News Column

Sourcing Raw Materials Locally 'Ll Create Market for Farmers - - FG

August 26, 2014

Franklin Alli

The Federal Government has called on companies to source their raw materials locally as this will create markets for farmers, boost their income and employment.

Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) made the call while commending Nestle Nigeria Plc for buying raw materials for its seasoning, cereal and beverage product from local farmers.

Last year alone, Nestle bought over 21,450 tonnes of maize, sorghum and soybean from farmers under its Quality Grains Improvement Project.

A breakdown of the figure showed that in 2013, the company purchased 9,780 tonnes of maize, 5,340 tonnes of soybean and 6,330 tonnes of sorghum (totaling 21,450 tonnes) from farmers.

"I am excited that you source raw materials for your maggi, golden morn and Milo locally. I really commend you. As you buy them locally you create market for farmers, you stablise price for them and you help them to improve their standard of living and good agricultural practice; the multiplier effects on the economy is enormous.

"I want to say that this is an example for other companies in Nigeria to emulate, to create market for all the products they produce here," said the minister at Nestle factory Agbara, Ogun state.

"Nestle is very key globally and domestically for us," he said.

The Minister also urged the management of Nestle to key onto the ministry's High Energy and Soybeans production project. "We are working on soybeans in Nigeria; we want to launch a programme to produce one million metric tonnes of soybeans annually. I would like to say that my ministry would be very pleased to work with Nestle in terms of soybeans and maize expansion. Equally, we want Nestle to join us on partnership for high energy food. High energy foods being iported don't get here on time and they are very expensive. We are not going to be market for all," said the minister.

The managing director, Nestle Nigeria, Mr. Dharnesh Gordhon, who conducted the minister round the facility, disclosed that the plant is the largest in the Asia, Oceania and Africa (AOA) region, in terms of magi production and the third largest in Milo production. He also explained that 10,000 farmers including agricultural extension agents, farm village heads, farm family heads, grain suppliers and transporters, have so far benefitted from the company's quality grains improvement project.

According to him, in order to ensure a sustainable supply of safe, high quality grains to Nstle's factories and improve the livelihood of smallholder farmers in Nigeria, the company launched Grains Quality Improvement Project in 2009.

"By working with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA, we are actually training farmers to follow good agricultural and storage practices that reduce the risk of damage from naturally occurring mycotoxins and increase yields, quality and market access for our local farmers," he said.

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Source: AllAfrica

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