Partnership Enables Nigerian Farming Communities to take Stake in International Trading Structures

Cassava Farming in Nigeria

Aspuna Group, the world’s first social impact commodities business, has entered a trading partnership with The Aké Collective, a marketing and logistics agency committed to conscious food and farming. The partnership enables Nigerian small-holder farmers to lock the value of their crops into their communities, crops whose global trading value is rapidly increasing due to their superfood status. Longterm, the aim is to rollout this  full-service social impact branded retail products trading approach, which exemplifies stakeholder capitalism, across Africa…

Aspuna Group, an alumni of Cambridge Social Ventures, a social enterprise incubation programme run by the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School, is a social impact commodities business with a proven model for making trading fair. At the heart of its approach is the building of processing capacity to keep value addition within the regions where raw materials originate. With processing plants already operational in Nigeria, the opportunity to support communities further with marketing, sales and distribution services was too good to miss, says Ms Maria-Yassin Jah, CEO, Aspuna Group.

“We’re delighted to announce this partnership with the Aké Collective. Their vision of a world in which small-scale farmers and their communities are compensated equitably for contributing to global food security aligns with our own.

“By enabling small-holder farmers to not process their own harvests and to package, market and sell them directly to consumers, we are really extending the social impact of our work. This strengthens the farmers’ margin and livelihoods are improved, meaning the community takes a real stake in the trading structure,” Ms Jah adds.

“We are confident that our partnership in Nigeria is just the start. We’re looking forward to scaling our marketing, sales and distribution services across the regions Aspuna works, which currently include Gambia and Tanzania too. And, even though the global pandemic and political instability in Nigeria has slowed down plans, we’re optimistic that the type of stakeholder capitalism our business model exemplifies will be welcomed by consumers, traders, retailers, governments and NGOs alike,” Cobi-Jane Akinrele, founder of The Aké Collective, comments.

Indeed, as pointed out by McKinsey & Co’s Kevin Sneader and Shubham Singhal in their article The Next Normal Arrives: Trends that will define 2021 and Beyond (…), stakeholder capitalism,will be one of the key trends in the move to the new normal.

“Stakeholder capitalism isn’t about being the most woke or about fending off pesky activists. It’s about building the trust—call it the “social capital” – that businesses need to keep doing business. And it’s about recognising that creating long-term shareholder value requires more than just focusing on shareholders.” Kevin Sneader and Shubham Singhal, McKinsey & Co

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