Sep 18, 2012, updated September 2012
In Nigeria, a Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) collaboration between Nestlé, which recently joined the Soy Round Table, and the University of Agriculture in Abeokuta has been instigated to increase soybean production in the country. Research, funded by the University, has created a selection of high-yield varieties that make soybeans a more attractive crop for local farmers, and by providing a regular and reliable income, they are helping to reduce rural poverty.
As part of the implementation of the Soybean Popularisation Project, the team regularly visits the participating production sites in the south west of the country, during which they assess the status of the crop and advise on farming practices, harvesting techniques and other handling processes. In addition to such capacity-building efforts and agricultural extension activities, soybean threshing machines have been donated to make the production process more efficient and less tedious.
Value to Society
More than 200 local farmers currently benefit from the project and over 150 tonnes of soybeans have been produced from high-quality seeds.
As a result of this initiative, the increased interest in soybean production by local farmers has been mirrored by increased engagement among other stakeholders such as the Grain Farmers Union, the Institute for Agriculture Research and Training, and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (Nigeria).
Value to Nestlé
As well as generating employment, the farmers' income has increased by approximately 50% and Nestlé receives a secure supply of high-quality raw materials for its products. The project has also raised awareness among local people of the usefulness and importance of the soybean as a means of poverty alleviation, improved nutrition and even the promotion of literacy among farming households.