Demonstrating its commitment to the growth of the Nigerian economy, the management of Honeywell Flour Mills Plc trained more master bakers and revealed plans to open its new state-of-the art production plant in September, raising the company’s output by 62 per cent.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the company, Babatunde Odunayo, disclosed the plan to commission the new 1,000 metric tonnes capacity production plant in Lagos, at the graduation ceremony of 13 certified master bakers, who successfully completed the 19th regular course of the company’s baking school.
“In spite of the challenging business environment, we have since embarked on a mill expansion project which is nearing completion. Once completed, this project will increase our production capacity by 1,000MT to 2,610MTper day which is a 62 per cent increase in our current capacity and position us to meet the increasing consumer interest and demand for our superior quality products,” he said.
Odunayo said the operating business environment continues to be affected by the global economic crisis, infrastructural challenges such as bad roads, inadequate power supply and other factors, but added that it is heart-warming to see government working hard to address these challenges.
“We believe that with concerted efforts and support of us all, these efforts will begin to yield desired results soonest,” he said.
He disclosed that the new facilities being constructed as well as the equipment being installed are state-of-the-art and the very best in modern milling technology which will increase the operational efficiency of the company.
He said that the company will continue to produce only superior quality products which meet international standards, such as its superfine and brown flour, wheat meal, noodles, semolina and pasta brands. “At this moment we have about 600 people working in Honeywell so with the capacity expansion we expect to create about 100 additional jobs,” he said.
On the issue of additional 15 per cent levy on imported wheat which became effective July 01,the Executive Vice Chairman, had this to say “We are still in the first month and the levy is here to stay, and obviously this will increase the cost of production which flour millers may not be able to bear completely and part of it may be passed down to customers who buy the flour and this is likely going to affect the price of bread, however with the inclusion of cassava flour there would be a reduction in the long run.”
He said that stakeholders such as flour millers, cassava processors, bakers and everyone who is interested in the cassava bread project are still in discussion with government. “We are in discussion with the ministry of agriculture and we are working on a further understanding of the project on how the project can be fine tuned,” he explained.
He later awarded certificates to 13 graduating master bakers, noting that since the commencement of the training programme in 2006, over 260 master bakers and caterers have been trained in 19 regular courses and one executive course.
“Organising regular courses for bakers across the country in order to enhance their knowledge has been a long standing project since 2006. We decided to do this for bakers because we realised that most of them acquired their training through hands-on experience in their bakeries which does not give them much exposure in terms of scope and technology,” he said.
He noted that Honeywell is the only flour mill in the country that organises this kind of training for bakers to build up their capacity and expose them to modern baking equipment and professional baking techniques that would help them to run their bakeries more profitably, pointing out that with improved knowledge bakers can improve quality in the bakery sector and contribute more to the economy.
Representing the graduating master bakers who were drawn from bakeries in Gombe, Adamawa, Imo states and Abuja the federal capital territory, the class captain, Babawale Olusegun, thanked the management of the company for the training which he said was given to them on a platter of gold.
According to him besides the conducive learning environment provided for the training, the quality of knowledge gained and the opportunity for cultural integration by the students who were drawn from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, the course has armed them with a winning edge advantage in the face of daunting competition in the bakery sector.
Source: All Africa