Nestle CEO: Nigeria Produces, Consumes 25% of Global Fortified Foods

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Dike Onwuamaeze

The Chief Executive Officer of Nestle Nigeria Plc, Mr. Wassim El-Husseini, yesterday, disclosed that 25 per cent of global fortified purchase, which is estimated at $16. 2 billion, is produced and consumed in Nigeria.

El-Husseini also disclosed that 80 per cent of raw materials utilised by the Nestle Nigeria were sourced domestically, adding that the organisation’s is targeting to attain zero net emission by 2050.

He made the disclosures during a breakfast meeting with the media.

According to him,  the   purpose of the company is  is to unlock the power of foods to enhance the quality of Nigerians’ lives.

“The first step in providing this is by providing nutritious food options and choices for Nigerians. We do that in Nigeria first through fortification. I was astonished to learn that 25 per cent of global fortified purchases are produced and consumed in Nigeria. I was really astonished.

“The Central West Africa Region is so important for the Nestle group because we produce and consume 44 per cent of the global, which Nigeria is more than half of it. So, we are more than 25 per cent. That is something that we are really proud of,” he said.

El-Husseini also said that protecting the planet for future generations is among the top priorities of Nestle.

According to him, Nestle’s sustainability priority today is to collect from the environment what it produced before taking it to the next level.

“We do not want our plastic bottles to be thrown into the environment or gutters, rivers, or the sea. This is our commitment, and as of December 2021, 43 per cent of what we produce was already collected. We are aiming at 80 per cent this year and 100 per cent by next year. “

We want to make sure that we are not taking part in polluting the environment,” he said.

He stated that Nestle is relying on education and awareness to drive its sustainability project. “Our ambition is that none of our packagings ends up as litter or into the waterways or oceans. Nestle is also a founding member of the Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance (FBRA).

We will have our sorting facilities. It started as a very small association of five or six founding members and today we have crossed to 20. I am asking every company that is involved in plastic either for producing, recycling, or collecting, to join the FBRA to maximise the work we are trying to do in Nigeria,” Hussien said.

He noted that the quest to sustain a high source of local materials in its product is faced with a challenge arising from the reality that young Nigerians have aspirations for businesses other than farming.

“Over 80 per cent of our agricultural raw materials and packaging raw materials are sourced locally. Over 65,000 farmers have been trained so far on good farming practices and we are committed to attracting and empowering the next generation of farmers.

“However, it has its own challenges. Do people want to go into agriculture? It is one of the biggest challenges that we are facing. The younger generation aspires to go into different things. So, how do we make agriculture attractive to them? Secondly, if they want to, do they have the resources and the know-how to maximise them? And this is where our roles come in,” he said.

The CEO of Nestle Nigeria also enumerated some of the corporate social responsibility projects of the company, which included the provision of over 16 million liters of water in 2021 from 18 facilities to 14,000 individuals and families within the communities where its factories are sited. 

Nestle, according to him, is also helping to develop thriving, resilient communities to enhance rural livelihood by empowering rural local women retailers in Nigeria within the company’s value chain to scale up their businesses. 

He said that this project offered training, mentorship, and grants for these women.  “Grants are in the form of products just to give you seed to stand up on your feet again and continue selling. But training includes bookkeeping, merchandising, and how to manage customer relationships. The program also included mentorship for three months to ensure the beneficiaries apply the learned practices to achieve the desired results. A total of 150 women are currently benefitting from this from North-central, South-east, and South-west,” he said.