Indigenising economy, impacting communities
It is generally believed that nation building should be a dedicated team work of all genuinely-concerned stakeholders in the country.
In my over two decades of Journalism practice, have been noting with care, what we usually describe as Corporate Social Responsibilities, CSR, of many companies operating in the country.
Compared with what obtains in other parts of the world, one can conveniently say that Nigerians are being shortchanged in most cases.
When you compare the profits declared at the end of the financial year of most companies with the percentage of funds “allegedly” expended on community projects and empowerment, you will appreciate what we are talking about.
Such situation must definitely change for better and this can be achieved if Nigerian citizens, policy makers and those charged with the responsibilities of implementing the policies, truly know their rights and do things rightly always without fear or favour.
However, we still have very few companies that can be commended in this regard though they can also do better. One of those organisations performing excellently in this regard is Nestle Nigeria Plc.
This is because have been privy to many of their projects and those of other companies as an Editor for many years. I am particularly interested in some of these programs because I know the impact good agricultural practices can have on the health of the people in particular and economic development of the nation in general.
Let’s take for instance, the company’s partnership with the International Fertiliser Development Centre (IFDC) to train 30,000 Nigerian farmers on resilient farming of sorghum and millet as part of its effort to source 100% of its raw materials locally.
Local sourcing of raw materials will definitely create more job opportunities for many Nigerians. And that’s what we expect.
Talking about this and other projects of the company, Nestle’s Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Victoria Uwadoka, reiterated the company’s commitment to community development and healthier nation.
Interactions with many consumers have also testified to the quality assurance confidence reposed in the company and it is expected that the company will not disappoint Nigerians in any way but only to add more values in all ramifications.
This can also be seen in the presentation by the Federal Government, of the Water Use License Certificate to Nestlé and one other company, for official extraction of water resources for their operations.
Many communities have benefited from the borehole water projects among others for families and individuals simply because the company is committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Available statistics has shown that about 50 million children live healthier lives as Nestle helps to improve 30 million livelihoods in communities directly connected to their business activities all over the country and beyond.
Visiting their factories, it’s quite evident that the company strives to ensure zero environmental impact in their operations from safety procedures to quality standards in food processing from the beginning till the end.
And I feel other organisations need to learn a great deal from this as such commitment to highest quality and safety procedures is truly helping them eventually in creating value, both for their shareholders and the society in general.
Of course, by enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier lifestyle and eating habits through essential micronutrients fortified products, we may not be able to quantify the multiplier effects of such initiatives.
The nation will gain a great deal if all other operators are doing the same and even much more.
In addition, by empowering our farmers and others involved in the agricultural processing chain, Nestle has been generating sustainable economic value in a way that also produces value for the nation.
This can also be seen in the company’s initiatives aimed towards addressing some of the challenges in nutrition, water among others such as working with stakeholders to equip healthcare professionals (HCPs) with Essential Newborn Care skills, including neonatal resuscitation. Over 1,500 HCPs have been impacted already.
There are other programs aimed at improving the outlook of child healthcare in the country. These include the Post Graduate Program for Pediatric Nutrition (PGPN), a global program developed and facilitated by Medinscribe in association with Boston University School of Medicine, a leader in medical education and supported by Nestlé Nutrition Institute.
According to Uwadoka, the aim of PGPN is to help keep healthcare professionals up-to-date on the evolving science of pediatric nutrition. This program has reached over 700 HCPs since 2016.
Of particular interest to me and I am sure to other Nigerians, is the Nestlé’s commitment to the local sourcing of raw materials for its production.
“We have been doing this for the past 7 years, reaching about 80% local sourcing of raw and packaging materials so far. The 5 major locally sourced products and average tonnage (average volume per item includes; Corn: 10,000, Sorghum: 6,500, Soya Beans: 5,000, Cassava Starch: 4,000 among others.
We can go on and on listings many of these good initiatives but the essence of this write up is to commend Nestle for doing all these while expecting greater strides as well as encouraging other corporate organisations to follow suit and even surpass this. Nigeria is a huge market indeed and deserves all the best in terms of best practices and giving back to the people and the nation.