By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Nestlé Nigeria PLC, Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA) and VEGA Member Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA) have announced a new Public Private Partnership (PPP) program: Feed the Future Nigeria and Nestlé Maize Quality Improvement Partnership (M-QIP).
The programme aims to train farmers, workers and small agricultural businesses in Kaduna State by leveraging the expertise of volunteers.
In a statement to LEADERSHIP yesterday it stated that “farmers will learn to reduce crop contaminants, help sustainably increase the safety and quality of maize and soybeans, which will lead to improved health, nutrition and livelihoods in their communities.
The statement revealed that for the past three years, Nestlé has been working with farmers to improve their agricultural practices to ensure the safety and quality of their crops.
Adding that this forms part of its Creating Shared value to create value both for business and society. With these projects, the company has been able to reach 30,000 smallholder farmers, helping them to increase their income by 35%.
The new partnership is expected to significantly expand on these efforts, reaching an additional 20,000 smallholder farmers—including 40 percent women and other agro-industry entrepreneurs within the value chain.
The partnership will also” promote viable agricultural supply chains that contribute significantly to national economies, there is the need to address challenges within the agricultural supply chain, through multi-stakeholder action .
The statement adds that “It is estimated that the implementation of the program 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 the next three years, a team of experts and 150 volunteers led by CNFA will design and deliver training programs for reducing aflatoxins and other contaminants in grain and maize to farmers and supply chain intermediaries, through a train- the trainer approach. International experts in mycotoxin mitigation in crops have agreed to provide volunteer advisory services on this project. The team working with Nigerian farmers, agri-business intermediaries and sales agents will also include experts from Purdue University in the U.S. and Centre for Entrepreneurial
Speaking on the partnership USAID Mission Director Stephen M. Hayki said private partnership supported by Feed the Future will help lift farmers out of poverty by sharing best practices in agriculture.
Emphasizing the impact of the partnership on the local economy, Director, Nestlé Nigeria Mauricio Alarcon, said the partnership is in line with Nestles purpose of enhancing quality of life.
“Our creating shared value approach enables us to build thriving,resilient communities with whom we work by improving the livelihoods of individuals and families source more than 80% of our raw material and we are committed to further increase in this in this regard”he said.