Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Nigeria spends $1 bn importing fruit juice annually — Adesina

ORANGE-JUICETHE Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has lamented that Nigerians spend $1 billion yearly importing fruit juice.
Dr Adesina made this known yesterday in Abuja while delivering his address at a meeting with Coca-Cola executives on how to improve starch and sweetening in the country.
Adesina, who described Nigeria as the second largest producer of citrus in the world after china, said that it was disheartening for Nigeria to still import concentrates for juice production.
He added that Nigeria also imports 150,000 metric tonnes of sweetening and 100,000 metric tonnes of sugar. He further revealed that Nigeria imports 98 per cent of the sugar used in the country.
He, therefore, stated that Nigeria could produce 100 per cent fruit juice through partnership with Coca-Cola Company and other relevant stakeholders.
Adesina, however, stated that for Nigeria to be self-sufficient in sweetening and starch, there is the need to produce cassava in large quantity and at a lower cost.
He then said that the ministry was working closely with Cargil Company and flour mill to establish starch and sweetening plants in the country.
He urged the Coca-Cola Company to partner those companies to establish plants, assuring them that the Federal Government would support through import duties substitution.
Also speaking, the President, Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Central, East and West Africa, Mr Kelvin Balogun, said that the company would be partnering with the Federal Government on the development of high fructose starch syrup.
He also said that they would also partner the FG on the production of raw materials for juice production. He emphasised that the company would focus mainly on raw materials for juice production.
“We recognise this as a major opportunity to diversify our sweetening system in the country,” he added.

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