• Friday, May 24, 2024
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BusinessDay

FMN, the impactful driver of food self-sufficiency in Nigeria for over six decades

Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc (FMN), possibly more than any other company in Nigeria today, shares an emotive and reliable heritage with Nigeria. The group was incorporated as a Nigerian company on 29th September 1960, just two days before Nigeria’s Independence Day, and over six decades later, FMN has proven to be an invaluable ally to Nigeria’s development.

For instance, in 1972, the group made its first investment outside of flour milling, in the Nigerian Bag Manufacturing Company (BAGCO), which today remains a national pacesetter in providing innovative packaging solutions in Nigeria. With over 42 years of heritage, BAGCO has become the leading packaging solution in Nigeria to support the industrial and agricultural sectors of the Nigerian economy.

BAGCO’s ZeroFly® Storage Bag is an insecticide-incorporated woven polypropylene bag developed for post-harvest storage of commodities including cereal grains, pulses, oilseeds, and seeds. The active ingredient, Deltamethrin, is a Food and Agriculture Organization and World Health Organization-approved pesticide for controlling insect pests.

In 1978, FMN ventured into the agribusiness space with the acquisition of a 10,000-hectare farm in Kaboji, Niger State as part of an investment and expansion strategy designed to create value in the supply chain and reduce the reliance on imported raw materials.

Since then, the group has made substantial investments in the primary processing of locally grown soybean, palm fruit, cassava, maize, sugar cane, sorghum, and the storage, aggregation, and distribution of locally sourced grains.

The group also takes the lead in propagating the National Sugar Master Plan (NSMP) Agenda through its Sugar Cane Outgrower Scheme and by making significant investments in Sugar. FMN has participated in the NSMP and Backward Integration Plan since its inception in 2012 through its subsidiary Golden Sugar Company, situated on the Niger River in Niger State.

At Sunti, the company has an area of 22,000ha on which a 15,000-hectare sugar estate is being developed. More than N73 billion has already been invested to establish the sugar estate of 3,500ha of irrigated sugar cane and a sugar factory with a 3,000 tons per day milling capacity.

The factory is the only one constructed under the NSMP and producing sugar today. Once the development is complete 150,000 tons of sugar will be produced per year.

More so, FMN continues to drive local content development and innovation through its CSR projects. In September 2023, the group, in partnership with George Coumantaros Foundation and in conjunction with the American Farm School and Perrotis College in Greece, awarded postgraduate scholarships worth over N33 million (€46,800) to two deserving Nigerian students.

The goal is to drive excellence in education and upskilling for players in the food and agro-allied sector, especially in the areas of industry-based technological advancements.

Also, through the FMN Prize for Innovation, the group holistically supports local content development by investing in the business growth and sustainability of food and agribusiness innovators in Nigeria.

Through a highly competitive and transparent process, participants go through a series of competitive exercises including project pitching, CBT, interviews, and live presentation with a group of judges who are notable players within their industries of practice.

Commenting on the group’s sustainable way of doing business, the Group GMD/CEO, Mr. Boye Olusanya, stated: “For us at FMN, our operations are not business as usual considering the fact that FMN shares a close affinity with Nigeria, thus is aligned in the process of driving self-sufficiency in Nigeria through local content development.

Currently, our five key value chains are Grains; oils and fats; Sugar; feeds and proteins, and cassava starches, and we have consistently made significant investments in the development of these value chains to reduce our dependence on imported raw materials. For oil and fats, we have Premium Edible Oil Products Ltd (PEOPL) – one of the largest new-generation edible oil complexes in Africa as our downstream business in the oils and fats value chain producing bottled vegetable oils, margarine, and spreads.

PEOPL extracts premium soya oil from soybeans supplied by our Kaboji Farm and from aggregated supplies from up to 100,000 third-party farmers in North-Central and North-West Nigeria. After oil extraction, the remaining soybean meal is used by our Premier Feed Mill operations in Ibadan and Calabar where it is converted to poultry and aqua feed.”

Commenting on group’s sugar investment, Mr. Olusanya said: “FMN, through its subsidiary, Golden Sugar Company initiated progressive agricultural interventions towards driving sugar self-sufficiency in Nigeria and introduced the outgrower program – a transformative and innovative agricultural intervention designed for local capacity development.

Read also: Flour Mills unveils new product for consumers’ nutritional needs

Hundreds of sugarcane farmers under the out-grower scheme were trained and some were sent to Malawi for further upskilling. The Golden Sugar Company by FMN will enable Nigeria to attain self-sufficiency in sugar production by growing the required local capacity to meet the demand for sugar which will stem the tide of unbridled importation of sugar and its by-products.

As an organisation that is a source of livelihood for millions of Nigerian families, it is our key mandate to continue to progressively and sustainably feed the nation, everyday.”

FMN, through its iconic brand ‘Golden Penny’, produces superior quality products and as a customer-centric company, The group continues to innovate across its touchpoints in its quest to drive food self-sufficiency in Nigeria and across the continent.

•Olusanya is group managing director/CEO Flour Mills Nigeria Plc