WEST AFRICA – Nestlé has laid out its plans to support and accelerate the transition to a regenerative food system, aimed to protect and restore the environment, improve the livelihoods of farmers and enhance the well-being of farming communities.
Some of the most important regenerative farming practices the company aims to promote include: enhancement of biodiversity, soil conservation, regeneration of water cycles, and integration of livestock.
The food giant will work with its food system partners, including the company’s network of more than 500,000 farmers and 150,000 suppliers, to advance regenerative farming practices at the heart of the food system.
“We know that regenerative agriculture plays a critical role in improving soil health, restoring water cycles, and increasing biodiversity for the long term.
“These outcomes form the foundation of sustainable food production and, crucially, also contribute to achieving our ambitious climate targets,” said Paul Bulcke, Chairman of Nestlé.
To this end the food giant has earmarked an investment of CHF 1.2 billion (US$1.28m) over the next five years to spark regenerative agriculture across the company’s supply chain, using three primary levers to help farmers adopt the practices.
Initiatives adopted in promoting regenerative food systems
Agriculture accounts for nearly two-thirds of Nestlé’s total greenhouse gas emissions, with dairy and livestock making up about half of that.
Under the initiative the company seeks to apply state-of-the-art science and technology, provide technical assistance by for example developing higher-yielding coffee and cocoa varieties with lower environmental impact and assessing novel solutions to reduce emissions in the dairy supply chain.
Nestlé will also offer investment support, facilitating lending, or help farmers obtain loans for specific equipment.
The company will also work with partners to fund pilot projects to test and learn how best to advance regenerative agriculture.
Further to that the manufacturing conglomerate will pay premiums for regenerative agriculture goods and buy bigger quantities.
This means rewarding farmers not only for the quantity and quality of ingredients but also for the benefits they provide to the environment through soil protection, water management, and carbon sequestration.
“With our long-standing partnerships with farming communities globally, we want to increase our support for farming practices that are good for the environment and good for people.
“In the spirit of enabling a just transition, it is vital that we support farmers around the world that take on the risks and costs associated with the move towards regenerative agriculture,” said Mark Schneider, Nestlé CEO.
Nestle turns focus on Central and West Africa
In Central and West Africa, Nestlé’s focus is to ensure the supply of local agricultural materials, create inclusive livelihoods for smallholder farmers (SHFs), women and youth while protecting environmental resources.
Since 2015, they have been able to impact more than 56,000 beneficiaries under our Grains Plan in Nigeria and Ghana through mentorship, training on agricultural practices, and provision of inputs.
They also extend their support to young agripreneurs through training, business development, and provision of inputs. More than 2000 of these young agripreneurs involved in maize, coffee, and cocoa farming are already part of this promising journey.
Under its Cocoa Plan in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, Nestle has started income diversification activities like vegetable production, animal rearing, and beekeeping as alternative sources of income for farmers, ensuring resilience and improved livelihoods among cocoa producing communities.
The company also promote financial independence initiatives through the implementation of Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) which serve as a community-based “saving/borrowing” mechanism allowing farmers to build better lives for themselves and their communities.
To further promote regenerative agricultural practices, Nestle has in the last 3 years, distributed more than 600,000 shade trees that protect cocoa trees and store carbon in the soil, improving biodiversity.
They have also encouraged farm crop diversification by providing 7,000 fruit crop seedlings to be integrated into cocoa farms including.
With its network of agronomists and partners, Nestle will strengthen the implementation of these programs throughout the Central and West Africa region.
To support young people who are passionate about farming, the maker of Milo brand is launching a new training platform in November to attract and train the next generation of farmers.
The training will focus on regenerative agriculture practices and improving the resilience of farms to climate change for more than 40,000 farmers participating in one of Nestlé’s agripreneurship programs.
Nestlé’s regeneration efforts are launching under the umbrella title of “Generation Regeneration” focused on farmers, youth, consumers, and its own employees.