While the Director General of ICRAF, Dr. Tony Anthony Simons was in Switzerland meeting with Nestle officials, Nestle’s Head of the Equatorial Africa region , Mr.
Ian Donald, was at the World Agroforestry Center in Nairobi, giving a talk to launch our first ever agroforestry for development seminar series. “As a company, we have realized that you cannot survive if you do not add value to everybody you touch. That chain is quite significant. It includes families, their children and our customers”, He said. He then went on to elaborate how Nestle has changed from just buying raw materials from farmers and selling finished products to consumers to how it is adding value to everyone in the chain.
Guided by the mission statement “Good Food, Good Life”, Nestle is committed to enhancing the quality of consumers’ lives through nutrition, health and wellness. The company is also guided by ten business principles, which include among others environmental sustainability, agriculture, health and safety, water and customer satisfaction.
Its approach is on nutrition, rural development and water. “Everything we do falls on those three principles and it has changed the way we operate”, Mr. Donald said.
In rural development, Nestle is working with small holder communities to help them increase production by improving animal and crop husbandry practices. In Pakistan for example, it is working with 195, 000 small scale milk producers. By engaging agronomists to train the farmers on animal husbandry, production per buffalo has risen from 5litres to about 15 liters of milk. This creates a sustainable supply of high quality milk to the company while income for the farmers rises.
In Kenya, Nestle is working with 26,000 coffee farmers to improve productivity and quality. “We have a tree that normally produce 3-5kg of coffee per harvest but can now produce 20-25kg, all because of how the tree is watered, pruned and taken care of”, he said. The company is also working with milk farmers through the East African Dairy Development Board, and in Ethiopia and Uganda on coffee, milk, vegetables and honey products.
In West Africa, specifically in Cote D’Ivoire, the company is widely involved in cocoa production illustrating its wide scope of value chain engagement on the continent. Nestle continues to explore opportunities for win –win market driven solutions to indigenous foods product development. Drawing from their extensive experience, Ian reiterates that the key fundamental needs for farmers are knowledge on production and ready markets.