Nigeria’s sugar processor BUA seals pact with Netafim on automated sugar irrigation project

NIGERIA – BUA Group, parent company of the BUA Sugar Refinery Limited has signed an agreement with Netafim, an Israeli manufacturer of irrigation equipment, for the development of a fully automated sugarcane irrigation project.

Under the agreement, the two firms will collaborate in developing what they describe as “West Africa’s most advanced and largest drip irrigation system” at the 20,000 hectares BUA Lasuco Sugar Plantation.

BUA Groups investment in the 20,000 hectares sugar estate covers a sugar plantation, a sugar mill and refinery alongside an ethanol plant

The group said that the sugar plantation is expected to produce about 1.5 million metric tonnes of raw sugar annually and produce 25 million litres of ethanol as well as 35 megawatts of electricity.

This agreement signing which took place at the Nigeria Sugar Development Council, Abuja, will cover over 4,000hectares in its first phase.

Speaking at the ceremony. Group Executive Director, BUA Group and Chairman of the Nigeria Sugar Institute, Kabiru Rabiu, restated BUA’s committed to meeting and exceeding its BIP targets with the Sugar Council.

“Since we started this project, we have not relented in putting together the most sophisticated sugar plantation project in Nigeria till date.

“In addition to milling and refining of sugar, we are also investing in ethanol production and power generation from bagasse”, he added.

This signing, according to Rabiu, will see BUA improve irrigation at its 20,000-hectare Lafiagi Sugar plantation using Artificial Intelligence and highly sophisticated irrigation.

In addition, BUA will also integrate mapping technology from Netafim to determine the irrigation and water application needs of different areas and soil types in the plantation, reports the Guardian.

“Upon completion, this Lafiagi sugar plantation will be able to produce over 1.5 million tons of sugarcane yielding about 250,000 tons of white refined sugar, 25 million litres of ethanol, employ over 10,000 people and generate some 35 MW of electricity every year.

“We are also creating an ecosystem where we are involved in the entire value chain whilst partnering with out-growers and the Lafiagi community as a whole”, Rabiu added.

The Executive Secretary of the Sugar Council, Lateef Busari commended BUA for embarking on the project at such a scale noting that the council would continue to provide support to assist sugar producers meet their sugar BIP targets.

BUA’s LASUCO Sugar Company, Lafiagi is a 20,000-hectare sugar plantation on the banks of the River Niger in Kwara State, North-Central Nigeria.

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