Accra, June 13, GNA- Nestlé Central and West Africa (CWA) and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has launched a new joint initiative dubbed the Youth Agripreneurship Development Programme (YADIS) to motivate youth in agriculture.
The programme is aimed at catalysing the sustainable development of farmer livelihoods and youth opportunities in farming and agri-food businesses in Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria.
A statement jointly issued by the partners and copied to the Ghana News Agency said the two and a half-year partnership, which sought to promote agricultural entrepreneurship for African youth would benefit a total of 2,000 young ‘agripreneurs’ and smallholder farmers, particularly women.
The statement said YADIS sought to also 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.
The statement said young ‘agripreneurs’ 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.
The statement said in Ghana, the programme would be implemented with a Ghanaian agribusiness, Sahel Grains, targeting 300 young ‘agripreneurs’ with specialised capacity building and mentoring, who would in turn serve another 49,500 farmers in Northern Ghana.
To live its purpose of “enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future”, the statement said Nestlé would provide technical support to improve grains quality and strengthen services offered to farmers in upgrading the maize supply chain.
It said the Company would also provide a reliable premium market offtake of the maize by Sahel Grains, adding that Nestlé had committed to purchase 1,500 MT of Maize and 2,500 MT of Cassava from the youth agripreneurs who would deliver the acceptable quality produce.
Quoting Madam Philomena Tan, the Managing Director of Nestlé Ghana, who signed the Letter of Intent (LOI) on behalf of the Company, the statement said Nestlé’s global 2030 ambition was to contribute to improving 30 million livelihoods in communities directly connected to its business activities.
“Over the years, Nestlé has demonstrated its commitment to help develop thriving resilient communities though local sourcing of raw materials such as cocoa, coffee, cereals and cassava”, she said adding that in 2018, over 216,000MT of raw materials worth 115 Million US Dollars were sourced locally.
Madam Tan said the current programme would complement Nestlé’s efforts to foster robust partnerships along the maize value chain, which would contribute to improved food security and agricultural incomes, thereby enhancing rural development and livelihoods in Africa.
Ms Vanessa Adams, the Vice-President for Country Support and Delivery said “AGRA is looking forward to the new collaboration with Nestlé CWA”.
“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.
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 said the project would 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.
The statement said “AGRA will leverage its learnings across the continent to support the design of activities and the development of technical packages of best practices.
It said the partnership would specifically target 1,000 ‘agripreneurs’ in Ghana and Nigeria who are growing maize, soybean, and cassava.
The remaining 1,000, the statement said, would be young farmers who are growing cocoa and/or coffee intercropping with food crops in Ghana and Ivory Coast.