The Food Africa Project is an innovate partnership between Sahara Group, the United Nations’ SDG Fund, FAO, ILO, ITC, the Roca Brothers and the Kaduna State Government, directed at promoting replicable integrated solutions to agro-food value chain development, food security and nutrition, youth employment and poverty alleviation. The project focuses on identifying and testing a replicable model in Kaduna State, Nigeria with a view to scaling-up in other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Addressing post-harvest losses and the lack of processing, the project will work with local actors to identify market-driven business models for agribusiness development. It will contribute to the establishment of food processing facilities which meet market requirements and buyers’ standards, allowing farmers to improve their livelihoods through access to new market value chains. These facilities will be responsive to markets and buyers, will undertake conditioning and processing and also serve as a training facility and Centre of Excellence. They will provide vocational training in agriculture and agro-processing with a view to identifying best practice and promoting its replication. The project will, in addition, create a database profiling farmers and employ GIS-based mobile telephony to connect farmers to extension workers and the facilities and other local markets.
The driving force of the project will be the empowerment of capable young women and men from local communities in the Kaduna State region. All project activities will thus be carried by a core team of 20 locally selected young community facilitators (exact number to be determined), who will benefit from a two-year full-time vocational training, comprising training in technical skills, business management and a mentoring programme. They will in turn train at least 4,500 beneficiaries through the Farmer Field School Methodology throughout the duration of the project, under the supervision of the Project Management Team.
In summary, the primary objectives of the partnership are to:
• Promote employment, improve livelihoods, and empower young women and men – at least 5,000 people will benefit directly and indirectly up to 50,000 people in local communities
• Identify and assist farmers in overcoming bottlenecks to increase agro-production, achieve economies of scale and access markets
• Put necessary infrastructure put into place in a cost effective manner – including otherwise lacking aggregation, agro-processing and distribution facilities, ensuring volumes and quality through better post-harvest handling, food safety throughout the value chain and high quality products and packaging
• Improve food security and nutrition – by increasing the quantity and quality of fruits and vegetables in the market place, reduce post-harvest losses and recover and comprehensively utilize food waste thereby contributing to improved food security and nutrition and allowing for further income generating opportunities.