By Sunday Okobi
Pernod Ricard Nigeria, producer and importer of varieties of whiskey, spirit and wine last week partnered Food Bank Nigeria to provide food for numerous Nigerians, an initiative to give back to the society.
The company located at Lekki, Lagos State, with global headquarters in Paris, France, stated that as part of its community development programme, the branch in Nigeria decided to provide food for the people in the community it operates on its ‘Responsible Day’, while in other countries, it builds houses for the needy, builds roads and empowers the people.
According to the Managing Director of Pernod Ricard Nigeria, Olivier Fages, “Today is what we call Responsible Day, and this programme is provided by Pernod Ricard all over the world. We are in more than 70 countries in the world, so we annually spend special day giving back to the communities.
“In each country, we have different activities, but in Nigeria, we decided to partner Food Bank Nigeria to give back to the community we operate, so today, we are going to give out food to this community (Surulere). We also import wine and other spirit from abroad, but we have this commitment with the community to produce and sell locally, so we are part of the community and we believe it is our role to give back to it.
“We give out food because we want to give the people basic needs which food is one of them, and making sure that these basic needs are covered. As you know, food is the most important need human beings need which we can give. In other countries, we can build houses, but here we want to impact the people’s lives by giving out different foods.”
Fages, who noted that there was no challenges experienced in the course of giving back to the people, added that they have had a good partnership in Food Bank Nigeria and “we have spent the last two to three month making sure that we have the right contact with Food Bank, buy the food, communicate and distribute them to the people. Our partnership with Food Bank has been great and helpful to our cause of giving back to the people.
“The company has been here for a bit more than two year, so this is going to be an annual event, but for Pernad Ricard, this initiative started six years ago in other countries, but today, globally, the company is giving back to the societies in Tanzania, Ghana, Angola, Mozambique, South Africa, Kenya among others in Africa and the world. We are trying it out for the first time in Lagos, but we hope to take the initiative outside the state.”
In her remark, the Coordinator of Food Bank Nigeria, Mrs. Yemisi Alfred-Adenlewo, said the ‘food bank’ is a charity organisation found purposely to feed the hungry in the society, hence the partnership with Pernod Ricard.
She said: “For today, we are partnering Pernod Ricard Nigeria, which is its responsibility day. It is a day set out in a year to do a community service. So they have decided to partner us to feed the hungry. Our primary responsibility is to collect food, store, package and redistribute. We collect from conglomerate and individuals. We also partner with farmers because it is not all food they harvest they are able to distribute and sell.”
Alfred-Adenlewo explained that her non-profit organisation bridges the gap between the rich and the poor, “because we collect food from people who have and give to people who don’t have. With this, we are able to provide food security for the needy, unemployed, newly employed and homeless.
The coordinator urged Nigerians to avoid food wastage which she said was part of the problems in the world.
“This is because when unprocessed food is wasted, it affects the climate and that is one of the causes of greenhouse gases. Instead of wasting the food, we collect near expiry food and we use it to feed the hungry,” she said.