Nigeria’s agricultural sector would benefit significantly if producing companies relied more on local raw materials in their operations, the Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Simon Coveney, has said.
Mr. Coveney was speaking during his tour of the Ogba Brewery of Guinness Nigeria in Ikeja, Lagos.
The Irish Minister noted that regardless of what the situation is today, particularly the negative impact on the country’s economy of the declining price of crude oil, Nigeria has the potential to rise again.
To drive the effort towards a more viable economy, he underlined the need for support from all sectors towards increased investments in agriculture in Nigeria.
“I believe Nigeria has a bright future,” Mr. Coveney said. “I want to commend Guinness Nigeria for its commitment to sourcing its raw materials locally. This is good for Agriculture.”
“As a minster for agriculture, I am passionate about working with farmers and creating passion for the new generation of farmers that can produce food efficiently, in a safer way and in larger values. I believe this is what will happen in Nigeria with the right investments in agriculture.”
The Irish Minister used the occasion of the visit to unveil Guinness Africa Special, the latest addition to the Guinness Nigeria products family, made from herbs, spices and ginger grown in Africa.
Prior to the unveiling of the new brand, Mr. Coveney said he was delighted with the progress Guinness Nigeria was making from its strict adherence to high quality standards and innovation.
He said the launch of new Guinness Africa Special just over 50 years since the brewery was built in Lagos was pivotal to its stepping to the next chapter in the development of Guinness in Nigeria.
The Chairman, Guinness Nigeria Plc, Babatunde Savage, said it was a honour to have the visiting Irish Minister, adding that the company would not relent in its drive to continually meet set international standards at all aspects of its operations at all times.
On his part, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Guinness Nigeria Plc, Peter Ndegwa, said the company was committed to raising to about 75 per cent in the next couple of years the local raw materials used in its production.
The level of raw material from local sources for its production grew from 28 per cent to 43 per cent last year.
The increased use of local raw materials, he explained, would accelerate growth in the country’s agricultural sector, while also bringing wider benefits to society as a whole, particularly in terms of job opportunities.
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