Why Katsina lo­cal sugar in­dus­tries are dy­ing

Sunday Trust - - AGRIC BUSINESS -

From Idris Mahmud, Katsina

The grad­ual dis­ap­pear­ance of sug­ar­cane juic­ing machines, oc­ca­sioned by the de­cline in jag­gery pro­duc­tion across the coun­try, has been iden­ti­fied as the ma­jor con­straint of the lo­cal sugar in­dus­try in Katsina State.

Jag­gery is a tra­di­tional non­cen­trifu­gal cane sugar con­sumed in Asia and most parts of Africa. It is a con­cen­trated prod­uct of cane juice and can vary from golden brown to dark brown in colour.

Un­guwar Garba Na­jaki in Danja Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Area of Katsina State is akin to lo­cal sweet­ener in­dus­try, as ev­ery house­hold, one way or an­other, has been in­volved in the pro­duc­tion of jag­gery for over 80 years.

One of the sugar pro­duc­ers in the vil­lage, Li­man Sanusi, said it was im­pos­si­ble for them to find new juic­ing machines while the used ones were on the verge of ex­tinc­tion.

“Four years ago, we used to travel to Sokoto, Kebbi and some­times, Niger Re­pub­lic in search of sec­ond hand machines at the rate of N200,000 to N3000,000, but now, it is be­com­ing hard to get the machines. This has dras­ti­cally af­fected our pro­duc­tion by re­duc­ing our jag­gery plants to about 45 from the 70 we had in the vil­lage five years ago.

“This, in ef­fect, re­duces the num­ber of job op­por­tu­ni­ties in the in­dus­try as each plant has not less than 13 per­sons work­ing on it, each earn­ing at least N1,500 per day,” said Li­man Sanusi.

He added that to stay in the busi­ness, they re­sorted to the fab­ri­ca­tion of the wornout parts of the machines in Kano at the rate of N70,000 per ma­chine, and that it took about three months for the re­pairs. This, he said, hin­dered the smooth all-year-round pro­duc­tion of the lo­cal sweet­ener.

A large scale sug­ar­cane farmer in the vil­lage, Al­haji Nura Sani, said jag­gery pro­duc­tion was the main source of the vil­lagers’ liveli­hood for decades, and it pro­vided jobs to peo­ple from their en­vi­rons.

“Ev­ery house­hold in this vil­lage is in­volved in one or two sug­ar­cane pro­duc­tion value chains into jag­gery. Many per­formed Hajj af­ter they were suc­cess­fully es­tab­lished in the busi­ness. One in­ter­est­ing fact is that we con­cen­trated on sug­ar­cane farm­ing be­cause it gives us more rev­enue than pro­duc­ing maize, sorghum or soy­beans,” said Al­haji Nura.

He fur­ther said jag­gery con­sump­tion had sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved among the peo­ple of the state, with the high cost of re­fined sugar from 2016 when the coun­try went into eco­nomic re­ces­sion.

Daily Trust on Sun­day ob­served that the jag­gery in­dus­try in Danja Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Area is a thriv­ing av­enue of job op­por­tu­ni­ties to the teem­ing youths in the vil­lages and their en­vi­rons, es­pe­cially in the months of Oc­to­ber to April when youths from other vil­lages and nearby lo­cal gov­ern­ment ar­eas moved in droves to the lo­cal sugar pro­duc­ing plants in Danja to take part in the pro­duc­tion.

The jobs in­clude har­vest­ing the sug­ar­cane, steer­ing the horses that turned the juice machines, cook­ing the juice, as well as mould­ing the fin­ished jag­gery, and pack­ag­ing.

Sim­i­larly, el­derly women and wi­d­ows take part in hawk­ing the com­mod­ity in mar­kets and towns, and used the pro­ceeds to breed rams, which they sell dur­ing Sal­lah cel­e­bra­tions.

The chair­man of Un­guwar Na­jaki Gamzaki So­cial Club that en­gages with lo­cal sugar pro­duc­tion and com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment, Al­haji Sani, told our cor­re­spon­dent that they had never en­joyed in­ter­ven­tion of any sort in jag­gery pro­duc­tion.

He said they pro­vided the machines, horses, moul­ders, sug­ar­cane seedlings and labour dur­ing pro­duc­tion.

Fin­ished jag­gery prod­uct

Sug­ar­cane juice ma­chine at Ung­war Na­jaki in Danja area of Katsina State

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.