BrandArena: We Want To Grow Local Content in Nigeria - Heineken Global CEO

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

We Want To Grow Local Content in Nigeria - Heineken Global CEO

Jean-Francois Van Boxmeer,
Global CEO of Heineken International
Jean-Francois Van Boxmeer, Global CEO of Heineken International, has revealed that a major global policy of his organization is for 60 per cent of raw materials needed in each African country including Nigeria, where they operate, to be sourced locally. He spoke at the end of the World Economic Forum in Abuja, where he was The Co- Chairman.
Explaining this position to journalists in Abuja, Van Boxmeer said, “I hope that within the coming years, Nigerian Breweries will be ahead in Heineken's commitment in Africa to have by 2020, 60 per cent of our raw materials locally sourced. And with sorghum, there's been major investment in improving the yields and that would be beneficial for all sorghum farmers in Nigeria. It is same line we are following for cassava.”

The Heineken global CEO discussed the innovations outlined by Nigerian Breweries, Heineken’s subsidiary in Nigeria, in expanding local content like sorghum and cassava in their production in Nigeria. “We have been investing in sorghum since the 1980s and we have been doing a lot with sorghum, taking from people who are doing it for subsistence and doing barley at a ton per hectare, with better yields and better varieties”.

Going further on the issue of boosting local content, Boxmeer said, “Having the techniques and the stability of long term contracts, then you have to go to hybrid seed; that's another step we are currently working on. Even the minister of Agriculture acknowledged that we are investing in wheat programmes- a variety of wheat that can produce seven tons per hectare - so we are making progress on the growth and we will continue to do that.

"On cassava, we are particularly interested in the by-product, the processed produce of cassava which is glucose - which we can use for products like Maltina and Fayrouz. We are not strictly beer in Nigerian Breweries; we are also into products which use agricultural produce and so we will continue to look at that”.

Commenting on Nigeria’s drive for foreign investments, he said that the country is in a strong position to outwit others in the struggle for investments considering her huge population and growing middle- class which are quite glaring to discerning investors. He added that, “there is the potential which is the combination of observations and trends that the country has and there is the population growth – which is found in the high rate of urbanization.

“Nigeria’s young population has huge potentials complemented with the high spirit of the people. Even if Nigeria is a very diverse country, we understand it's a little bit like India, but somewhere you have a fighting spirit which unifies you and this I think is a great asset for a people to do business with.”

Also speaking on the strength of Nigerian Breweries, his company’s subsidiary in Nigeria, Boxmeer said, “We saw the analysis on Nigeria’s economic prospect, so we resolved to improve our presence in the country - hosting our second largest operations after Mexico. But we have been in this country for so many years and we've always seen that the potential was perhaps beyond the international image of the country.  So we have been building our position of leadership. Nigerian Breweries has been in this country for decades and it wants to continue that leadership, because, we have to invest ahead of the curve. If you don't believe it and you are over conscious you will lose the market share. If you observe that you have the potential, then you have to invest ahead of the curve.”

Boxmeer also stressed that the efforts of successive government give investors enormous confidence about the Nigerian economy. “Nigeria in the past decades has improved a lot, making significant efforts to diversify the country out of oil - and it's often more difficult for countries which are blessed or cursed. What I observed is that, a lot of efforts have been made in the development of other industries, not only manufacturing industry but also telecommunications, IT, and banking which has had its ups and downs. But you do have a domestic banking sector which is so strong.”

No comments:

Post a Comment