By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Heineken Lokpobiri, has expressed Federal Government’s strong political will and commitment to create business employment in agriculture.
Mr Lokpobiri made this known when officials of Nestle Nigeria Plc lead by its Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mr Mauricio Alarcon, visited him in his Abuja office.
He said that the business-employment opportunities in agriculture cannot be fully tapped despite the country’s increasing population.
Commending the good work and business activities of Nestle Nigeria whose source of raw materials for production of her varied food products is 82 percent local content was appreciated by the Federal Government; 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.
The Minister was optimistic that very soon their raw materials will be sourced 100 percent locally in Nigeria, thereby increasing the business-employment opportunities for more Nigerians.
Re-assuring the officials from Nestle, Mr Lokpobiri said Federal Government was willing and ready to both partner and support Nestle and ensure that everything humanly possible will be done to meet Nestle’s needs of raw materials.
Presently, they require cassava starch in the production of some of the food items they produce, this the Minister assured will be quickly addressed as a priority since this will be greatly beneficial to Nigeria especially when government want citizens to consume items produce in the country, thereby taking the Nigerian economy from recession and implementing one of the cardinal area of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plans (ERGP) of the administration with agriculture as one of the key sectors to achieve some of the campaign promise made to the electorates.
The Minister commended the corporate Social Responsibilities of Nestle Nigeria Plc in the provision of water, training, capacity building for over 41,600 farmers confirmed Nestle’s intention to invest in new land and capacity building for over 41,600 farmers who produce maize, rice, sorghum and more importantly, the production of nutritious food for over 24,000 households who depend on their products with also over 2000 employees in the company payroll in Nigeria.
Earlier, the 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.
Mr Alarcon confirmed Nestle’s intention to invest in new land and capacity building.
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