WISHH Perspectives

In Nigeria WISHH’s 16-Year Partnership Lifts U.S. Soy Trade

A group of five Alltech LTD employees standing together in a warehouse in Lagos, Nigeria.
Alltech LTD employees walk through the company’s warehouse in Lagos, Nigeria in between a lean management training course offered by WISHH. The training helped the company become more efficient and supported their pro-soya marketing strategies.

Alltech Nutrients Limited, a Nigerian food company, continues to prefer U.S. Soy for quality and innovation thanks to its 16-year partnership with ASA’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health program. Through WISHH’s long-term trade and development partnership, the company has bought 255 metric tons of U.S. Soy since 2018. This includes 80 metric tons of soy flour and other high-protein U.S. Soy products purchased from U.S. companies, such as Benson Hill.

“WISHH has shown us the obvious reasons why we are continuing to import U.S. Soy: It is top-quality and consistent. What we get from WISHH and U.S. Soy is hard to find elsewhere,” says Alltech Business Development Manager Chimezie Obialor.

He notes that, due to its work with WISHH, Alltech remarkably got stronger through the tough years of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Nigerian company has doubled in size to a current 40 employees who are manufacturing and selling defatted soy flour to Nigerian bakers and textured soy protein to snack food makers. These companies are taking advantage of U.S. Soy’s quality and ability to boost the protein levels in their foods. Soy protein is a powerhouse for food security in Nigeria. With more than 200 million people, Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa and the seventh in the world. The annual growth rate of the population is approximately 2.7%, and more than half are under 30 years of age. (Source: World Food Programme)

Based in Lagos, Alltech’s trade relationships are well positioned to take advantage of the new Lekki Deep Sea Port. The deep-sea Lekki port would strengthen Nigeria’s position as a regional maritime.  (Source: The Lekki Port)

Beyond supporting the trade of U.S. Soy for Alltech’s top-tier products, Alltech’s journey with WISHH is enriched by technical trainings offered in the United States as well as in Nigeria. “Our partnership with WISHH over the years has been value-packed,” says Obialor. “The partnership has been of tremendous support in developing the Nigeria market with value-added U.S. Soy products and, invariably, grown our business.”

Alltech staff participation in the “Baking with Soy Flour” class at the Northern Crops Institute and INTSOY, along with courses at the National Soybean Research Laboratory in Champaign, Illinois in 2011, laid the foundation for a journey of continual learning and improvement. Furthering its technical prowess, staff at Alltech attended other courses intended to solidify their commitment to staying at the forefront of soy industry advancements for Nigeria.

Obialor also notes how proud he is that Alltech is leading this charge with WISHH in his country, particularly when it comes to getting more protein into foods. “The costs of protein from meat only continues to increase. So, we know that there is a growth opportunity for soy protein in products as well. Soy offers an excellent alternative to meat protein in terms of quality and costs.”

Through these courses, Obialor and his staff learned that soybeans are the only plant-based proteins that contain all nine essential amino acids. For a country where meat consumption can be challenging, soy offers a nutritious and delicious substitute.

The technical support from WISHH has affirmed their pro-soya marketing strategies. WISHH leverages funding from multiple qualified state soybean boards, known as QSSBs, with USDA Market Access Promotion, Foreign Market Development, and Agricultural Trade Promotion providing support throughout the years to assist Alltech.

WISHH’s lean management trainings have greatly contributed to the company’s business growth and ability to weather COVID-19 and other economic challenges. Obialor notes that Alltech became more efficient while doubling staff size and eliminating various forms of waste, which are strengths that separate them from competitors.

Alltech’s CEO, Frank Nwabudike believes WISHH’s support in its 16-year partnership with Alltech has meant the increased presence of U.S. Soy in Nigeria, creating a win-win situation for both sides. Alltech continues to explore various ways of increasing U.S. Soy in its product offerings.

“Our partnership with WISHH has been an exciting one,” notes Nwabudike. ”I have had and still have partnerships with different companies and organizations in different fields across the world. However, the relationship we share with WISHH has added tremendous value in helping us develop a market that was untapped before now. WISHH helped my company as well as Nigerians to see the enormous values in soy and value-added soy products from the United States.”

WISHH is a program of the American Soybean Association and is funded in part by the United Soybean Board and state soybean board checkoff programs.

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