The company set up the Nestlé Nigeria & IFDC/2Scale Project Sorghum & Millet – in collaboration with the International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC)/2Scale – to help smallholder farmers improve their livelihoods by empowering them on sustainable farming practices.
It also aims to improve grain quality and productivity.
Closing the gaps
Before the initiative was set up in 2015, Nigeria’s yield per hectare was 0.9 tons. It doubled to 1.8 tons/hectare in 2017.
The target is to reach 2.20 tons/hectare during the 2018-farming season, progressing towards the maximum yield capacity of 2.35 tons/hectare of the crop varieties.
“The results we have achieved so far with Nestlé Nigeria & IFDC/2Scale Project Sorghum & Millet is an example of what is possible when we look at the agriculture value chain holistically from the farm to storage, to transportation, and right down to the factory gate and take definite measures to close the gaps,” said Alarcon, noting the company sources around 80% of its agricultural raw material from Nigeria.
“Nestlé, together with its implementing partners, has made a significant impact in the past two years, training over 7,905 sorghum and 1,069 millet farmers on good agricultural pre-harvest and post-harvest practices,” he added, noting that 22% of these farmers were women.
Maxwell Olitsa, project manager at IFDC, said the project had recorded positive results through teaching and ensuring farmers adherence to best farming practices.
“We achieved the results in the field by empowering farmers to adopt best practices and new technology. Showing in addition to telling also made a lot of difference,” said Olitsa.
He said 27 demo plots have been established; six of which are managed by women.
“The demo plots are always accessible to the farming clusters to provide continuous technical support and coaching in the field.
“To ensure crop integrity from farm to factory gate, the project also trains aggregators, pesticide spray providers and input suppliers,” he added.
The farmers have testified to a significant increase in income due to an increase in productivity, improved crop quality and the availability of a ready market, which eliminates the negative influence of intermediaries.
Farmers are also coached on how to improve their negotiating skills, which has led them to become more confident about their position and the quality of their products.