How Sorghum can reduce pressure on Forex, by Nigerian Breweries
The Nigerian Breweries Plc has advocated the need for the Federal Government to place sorghum as a focus crop under its ‘Anchor Borrower Programme’ given the growing demand and usage by many manufacturing companies in its production processes.
Managing Director of Nigerian Breweries, Hans Essaadi gave this advice while speaking recently at a session during the 2022 Employers Summit organised by the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA).
He remarked that it had become imperative for government to include sorghum as one of the critical agricultural commodities as it would help reduce the pressure on foreign exchange from companies, thereby conserving Nigeria’s foreign reserves.
He noted that the inclusion would significantly boost and create more jobs, as many smallholder farmers would get more involved in its cultivation.
Speaking on the topic ‘Backward Integration and the Promotion of Made in Nigeria Goods,’ Essaadi explained that Nigerian Breweries has invested heavily over the years in Research and Development (R&D) in the sorghum value chain and this delivered enormous gains, particularly with the local production of malted sorghum and malted syrup replacing the imported high maltose syrup since 2019.
He explained that the company’s local cultivation of sorghum varieties had assisted a great deal in reducing the amount of foreign exchange spent on the importation of sorghum, which has impacted the cost of production for both non-alcoholic and alcoholic products in the last few years.
He stated that the success story of the cultivation of sorghum varieties could be attributed to the level of support and collaboration between the research team and the farmers adding that the investment has gone a long way in supporting livelihoods in the entire agricultural value chain.
Essaad further called for government’s support, especially in critical investments in irrigation, infrastructure and institutional reforms.