Nestlé, AGRA To Support 2,000 Young Agriculture Entrepreneurs In West Africa
Nestlé Central and West Africa (CWA) and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) today launched a new joint initiative dubbed the Youth Agripreneurship Development Program (YADIS) to catalyze the sustainable development of farmer livelihoods and youth opportunities in farming and agri-food businesses in Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria.
The two and a half-year partnership which seeks to promote agricultural entrepreneurship for African youth will benefit a total of 2,000 young agripreneurs and smallholder farmers, particularly women, in the three countries with training on good agricultural practices and entrepreneurial skills to produce and supply high quality maize, soybean, rice, cassava, cocoa and coffee
In Ghana, the program will be implemented with a Ghanaian agribusiness, Sahel Grains targeting 300 young agripreneurs with specialized capacity building and mentoring, who will in turn serve another 49,500 farmers in Northern Ghana. Focused on the maize value chain, this program will increase incomes of the targeted youth agripreneurs and farmers, fifty percent of whom will be female. Project interventions include input and output aggregation; training in improved production and post-harvest management practices accompanied by services such as mechanization services and crop insurance.
In line with bringing to live its purpose of “enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future”, Nestlé will provide as part of its contribution, technical support to improve grains quality and strengthen services offered to farmers in upgrading the maize supply chain. The Company will also provide a reliable premium market offtake of the maize by Sahel Grains. It has also committed to purchase 1,500 MT of Maize and 2,500 MT of Cassava from the youth agripreneurs who will deliver the acceptable quality produce.
Philomena Tan, Managing Director of Nestlé Ghana who signed the Letter of Intent (LOI) on behalf of the Company, reiterated Nestlé‘s global 2030 ambition to contribute to improving 30 million livelihoods in communities directly connected to its business activities. “Over the years, Nestlé has demonstrated its commitment to helping develop thriving resilient communities though local sourcing of raw materials such as cocoa, coffee, cereals and cassava. In 2018, over 216,000MT of raw materials worth 115 Million USD were sourced locally. This program will complement our efforts to foster robust partnerships along the maize value chain, which will contribute to improved food security and agricultural incomes, thereby enhancing rural development and livelihoods in Africa”. She said.
The program seeks to transform agriculture into a job creating sector to attract young people as the average age of farmers is above 50 years and the migration rate of the youth to the cities continues to soar.
“AGRA is looking forward to the new collaboration with Nestlé CWA” says Vanessa Adams, VP for Country Support and Delivery. “This partnership will empower a new generation of agripreneurs by building the entrepreneurial skills of the youth to profitably engage in on and off farm activities enabling them to provide last mile agricultural services to smallholder farmers in a commercially viable manner. Ultimately, the partnership will encourage, strengthen extension services, increase technology adoption, improve supply chain management and promote agricultural entrepreneurship and the use of structured markets.”
Ms. Adams added that the AGRA contribution to the initiative is part of the Partnership for Inclusive agricultural Transformation in Africa (PIATA) with the Ghana component funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). She further added that the project will be implemented in close collaboration with Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture especially in the build up to the annual African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) that will be held in Accra, Ghana 3-6 Spetember 2019 with a focus on digitalizing agriculture.
Nestlé CWA, through its Global Youth Initiative- Nestlé needs YOUth, will provide in-kind strategic investments as well skills and knowledge transfer on agricultural knowhow particularly on crop quality and postharvest losses. AGRA will leverage its learnings across the continent to support the design of activities and the development of technical packages of best practices.
The partnership will specifically target 1,000 agripreneurs in Ghana and Nigeria who are growing maize, soybean, and cassava. The remaining 1,000 will be young farmers who are growing cocoa and/or coffee intercropping with food crops in Ghana and Ivory Coast.
The project interventions will include input and output aggregation and training in improved production and post-harvest management practices accompanied by services such as mechanization and crop insurance.