By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja
The Federal government through the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri has again expressed the political will and commitment to creating business employment in agriculture.
The Minister restated this commitment when he received a delegation of Nestle Nigeria Plc led by its managing director and chief executive officer, Mauricio Alarcon, in Abuja recently. According to Lokpobiri “the business-employment opportunities in Agriculture cannot be fully tapped despite our increasing population.”
He commended the business activities of Nestle Nigeria whose source of raw materials for production of her varied food products is 82% local, noting that this has reduced the pressure on foreign exchange for importation of such needed raw materials. “This sourcing has automatically created business-employment for Nigerians across board, especially farmers who grow the needed produce which Nestle needs for their final nutrition food products” he said
Lokpobiri was optimistic that very soon their raw materials will be sourced 100 per cent locally in Nigeria, thereby increasing the business-employment opportunities for more Nigerians. He assured that “the federal government is willing and ready to partner and support Nestle to ensure that everything humanly possible is done to meet its needs of raw materials, as this will be greatly beneficial to Nigeria
The minister further commended the corporate social responsibilities of Nestle Nigeria Plc in the provision of water, training, capacity building for over 41,600 farmers. This is even as he confirmed Nestle’s intention to invest in new land and capacity building for over 41,600 farmers in the production of nutritious food for over twenty four thousand households who depend on their products with also over 2000 employees in the company payroll in Nigeria.
Earlier, managing director and chief executive officer of Nestle Mauricio Alarcon said they were in the Ministry to seek Federal Government collaboration in the production of more food products. “We can’t talk of food without talking about Agriculture’ and we are convinced that to build partnership, we need to collaborate and establish effective channels of communication, which is the sure way of moving Nigeria forward to a truly self-sufficient food secured nation” he said.