There comes a time when a a nation makes the very concrete decision to take he destiny in her hands and then take the necessary steps to achieve results, this attitude has seen nations rise above their natural or man made limitations that have been imposed on them to move rapidly along the part of collective development and the emergence of strong nations. When we think of an example of a nation that has over the years in spite of these limitations overcame her social, economic and other challenges, the example that readily comes to mind is Japan. Japan was a near desolate country after her defeat at the second world war, but the level of devastation and human suffering did not make her to fall into despair, but rather she practically pulled herself from the boot strap and gradually moved herself up to become now the third largest economy in the world.
In Nigeria, we seem to be wallowing in self inflicted misery that also seem to be unending, but what in actual point that we need is the decision by all concerned and capable Nigerians to say that we have had enough and are willing to do the needful to move our country from its present state of despair to a place of remarkable success.
We had an interaction with an Indian entrepreneur who has become more Nigerian than a lot of those born here and he gave an insight into his belief that we can move away from this present hard reality.
MR. Arjan K. Mirchandani came to Nigeria in 1964 as a young man whose family dealt in the textile business. He has seen different governments come and go, but also has a great advice for all Nigerians. He says “Nigeria is a great country that should importantly and always think about backward integration in order to find her path to the economic success that she seeks”.
Mr. Mirchandani said that in 2001, he founded a company called Food Agro and Allied Industries Limited which later went into full operation in 2008. He noted that at that time, the breweries in the country were totally engaged in the extraction of malt extract from barley which is an imported raw material, but the desire for local substitute to this raw material made his company to go into the extraction of this very important component to the brewery, food and pharmaceutical companies from sorghum. This singular act, he said made them a sort of pioneer in this area and that they have so far been supplying these companies with the needed extracts.
The final products from these extracts are alcohol and non alcoholic drinks, cough syrups, cereals and many more products which are processed from sorghum, but this is not just where the impacts is felt. Aside from supporting other industries, the use of these local raw materials which its finished product has the added advantage of being gluten free is the saving made from foreign exchange that would have been used to purchase foreign raw materials and also reduced the attendant inflation that it usually causes.
“The agricultural sector has a far bigger potential than oil and gas and careful attention should be paid to this sector for its multilayered importance to the country. We currently source over 80% of our raw materials within the country, but the target is a 100% local content in our local production raw material sources. The sugar gotten from sorghum is healthier and better”.
“The Industries have enough appetite to take up all the agricultural products from all farms in Nigeria and so I encourage everyone who is capable to go into agriculture”.
The chairman of the company in company of some of his management staff took newsmen round the factory complex as the various processes of supply of raw materials, receiving of same, storage, the process of cleaning, recleaning, crushing , germination, malting, kilning, grinding, extraction, concentration, quality control, packaging and loading take place. The production manager, Orji Obah explained the different stages to news hunters as he showed them round the facilities. One notable thing about this tour of facility is the fact that a nearby sister company supplies all the power (electricity) needs of the Food and Agro Allied Industries Limited as well as those of other companies within the Ota area of Ogun state and this has created a stable industrial atmosphere within the area.
The group corporate affairs manager, Soji Fagbemi also spoke about the impact of the company to its host community as he noted that gifts are given to individuals and communities as well as the construction of social amenities like roads and drainages as ways of making impactful contribution to the society.
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