Nestle, AGRA and Sahel Grains promote youth excellence in agriculture

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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 at Tumu in the Sissala East district of the Upper West Region – for their excellence in maize farming.

This strategic partnership, formed in July 2019 between Nestlé, AGRA and Sahel Grains, initiated the Youth Agri-preneurship Development Programme (YADIS) to build the capacity of young farmers so as to address youth unemployment and mitigate the declining workforce in agriculture due to aging farmers.

The YADIS programme since inception has trained 226 young agri-preneurs, with females representing 36%. As part of the partnership, AGRA provides financial and technical support; Sahel Grains implements the YADIS programme and buys the grains produced by the farmers for further cleaning and aggregation, while Nestlé provides technical assistance and ready markets for the high-quality gains produced which meet the quality standard required for production of the Nestlé Cerelac maize variant.

Recognition of the three for outstanding youth on the programme for their exceptional performances comes as a result of their output, through applying trainings in good agronomic practices, post-harvest handling services, grain quality management and crop aggregation.

The awardees – Nagali Adams a 28-year-old university graduate; Dajan Adams, a 37-year-old SHS graduate; and Kasim Sakina, a 26-year-old female university graduate – have received 1.5 metric tonnes of Yara Actyva fertiliser from YARA; support for a one-acre model farm; a certificate of honour; and Nestlé food and beverages.

Together, Nagali, Dajan, Kasim and other youth on the YADIS programme are not only making a business in agriculture but have become role-models for their peers; and ultimately save Ghana foreign exchange that hitherto would have been used to import maize into Ghana due to the high standards Nestlé requires for the production of baby food.

Speaking on video, Fatih Ermis – Head of Agricultural Services at Nestlé Central and West Africa said: “We entered this partnership to help equip and encourage young people to create jobs in agriculture, as it is an attractive venture. This will help bridge the unemployment gap and help young people earn sufficient income to manage their families and have a decent life in the rural areas, thereby reducing rural-urban migration.

“For us at Nestlé, this is a way we contribute to building thriving and resilient communities through agriculture.” He added that the project is targetting to achieve a minimum US$2,400 income for every Young Agri-preneur with improved technology and skills.

AGRA Ghana’s Country Manager, Kofi Biney, noted that: “AGRA is delighted to support this programme which is helping ensure the future of young farmers, not only in Ghana but also in Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria”.  He indicated that the objectives of YADIS are consistent with AGRA’s goal of transforming smallholder agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive into farming as a business that thrives.

He added: “The YADIS programme has trained 226 young agripreneurs in Ghana – 72 of them women – in good farming and post-harvest management techniques, to help them gain a better appreciation of the business side of farming”.

Kwame A. Boateng, the Founder and CEO of Sahel Grains, said Ghana can now meet the highest and most stringent maize quality standards – “evidenced by our ability to consistently meet the highest quality requirements that Nestle demands.  Additionally, we are able to export maize to the UK and other countries in Europe.  This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of young and talented farmers that we work with under the Youth in Agriculture programme (YADIS)”.

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