Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said it would partner a Danish firm, Unibio A/S Limited in a joint venture operation to produce animal feeds with the government of Denmark financially guaranteeing the project with 10 per cent equity finance.
The corporation in a recent statement from its Group General Manager, Public Affairs, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, in Abuja, stated that the proposed joint venture company would be engaged in the production of animal feeds from Nigeriaâ€™s abundant natural gas resources.
It explained that methane gas would be converted into protein within this process, and that it would have no negative impact for human consumption.
According to the NNPC, Nigeriaâ€™s animal feeds industry was worth about N800 billion annually, and it would want to participate in it.
NNPCâ€™s Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru was represented by NNPCâ€™s Chief Operating Officer, Ventures, Dr. Babatunde Adeniran, when the business delegation from Denmark led by the Danish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Torben Gettermann visited.
Baru was quoted as saying that such collaboration would impact on Nigeriaâ€™s ability to generate additional revenue, guarantee food security and job creation for its people.
Baru explained that the corporation was considering the partnership with the Danish firm to utilise the abundant natural gas resources of the country for the production of animal feeds as part of its diversification agenda into non-oil ventures like other national oil companies.
â€œThis proposal, though it is coming newly, has already started gaining traction in the industry and across the globe especially in Europe. Nigeria being the first point of call in Africa, we can leverage on the opportunity to increase the revenue of the country through local food production,â€ Baru said.
Baru also described the project as laudable, saying it was capable of making positive impacts on the countryâ€™s economy.
Similarly, the statement quoted Gettermann as saying that Unibio had revolutionised natural gas conversion into animal feeds.
â€œThere are huge possibilities in view of the demands for this kind of feeds and it will boost food production in Nigeria tremendously. The benefits are not only in local production and consumption of the feeds but also in terms of revenue generation in foreign currencies through export,â€ he said.
He said Nigeria was an important partner to the Danish government both politically and economically, adding that the Danish government had established a special office in Lagos to facilitate trade relationship between the two countries.
Shedding more light on the proposal, the Chief Executive Officer of Unibio A/S Limited, Mr. Henrik Busch-Larsen, stated that the company owned the right to a unique fermentation technology known as U-Loop technology which enables natural gas conversion into a highly concentrated protein product called Uniprotein.
Busch-Larsen, explained the product could be used to feed animals such as pigs, poultry, and fish.
He noted that Uniprotein had a raw protein content of at least 72 per cent which is a key component in animal feeds and can conveniently substitute the traditional proteins in animal feeds such as fishmeal and soybeans.
He also alleged that multinational food and care products companies such as NestlÃ©, Procter and Gamble, as well as Colgate-Palmolive, had already started using the products as feedstock in their manufacturing processes.