Nestle promotes youth excellence in agriculture

Accra, May 23, GNA – Nestlé, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and Sahel Grains have awarded three young farmers who have embraced agriculture as a business for their excellence in maize farming.

A statement copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra said the three were recognised for their exceptional performances as a result of their output by applying training in good agronomic practices, post-harvest handling services, grain quality management and crop aggregation.

They are Mr Nagali Adams a 28-year-old university graduate, Mr Dajan Adams, 37-year-old Senior High School graduate, and Ms Kasim Sakina, 26- year old university graduate, all from Tumu in the Sissala East District of the Upper West Region.

They received 1.5 metric tons of Yara Actyva fertilizer, support for an acre model farm, a certificate of honour, and Nestlé foods and beverages.

The awardees had become role models for their peers and ultimately saving Ghana foreign exchange that hitherto could have been used to import maize due to the high standards that Nestlé requires for the production of baby food.

The statement said the strategic partnership, formed in July 2019 between Nestlé, AGRA and Sahel Grains, initiated the Youth Agri-preneurship Development Programme (YADIS), of which the awardees were part.

The programme seeks to build the capacity of young farmers to address youth unemployment and mitigate the declining workforce in agriculture due to ageing farmers.

The statement said the YADIS programme had trained 226 young Agri-preneurs with females representing 36 per cent.

As part of the partnership, AGRA provides financial and technical support, while Sahel Grains implements the YADIS programme and buys the grains produced by the farmers for further cleaning and aggregation.

Nestlé provides technical assistance and ready market for the high-quality gains, which meets the quality standards required for the production of Nestlé Cerelac maize variant.

“We entered into this partnership to help equip and encourage young people to create jobs in Agriculture as it is an attractive venture,” Mr Fatih Ermis, the Head of Agricultural Services at Nestlé Central and West Africa, was quoted as saying.

“This will help bridge the unemployment gap and help young people to earn sufficient income to manage their families and have decent life in the rural area thereby reducing rural-urban migration. For us at Nestlé, this is a way we contribute to building thriving and resilient communities through agriculture.”

The project is targeting to achieve a minimum of $2,400 income for every young Agri-preneur with improved technology and skills.

“AGRA is delighted to help ensure the future of young farmers not only in Ghana, but also in Cote d'Ivoire and Nigeria,” says Mr Kofi Biney, the AGRA Ghana’s Country Manager.

The objective of YADIS was consistent with AGRA’s goal to transform smallholder agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive into farming as a business that thrives, the statement said.

Mr Kwame A. Boateng, the Founder of Sahel Grains, said Ghana could meet the highest and most stringent maize quality standards if actors in the value chain prioritised to consistently meet the highest quality requirements that Nestle demands.

“We are able to export maize to the UK and other countries in Europe. This is a testament to hard work and dedication of the young and talented farmers that we work with under the YADIS,” he said.