Press Release

USAID, Nestlé, VEGA, CNFA Announce Public-Private Partnership Leveraging Skilled Volunteers

Feed the Future Nigeria and Nestlé Maize Quality Improvement Partnership

KADUNA, Nigeria — Today, public and private-sector partners announced a new program leveraging the expertise of volunteers to train farmers, workers and small agricultural businesses in Kaduna State to reduce crop contaminants in order to sustainably increase the safety and quality of maize and soybeans and improve the health, nutrition and livelihoods in this community: Feed the Future Nigeria and Nestlé Maize Quality Improvement Partnership.

Post-harvest losses due to poor farming practices and high levels of mycotoxins, such as aflatoxin, and other contaminants have plagued staple crops such as maize and soybean, making it much harder for small-holder farmers to earn a decent income. These mycotoxins also threaten the health and lives of humans and animals. These contaminants lead to cancer and fatal kidney and liver failure. In children, aflatoxin poisoning causes stunting, immune suppression and death.

The partners for this new public-private partnership are committed to reducing the deadly threat of these dangerous crop contaminants. The partners are U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Nestlé, Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA) and VEGA Member Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA). Please see their quotes below.

For the past three years, Nestlé has been working with farmers to improve their farming practices, the safety and quality of their crops, and thus their incomes. This new partnership is expected to significantly expand upon these efforts, reaching many more farmers and other agro-industry entrepreneurs within the value chain.


Over the next three years, a team of experts and volunteers led by CNFA will design and deliver an innovative training program for reducing aflatoxins and other contaminants in grain and maize to farmers and supply chain intermediaries. International experts in mycotoxin mitigation in crops have agreed to provide volunteer advisory services on this project. Through a train-the-trainer approach, the program will build the capacity of local associations and 150 local youth volunteers to train more than 20,000 smallholder farmers—including 40 percent women—increasing the sales of better quality maize and soybean by at least 17,000 metric tons annually. More than 200 for-profit private enterprises, such as farm service retailers, will also be trained and supported in improving their technologies and management practices. Empowerment of participants throughout the supply chain will create a culture of transparency and traceability, leading to decisions that ensure a high quality and safe product. The resulting increased grain and maize sales will boost incomes and help farmers and small business operators improve their livelihoods.

The team working with Nigerian farmers, agri-business intermediaries and sales agents will also include experts from Purdue University in the U.S. and Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies and Lifelong Learning in Nigeria.

USAID Mission Director Stephen M. Haykin: “This public-private partnership supported by Feed the Future will help lift farmers out of poverty by sharing best practices in agriculture activities and focusing on value chains. Providing farmers and suppliers the knowledge and tools to improve their product will help them garner higher selling prices and increase household incomes. Investments in this program from Nestlé and through the in-kind contributions of volunteers really stretch U.S. taxpayer dollars and increase the return on investment.”

Mr. Mauricio Alarcon, CEO and managing director, Nestlé Nigeria: “This partnership will contribute to our efforts to increase the local sourcing of raw materials which is at 82% since 2016. In line with our commitment to Creating Shared Value, Nestlé is happy to work together with CNFA, USAID and VEGA to achieve our mutual objectives of helping to build thriving, resilient communities by improving the livelihoods of individuals and families with whom Nestlé lives and works. We are confident that this program will help to enhance quality of life and contribute to a healthier future.”

Sylvain Roy, CNFA president & CEO: “The new VEGA partnership will allow CNFA to apply our unique expertise in supporting smallholder farmers around the globe to improve our new beneficiaries’ capacity to supply processors—one of the fundamental linkages in the agricultural value chain. CNFA shares a commitment with our partners to building local technical expertise and capacity for sustainable impact and change, and we intend to leverage all of our capabilities—development, agriculture training, skilled volunteers and more—to ensure the success of this public-private partnership, and to empower smallholder farmers and business people along the supply chain—including women, youth and families.”

Michael Deal, president and CEO, VEGA: “VEGA is very pleased to have brought these partners together to create sustainable supply chain solutions to enhance the well-being of farmers, small business owners and families in Nigeria. This partnership serves as a model multi-stakeholder collaboration to leverage highly skilled volunteers to generate more prosperity and shared value for all partners. VEGA will continue to coordinate the collaboration of our partners and ensure rigorous results.”


U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is the lead U.S. government development agency. USAID works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential. U.S. foreign assistance furthers America’s interests while improving lives in the developing world. USAID carries out U.S. foreign policy by promoting broad-scale human progress at the same time it expands stable, free societies, creates markets and trade partners for the United States, and fosters good will abroad.

Nestlé is the world’s largest food and beverage company. Nestlé has more than 2000 brands ranging from global icons to local favourites, and is present in 191 countries around the world. Nestlé’s purpose is enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future. The company wants to help shape a better and healthier world. Nestlé also wants to inspire people to live healthier lives. Creating Shared Value is how the company contributes to society while ensuring the long-term success of the business.
CNFA: Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture, an international agricultural development organization, specializes in designing sustainable, market-led agricultural initiatives. CNFA builds strong local and global partnerships, incorporates innovative approaches in its programs, and fosters inclusive development to offer enhanced opportunities to under-served groups. Since 1985, CNFA has managed more than $600 million in donor-funded agriculture development programs and has worked in 44 countries across the world in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latina America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, and South and Central Asia.

Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA) is a consortium of 29 member organizations that generate more prosperity through partnerships that bring together highly skilled volunteers with people around the globe seeking more economic opportunities. VEGA is a consortium of non-governmental organizations that generate more prosperity through partnerships that bring together highly skilled volunteers with people around the globe seeking more economic opportunities. VEGA works with leading corporations, mission-driven nonprofits and USAID overseas missions to collectively address economic growth challenges. Since 2004, VEGA has administered 59 global development programs in 46 countries.