As parts of efforts to boost agricultural business in Nigeria, Nestle Nigeria Plc has signed an agreement with the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) towards training of farmers in the northern Nigeria on good agricultural practices and entrepreneurial skills.
According to the partnership agreements about 1,000 farmers in the region will be trained in a two years pilot project. Among the targeted smallholders farmers are 40 percent women, in the Sahel and Sudan Savanna areas of the country with the aim of developing farming as a business and improve the quality and yields of millet and sorghum, which are popular staples crop ingredients in West African meals.
Parts of the agreements with IFDC entails training on storage practices which will be delivered by using simple, farmer friendly materials on how to manage farming as a business, with emphasis on crop quality and safety and in turn improve their livelihoods. The project which is partly funded by Context Global Development, will run until 2018 with an aim to be scaled up and extended for an additional five years.
Commenting on the new partnership, Nestle Nigeria Managing Director Dharnesh Gordhon said “Our new collaboration with IFDC, together with farmer groups and suppliers partners, looks to support farmers in northern Nigeria by providing them with the tools and capabilities to produce high-quality, disease resistant crops for future food security.
He explained that improving the quality of sourced millet and sorghum will not only provide safer ingredients for local communities and consumers, it will also empower farmers to develop a sustainable farming business and boost their financial status and independence.
On his part the Chief Party for the IFDC said the company is a fitting private partner because of its strength, professionalism and high standards that it instils to produce quality products for local consumers, and also because of the close and fair relations it wants to build and maintain with smallholders farmers. Through this partnership, we seek to achieve better and more sustainable incomes for the smallholders farmers involved.
The new project builds on the Nestle Grain Quality Improvement Project (GQIP) which was launched in 2008 in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) which has also been implemented in Ghana. Each year Nestle sources about 7,000 tonnes of sorghum from farmers in northern Nigeria which it uses as a substitute malt ingredients to tailor its products such as Milo to match the preferred tastes of the local population.