Winning with Nigerian Breweries through Sorghum Development

This will reinforce our philosophy of Winning with Nigeria.

In a statement by Nicolaas A. Vervelde, the former Managing Director/Chief Executive of Nigerian Breweries, he said I am highly pleased to present to you, Enhancing the Sorghum Value Chain, our second publication on the journey to support commercial production of sorghum, one of Nigeria’s major staple foods and a commercially viable grain grown in Nigeria.

Since our first publication in 2009, we have made significant strides towards the development and commercial cultivation of sorghum and its use by industry.

Our commitment to the sustainable commercial production of sorghum is in line with part of our global Company’s long-term sustainability agenda of Brewing a Better Future (BaBF), which is to source a minimum of 60 per cent of raw materials used in our operations locally by 2020.

BaBF was introduced by HEINEKEN in 2010. The ambition is to continuously improve our environmental impact, empower our people and our communities as well as improve the role of our brands in society.

The report disclosed that the four focus areas for BaBF are: to reduce water consumption, reduce CO2 emission, improve local sourcing and deliver on industry commitments towards responsible consumption.

In this edition, Vervelde said, we are updating readers about the recent developments, milestones as well as future plans for this cereal, which is increasingly taking a greater dimension in our national food chain discourse among grains cultivated in Nigeria.

According to research, “Nigeria is the largest sorghum producer in West Africa, accounting for about 71% of the total regional sorghum output. Nigeria’s sorghum production also accounted for 35% of the African production in 2007. The country is the third largest world producer after the United States and India. However, 90% of sorghum produced by United States and India is destined for animal feed, making Nigeria the world leading country for food grain sorghum production. It was also reported that sorghum in Nigeria is grown on about 5.6 million ha in Nigeria and the current annual production is estimated to be only about 2.8 million tonnes. It has multifarious usages which spans across the production of malt, beer, beer powder, sorghum meal, sorghum rice, and livestock feed among others. The whole grain may be ground into flour which is then used in various traditional foods.”

“Following Government’s call for backward integration through the use of local cereals in the 1980’s, Nigerian Breweries Plc committed significant resources to the commercial cultivation of sorghum.

“Research and development effort to explore and establish better varieties, and trials to perfect its use in brewing some of our beverages commenced and have since advanced to great heights. We saw the potentials of the cultivation and use of sorghum in facilitating sector linkages and creating a value chain that greatly benefits our stakeholders, especially the farmers.

“We have continued to collaborate with various implementing partners. These include the United States Agency for International Development/ Maximizing Agricultural Revenues and Key Enterprises in targeted Sites (USAID/MARKETS). We are also working with the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), seed producers, regional production coordinators and other partners in the sorghum value chain.

He pointed that the USAID/MARKETS I project team partnered with us from 2003 to 2006 in the development of CSR-01 & CSR-02 sorghum varieties with the capacity to increase farm yield from less than 1 metric tonne per hectare to 2.5 metric tonnes per hectare. Our effort to cultivate better varieties of high-yield sorghum seeds has produced better results.

“In 2012, we completed research and development work on two new high-yield hybrid 11 sorghum- CSR-03H and CSR- 04H, with the potential to yield 4 metric tonnes per hectare.

They were certified, released, and registered in Nigeria by the National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB) in December 2012.

This milestone was achieved through the collaboration of Nigerian Breweries and relevant research institutes and was commended by NACGRAB.

In the last 10 years, we have spent N100m annually, amongst other things, and this has contributed to increasing the capacity of local farmers and suppliers, providing more jobs for youths and poverty alleviation. With the acquisition of Sona Systems in 2011, Nigerian Breweries inherited a sorghum malting plant in Kudenda, Kaduna State.

This is in addition to the Aba malting plant, the biggest sorghum malting plant in Africa that was commissioned in 2008 for the production of malted sorghum.

The managing director revealed that we also facilitated the establishment of some privately owned sorghum malting plants.

The 2013 Socio-Economic Impact Assessment of our Company shows that our expenditure on local sorghum supports a total of N8.8 billion value-added in the supply chain.

The employment associated with local sorghum procurement is almost 50,000 jobs of which over 90 per cent are at the local farmer’s level. Most of these farmers are indirectly impacted by our presence. We are aware that Nigeria plans to make agriculture a major business that will improve food security and provide employment opportunities for our teeming population of unemployed youths.

Our sorghum development strategy supports this aspiration and is aligned towards improving the commercial importance of the cereal. It is also designed to establish a value chain using hybrid seeds that can enable every stakeholder within the sorghum network to benefit.

I like to commend the Federal Government of Nigeria for its focus on the Agricultural Transformation Action Plan which is designed to revolutionize the sector and make agriculture a viable business in the country.

We recommend that the government should give more attention to sorghum to improve food security, drive revenue generation, export and reduce dependency of industry on imported raw materials.

This brochure chronicles our involvement in the sorghum supply chain development and provides the latest information on what we are doing with this important grain.

It is our story of how far we have gone with sorghum and where we hope to take the cereal. It showcases our commitment to sustainable development through our continued support to the development of commercial production of sorghum in Nigeria.

As with other areas of our business, our sorghum development strategy will continue to offer us the opportunity as an industry leader to make a difference towards sustainable development on a national scale.

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