No fewer than 25,000 farmers have been engaged by Nestle Nigeria through its Creating Shared Value initiative, in a bid to transform their production capacities and enhance their livelihoods.
Nestle has also supported about 50 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), so as to open-up new markets for them in the country.
The food and beverages company embarked on the project to address the challenges of low productivity, poor quality of produce and high post-harvest losses impact on raw materials.
Nestlé in partnership with IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative seeks to develop and empower these farmers and SMEs to help Nestlé meet its goal of boosting from 60% to more than 70% by 2022, its responsibly and regionally produced, high-quality raw materials used in the production of Maggi, Milo and Cerelac. By improving local agricultural produce, imports of food crops for local markets will be reduced.
Speaking during an online session with journalists recently, Chief Executive Officer, Shared Value Africa Initiative, Tiekie Barnard, said, “Ten years ago Nestle had the position as the number seller of coffee in the world. You know you want to keep that position.
“What happened to them was that they had problem in Cote d’Ivoire, because they were not getting the coffee beans at the same quality and at the same amount they used to get it. They had to go back to the drawing tablet, and they say what do we do as an organization to address the social issue? And that is what Creating Shared Value is all about. It’s about profitably addressing social issue.
“How can we as a company help the farmers? What can we do for them in order to create a reliable supply chain that will give us quality coffee beans that we can then sell to our consumers?
“What they did was they did engaged with the farmers to find out what the problem was. They realized that the technical part of farming was never part of the farming community.
“Nestlé had to train the farmers, they had to look at the soil because what happened was that they depleted the soil. We just continue to farm and farm without putting something back to the soil. Nestlé had to go through all of these things with the farmers, to train them, to find the route to the market, the easiest way to get their product to Nestle. That helped Nestle to go back to being the number one seller of coffee in the world, because now they have reliable supply chain.
“One story I remember very well was that one farmer says he could send his children to school because the son didn’t have to work with him on the field anymore,” Barnard said.
Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Nestle Nigeria, Victoria Uwadoka identified Creating Shared Value (CSV) as the sustainable way of growing business as against Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
“About 13 years ago, Nestle stated operating this principle of Creating Shared Value. CSV is more sustainable because the results are tired to the growth and success of the business itself.
“While CSR seems like charity, CSV is a business itself, It Is a business initiative. The incentive for business is the business value that it brings through raw materials and through the environment, a better relationship within the community where we operate.
“On the relationship between Nestle and farmers, we are getting better quality of product, ensuring all year round availability of the raw materials we need to continue our production.
“What are the farmers getting? They are getting more revenue because they are able to produce premium crops and actually produce more. They now earn more and they are improving their livelihoods. So investing in your business community is a business value.
“While is this more sustainable? It is because businesses are not charity. We are in business to make money, we are in business to make profit. We are in business to grow.
“If there is anything you are doing that is not improving your bottom line, there is tendency that when things are hard, that’s the first thing you cut. But when you are Creating Shared Value, it becomes part of your plan and part of your business,” Uwadoka said.