By Chris Onuoha
Nestlé Nigeria has reiterated its continued commitment to the development of Ogun State through increased participation in the agriculture value chain of the country.
In a collaborative effort with Ogun State government to mark the 4th edition of Ogun State Investors’ Forum that focused on consolidating the gains of the present administration and accelerating growth, Nestle Nigeria, being the sponsor of the summit has maintained its continued contribution to the development of Nigeria through local sourcing of raw materials, job creation, capacity building and community development for the past 57 years.
The event brought together the government, leaders of industry and other stakeholders to discuss growth opportunities.
Making the remark during the Investors’ Forum held in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital recently, the Managing Director, Nestle Nigeria, Mr. Mauricio Alarcon highlighted the pivotal role that Ogun State, host to two of the company’s 3 factories in Nigeria, plays in its business. He said that Nestlé continues to contribute to the development of the country through job creation, capacity building and community development, starting from Ogun State. He went on to state that in addition to these contributions to the state that the company continues to seek opportunities to increase local sourcing of raw materials from the state.
In attendance were the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh; The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo; Ogun State Governor, Sen. Ibikunle Amosun; Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Nestlé Nigeria, Mauricio Alarcon and Mr. Tokunbo Aromolaran, Managing Director of VON Automobile Nig. Ltd and others.
Alarcon said, “Our collaboration with Ogun State does not end with job creation and community development. Nestlé has been working with the state through the Honourable Commissioner of Agriculture, Mrs. Adepeju Adebajo to explore opportunities for increasing local sourcing of agricultural raw materials including cassava, from the state,” he said.
In his opening speech, the Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun explained that his government has laid a solid foundation for socio-economic development through exploration of various value chains including Agriculture, Industry and Technology. Governor Amosun reiterated his government’s resolve to encourage backward integration and agricultural import substitution.
During the panel of discussion, Mr. Alarcon while speaking on the theme, “Feed Nigeria, Feed Africa: Completing the Value Chain” highlighted areas of potential collaboration between government and industry to accelerate development of the agriculture value chain. “There are thousands of farmers in Nigeria, 360,000 in Ogun State alone, with relatively low output while the industry has a huge need. To achieve real success with connecting farmers to industry, the aggregators, processors, and logistics must also be considered within this value chain,” he said.
Mr. Alarcon went on to emphasize that grouping smallholder farmers into co-operatives or via Aggregators makes it easier to work with farmers. Aggregation, he said, would facilitate the farming process from distribution of high quality seeds, to training farmers on good farming practices and post-harvest handling to improve crop quality and reduce losses.
He also reiterates Nestlé’s continued commitment to the development of Ogun state through increased participation in the agriculture value chain. “For 57 years, Nestlé has continued to contribute to the development of Nigeria through local sourcing of raw materials, job creation, capacity building and community development,” Alarcon concludes.
Meanwhile, Nestlé Nigeria Plc began simple trading operations in Nigeria in 1961 and has today grown into a leading food manufacturing and marketing company. Nestlé Nigeria is the biggest food company in West Africa. Nestlé Nigeria employs around 2,400 people and has 3 world class factories. Nestlé Nigeria manufactures and markets a range of high quality brands including: NESTLE PURE LIFE, GOLDEN MORN, MILO, MAGGI, NESCAFÉ and GOLDEN MORN PUFFS.