USAID, Nestlé Nigeria, VEGA partner to assure supply of safe, quality maize
This Wednesday, 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 partnership program: Feed the Future Nigeria and Nestlé Maize Quality Improvement Partnership (M-QIP) to help address the issue of crop contamination prevalent in the cultivation of maize.
This partnership was signed in the presence of Stephen Haykin, Mission Director for USAID Nigeria, Fatih Ermis, Head of Agricultural Services at Nestlé Central and West Africa, Michael Deal, President and CEO of VEGA, Sylvain Roy, President & CEO of VEGA CNFA and the M.V. Tinkat, Director at the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
Under this partnership, USAID ADVANCE, Nestlé and VEGA will work together to build the capacity of farmers and small agricultural businesses in Kaduna State by leveraging the expertise of volunteers. Farmers will learn how to reduce crop contaminants, to help sustainably increase the safety and quality of maize and soybeans, which will lead to improve the health, nutrition and livelihoods in their communities.
The new partnership is expected to reach 20,000 smallholder farmers—including 40 percent women and other agro-industry entrepreneurs within the value chain, leading to an increase in supply 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 farmer and aggregator training programs to help reduce aflatoxins and other contaminants in grains, through a train- the trainer approach. More than 200 for-profit private enterprises, such as farm service retailers, will be trained and supported to improve their technologies and management practices.
International experts in mitigation mycotoxin 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 the Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies and Lifelong Learning in Nigeria.
Emphasizing on the impact of the partnership on the local economy, Mr. Mauricio Alarcon, CEO and Managing Director, Nestlé Nigeria said: “This partnership is in direct 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 livlihoods in communities connected to our business activities”.
Speaking about the partnership, USAID Mission Director Stephen M. Haykin said: “This public-private partnership supported by Feed the Future will help lift farmers out of poverty by sharing best practices in agriculture activities. Providing farmers and suppliers the knowledge and tools to improve their produce will help them garner higher selling prices and increase household incomes.”
Sylvain Roy, CNFA President & CEO is confident that: “The partnership will allow CNFA to apply our unique expertise in supporting smallholder farmers around the globe to improve our new beneficiaries’ capacity to supply processors—one of the fundamental linkages in the agricultural value chain. CNFA shares a commitment with our partners to building local technical expertise and capacity for sustainable impact and change, and we intend to leverage all of our capabilities—development, agriculture training, skilled volunteers and more—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.”
Michael Deal, President and CEO, VEGA: “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. This 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.”
This partnership reinforces Nestlé commitment to rural development as part of its creating shared value strategy. Nestlé’s rural development framework is designed to identify the status and needs of farmers and farming communities. We source from to provide them with agricultural support and capacity building to increase yields, crop quality and income level. Nestlé aims to ensure that its operations have a positive impact on its suppliers and the communities they live in.