Multinational food and beverage processing conglomerate, Nestlé has launched a partnership with the Sustainable Trade Initiative, and Techno Serve, an innovative global non-profit organisation, targeted at engaging 5,000 local farmers in the production, sourcing and supply of soybeans, maize, millet, and sorghum 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, Mr. 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 to 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.