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Funds, graft, taxes, others bane of entrepreneurship in Nigeria ­– Muyiwa

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BY: Nmerichukwu Igweamaka

Folorunso Muyiwa is the Chief Executive Officer of Divergent Enterprise, the parent company of Nigeria’s biggest pig farm, PorkMoney. In this interview, he talks about the country’s investment climate, economic diversification, among other issues. Excerpts.

The Federal Government of Nigeria maintains its determination to diverse the economy, do you think that is achievable?

It is definitely achievable. The diversification of the economy is probably the only option left for development. This is because the economy continues to rely so much on crude oil. The numbers speak for themselves. Oil accounts for 80 per cent of government’s revenue and 90 per cent of foreign exchange earnings. No country, especially one that is blessed with a lot of natural resources like Nigeria, can totally depend on one economic sector.

I believe that there are great opportunities for non-oil sectors to grow, and this growth has been visible since 2001. Of course, the changes cannot be very quick and the transformation will not happen overnight.

However, the Federal Government can develop different sectors by taking important steps necessary for growth to take place. We can no longer be a mono-economic country. 

Could that explain why you ventured into pig farming?

The idea of PorkMoney grew out of the desire to tap into a neglected sector of the livestock farming that has the potential to create value and change the agricultural ecosystem for good. Long ago before PorkMoney was launched in 2018, I visited a pig farm in Ogun State, one of the biggest in the country, and realised how fast the pigs grew and the viability of pig farming system in general. I knew this was something I needed to be a part of and I’m glad for the decision that I took. We are currently the leading pig farming enterprise in West Africa and our achievement speaks for itself. 

Did the idea of establishing PorkMoney emanate from that?

My visit to that farm was definitely a turning point for me. Before then, I was oblivious of the untapped goldmine that is pig farming. 

What challenges did you encounter?

Every business comes with a few challenges. One of the challenges we constantly face is the need to micro-manage casual workers from farm handlers, managers, production managers and other workers. Many of them compromise on set standards by cutting corners, especially in meat processing and livestock welfare.

Another challenge is the religious sentiments in this part of the world towards pigs and pork products. However, this was a more pronounced problem at inception and it is dissipating with time. 

Knowing the religious sensibilities of the country, did aversion to pork cross your mind?

Not at all. In as much as there is a religious proscription to the consumption of pork, we cannot ignore its usefulness and benefits to our health and nourishment and just how lucrative pig farming is. I mean, Nigeria is a major consumer of pork and 80 per cent of it is imported. This means that a lot of people enjoy this animal protein. All we are doing is localising its production. 

Is it possible to alter negative public perception about pig farming?

Definitely. One of our key responsibilities is to enlighten the general public about the great side to pig farming and inform them of the many benefits of pork consumption. Somehow, our environment and the kind of information we were exposed to as a people have influenced our idea of certain things. There are a lot of things we might need to unlearn as time goes on. So by using all our platforms – our social media, our website and even our adverts, we have ensured that we always show the good sides of pig farming because they are much. 

Did you consider the possible health challenges in pork breeding?

Of course, we do. However, we ensure that we take the appropriate steps to mitigate any possibility. We also take proper hygienic measures like vaccination, quarantine and biosecurity, which keep our weaners very healthy.

Are you saying there are no associated diseases?

Livestock farming comes with a risk of epidemics; but if managed properly, they can be prevented. The great thing about pigs is just how resilient they are, compared to any other livestock, to farm. They are simply incredibly disease-resilient. 

Vaccines and disease surveillance have always been the bane of animal husbandry. How do you take that observation?

Livestock are very prone to diseases; hence the need to constantly take precautionary measures such as administration of vaccines and disease surveillance activities across the farm to prevent outbreaks. Very recently, China witnessed its biggest animal disease that claimed livestock and cost the country billions of dollars because of its flawed surveillance.

So it’s important for other pork-producing countries to take adequate disease surveillance and testing programmes to detect these diseases early enough and prevent a fast spread.

So far, our farm partners under our management have taken adequate measures that have seen us not witness any outbreak since our launch in 2018. We expect that with our measures, this would continue to be the case.

What would you consider the most limiting factors to entrepreneurship in Nigeria, especially for youths?

Lack of capital is one of them. Aside that the Nigerian environment is not too conducive and encouraging for budding entrepreneurs, access to funds is one of the biggest challenges for youths in business. Another is the unfavourable tax policies, poor management, corruption, lack of training and experience, poor infrastructure and lack of specialised skills to scale one’s enterprise, none of which is insurmountable for a determined person. 

How would you rate Nigeria’s Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, compared to other countries like Malaysia?

The SME sector is the backbone of major developed economies and an important contributor to employment and economic growth. Malaysia is doing remarkably well when it comes to the business scene. About 98.5 per cent of business establishments in Malaysia are SMEs, which contribute 36.5 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product and 65 per cent of the employment. This is impressive. Despite the significant contribution of SMEs to the Nigerian economy (48 per cent), challenges still persist that hinder the growth and development of the sector. Some of the overriding issues are access to funding, lack of skilled manpower, multiplicity of taxes, high cost of doing business, among others. This proves that there is still much to be done.

As an entrepreneur, how did you overcome initial apprehensions, especially funding, and what areas have you exerted your ideas so far?

When I was starting out in business, I had no capital, training or resources to start my journey. The brilliant ideas were there. All that was needed to execute them was finance, which was lacking, but I had to start small and grow multiple businesses over the years till I was able to afford the capital needed to start my current pursuit.

GrassRoots.ng is on a critical mission; to objectively and honestly represent the voice of ‘grassrooters’ in International, Federal, State and Local Government fora; heralding the achievements of political and other leaders and investors alike, without discrimination. This daily, digital news publication platform serves as the leading source of up-to-date information on how people and events reflect on the global community. The pragmatic articles reflect on the life of the community people, covering news/current affairs, business, technology, culture and fashion, entertainment, sports, State, National and International issues that directly impact the locals.

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Foods

White Rice Vs Brown rice – Why the white rice is not good for you

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Rice is probably the most famous food consumed in the world. And with that stated, it’s not a coincidence how massively it is well consumed. But the truth is this, the heavy consumption of White rice actually does more harm than good to our health.

Grains of White rice

Now, before we go into the needed details of what white rice can do to harm the body, I know you might be wondering what other food can replace White rice. Well it’s simple because it’s the BROWN RICE. I’ll be letting you understand why you need to consume more of brown rice than the white rice.

Grains of Brown rice

Brown rice is simply the entire whole rice grain, you will understand what it looks like if you’ve ever seen a freshly harvested rice before. It contains the fiber bran, and carbohydrate rich endosperm.

While the white rice is stripped of it’s bran and leaving just the endosperm. I can say that white rice is considered as empty carbs since it’s been stripped off of it main source of nutrients. Although when cooking, a lot of other nutrients is added to enrich it, but it is no longer as naturally nutritious as the brown rice because that bran has so much nutrients. According to an expert Nutritionist, the nutrients found in the brown rice are listed below.

Calories:216, Carbs:44 grams, Fiber:3.5 grams, Fat:1.8grams, Protein:5grams, Thiamin (B1):12% of the RDINiacin (B3): 15% of the RDIPyridoxine (B6): 14% of the RDIPantothenic acid (B5): 6% of the RDIIron: 5% of the RDIMagnesium: 21% of the RDIPhosphorus: 16% of the RDIZinc: 8% of Calories:216, Carbs:44 grams, Fiber:3.5 grams, Fat:1.8 grams, Protein:5grams, Thiamin (B1):12% of the RDINiacin (B3): 15% of the RDIPyridoxine (B6):
14% of the RDIPantothenic acid (B5):
6% of the RDIIron:
5% of the RDIMagnesium: 21% of the RDIPhosphorus: 16% of the RDIZinc:
8% of the RDICopper:
10% of the RDIManganese: 88% of the RDISelenium: 27% of the RDI RDI

And this is why the brown rice is considered the most healthy type of rice advisable for consumption.

Now, the health risks involved in the much consumption of white rice includes weight gain, type 2 diabetes, a large waist line, and even high blood pressure. Meanwhile brown rice has a very low risk of all that health problems.

Because white rice is easy to digest, it is good for people with digestive problems. But otherwise, go for brown to be much on a safer side as studies have shown that people who regularly eat large amount of white rice have higher risk of metabolic syndrome.

A plate of White rice

So eat healthy, and stay safe.

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Foods

Freddy Hirsch Nigeria launches Bouillon seasoning for West Africa

The new bouillon seasonings were developed from rising consumer preference for low-cost, easy-to-use, and intense flavors used in African soups and stews.

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Freddy Hirsch Nigeria launches Bouillon seasoning
Spices, herbs, rice and various beans and seasonings for cooking on dark backgraund with copy space top view

Freddy Hirsch Nigeria, a fast-growing African manufacturer of extracts for spices, ingredients, and flavors has launched its new range of bouillon flavors, delivering the versatile bouillon taste, sought after in the West African market, particularly the local quick-service restaurant (QSR) industry.

Typically made up of salt, sugars, starch, vegetable fats, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, herbs, and spices, bouillon is a versatile ingredient in African food as it enhances the flavor of dishes including soups and stew. Bouillon delivers the Umami taste, a meaty, savory profile with fullness and a mouth-watering sensation that characterizes African meals, as well as but it also presents a combination of other local spices and herbs all in on sprinkle or cube making it a one-stop bullet for food preparation.

The new bouillon seasonings were developed from rising consumer preference for low-cost, easy-to-use, and intense flavors used in African soups and stews.

Speaking on the launch, Managing Director of Freddy Hirsch Nigeria, Kojo Brifo said that the new seasoning would preserve truly African tastes. “African cuisine continues to quest for authenticity, with consumers looking for the Umami taste with the complexity of naturally sourced local herbs and spices that produce Umami-producing high intense flavor. Our bouillon seasoning improves the culinary experience by making it easy to achieve tasty meals, with the easy addition of our bouillon flavors, packed in powder form”.

Developed by the company’s Research and Development team in its culinary center, the new seasonings utilized its insights into African consumer taste preferences, laboratory research, and the focus on developing unique flavors that provide authenticity and enhance local taste in food dishes. The bouillon flavors include chicken seasoning, curry seasoning, stew seasoning, seafood seasoning, and the bouillon classic: a multipurpose, (Allspice) blend of spices. Each of the spices is versatile and has multiple use applications.

Brifo enthused that the bouillon flavors would be a compelling add-on for the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry and other retail food providers, “Quick service restaurants and other retail food providers require different bouillon flavors that can be adapted to their unique preferences. Freddy Hirsch’s bouillon seasonings serve as a building block for these operators and the entire retail value chain, with implications on cost, speed to market, delivery, consumer preferences, and profitability.”

Freddy Hirsch Nigeria also launched its product catalog, a print and digital document that aims to promote the company’s product offerings in seasonings (noodle, bouillon, rice), sauces (marinades and rubs, instant sauces), pizza, sausage roll fillings, premixes (pie and bakery) snack dustings, bakery premixes, texture systems, butchery applications, and breadings, among others.

Freddy Hirsch Nigeria is part of the Freddy Hirsch Group, a Cape Town-based supplier of industrial spices, casings, and meat processing equipment, servicing thousands of customers, including independent butcheries, major retail chain stores, meat processing factories, and poultry factories. Freddy Hirsch Nigeria has become a reputable manufacturer of savory flavors, and seasonings for the bouillon and noodle market in West Africa.

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Foods

Nigerian Red Cross Sets Up 140 Mothers Clubs to Tackle Acute Hunger, Malnutrition in Most Impacted Communities

The clubs are spread across three local governments each in Sokoto, Katsina, Kebbi, Zamfara, Benue, Nasarawa and Niger states.

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The Nigerian Red Cross Society has set up 140 Mothers Clubs in North-Central and North-West

The Nigerian Red Cross Society has set up 140 Mothers Clubs in North-Central and North-West Nigeria as part of the Nigeria Hunger Crisis Appeal.

The clubs are spread across three local governments each in Sokoto, Katsina, Kebbi, Zamfara, Benue, Nasarawa and Niger states.

3,500 mothers (Pregnant and Lactating Women) are being targeted in 140 Mothers Clubs (21,000 indirect beneficiaries) through an integrated community-based campaign on Acute malnutrition and promoting Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) for care givers and lactating mothers in the North-West and North-Central parts of the country through the Hunger Crisis Emergency Appeal in collaboration with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

The Nigerian Red Cross Society has set up 140 Mothers Clubs in North-Central and North-West
Screening for Malnutrition

The mothers are being trained on best health and nutritional practices that will help keep infants and young children healthy and productive.

Training is being provided by the Nigerian Red Cross Society with support from the Federal Ministry of Health.

According to the Federal Ministry of Health report and a report, Cadre Hamonize, Nigeria has the second highest burden of stunted children in the world, of an estimation of 2 million, with a national prevalence rate of 32 percent of these children being under five with seven percent of women of childbearing age suffering from acute malnutrition.

The report says, Seven percent of women of childbearing age also suffer from acute malnutrition, thus the campaign aims to empower mothers and care givers with knowledge on nutrition in local communities in 7 states namely Benue, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Nasarawa, Niger and Zamfara where it is also estimated that about 19.4 million people will be facing acute hunger between June and August 2022.

The Secretary General of the Nigerian Red Cross Society, Abubakar Kende says: “acute hunger breeds malnutrition and this requires immediate action particularly for pregnant, lactating mothers and vulnerable children.

A good number of them are now in a situation where they eat what they can get instead of choosing diets that will make them and their children healthy and this is something that concerns us greatly.”

The Nigerian Red Cross Society has set up 140 Mothers Clubs in North-Central and North-West
| Hunger Crisis Mother’s Club 2 Obi LG Nasarawa State

“Kende further said, “we are grateful to our funding partners; The American Red Cross, British Red Cross, Canadian Red Cross, Japanese Red Cross, and Netherlands Red Cross who have gone ahead to provide much needed resources to allow us to reach the most vulnerable people in these 7 states, however more support is still required as the funding gap is still huge vis a vie the needs.” Currently through the Hunger Crisis Appeal 700 Pregnant and Lactating women (PLWs) received a second round of supplementary conditional cash grants to boost their nutritional status and that of the babies they carry or infants that they are nursing to add to the 5000 HHs which received multipurpose cash grants to fight Hunger across 7 states.

Dr. Manir Jega, Coordinator, Health, and Care, NRCS says, the activity will, through the formation of mother’s clubs share information on nutrition, identify and refer malnourished children and lactating mothers to the nearest health facility after being measured with the Mid Upper Arm Circumference, MUAC tape.

 “We know that if mothers and care givers have better information, it will lead to healthier children and a better society, we have set up 140 Mothers Club in the 7 states. We are working closely with Federal Ministry of Health on this.”

One of the leading causes of malnutrition in Nigeria is poor dietary knowledge adding that the network of Red Cross volunteers would help educate lactating mothers and care givers on how to combine available foods to reduce malnutrition and improve the production of breast milk for infants during the weekly mother’s club meetings. This is expected to go a long way in reducing malnutrition, prevent child mortality, morbidity and promote a healthy diet, Dr. Jega noted.

According to Benson Agbro, Coordinator Disaster Management, the spate of farmer herder conflicts and banditry in the country is another leading cause of malnutrition. “When people cannot access markets to buy food, or they cannot access their fields to grow the required dietary foods, they will eat whatever food they see is available to them in order to just fill their stomachs and live to fight another day without minding the nutritional value”.

The Nigerian Red Cross Society has set up 140 Mothers Clubs in North-Central and North-West
| Hunger Crisis Mother’s Club 1 Obi LG Nasarawa State

The Nigerian Red Cross with support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is working to reduce acute hunger in Nigeria and improve the nutrition and livelihoods of 51,000 beneficiaries in North-West and North-Central Nigeria.

The impacted communities are experiencing acute hunger because of climate change, COVID 19 and insecurity which prevents many of them from accessing their farmland and in some cases has forced them to flee their homes.

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