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Backward integration in the local production of products packaging materials by leading Fast Consumer Moving Goods (FCMG), Unilever Plc., has risen to 90 per cent and is set to hit 100 per cent by the end of 2019.
Explaining more on the feat, the Procurement Director, Unilever West Africa, Thomas Mwanza said “Under its ‘Partner to Win’initiaive, Unilever will be investing in capabilities of intermediary companies to enable them to convert farm produce to usable goods that will be sourced by the company as part of its raw materials locally. The organization believes this will enable it to achieve a significant reduction in the importation of raw materials by working with local partners”.
In his presentation at the concluded Manufacturing and Equipment, Nigerian Raw Materials Expo, Mwanza gave examples of steps already taken by Unilever to achieve this drive in Packaging and agro-based materials.
He said “Already, Unilever has achieved over 90% in local sourcing of packaging materials. The aim is to achieve 100% by the end of 2019 and overcome the current challenges of local vendor’s capacity to meet up with global best standard. In agro-allied sector, Unilever is partnering with intermediary companies, for the supply of cassava and starch.”
“The backward integration programme of the Federal Government is a sound policy and as an organization we are committed to this initiative. We have found strong connections between this policy and our business model. This has spurred us to enhance our local sourcing capabilities that we have embarked on for about a decade.”
On the economic advantage of aligning with the government on this strategy, the company observed that “by working with the intermediary companies to source these materials, we are contributing to up-scaling the technical skills required for sustainable commercial farming in Nigeria”.
“We are also investing in the production of palm oil for use in BlueBand and soaps, and exploring local production of herbs and spice for our seasoning cubes. “
Thomas stressed further that “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.”