How indigenous food production firm partner government to eliminate hunger
Before the oil boom, agriculture was the mainstay of the Nigerian economy, providing jobs for many people. However, today, eradicating poverty and hunger is the greatest challenge facing the world. In early 2000, Nigeria joined the rest of the world to adopt the eight-point Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the first of which is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. Various governments have set up policies to help tackle the issue, with little success recorded as the population of the country keeps increasing.
In the 1960s, agriculture contributed up to 64 per cent to the total GDP but gradually declined in the 1970s to 48 per cent and 20 per cent in 1980 and 19 per cent in 1985, as a result of the oil glut of the 1980s. Statistics also show that poverty is persistently increasing in Nigeria: from 27 per cent in 1980 to 65.6 percent in 1999 and 70.8 per cent in 2006.
The Muhammadu Buhari administration’s call for diversification has, however, drawn attention to the agricultural sector, which has contributed to food production, both for human survival and commercial purposes. As Nigeria strives to provide more food for its citizens to reduce the number of people living in poverty and hunger, which according to a United Nation’s report on Nigeria’s Common Country Analysis numbers to 80 million people, indigenous companies are now taking part in food production and exporting same to other countries.
Nigerians are also encouraged to buy home made products to increase its revenue base. Recently, Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, was quoted as saying, “the country seeks to achieve self-sufficiency in food production by 2017.”
To ensure that this happens, the country has provided a technological approach to the activity of farmers. Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, noted that by taking technology to farmers, Nigeria has been able to increase food production by 21 million tonnes in four years.
In line with this administration’s agenda to diversify revenue base through agriculture, Grand Cereals Limited (GCL), an integrated Foods Company that specializes in the production of Cereals, Oil and Animal feed has been proactive in its service to Nigerians.
The company is said to be contributing to the development of food production in Nigeria with the creation of food and animal feed that are healthy and at reasonable price. The company’s raw materials are sourced locally, and some of the products are; Grand Pure Groundnut Oil, Grand Pure Soya Oil, Grand Soya Flour, Grand Cornflakes, Desire Natural Palm Oil, Grand Maize Brabusco, Richfil and Grandvita Protein.
It was no wonder customers gave positive reviews on their experience with Grand Cereal products, which were on display at the just concluded International Trade Fair in Lagos. Clement Onuoha, a businessman who visited the Grand Cereal stand during the fair stated that he prefers Grand Pure Soya Oil because “it is cholesterol free and long lasting,” Another customer Precious Onyeama, a seamstress stated that she was at the stand last year to buy a good quantity of the oil and she enjoyed using it and that has made her return this year”.
“It is very good for cooking; it does not foam or coagulate. I will like as many people to enjoy its goodness during this festive period” she adds.Another customer, Femi Adekunle who purchased “BinggoDog Food”, a nutritious dry food for dogs which does not require any form of cooking also says that he has been buying the brand to feed his dog and has noticed positive results from how healthy his dog has been compared to when he was using a different feed for his pet. “Binggo Dog food is my favourite for my pet because it is nutritious and keeps my dog healthy. It is also affordable and helps me to maintain good feeding for my dog without worry”.
Speaking during the fair, Jerry Adedulu, GCL Customer Service Executive said, “We decided to partake in this year’s trade fair to make available our products to consumers at a discounted price, this is our own way of showing appreciation for their continuous patronage. We are also here to hear their honest opinions on our products with an aim to improve and sustain quality standards.”
In 1997 UAC of Nigeria Plc acquired a major shareholding in Grand Cereals Limited. The company which was incorporated in 1983, was originally designed to produce baking flour from imported wheat but following the ban placed on imported wheat, GCL modified its operation and production objectives, and today, the growing subsidiary of UACN Plc is steadfastly engaged in many value-added agricultural-based industrial activities. GCL consistently delivers to consumers, high quality cereals, oils and feed, via the careful application of internationally acclaimed techniques to manufacture premium products.
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