Nigerians not taking enough sugar – Busari

Nigerians not taking enough sugar – Busari
December 09 11:23 2017

By Abdulrahman Abdulraheem

The Executive Secretary of the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC), Dr Abdul-Latif Demola Busari, has said that contrary to a concern being spread by an ongoing anti-sugar health campaign, Nigerians are not taking enough sugar.

Busari said the sugar intake in Nigeria was relatively low compared with other countries of the world.

The NSDC boss made this known in an end-of-year-interaction with Trade and Investment correspondents in Abuja.

“On the basis of per capita consumption, indeed for Nigeria, we are not taking enough sugar. Nigeria is around 11 kilograms per capita compared to Egypt with 38 kilograms and USA, 32 kilograms.

“It is good that Nigerians are still moderate in their sugar intake but we believe as Sugar Council that it is not enough and we can still go to 15 or 18 kilograms,’’ Dr Busari said.

He urged Nigerians to increase their rate of sugar consumption but avoid excessive usage which could aggravate certain health conditions like Diabetes. He however reminded journalists that sugar does not cause diabetes on its own as it is erroneously believed by some people.

Reiterating his campaign on the consumption of locally-produced sugar, Busari said Nigerian-made sugar was one of the four foods fortified with Vitamin A, adding that the government made it mandatory for all sugar producers so that consumers could have added health benefits of using made-in-Nigeria products.

“They selected four food items, sugar, salt, flour and vegetable oil. So they have asked that all these products be fortified with Vitamin A because these are foods you must consume one way or the other. Through your consumption of those items you would get your normal dose of vitamin A,’’ he said.

He noted that Nigeria presently has about six brands of locally produced sugar, like Dangote, Donga, Sunola etc adding that if all Nigerians decide to patronise Nigerian-made sugar, it will help the industry.

On the issue of imported sugar, he said the Council had engaged the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to help tackle smuggling of sugar into the country.

He said the projection for National Sugar Master Plan (NSMP) for 2018 was put at 1.6million metric tons but with the reality on ground may bring it down to 1.58 million metric tons.

According to Busari, crises in areas where some of the sugarcane plantations and sugar plants are located and general community hostility to the operation of sugar companies had continuosly caused a reduction in sugar production.

He said the recent Bachama /Fulani herdsmen clash in Numan and Demsa areas of Adamawa state also caused the burning at least three fields.

“The problem in Numan for example, they said some people were hiding in the sugarcane plantations, so they burnt everything down. We can’t do anything about it because its a security matter. I have contacted the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment who is now engaging the governor who is the chief security officer of the state,” he said.

In places where there are no crises yet, Busari said the Council had put in place radio jingles in local languages and pidgin and town hall meetings to engage the youths and sensitize them on the importance of allowing these companies to operate in peace for the benefit of all stakeholders.

He, however, said other companies were coming up to help boost sugar production.

“We have other investors coming in, two in Jigawa State and some in Edo. We also have some small sugar mills that are coming up. We call them mini plants and we have one currently in Oyo State and another in Sokoto State,” Dr Busari added.