A partnership between Guinness Nigeria Plc, and other stakeholders, including Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, may drastically reduce the import of raw materials for the manufacturing sector and conserving foreign exchange.
Agricultural initiative called, ‘Growing with Nigeria,’ has empowered over 5,000 farmers across the country, and boosted the level of local content in Guinness’ products to about 75 per cent, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Guinness Nigeria, Baker Magunda, said at the launch of the scheme in Abuja.
Magunda said the initiative is in line with the Federal government’s effort to diversify the Nigerian economy through the promotion of agriculture.
He said the farmers were provided with access to finance, supplied with seeds, and provided with inputs, mechanisation, and training among others.
Speaking at the event, Magunda said: “We are here today to further demonstrate our commitment to the Federal Government’s policy on diversification and local content, the growth of the agricultural value chain, and that of smallholder farmers who form an integral part of our business. Over the last 20 years, our business has consistently sourced all its core ingredients such as sorghum and malt extract locally through the various local raw material chains. Currently, our local content sourcing is 75 per cent, and we plan to increase this significantly within the next couple of years.”
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, also present, said the move remained critical to the transformation of the nation’s economy.
“When Guinness began buying sorghum from local farmers many of us realised that this was a revolution that started ahead of its time. The logic of buying raw materials from local Farmers has seen wealth being moved into the rural areas instead of out of the shores of Nigeria, because every time you import anything, you are importing poverty, and exporting wealth and dangers not visible,” Ogbe said.
Stanbic IBTC, the financial partner of the initiative reassured farmers of its commitment to providing financial solutions that will help them and their businesses grow through its agriculture desk.
The bank disclosed that it has injected over N50 billion into Nigeria’s agricultural sector, one of the largest investments recorded in the sector so far. Guardian