KANO, Nigeria -/African Media Agency(AMA)/- Bühler, in collaboration with Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, has opened a grains application center in Nigeria dedicated to processing local and ancient grains. This sustainable and transformative commitment was made based on the need to address food insecurity, not just in Nigeria, but progressively across the African continent. Today around 2.3 billion people in the world live in food insecure conditions, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. With their specific advantages, local grains such as sorghum and millet can play a vital role in improving food security, particularly in Africa. Use of these raw materials is at a low level today, and processing is not developed. To address this challenge, Bühler is opening a dedicated Application & Training Center with research and development capabilities in Kano, Nigeria, together with its founding partner, Flour Mills of Nigeria (FMN), and its collaborating partners, such as Olam Agri.

The main goal is to bring industrial processing of these grains to the next level and thereby contribute to affordable nutrition. "Sustainable food value chains utilizing local grains are the number one priority to develop Africa," says Johannes Wick, CEO of Bühler's Grains & Food segment.

"In addition to improving the food value chain, we see great business opportunities with a new category of processed food," says John Coumantaros, Chairman of the Board of Flour Mills of Nigeria. Commenting on the foreseeable impact of the Application & Training Center, Coumantaros stated: "FMN has always been at the forefront of driving food self-sufficiency in Nigeria and progressively across the continent. The application center is well positioned to sustainably develop local grains, create business opportunities, and provide viable alternatives to some imported raw materials used in production. Therefore, this partnership further demonstrates our consistency in developing local content and in our commitment to feeding and enriching lives, every day."

Local grains and crops offer many benefits and are therefore a key tool in improving food security. They have high nutrient density with valuable vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fats, are climate tolerant and able to withstand high temperatures and arid conditions, and require less fertilizer and pesticide than other grains. "With these characteristics local grains are ideal plants to be cultivated in Africa, specifically under the conditions of accelerating climate change," says Ali Hmayed, Head of Bühler's new Grain Processing Innovation Center (GPIC) in Kano. The main reasons these local grains and crops have not yet been integrated into industrial solutions are complex, ranging from low farming volumes and short shelf life to a lack of process knowledge and equipment. Together with its partners, Bühler is now taking a major step to break through this blockage and is open to further collaborations.

The GPIC is a three-floor building spanning an area of 480 square meters, housing pilot-scale production facilities, research and development labs, and classrooms. The production facility includes all steps of processing, from cleaning and sorting to dehulling, tempering, and milling. The heart of the plant is Bühler`s high-compression AlPesa grinding system. The GPIC will empower customers, researchers, and partners to collaboratively explore cost efficient food processing solutions for local grains such as sorghum, millet, maize, soybeans, and other local crops such as cassava, different types of beans, nuts, and seeds.

In close collaboration with the Bühler African Milling School in Nairobi, Kenya, the GPIC also offers training and education courses on local grains and their advantages and requirements in cultivation and processing. Additionally, this new Application & Training Center will enable Bühler to optimize its processing portfolio for local grains in terms of both performance and cost efficiency. The GPIC is embedded in Bühler's global network of 25 Application & Training Centers. The first series of trials with customers has already been agreed upon.

Strengthening food security and economy

One key reason for the challenging food situations in Africa is that many regions of the continent are strong importers of grains, mainly wheat and rice. This makes them vulnerable to trade disruptions and foreign exchange rate fluctuations. "Local grains offer many opportunities, not only to increase food security but also to generate new jobs in agriculture and adjacent markets, as well as enabling countries to become more independent from imports," states Ali Hmayed.

The transformation of the food supply chain in Africa will not happen overnight. "This requires concerted efforts across numerous sectors, including agriculture, processing, recipe development, end-product innovation, and consumer engagement," says John Coumantaros from FMN.

"Together with our partners, we at Bühler are happy to now contribute to this system change with the aim of ensuring that more people in Africa have access to affordable and healthy food, thereby reducing hunger and malnutrition," says Bühler's Johannes Wick.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Bühler.


Media contacts:
Burkhard Böndel, Head of Corporate Communications 
Bühler AG, 9240 Uzwil, Switzerland
E-mail: burkhard.boendel@buhlergroup.com 

Ekaette Umoren, Marketing Executive
Bühler Nigeria, 2 Rev. Ogunbiyi Crescent, Ikeja GRA, Lagos, Nigeria
E-mail: ekaette.umoren@buhlergroup.com

Dalen Jacomino Panto, Media Relations Manager 
Bühler AG, 9240 Uzwil, Switzerland 
E-mail: dalen.jacomino_panto@buhlergroup.com 

Modupe Thani, Head of Corporate Communications
Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc.
Email: mthani@fmnplc.com

About Bühler 

Bühler is driven by its purpose of creating innovations for a better world, balancing the needs of economy, humanity, and nature in all its decision-making processes. Billions of people come into contact with Bühler technologies as they cover their basic needs for food and mobility every day. Two billion people each day enjoy foods produced on Bühler equipment; and one billion people travel in vehicles manufactured using parts produced with Bühler solutions. Countless people wear eyeglasses, use smart phones, and read newspapers and magazines – all of which depend on Bühler process technologies and solutions. Having this global relevance, Bühler is in a unique position to turn today’s global challenges into sustainable business. 

As a technology partner for the food, feed, and mobility industries, Bühler has committed to having solutions ready to multiply by 2025 that reduce energy, waste, and water by 50% in the value chains of its customers. It also proactively collaborates with suppliers to reduce climate impacts throughout the value chain. In its own operations, Bühler has developed a pathway to achieve a 60% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 (Greenhouse Gas Protocol Scopes 1 & 2, against a 2019 baseline). 

Bühler spends up to 5% of turnover on research and development annually to improve both the commercial and sustainability performance of its solutions, products, and services. In 2023, some 12,500 employees generated a turnover of CHF 3.0 billion. As a Swiss family-owned company with a history spanning 164 years, Bühler is active in 140 countries around the world and operates a global network of 105 service stations, 30 manufacturing sites, and Application & Training Centers in 25 locations.


About Flour Mills of Nigeria

Incorporated in September 1960 and quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange since 1978, Flour Mills of Nigeria (FMN) Plc, owners of the iconic Golden Penny Food brand, is one of Nigeria’s leading food and agro-allied companies. With a broad basket of food products and robust pan-Nigerian production, distribution, and supply chain network, FMN is a fully integrated and diversified food and agro-allied group. 

FMN group strives in its purpose to “Feed the Nation, Everyday” through its five core food value chains: Grains, Sweeteners, Oils and Fats, Proteins, and Starches. FMN creates value along the entire food chain with its “farm-to-table” model by providing inputs and know-how to farmers, aggregating and sourcing crops and raw materials to supply its world-class processing facilities across Nigeria, and distributing its innovative food brands to its customers. 

More information can be found at https://www.fmnplc.com/