Saroafrica, a leading company in the agribusiness value chain and consumer goods in West and Central Africa, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), with the Nasarawa State Government, for the cultivation of sugarcane in Nasarawa and Doma Local Government Areas, for the production of ethanol and sugar.
The agreement between the two parties, was signed at a ceremony, which took place at the Nasarawa State Governor’s Lodge, in Abuja, on Thursday.
Speaking shortly after the signing of the MoU, Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, said Saroafrica is particularly investing in the project for the production of ethanol and possibly sugar and power.
The Governor expressed appreciation that Saroafrica has already made its mark in the production of ethanol in Nigeria, with the company agreeing to set up sugarcane plantations in Udege, Nasarawa Local Government Area and Idadu, in Doma Local Government Area.
Ethanol production has been responsible for more than 40,000 jobs in the United States, or more than $1.3 billion in household income. Ethanol production directly and indirectly adds more than $6 billion to the American economy each year by boosting surrounding economies.
“The best way to produce ethanol is from sugarcane. Brazil is one of the biggest in the world today. Brazil produces close 40m tons of sugar annually. About 40 to 50 percent of that is devoted to producing ethanol. Same thing with the US and Thailand. In Nigeria we are actually breaking new grounds in the area altogether,” the Governor stated.
Engineer Sule said his administration will continue to provide condusive environment that will attract investors into the state.
He particularly noted that, his administration has worked hard to ensure relative security across the state, as well as provide necessary infrastructure such as the 25km Mararaba-Udege road and the ongoing Idadu/Agbashi road.
While acknowledging the role the community plays in the success of such investments, the Governor assured that, no agreement with an investor will be signed without the tacit approval of the community.
He said his administration is only building a formidable foundation for the economic growth of the state and the only way to make the initiative sustainable, is to involve the community.
“Governors will come and go. With due respect, senators will come and go. House of assembly members will come and go. But the traditional rulers and the communities are there. And that’s why we always want to set up a foundation that is sustainable,” he stated.
He emphasized that, local communities must always be part of any agreement to be signed with an investor.
“We from the state government, we have one responsibility to do and God so kind, we have done that. If it was 4 or 5 years ago, if they ask Saro to go into that area, they won’t be in a hurry to come, because of the security challenges nobody will be in a hurry to come. Today, they can come.
“Then the next is the access road going into that particular community Udege. Today, God so kind, we have been able to construct the road. A similar situation is taking place in Idadu/Agbashi where you are going, Idadu, Agbashi.
“The government on our own side, we have provided the infrastructure for you to in and out. We have done our best to provide you with enough security to go in and out. But more importantly, the community have accepted you. That is the reason why every agreement that we are going to sign, I want the communities to accept,” Engineer Sule said.
He said apart from the expected revenue that the project will bring to the state, other opportunities from the agreement include direct employment for factory workers, indirect employment for thousands, as well as training opportunities for the people of the state.
In his speech, Mr. Rasheed Sarumi, Group Managing Director, Saroafrica Group, thanked Engineer Sule, for creating enabling environment for his company to venture into Nasarawa State.
Sarumi particularly appreciated the Nasarawa State Government for ensuring relative peace that is encouraging to investors coming into the state, as according to him, that was one of the reasons Nasarawa was selected for the project.
In a goodwill message, the Andoma of Doma, HRH Alhaji Aliyu Onawo Ogah, assured both the state government and Saroafrica, that the benefiting communities, will take responsibility towards ensuring the success of the project.
“We are giving you the assurances that we will always be there for you in all the intentions of government. It’s just one of the many others that we expect to come. Rest assured that we will support the intentions and programmes of government. We will receive all of such beautiful intentions, we will be jointly responsible for these projects that are coming. And make sure by the grace of God, they meet their intentions to bring good to the people” he stated.
The Andoma equally assured the investors of the support from the benefitting communities.
He particularly commended Engineer Sule for bringing his knowledge and experience from the private sector to bear and to attract multinational companies to the state, all to the benefit of the people