Wednesday, February 24, 2016 3:50 pm
Those castigating the Buhari administration over its defiance to devalue Naira and the exclusion of some 40 items from dollar sales in the banks, need to rethink their argument upon reading this experience of UAC Foods subsidiary, Grand Cereals Limited based in Bukuru Jos.
The company was set up in 1983 to produce baking flour from imported wheat, but its business model collapsed after government banned wheat import. UAC Foods took the firm over in 1997 and has turned it into a factory to produce groundnut oil, soya oil, maize flour and animal feeds, among others. All raw materials for the products are sourced locally.
Among the animal feeds is the dog food called Binggo. The company produces two types, one for puppies and the other for medium and large dogs.
I am a dog owner, feeding four dogs twice a day. For several years, I have been buying Pedigree dry food in 25kg bag for the dogs.
On Monday, I went to the Agege market to buy Pedigree as usual. But there was no single Pedigree bag in this popular market for animal feeds.
All the shop stocked Binggo and they offered it as the best alternative. When I glimpsed the UAC logo boldly on the bag, I never hesitated that it should be a real alternative.
I bought two bags of 15kg at N5,000 each, which means I got a N30kg deal, for the same amount that I was shelling on Pedigree of 25kg. It made a lot of sense to me and it also excited me that a Nigerian company is doing a backward integration, using local materials to produce finished products, unlike so-called business men who import, even ordinary toothpick, and called that a befitting business that we must all die to provide dollars to continue to import.
I was told in the dog food market that the demand for Binggo has risen in the last few weeks since Pedigree, made in the USA faded out, because there is no more cheap dollar to import it into Nigeria.
I was also told Binggo has been around for several years, yet I never noticed the product. A Google search indicated that the product has been around since 2014, with its marketers even participating in a Dog Show in Ibadan in 2014.
Past patrons also confirmed that their dogs have enjoyed the food made-in-Nigeria.
When I called the Grand Cereals people to speak on the fortunes of Binggo since the beginning of the year, the feedback I got back, was that it has been positive. “Very very positive”, said a sales official, Tunde Kehinde, in Lagos.
It should be, as dog owners like me, turn our backs on Pedigree for ever, and embrace our own.
Surely the UAC Food experience must be a positive one to those of us who still believe in the redemption of Nigeria and building the taste for home products.
By Bayo Onanuga