The Managing Director of Guinness Nigeria, Baker Magunda has affirmed that the company in furtherance of its commitment to the Federal Government’s policy on diversification plans to increase its local sourcing of raw materials which is presently 75 per cent within the next couple of years.
He stated this while speaking at the launch of its agriculture scheme tagged; ‘Grow with Nigeria’ in Abuja, stressing that the organisation is committed to the growth of the agricultural value chain and that of small holder farmers who form an integral part of their business.
“Over the last 20 years our business has consistently sourced its entire core ingredients such as sorghum and malt extract locally through the various local raw material chains.
“These partnerships have enabled us to develop an ecosystem of private sector players creating value that impact smallholder farmers directly.
“In 2018, we partnered with 5, 121 smallholder farmers across eight states of Nigeria. These farmers were provided access to finance, certified seeds, unadulterated inputs, mechanisation, training on good agronomic practice and basic book keeping, supplier credit process, extension support and access to market,” he added.
He stated that with this intervention, Guinness Nigeria was able to leverage on the collaboration as provided by the respective partners in the ecosystem to improve the livelihoods of these farmers by moving them from subsistence level to full economic inclusion.
Audu Ogbeh, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development commended the organisation stating that 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.
“When Guinness began buying sorghum from local farmers many of us realised that this was a revolution that started ahead of its time. Every time you import anything, you are importing poverty and exporting wealth and dangers not visible. I am very proud of Guinness Nigeria and I urge other manufacturers to do same,” he said.
Andrew Mashanda, Executive Director Corporate and Investment Banking Stanbic IBTC reassured farmers of the bank’s commitment to providing financial solutions that will help them and their businesses grow through its agriculture desk.
However, farmers who performed well for the 2018 farming season were also recognised and rewarded for their effort at the event.
Yoila Hanabi, the winner was presented with a Threshing machine worth N750,000 while Hajara Barau and Atiku Abdulahi; the first and second runners up were presented with bags of fertilizer.
With investments in Agriculture, local manufacturing and backward integration, the Guinness Nigeria Local Raw Materials (LRM) initiative, has benefited over 6,000 subsistence farmers, rural traders and various stakeholders in the production value chain.
The LRM initiative despite its current focus on rural subsistence farmers is helping to create value in local markets, strengthening state and national economies, improving agricultural systems, enhancing food security, and boosting supplies of sustainable raw materials that meet global standards.