NIGERIA – Unilever Nigeria has embarked on local sourcing of raw materials by partnering with local partners to enhance capabilities in production with an aim to achieve 100% in local sourcing by 2019.
In collaboration local and intermediary companies, Unilever is building on long-term relationship with its strategic partners with a focus on value and innovation.
The company will be investing in both capacity and capabilities of the companies to enable them add value to farm produce before supplying them to the company.
According to Unilever, working with local partners will make importation of raw materials light as they’ll source most of them locally.
Having achieved over 90% in local sourcing of packaging materials, the company is looking forward to overcoming challenges of local vendors’ capacity to meet international standards.
Unilever unveiled the steps it was undertaking to drive the initiative to completion at the Manufacturing and Equipment, Nigerian Raw Materials Expo.
Apart from farmers, the company is also partnering with intermediary companies in the agro-allied sector for supply of cassava and starch.
Unilever West Africa Procurement Director, Thomas Mwanza said that the steps align with the government’s backward integration policy, which connects to its ‘Partner to Win’ initiative that will contribute technical skills for commercial farming in Nigeria.
“We are also investing in the production of palm oil for use in Blue Band and soaps, and exploring local production of herbs and spice for our seasoning cubes.
“We believe that our partnership with these investors will not only create jobs within the agriculture sector but also provide support that will enhance their technical know-how and skills,” added Thomas.
The company’s drive for sustainable production seeks to solve key challenges including failure to meet international standards and the fact that locally produced goods were more expensive than imported goods.
In Nigeria, imports account for more than 70% of all raw materials used in production of food, beverages and tobacco, reveals the company.
To revive the segment, joint growth-led efforts from agro-processing, food and manufacturing sector were anticipated.