Business News of 2014-06-10

Nestle trains 9,000 farmers to increase yields

Nestle – a nutrition, health and wellness company – has trained over 9,000 farmers in major cocoa-producing countries including Ghana to help increase their yields, as part of its Creating Shared Value (CSV).

The CSV, which is a corporate social responsibility of the company, also aims at buying at least 80,000 tonnes of cocoa beans per year from these farmers. The training initiative – dubbed “Nestlé Cocoa Plan” (NCP) – is aimed at training the farmers to help them to increase yields, reduce disease, respect the environment and produce a better quality crop which attracts higher prices.

The Head of Nestle’s Confectionary Business, Ms Sandra Martinez, told the Daily Graphic that the NCP was a long-term commitment from the company to support the lives of cocoa farmers and the quality of their cocoa crops. The NCP is a global programme with commitment to invest worldwide, including in Ghana, a total of CHF110 million in the next 10 years.

This investment includes facilities and capacity building and also aims at distributing 12 million high-potential cocoa trees in the first 10 years of the Cocoa Plan. The initiative, which according to Ms Martinez is to be launched in Ghana soon, is hinged on three pillars; which are enabling farmers to run profitable farms through farmer training, higher yielding cocoa farms, and rewarding farmers for good quality cocoa.

The second pillar, she said, is aimed at improving social conditions by eliminating child labour and focusing on women and children and their specific needs for education, health and water. The third pillar is sourcing for sustainable good quality cocoa through long-term supply, transparency in the supply chain and environmental responsibility.

According to Ms Martinez, Nestle together with other 11 cocoa/chocolate companies, had partnered other organisations such as the Fair Labour Association, World Cocoa Foundation, International Cocoa Initiative, UTZ Certified, in one of the largest sustainability programmes for coffee, cocoa and tea in the world in an effort to work together towards a truly sustainable cocoa industry.

She said within the Cocoa Action framework “we will be sharing learnings and best practices in this domain with the objective to achieve scale and more speed”. Nestle, she said, had built three schools with computer units, many water pumps and village resource centres for some of the communities in which they operate. Farmers under the Nestle Cocoa Plan, she said, were being trained to have UTZ certification.

The Cocoa Action Plan, she said, was made up of the productivity package that consisted of training, new planting material and fertiliser as well as a community development package focused on education, gender parity and child labour.

“This is what we call ‘Creating Shared Value’ - this means that we are creating a stronger business for the future, going beyond sustainability. We also help to create value for the communities where we operate,” she noted.

“Our ambition is to prevent and eliminate all forms of child labour from our supply chain, while respecting family situations and the legitimate need for rural development,” she added.

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