农业报道 - 尼日利亚糖农现状艰难
From VOA Learning English, this is the Agriculture Report in Special English.
Farmers in northern Nigeria say their land could be some of the most productive for sugar in West Africa. But they say that productivity is wasted without big local buyers.
The Nigerian government has a new plan designed to help the local industry. For now, farmers sell sugar cane as snacks on the street while the country imports 97 percent of the sugar it uses.
Mallam Usman Abdu Gubuci has five hectares of land. He describes himself as one of the sugar farming "giants" in his area. He says his part of northern Nigeria could be a major supplier of sugar to West Africa. But he says farmers no longer even bother to grow sugar that can be refined.
Mallam Usman Abdu Gubuci拥有五公顷土地。他称自己是当地的糖业巨头之一。他说，他所在的尼日利亚北部能够成为西非主要的食糖供应商。但他表示，农民们甚至懒得种植用于精炼的糖类作物。
“There is special sugar cane for that sugar, which we were introduced with. But when we planted it, no buyer. In other words, no industry to buy it.”
Instead, he says, all of his product goes to local markets, and people drink sugar water from the sugar cane stalks. And while these stalks do sell, he says, it is not a business that can grow.
Last fall, the Nigerian government introduced a plan to decrease sugar imports and boost Nigerian production. The plan includes increasing taxes on imported sugar and giving tax breaks to anyone who wants to invest in local sugar refinement. It also calls for no import duties on machinery used for processing sugar.
|A laborer gathers sugarcane at a commercial farmland in Numan community, Adamawa state, northeast of Nigeria, Nov. 2009.|
Sugar officials say Nigeria spent $620 million on sugar imports in 2012. They do not expect that number to go down immediately.
Hajiya Bilkisu Mohammed heads the Association of Women Farmers in northern Nigeria. She says part of the reason local farmers cannot sell sugar for refining is that factories in this part of Nigeria face continual electrical shortages. The factories depend on costly power generators.
Hajiya Bilkisu Mohammed负责尼日利亚北部女农协会。她说，当地农民无法卖出精炼用糖的部分原因是尼日利亚该地区的工厂面临持续的电力短缺。这些工厂依赖昂贵的发电机。
Saidu Usman Gwambe is a sugar cane farmer. He says his land could be very profitable, but he is not sure how much longer he can wait for a government rescue.
Saidu Usman Gwambe是甘蔗农民。他说他的土地可能会非常赚钱，但他不知道他还有多少时间等待政府救援。
In recent months the Nigerian government has also announced plans to reduce imports of other food products. In January, President Goodluck Jonathan promised to increase food production by 20 million metric tons by 2015. Doing this, he says, will create 3.5 million jobs and reduce Nigeria’s dependence on imports.