gathers sugarcane at a commercial farmland in Numan community, Adamawa state, northeast of Nigeria, Nov. 2009.
x
A laborer gathers sugarcane at a commercial farmland in Numan community, Adamawa state, northeast of Nigeria, Nov. 2009.
A laborer gathers sugarcane at a commercial farmland in Numan community, Adamawa state, northeast of Nigeria, Nov. 2009.
Heather Murdock
Northern Nigerian farmers boast about land that could be some of the most productive for sugar in West Africa - but they say that productivity is wasted without big-time local buyers. And while the government works to implement new policies to help the local industry, farmers sell sugar cane as snacks on the street while the country imports 97 percent of the sugar it consumes.
 
Mallam Usman Abdu Gubuci describes himself as one of the sugar-farming "giants" in his area, with five hectares of land. He said his part of northern Nigeria could be a major supplier of sugar to West Africa, but that farmers no longer even bother to grow sugar that can be refined.

“There is special sugar cane for that sugar, which we were introduced with. But when we planted it, no buyer. In other words, no industry to buy so we ended up wasting our money,” said Gubuci.
 
Reducing sugar imports

Instead, he said, all of his product goes to local markets and people drink sugar water from the stalks. And while these stalks do sell, he said, it is not a business that can grow.
 
Last fall, the Nigerian government introduced a new plan to decrease sugar imports and boost Nigerian production. The plan includes increasing taxes on imported sugar and giving tax breaks to anyone who wants to invest in local sugar refinement. It also calls for no import duties on machinery used for processing sugar.  
 
Sugar officials say Nigeria spent $620 million on sugar imports in 2012, and they don’t expect that number to decline immediately.
 
Hajiya Bilkisu Mohammed, who heads the Association of Women Farmers in northern Nigeria, said that part of the reason local farmers can’t sell sugar for refining is that factories in this part of Nigeria have to battle constant electrical shortages. They must rely on expensive generators, driving up costs and making their products more expensive.
 
Potential for profit

Saidu Usman Gwambe, a sugar cane farmer, said his land has the potential to be enormously profitable, but he’s not sure how much longer he can wait for a government rescue.
 
"We can call government to come and support us to continue the producing of the sugar cane," said Gwambe.
 
The Nigerian government also has announced plans to reduce imports of other food products in recent months. In January, President Goodluck Jonathan promised to increase food production by 20 million metric tons by 2015. He said that will create 3.5 million jobs and reduce Nigeria’s dependence on imports.

Ibrahima Yakuba contributed to this report from Kaduna, Nigeria.

You May Like

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: OLive N from: Winipeg,Canada
March 22, 2013 10:14 AM
President Goodluck is not telling Nigeria all of the truths as he know it. If the nation wants to know the state of the economy and truth about the future development programs, they must start by demanding monthly or weekly bulletin on how much is being spent to pursue his war on Boko-Harem. and relentless corruption by his public officials. This local war is Mr Jonathans current obsession which is costing the nation 1/3rd of budgetary expenditure . How can he fund other commitments alongside the war since he is not willing to make peace with Boko-Harem against common sense and all advice .

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid