USAID, Nestlé, others partner to train agro-business owners in Kaduna State

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) have announced a new partnership programme to train farmers, workers and small businesses in Kaduna State.

The move is to promote viable agricultural supply chains for improving national economy. The pact titled: “Feed the Future Nigeria and Nestlé Maize Quality Improvement Partnership (M-QIP)”, will help farmers learn how to reduce crop contaminants, help sustainably increase the safety and quality of maize and soybeans, which would improve health, nutrition and livelihoods in their communities.

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.

Also more than 200 for-profit private enterprises, such as farm service retailers, will also be trained and supported to improve their technologies and management practices

Speaking on the partnership USAID Mission Director, Stephen Haykin said: “This public-private partnership supported by Feed the Future will help lift farmers out of poverty by sharing best practices in agricultural activities and focusing on value chains.

“Providing farmers and suppliers the knowledge and tools to improve their produce will help them garner higher selling prices and increase household incomes. Investments in this program from Nestlé and through the in-kind contributions of volunteers really stretch U.S. taxpayer dollars and increase the return on investment.”

Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Nestlé Nigeria, Mauricio Alarcon, said the 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 per cent 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,” he said.

President and Chief Executive Officer, VEGA, Michael Deal, said: “VEGA is very pleased to have brought these partners together to create sustainable supply chain solutions to enhance the well-being of farmers, small business owners and families in Nigeria.”

He said the partnership serves as a model multi-stakeholder collaboration to leverage the expertise of highly skilled volunteers to generate more prosperity and shared value for all partners. VEGA will continue to coordinate the collaboration of our partners and ensure rigorous results.”

CNFA President and Chief Executive Officer, Sylvain Roy, said CNFA shares a commitment with its partners to building local technical expertise and capacity for sustainable impact and change, with intent to leverage all of its capabilities, development, agriculture training, skilled volunteers among others to ensure the success of this public-private partnership, and to empower smallholder farmers and business people along the supply chain including women, youth and families.

Source: G Business