…Partners IDH, TechnoServe to facilitate project
Multinational food and drink processing conglomerate, Nestlé has launched a partnership with IDH the Sustainable Trade Initiative, and Technoserve, an innovative global non-profit organisation, targeted at engaging 5,000 local farmers in the production, sourcing and supply of maize, millet, sorghum and soybeans locally for its operations in Nigeria.
The partnership, according to reports, was brought to the fore as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic which hindered global shipping, necessitating more inclusive participation of the local supply chains.
Commenting on the project, Wassim Elhusseini, managing director and CEO, Nestlé Nigeria said it is expected to improve the incomes of the smallholder farmers, help apply more sustainable farming practices to improve their household income and also,increase the sales of six aggregator Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) by at least 10 per cent.
Elhusseini stressed that the incorporation of smallholders into a value chain like Nestlé’s will not only benefit the farmers who will see increased incomes from selling into stable and formal markets, but also the company, which will benefit from a steady supply of locally grown crops.
While highlighting Nestlé’s commitment towards building strong communities and supply chains, improving livelihoods in communities directly connected to its business activities, the managing director said the company has over the years, worked with smallholder farmers and aggregators in Kaduna State, to improve crop quality, significantly reducing rejection rates from over 30 per cent to 4 per cent.
The Developing Inclusive Grain Value Chains project , the Nestlé boss noted, will engage stakeholders across the supply chain to address challenges of abnormal rainfall patterns caused by climate change which makes it difficult for farmers to properly dry their grain and maintain crop quality.
To ensure maximum traceability, the world’s largest food company pledged to guide the aggregators on good recordkeeping and use assay testing kits to track the quality of grains provided by individual farmers.
The initiative is also expected to build the capacity of businesses all along the grain value chain, such as offering training to the aggregators and sub-aggregators on proper grain handling, storage, as well as entrepreneurial and financial skills, training logistic partners on proper handling and storage of grain during transit while the farmers will be trained on good agricultural practices, post-harvest handling and have access to accurate weather forecasts to help them make better decisions about when to dry their grains.
On his part, Cyril Ugwu, IDH Nigeria Country director, said the joint mission with TechnoServe and Nestlé offers a better opportunity of working to contribute to the improvement of agribusiness entrepreneurship in Nigeria.
The partnership, he explained, is crucial as it not only contributes to improved local sourcing of commodities but also contributes to food security and the economic wellbeing of a teeming number of farmers in the region.
The Developing Inclusive Grain Value Chains project, he explained, is part of IDH’s Value Chain Development (VCD) programme, focusing on Africa and is aimed at creating economically viable, inclusive and resilient agricultural value chains.
Ayokanmi Ayuba, TechnoServe’s deputy country director and director of programmes in Nigeria noted that building more inclusive supply chains is a win-win for farmers and the private sector, adding that it will create lasting impact for smallholders, small businesses, and the agricultural sector in general.