The Nigerian Breweries (NB) Plc said it is making plans to increase sourcing of raw materials like sorghum, food grade starch and others locally from 57 to 60 per cent by 2020.
Mr. Patrick Olowookere, Corporate Communications and Brand Public Relations Manager, made the disclosure to newsmen during a facility tour in Ado Awaiye in Iseyin area of Oyo State recently.
Olowookere said the company was always looking at ways to partner with local farmers and processors to develop agricultural value chains that would strengthen the economy and save foreign exchange.
According to him, through these partnerships, many farmers have been impacted, especially through its out-grower schemes in sorghum production.
He said: “Over 250,000 sorghum farmers have benefited in the northern agronomical zones as at 2013, producing over the 100,000 tonnes 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. By 2020, Nigerian Breweries would have finalised plans to increase its sourcing of raw materials from 57 to 60 per cent, the margin is small but apt.
“Psaltry International Company Ltd., a food grade starch producing firm and others in sorghum is what gives us the assurance of quality products to suit the needs of our consumers,’’ he said.
Olowookere said the firm uses CSRO 1 and 2 species of sorghum because it had a higher yield of two tonnes per hectare and had certifications from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Olowookere also said that Psaltry Company was the only partner producing food grade starch for Nigerian Breweries.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director of the processing plant, Mrs. Yemisi Iranloye, said the challenge of transporting harvested cassava to cities like Lagos and Akure prompted the location of the plant.
Iranloye said the company now satisfies farmers who were treated as agents in the business through trainings, provision of hybrid cassava stems, fertilisers, pesticides, among others.
“What really steered my coming to this community was the fact that having had experiences in the system, I understood the huddles 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. Currently, NB is one of our major client off-taking 60 per cent of our food grade starch used as binding agents in producing most beverages, foods, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.