Newly commissioned N90bn breweries signals potential market for Nigeria’s sorghum producers

by Ruth Olurounbi
4 minutes read

A new International Breweries plant commissioned Tuesday by the  Secretary to the Government Of The Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha on behalf of Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari signals potential market opportunities for sorghum grows in the West African country, farmers say.

Sorghum is an important crop used for malt, beer, beer powder, sorghum meal, sorghum rice, livestock feed and traditional foods in Nigeria.


Nigeria is the world’s second largest producer of sorghum after the United States, with an annual output of 6.6 million tons. The US department of agriculture (USDA) forecasts that production will increase by 4 percent from 6.6 million tons of last year to 6.8 million tons this year.


International Breweries, the sixth largest company listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange with N265 billion in revenue is in Nigeria as a result of the federal government’s push for Foreign Direct Investments, Mustapha said on the behalf of the president.


Mustapha sees the plant, sited in Ogun state, as boosting the Nigeria’s agriculture sector “as the company partners with local farmers to produce over 30,000 tons of sorghums and maize, as well as other raw materials,” saying also that “other sub sectors like the manufacturing and different entities around the value chain will experience positive change in their business pursuits.”


The N90 billion plant is expected to create more than 500 direct jobs and over 5000 indirect jobs across the country, but beyond that, it will provide market opportunities for the world’s second sorghum producer, according to Miftah Adeniran, a farmer in Nigeria.


With the new brewery, farmers expect demand to more than double in the coming year. “The way I see it, these types of investments will drive up demand, not for for breweries, but across other food chains,” Adeniran said.


The company already sees itself sourcing for raw materials from local producers and impacting several other businesses that interact along the company’s value chain.


“Yearly, we buy over 30,000 tons of sorghum and maize and other raw materials locally. This will significantly increase with the coming on stream of this new brewery. We have also impacted positively the growth of several other industries that interact with us along our value chain,” company’s managing director of the brewery, Annabelle Degroo, said.


Rising demand for sorghum by the brewery companies like Nigerian Breweries awho are substituting barley for sorghum sourced locally is driving increased outputs this year farmers say, and is leading to increased farmers’ participation in producing the crop according to Rabe Daura, Katsina chairman of Sorghum Farmers Association who said an additional 3,000 farmers are planting sorghum this year in his northern state.


Increased private sector participation from companies like Nestlé Nigeria who is sourcing 80 percent of its sorghum and other crops from more than 41,00 local farmers and processors many of whom are women is seen as driving increased output this year.


And more so that Nigerian sorghum farmers are expecting higher yield this year on favorable weather and increasing demand for local sorghum for human, industrial and animal consumption, more farmers have been spurred take on production of the crop, local producers say.


Nigeria’s weather body, NiMet says rainfall this year will impact positively on the amount of water available for agriculture as well as energy production for manufacturing purposes, as it says 2018 rainfall will range between 400mm and 3100mm across the country.


“Before our farmers in the northern states have shelved sorghum farming due to religious reasons but are gradually coming back to produce the crop due to private sector partnership and incentives from the federal government,” Kabiru Ibrahim, national president of All Farmers Association (AFAN) said via a telephone interview.

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