With Nigeria being the second largest consumer of sugar after South Africa, the agro-allied industry, of which sugarcane farming is a subset of is in focus. There is particular interest in sugarcane production. This is due to the low investment in this critical area which has the capacity of employing millions of Nigerians. With the above realities, this article focuses on how to start sugarcane farming in Nigeria and its profitability.
How Well Has Sugarcane Farming and Processing Fared?
Sugarcane cultivation has been with us for a long time. However, processing this crop to finished products has been underutilized. Today, Nigeria produces less than 10 percent of its sugar requirements. But why the dismal performance? Because there are no concrete plan and guidelines on implementation. Despite the presence of a Sugar Development Council, there is no meaningful progress.
Nevertheless, all hope is not loss. This is because when there is a will, there will always be a way. There are sugarcane farmers in the country. However, majority of these farmers are small holder farmers. These cultivate only on small scale basis which means they are only subsistence farmers.
The Advantages of Cultivating Sugarcane
Sugarcane holds a lot of promise for the Nigerian farmer. This is mainly due to its fast rate of growth. Typically, sugarcane can be harvested over 5 times before it is spent (after which new sugarcane plants can be replanted). There are a lot of advantages accruable to sugarcane farmers. Some of these include; its being a raw material for the production of sugar. Sugarcane is also used for the production of biofuels.
Furthermore, there is a high demand for sugarcane by sugar industries. This is because it is a major raw material for the production of sugar.
Starting a Sugarcane Plantation in Nigeria
The potential for the cultivation of sugarcane is enormous. This is because there is enough arable land that supports the cultivation of this crop. In addition, government has implemented favourable policies which, if well implemented will result in considerable growth in the industry.
The profit potential for farmers is limitless because there is an increasing demand for this product. With the influx of an increasing number of sugar industries, the demand for sugarcane is witnessing a steady increase. Starting a sugarcane plantation requires;
To perform creditably well in the cultivation and distribution of sugarcane, knowledge is a necessity. By knowledge, we mean having the technical know how. In explaining further, it is necessary to learn the skill of culivation. Commercial sugarcane plantation requires a vast land. Getting this land is an important step to realizing the objective.
Cultivating and Tending the Crop
After cultivating the sugarcane, it is necessary that it should be well tended. Taking good care of the crop helps in realizing a bountiful harvest. The location of the plantation also matters. Sugarcane plantations thrive in areas where there is a good supply of water (rain). After realizing a good harvest, what next? we go to the next stage.
Supplying These Products to Sugar Factories
This is a crucial step in involved in the cultivation of sugarcane. Starting a sugarcane plantation in Nigeria without a defined distribution channel can lead to grave consequences. This is where profitability comes into play. As stated earlier, there are several sugar factories ready to mop up production. Apart from the sugar manufacturing industries, Nigerians consume alot of sugarcane. Also, Nigeria has a huge deficit in sugar production.
Hence sugar manufacturing industries are unable to meet up with demand. This has resorted to the importation of both granulated and cube sugar. When supplying sugarcane consider the competing demand by both direct consumers and the sugar industries. Balancing supply between the two is a way of maintaining a steady stream of profits. By ignoring one and focusing on the other, it might later come to affect profitability. In any case, the income potential from sugarcane farming is very impressive.
In the light of this, a lot of policies have been formulated to encourage the cultivation of sugarcane to make Nigeria become self sufficient.
As mentioned earlier, there is an ever increasing potential for profits. The demand is high and will continue to grow as your target market is varied and diverse. This is the right time to start a sugarcane plantation. However, commercial cultivation of sugarcane should done. This is where the money lies!