By Olabisi Olaleye
Sona Agro Allied Foods, one of Nigeria’s biscuit and snack companies, has started exporting biscuits to other West African countries in support of the Federal Government’s efforts at encouraging local production as a strategy for economic growth.
The first consignment of export has already departed for Ghana following a brief ribbon cutting ceremony at the Ijoko-Ota premises of the manufacturing giant. The exercise was flagged off by the Ogun Sate Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Otunba Abimbola Ashiru, who commended Sona Agro Allied Foods management for keying into government’s initiative to drive export and employment.
“This is a fantastic initiative. And it is what Mr. President has been driving at – a country that will be an export dependent economy whereby we’ll be less dependent on foreign goods,” the Commissioner said.
He also commended the company for sourcing 95 per cent of its raw materials for the products locally.
In recent times, Sona Agro Allied Foods has seen a boom in its biscuits business due to rising local demands that prompted aggressive investment in capacity upgrade. The company says it plans to grow its production by 200 per cent in the next 15 months, out of which 30 per cent of its production will be committed to supply the export market.
Speaking at the ceremony, Sona Groups Chairman, Arjan Mirchandani, attributed the growth of the company to recent policy initiatives of the Federal Government. “We feel that import reduction and government policies are helping to grow the industries and so automatically, employment will grow and the ordinary Nigerian will be proud that he is contributing to economic growth.”
Over 900 Nigerians currently work on the biscuit plant and the company is presently investing in the construction of new infrastructure to meet its production growth target for the local and export markets.
Sona Agro Allied Foods has also developed new product line in the premium category to make quality biscuit more accessible and affordable to the Nigerian market, amidst rising cost of premium biscuit brands as a result of the financial crisis.
Sona Agro Allied Foods is the biscuit, cereal and snack unit of Sona Groups and it is the producer of many market leading premium biscuit brands like Sona Rich Tea Biscuit, Sona Malty Biscuit and Sona Ginger Delight Biscuit.