WEST AFRICA – Nestlé Central and West Africa (CWA) and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) have launched a new joint initiative aimed at catalysing development of agri-food businesses in West Africa

Dubbed as the Youth Agripreneurship Development Program (YADIS), the initiative seeks to support sustainable development of farmer livelihoods and youth opportunities in farming and agri-food businesses in Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria.

The two and a half-year partnership which seeks to promote agricultural entrepreneurship for African youth will benefit a total of 2,000 young agripreneurs and smallholder farmers in the three countries.

The partnership will train young farmers on good agricultural practices and entrepreneurial skills to produce and supply high quality maize, soybean, rice, cassava, cocoa and coffee.

In Ghana, the program will be implemented with a Ghanaian agribusiness, Sahel Grains targeting 300 young agripreneurs with specialized capacity building and mentoring, who will in turn serve another 49,500 farmers in Northern Ghana.

Focused on the maize value chain, this program aims at increasing incomes of the targeted youth agripreneurs and farmers, fifty percent of whom will be female.

The project interventions will include input and output aggregation; training in improved production and post-harvest management practices accompanied by services such as mechanization services and crop insurance.

As part of it commitment to “enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future”, Nestlé will provide technical support to improve grains quality and strengthen services offered to farmers in upgrading the maize supply chain.

The company will also provide a reliable premium market offtake of the maize by Sahel Grains and has also committed to purchase 1,500 MT of Maize and 2,500 MT of Cassava from the youth agripreneurs who will deliver the acceptable quality produce.

Philomena Tan, Managing Director of Nestlé Ghana says “This program will complement our efforts to foster robust partnerships along the maize value chain, which will contribute to improved food security and agricultural incomes, thereby enhancing rural development and livelihoods in Africa”.

Philomena said that in 2018, over 216,000MT of raw materials including cocoa, coffee, cereals and cassava, valued at US$115 million were sourced locally.

“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.

“Ultimately, the partnership will encourage, strengthen extension services, increase technology adoption, improve supply chain management and promote agricultural entrepreneurship and the use of structured markets,” adds Vanessa Adams, VP for Country Support and Delivery.

Ms. Adams added the project will also work in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in Ghana and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).