The Executive Secretary, National Sugar Development Council (NSDC), Mr Zacch Adedeji, has said the federal government is commitment to using its sugar master plan to reduce poverty and unemployment in the country.
Adedeji spoke during the ground breaking of N300 billion Brent Sugar Plantation and Mill in Iseyin, Oyo State.
The Brent Sugar Plantation and Mill is sited on 11,000 hectares of land along Iseyin-Ogbomoso Road.
Adedeji said that the investment by Brent Sugar was a practical demonstration of the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari towards building a productive country.
“One of the major tools that we have and which can help us take the youths out of poverty is the sugarcane-based industries.
“We must commend Brent Sugar Limited for deeming it fit to establish this kind of project in this environment. This is not only for Oyo State, but for Nigeria.
“The mantra of President Muhammadu Buhari is that we must eat what we grow and grow what we eat. This is one practical,” he said.
He said government must do everything to get the private sector to venture in projects that could take Nigerians, particularly the youths, out of poverty.
The Chief Executive Officer, Brent Sugar Limited, Mr Martins Akinola, said the total investment that would be committed to the project was about N300 billion over a period of five years.
Akinola said that part of their social responsibilities to the Iseyin community would be building of a model school and award of scholarships to indigent students.
He appealed to the Oyo State Government to make the road to Ikere Gorge dam, which would serve irrigation purpose to the company, motorable.
Akinola thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, Adedeji and Governor Seyi Makinde for their support which had helped the company attained the present state.
“We are expecting, by the special grace of God, to be into production and milling in the next two years here in Iseyin. We have technical partners from abroad.
“The equipment and maintenance are going to be handled by our partners from India. About eight of them will join us from February next year.
“This is going to be the biggest investment in Oyo State and I am happy that the state government is a co-owner in the investment,” he said.
The governor, in his response, promised to ensure the road to Ikere Gorge dam was constructed and made motorable for all.
Makinde, who was represented by his deputy, Mr Bayo Lawal, said the state government was committed to infrastructural development of the state.
He said that such was evident in the interconnectivity project of the administration aimed at connecting the five zones of the state. The governor said that the company would be greatly beneficial to the state, adding it would complement effort of his administration in the areas of poverty reduction, employment creation and infrastructural development.