Guinness Nigeria Managing Director Baker Magunda said: “We have launched this initiative 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 small holder farmers who form an integral part of our business.
THE Grow With Nigeria scheme, an agricultural scheme initiated by Guinness Nigeria Plc, is driving national development by making credit facilities available to farmers.
Farmers under the scheme are provided access to finance, certified seeds, unadulterated input, mechanisation, training on good agronomic practice and basic book keeping, supplier credit process, extension support and access to market.
Guinness has built a strong portfolio that is steeped in diversity over the years. This, it has done via its brewing facilities across Nigeria.
Maize and sorghum constitute 75 per cent of the company’s agricultural raw material input. Both crops are sourced locally through a third party model. It has contractual relationships with dealers and suppliers who aggregate the grains from the farmers, process, store and then supply to Guinnessw.
Guinness Nigeria Managing Director Baker Magunda said: “We have launched this initiative 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 small holder 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.
“These partnerships have enabled us to develop an ecosystem of private sector players creating value that impact small holder farmers directly. In 2018, we partnered 5, 121 small holder farmers across eight states of Nigeria. These farmers were provided access to finance, certified seeds, unadulteratedinput, mechanisation, training on good agronomic practice and basic book keeping, supplier credit process, extension support and access to market. 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.”
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, commended Guinness Nigeria on this laudable initiative. He said: “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. I am very proud of Guinness Nigeria and I urge other manufacturers to do same.”
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 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.
Nigeria was considered an agricultural giant and a model to other countries in the 1900s until the early 70s. This was the period when Nigeria had the groundnut pyramid in the north, the east was known for its palm nut and the West Cocoa.
A study in 1960 indicated that agriculture was the main stay to Nigeria’s economy, contributing over 64 per cent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), providing employment for over 70 per cent of the population and 95 per cent of the food needed to feed Nigerians.
The realisation that oil alone could not sustain the economy, led the government to introduce certain campaigns and programmes, such as the Green Revolution, Operation Feed the Nation (OFN), among others, to encourage the return to agriculture and diversify the economy.
The Organised Private Sector (OPS) was not left out as they are also working alongside the government in achieving economic diversification, inclusive growth and job creation.
Agriculture is known to be a major driver of development, source of revenue generation and means of empowering people.The government,private organisations and non-government organisations (NGOs) have come to this realisation, therefore, several efforts are being made to tap into the potential it offers.
Guinness first and only total beverage alcohol company and a member of Diageo Plc is one of such organisations driving national development through the launch of its laudable agricultural initiative “Grow with Nigeria”.
Source: The Nation Nigeria