From Magnus Eze, Abuja
No fewer than 20,000 soybean and maize farmers in Kaduna Sate will benefit from “Feed the Future Nigeria and Nestlé Maize Quality Improvement Partnership (M-QIP)”.
This is a new partnership programme between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Nestlé Nigeria PLC, Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA) and VEGA Member Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA).
The programme aims to train farmers, workers and small agricultural businesses in Kaduna State by leveraging the expertise of volunteers.
Information from the communication consultants of the programme said farmers will learn how to reduce crop contaminants, to help sustainably increase the safety and quality of maize and soybeans, which invariably will lead to improved health, nutrition and livelihoods in their communities.
Nestlé has in the past three years, through its creating shared value programme, been able to reach 30,000 smallholder farmers, helping them increase their income by 35 per cent by improving their agricultural practices to ensure the safety and quality of their crops.
According to the statement, “The new partnership is expected to significantly expand on these efforts, reaching an additional 20,000 smallholder farmers-including 40 per cent women and other agro-industry entrepreneurs within the value chain. It is estimated that the implementation of this programme will increase the sales of better quality maize and soybean by at least 17,000 metric tons annually helping to improve the livelihoods of these farmers.”
Over 200 for-profit private enterprises, such as farm service retailers, will also be trained and supported to improve their technologies and management practices.
Emphasizing on the impact of the partnership on the local economy, CEO and Managing Director, Nestlé Nigeria, Mauricio Alarcon, said: “This partnership is in line with Nestlé’s purpose of enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future. Our Creating Shared Value approach enables us to build thriving, resilient communities with whom we work, by improving the livelihoods of individuals and families. Today, we locally source more than 80% of our raw material and we are committed to further increase in this regard. We believe that the collaboration with the communities, CNFA, USAID and VEGA will help to improve livelihoods in communities connected to our business activities.