NIGERIA – Northern Nigeria Flour Mills (NNFM) has commenced the installation of a sorghum milling facility worth $15 million to produce flour from locally grown sorghum for inclusion into wheat flour products.

Besides, Flourmills of Nigeria Plc (FMN) has disclosed plans to convert NNFM Kano to a subsidiary.

The milling facility, according to the Chairman of the FMN Group, John G. Coumantaros, consists of yearly capacity of 100,000 metric tonnes, saving an estimated $25 million in foreign exchange yearly.

Coumantaros, who spoke during the 44th yearly general meeting of NNFM Plc, expressed optimism that the investment would boost the company’s profitability in the coming years to the delight of all stakeholders.

He noted that the sorghum milling process, which would be ready for commissioning during the first quarter of 2017, is expected to enhance the usage and consumption of local grains, thereby creating jobs and stimulating economic activities in the rural areas.

To achieve this feat, he explained that NNFM is already working in partnership with the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) to develop robust out-grower schemes and engage in sorghum seed development.

“It is also remarkable to note that NNFM has recently modified part of its site facilities at the Kano plant in preparation to receive locally grown wheat from the Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria (WFAN) in line with the commitment of Flour Millers Association of Nigeria (FMAN) to continue to purchase all locally grown wheat at a mutually agreeable price.

“In furtherance of this goal, NNFM has made significant investments to convert some of its wheat mills into maize mills with an annual capacity of 100,000 metric tonnes.  

The conversion has started generating positive results. Two new products, ‘Masavita’ and ‘Masaflour’ were re-introduced to the market.

“With good commercial efforts and riding on the reputation of the Group’s flagship– Golden Penny brand – the two new products gained rapid market acceptance resulting in a dramatic upsurge in demand for maize with significant benefits to the Nigerian farmers,” he said.

The Chairman noted that the subsidiary would become a ‘hub’ for the processing and distribution of locally sourced grains from Kano, Jigawa, Katsina, Kebbi, Kaduna, Bauchi and other states in the northern part of Nigeria.

He pointed out that the strategic conversion of the NNFM was to further assist the local farmers in creating wealth and adding value to their output.

This, according to him, would undoubtedly impact on the people in terms of job creation, economic empowerment and improved social welfare.

He maintained that heavy reliance on imported raw materials for food processing facilities are unsustainable, noting that the firm has strategically enhanced its diversification into agro business with huge investments across the major crop value chains.

Additionally, the group, according to him, is progressing in its efforts to establish an ambitious pan-Nigerian network of grains aggregation and distribution centers to align with the policies of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) as well as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to transform Nigeria’s agricultural landscape.

“These efforts will complement FMN Group’s well defined and successful Backward Integration Programmes in cassava, maize, rice, soybean, sugar and palm oil value chains; which are all now producing significant amounts of raw material to supplement our local crop aggregation efforts,’’ he added.

September 30, 16;