Olam Agri opens baking academy to empower Nigerian women

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Olam Agri is empowering Nigerian women with the baking skills. Pic: Olam Agri
Olam Agri is empowering Nigerian women with the baking skills. Pic: Olam Agri

Related tags Olam Agri baking academy Nigeria empowering women

Crown Flour Angels – an initiative of the wheat-milling business in Nigeria – has launched a baking academy to train and economically empower more women.

Crown Flour Angels – launched in 2021 – is one of the initiatives driven by Olam Agri’s Seeds for the Future Foundation, aimed at extending the company’s human capital development contributions to the country’s economy.

The CFA Baking Academy – located in Kano, the capital of Kano State in northern Nigeria – specifically targets women, empowering them with commercial baking skills to enhance their earnings, helping their families, their communities and the country's economy.

Investing in skills and opportunities

Olam Agri ashish-pande-country-head-nigeria
Ashish Pande

It follows the successful facilitation last year of training for over 250 indigent women in Lagos. The training was facilitated by an expert from International Cake Exploration Société (ICES).

“We believe investing in the development of skills and opportunities, particularly for women, can enhance the livelihoods of families and help stimulate national prosperity,” said Ashish Pande, country heat for Olam Agri in Nigeria.

“The Crown Flour Angels initiative is one of the valuable levers we are pulling continuously to deliver on the Seeds for the Future programme, our signature value chain development initiative that focuses on supporting farming communities, enabling wider education and skill development for young people, empowering indigent women and promoting health and nutrition across the country.”

From employee to business owner

Lagos, Nigeria, peeterv
A typical day in Lagos, Nigeria. Pic: GettyImages

The CFA Baking Academy will offer training and certification sponsored by Crown Flour Milling (CFM) - Olam Agri's flour milling subsidiary - designed to equip women with the skills needed to take up employment in the hospitality sector or set up their very own baking outfits.

With a population of approximately 211 million, Nigeria accounts for about 47% of West Africa’s population. It has the largest population of any African nation and one of the largest populations of youth in the world. This is projected to grow to 392 million by 2050, making it the world’s fourth most populous country.

In 2023, bread consumption will average around 17kg per person, making the bakery market one of Nigeria’s most profitable sectors. According to KPMG, in 2017, 72% of Nigeria’s $621m bread industry was dominated by small-scale bakers.

Valued at $13.19bn in 2023, it’s forecast to grow at an 8.66% CAGR to 2027, driven by the need for ready-to-eat products owing to busy work schedules. Emphasis is also increasingly being put on health, with rising demand for gluten-free, high-fibre and trans-fat baked goods.

Scaled support framework

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The Emir of Kano, Aminu Ado Bayero, opened the CFA Baking Academy

“The launch of the Baking Academy offers a scaled support framework for women across regions, and the choice of Kano is strategic,” said Bola Adeniji, head of marketing, Olam Agri in Nigeria.

“The bakery market is growing significantly and presents an opportunity for bakers, including graduates from our baking academy. We’re proud to be launching our women into this prosperous market through our initiative.”

The Academy was officially opened by the Emir of Kano, HRH Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero; with Kano State Governor Dr Ibrahim Gaya; Azman Air chairman Alhaji Abdul Munaf Yunusa and director of Greenwich Merchant Bank Dr Faruk Umar in attendance.

The Emir applauded Olam Agri decision to locate the Academy in Kano State.

“The academy will help build our community by giving our women the opportunity to learn the skills that will yield good incomes for their households when put to commercial use,” he said.

Added Dr Gaya, “Olam Agri's investment in Kano State attests to the state's peace and impressive security levels. The Governor and the traditional rulers have never relented in their efforts to keep ensuring growth in the state. We, therefore, invite more businesses to emulate Olam Agri.”

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