The Nigerian Breweries Plc (NB) has announced plans to achieve a 60 per cent local material sourcing by 2018.
According to the brewer, this move is aimed at looking inwards for alternative raw materials which the country spends hard-earned foreign exchange importing.
The Manager, Corporate Communications, NB Plc, Mr. Patrick Olowokere, stated this during a factory tour of one of the firm’s major raw material suppliers in Ibadan on Thursday.
He explained that the company was sourcing about 57 per cent of its raw materials locally and that it had started partnering local farmers in different parts of the country to increase the percentage.
Olowokere said “Our global target is to achieve 60 per cent by 2020, but we have said to ourselves that by 2018 we can achieve that target.”
According to him, the company is currently sourcing about 99 per cent of its packaging materials locally and is keen to work with more indigenous companies to boost local food production.
He said that many farmers had been impacted by its out-grower scheme in sorghum production.
Olowokere said, “Over 250,000 sorghum farmers benefited in the Northern agronomical zones as at 2013, producing over 100,000 tonnes that the company needs annually.
“That is enough to meet our production for our growing customers. We want to try as much as we can to further reduce the volume of imported raw materials.”
The Managing Director, Psaltry International Company Limited, one of the firm’s major suppliers of cassava starch, Mrs. Yemisi Iranloye, commended NB for its continued support for local farmers.
She said many villages had been transformed with the creation of employment for youths in the communities.
She noted that the brewer was one of her firm’s major off-takers, buying 60 per cent of its food grade starch used as binding agents in most beverages, foods, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
“Farmers in the community have been empowered over the years to increase production to 500 hectares through the Credit Agro Scheme of the Central Bank of Nigeria,” Iranloye added.
According to her, the scarcity of foreign exchange for import has helped local production, saying that most companies have started looking inwards for raw materials.
The Plaltry boss said, “What really steered my coming to this community was the fact that having had experiences in the system; I understood the hurdles farmers had to go through to transport their produce to urban cities.
“Most of the time, the cassava would have gone bad and farmers would be at a loss because the companies will not pay them, now we have been able to solve that problem.”