The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement Programme (ADVANCE) and Nestle have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a partnership for regular supply of high-quality agricultural commodities.
In all, 113,000 maize farmers in the three Northern regions would be trained on best practices necessary for growing quality grains, harvesting, packaging and storage, to help reduce high levels of mycotoxins in maize to acceptable international levels.
Mycotoxins are highly stable compounds produced by fungi and they contaminate food crops both before and after harvest.
.Aflatoxins, fumonisins, zearalenone and trichothecenes (deoxynivalenol and nivalenol) are mycotoxins that contaminate maize and are harmful to both humans and animals.
Mrs Freda Duplan, the Managing Director, Nestlé Ghana, who signed for Nestle, said the Company’s Cereal Plan was supporting the company’s commitment to increase local sourcing as part of its Creating Shared Value initiatives.
She explained that the Nestlé Cereal Plan, aimed at enabling farmers to produce better quality grain, would generate higher revenue for them and improve their livelihood.
“Through its knowledge leadership in the area of Research and Development, the Rural Development Framework continuously help to introduce new farming methods and technologies that can ensure sustainable grain production,” she added.
She said key priority for Nestle under plan was to ensure that they sourced high quality raw materials to implement responsible sourcing of creams from farmer communities.
Nestle Ghana is currently sourcing 100 per cent of its cereals, such as maize, millet and rice, from local farmers for its factory in Ghana.
The USAID-ADVANCE, which started three years ago, and will end in 2018, supports farmers to increase their productivity and improve access to high end markets.
Signing on behalf of the USAID, Mr Emmanuel Dormon, Chief of Party said: “We see this collaboration with Nestlé as an excellent opportunity and motivation for smallholder farmers to further improve their agronomic and post-harvest management practices to meet the quality requirements of high end industrial users.