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Saturday, February 24, 2018

Cow gives birth to Calf with 2 heads

A cow has given birth to a calf with two heads in the suburb of Siavonga district of southern province of Kenya, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Lovemore Kanyama from Siavonga district confirmed this to NaijaAgroNet, saying that a cow gave birth to a calf with 2 heads “here in Siavonga district of southern province.”

This happened in Chalokwa village of Siavonga district on Tuesday 20th February, 2018.

Kanyama also said that immediately after giving birth the calf died, while cow survived.

This is the first time the district is experiencing such a thing, and we are all shocked with the development, though our colleagues from the Department of Veterinary are saying his is the 4th case recorded world wide so far.

“We are yet to take the calf to the University of Zambia for further examinations,” Kanyama declared.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Shell is best in Technology & Innovation @Petroleum Summit

The Subsea Tree Refurbishment feat by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) in-country, drew a deafening applause as it earned Shell Companies in Nigeria the Best Performing International Company in Technology and Innovation at the awards night of the maiden edition of the Nigeria International Petroleum Summit in Abuja, reports NaijaAgroNet.
The state-organised event was attended by Nigerian and international industry leaders.
SNEPCo pioneered the in-country feat and achieved significant savings in the cost of the subsea equipment led by Nigerian engineers. A Subsea Tree is an arrangement of valves and other components installed at the wellhead to control and monitor production flow and manage fluids injection. SNEPCo embarked on a Tree Refurbishment initiative in 2013 to ensure timely delivery of the equipment at lower cost for the Bonga Phase 2 project, an in-field wells delivery and hook–up programme within the Bonga Field which has been in execution since 2007.
On hand to receive the award presented by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, were the Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria and Managing Director of The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), Mr. Osagie Okunbor, and the Managing Director of SNEPCo, Mr. Bayo Ojulari.
An excited Okunbor described the award as a recognition of the pioneering role of Shell Companies in Nigeria in local capacity development and Nigeria content. “We are pleased that this feat has continued to receive recognition within and outside Nigeria. Beyond cost consideration, we were also looking to indigenise the know-how so that Nigerian engineers can acquire the necessary skills,” he said.
Speaking on the award, Ojulari said, “This is a success story not only for Shell but for Nigeria. The first Subsea Tree under the programme was installed on schedule in May 2015. This was the first of its kind re-using a Subsea Tree fully stripped down and refurbished locally in Nigeria, with all of its original functionality restored.
“The scope of work entailed the retrieval of the Subsea Trees for disassembly, repair and rebuild following procedures developed by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to international standards and codes. The work was done at the OEM/SNEPCo logistics base at Onne in Rivers State with Nigerian engineers and technicians playing key roles. The quick turnaround of these Trees has helped to increase oil production in the Bonga field. The expenditure on this work in Nigeria aligns with the cost of similar Subsea Tree refurbishment in Europe. We have since sustained the in-country refurbishment.”
SNEPCo saves about $6 million for every refurbished Subsea Tree, and this is delivered within 15 months as against 36 months for newly manufactured ones.
SNEPCo helped to create the first generation of Nigerian deep water professionals through the Bonga project which started production in 2005, as Nigeria’s first oil and gas production project in more than 1,000 metres of water. The project was expanded with further drilling of wells in Bonga Phases 2 and 3 and through a subsea tie-back that unlocked the nearby Bonga North West field in August 2014, which has peak production of approximately 60,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day. Bonga Phase 3 achieved first oil in October 2015.
SNEPCo operates Bonga field on behalf of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in partnership with Esso Exploration and Production (Deepwater Ltd)–Exxon, Total E&P Nigeria Ltd – Total and Nigerian Agip Exploration Ltd – ENI. The other Shell Companies in Nigeria are SPDC and Shell Nigeria Gas.
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Pix: L-R: Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu; Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria and Managing Director of The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), Mr. Osagie Okunbor; and the Managing Director, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, Mr. Bayo Ojulari, during the presentation of The Best International Company in Technology and Innovation to Shell at the 2018 Nigeria International Petroleum Summit held in Abuja… on Monday.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

UNICEF says new born mortality is alarming globally

The global deaths of newborn babies remain alarmingly high, particularly among the world’s poorest countries, according to the UnitedNations Children Fund (UNICEF), reports NaijaAgroNet.

A new report on newborn mortality by UNICEF with an extract made available to NaijaAgroNet, “Every year, 2.6 million newborns around the world do not survive their first month of life. One million of them die the day they are born.”

Globally, UNICEF noted that in low-income countries, the average newborn mortality rate is 27 deaths per 1,000 births, the report says. In high-income countries, that rate is 3 deaths per 1,000.

“While we have more than halved the number of deaths among children under the age of five in the last quarter century, we have not made similar progress in ending deaths among children less than one month old,” said Henrietta H. Fore, UNICEF’s Executive Director. “Given that the majority of these deaths are preventable, clearly, we are failing the world’s poorest babies.”

The report also noted that 8 of the 10 most dangerous places to be born are in sub-Saharan Africa, where pregnant women are much less likely to receive assistance during delivery due to poverty, conflict and weak institutions. With the newborn mortality rate of 29 deaths per 1,000 births, the global estimates rank Nigeria as the 11th highest on newborn deaths.

In the recent Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) conducted by the Government of Nigeria in 2016/17, the rate of newborn deaths per 1000 births is 37. This national average hides the differences between the 36 states and the slow progress in some of them.

“A fair chance in life begins with a strong, healthy start. Unfortunately, many children in Nigeria are still deprived of this,” said Mohamed M Fall, UNICEF Nigeria’s Representative. “MICS data tells us that the trend is improving but urgent action needs to be taken for Nigeria to reach the Sustainable Development Goals. It cannot afford to fail its newborns today.”

More than 80 per cent of newborn deaths are due to prematurity, asphyxia, complications during birth or infections such as pneumonia and sepsis. These deaths can be prevented with access to well-trained midwives during antenatal and postnatal visits as well as delivery at a health facility, along with proven solutions like clean water, disinfectants, breastfeeding within the first hour, skin-to-skin contact, proper cord care, and good nutrition. However, a shortage of well-trained health workers and midwives means that thousands don’t receive the life-saving support they need to survive.

This month, UNICEF is launching Every Child ALIVE, a global campaign to demand and deliver solutions on behalf of the world’s newborns. Through the campaign, UNICEF is issuing an urgent appeal to governments, health care providers, donors, the private sector, families and businesses to keep every child alive.

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Energy impact investor All On seals 3 off-grid investments for Niger Delta

The Nigerian off-grid energy investment company, All On, has closed a financial deal with three firms for accelerated access to affordable and sustainable energy sources in the Niger Delta, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Chief Executive Officer of All On, Dr. Boer Wiebe, made this known to NaijaAgroNet at the weekend, saying it follows the equity investment made in 2017 to Nigeria Solar Home System market leader, Lumos Global BV, in the form of a debt facility to facilitate a quick rollout in the Niger Delta. 

"All On is also providing equity and debt to Port Harcourt based Green Village Electricity (GVE), Nigeria’s leading mini-grid player, for expansion in the Niger Delta and across Nigeria, while ColdHubs is receiving a convertible debt facility to expand its solar-powered marketplace cold storage business to new markets in the region," Wiebe said.

These developments, NaijaAgroNet gathered are coming barely three months after All-On announced its first set of transactions in Nigeria’s off-grid market, and two months after the firm and U.S. Africa Development Foundation (USADF) announced a $3 million partnership to expand access to energy for underserved and unserved markets in Nigeria.

“The investments made in these energy solution providers further demonstrate our firm belief that off-grid energy is indispensable in the improvement of Nigeria’s energy narrative. It therefore deserves adequate attention and financial backing from both the public and private sectors.” Dr. Boer said.

Commenting, Lumos’s CEO Davidi Vortman, said: “This debt facility from All On both cements the strategic relationship between our two companies and goes a long way towards significantly accelerating the speed of penetration of Lumos Solar Home Systems in the Niger Delta region. All On has established itself as a leader in off grid energy in Nigeria and we are therefore excited to work with All On to enhance energy access for Nigerians in the Niger Delta and across the country.”

ColdHubs CEO, Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu, described the investment as a demonstration of All On’s commitment beyond simply addressing the access to energy gap, to harnessing innovative renewable energy solutions for the preservation of perishable foods. “This support by All On will enable Cold Hubs to further refine its business model to help improve the livelihoods of people and enhance food security in the Niger Delta,” he said.

In his reaction to the financial close, Managing Director of GVE, Ifeanyi Orajaka, said: "We at GVE are excited about this relationship with All On. An investment from a world-class organisation such as All On further validates our position as one of the leading and most innovative indigenous clean energy solutions providers in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

All On, an independent impact investing company, was seeded with funding from Shell, and works with partners to increase access to commercial energy products and services for under-served and un-served off-grid energy markets in Nigeria, with a special focus on the Niger Delta.

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Pets can help people with mental health problems

The first attempt to systematically review existing evidence has shown that pet ownership could help people with mental health problems, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The study of 17 research papers by academics at the Universities of Manchester, Southampton and Liverpool, concluded that pets could help people manage their long-term mental health conditions.

Published in BMC Psychiatry, the study reviewed papers on the impact of animals including cats, dogs, goldfish, hamsters and finches on their owners with mental health problems

The team searched 9 databases and looked for unpublished literature which identified 8,145 articles which were screened for inclusion. 17 articles were included in the final review.

The studies found that pets helped the owners to manage their feelings and provided a powerful distraction from the stress of having mental health problems.

The animals were seen as being non-judgemental about their owners and helped alleviate loneliness.

And some pets were seen as helpful in terms of encouraging physical activity such as walking the dog but also allowing them to engage socially with other pet owners.

Even the hamster owner said that merely cleaning its cage and feeding the animal gave her a purpose.

However, though the benefits were clear, some of the  qualitative data identified negative aspects of pet ownership as well.

Dr Helen Brooks from The University of Liverpool said: “This review suggests that pets can provide benefits to those with mental health conditions.

"However, further research is required to test the nature and extent of this relationship and  the range of roles and types of support pets confer in relation to mental health.

"Pets by provided acceptance without judgement, giving unconditional support, which they were often not receiving from other family or social relationships.”

Dr Kelly Rushton, from The University of Manchester said: “We feel that pet ownership has a valuable contribution to mental health, so should be incorporated into individual care plans of patients.

“This sort of intervention also offers an opportunity to involve patients in their own mental health service provision through open discussion of what works best for them.”

One of the studies included in the review was their own NIHR-funded study from 2016.

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Monday, February 12, 2018

Lagos PHSAI boss demands more funding for family planning

The Lagos State chairman of the Public Health Sustainable Advocacy Initiative (PHSAI), Mr. Ayo Adebusoye has demanded more funding for the family planning activities and campaigns in the centre of excellence, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Speaking on the interventions by the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on family planning, at a three-day Pathfinder’s AFP SMART Media Advocacy Workshop in Lagos, recently, Mr. Adebusoye while giving the Lagos State Family Planning (FP) Status, highlighted some of the challenges faced by PHSAI with top on being lack of funding.

He stressed the need to monitor budget, saying that “if you don't know what was budgeted, how can you monitor or follow up,” insisting that non release of fund for FP is a factor hindering the achievement of FP2020 goals and advocated for more funding.

Also, he mentioned that population growth rate which is at about 3.2 per cent, Total Fertility Rate (TFR) stood at about four births per women.

He decried what is at stake and how low adoption is affecting Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR). MMR is highest among the poor. Lagos state goal overall CPR of 74% by 2020 and the purpose is to avert 2.6 million unintended pregnancies and 8000 maternal life saved.

Mr Adebusoye similarly talked about the background and objectives of PHSAI as well as the activities of the group.

He talked about how the agenda and FP budget tracking indicators, disbursement and expenditure will be focused on in this New Year, 2018; expressing confidence that PHSAI was fundamentally established to work closely with FB Media Advocacy Working Group.

The workshop was organised by Pathfinder International Nigeria with some international partners.

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Friday, February 9, 2018

Commodity prices broadly steady says FAO

United Nations agency, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has said that food community prices broadly steady , reports NaijaAgroNet.

According to the FAO Food Price Index which averaged 169.5 points in January, nearly unchanged from the previous month, as rising prices for staple grains and palm oil were offset by declining quotations for sugar, butter and cheese.

The FAO Cereal Price Index rose almost 2.5 percent from December, as the effect of large supplies was more than offset by concerns over weather and a weaker U.S. dollar. The index, which covers wheat, rice and coarse grains including maize, is 6.3 percent higher than its January 2017 level.

FAO's Food Price Index is a trade-weighted index tracking international market prices for five major food commodity groups.

The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index was virtually unchanged in January, as palm oil values rose moderately while those for sunflower and rapeseed oils weakened.

The FAO Dairy Price Index declined 2.4 percent from December 2017.  Lower international price quotations for butter and cheese – spurred by abundant supplies in the northern hemisphere and Australia - outweighed higher prices of milk powders.

The FAO Sugar Price Index declined 1.6 percent to more than 30 percent below its year-ago level, driven by strong production outcomes and consequently ample export availabilities.

The FAO Meat Price Index was almost unchanged month-on-month, as weak import demand for poultry and pigmeat offset stronger demand for ovine meat and reduced quantities of bovine meat offered for sale from Oceania.

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Thursday, February 8, 2018

2019: Make family planning political agenda - Salami

The Associate Director, Pathfinder International Nigeria, Dr. Habeeb Salami has tasked the Nigerian media to make family planning a political agenda for the forthcoming general elections in 2019, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Welcoming participants to a three-day Pathfinder’s AFP SMART Advocacy Workshop in Lagos recently urged media practitioners especially in the health sector to ensure that family planning attains agenda status in the next year elections.

“We should let health issues be among campaignable issues as election time is around the corner against 2019,” he charged.

Dr. Salami who lead the Pathfinder’s team on behalf of the Country Director, explained the importance of the workshop for media practitioners, saying its to form a formidable media group that will do a focused-advocacy on family planning.

According to him the overall aim is to achieve an increase in the uptake in Contraceptive Prevalent Rate (CPR) rate by 74 per cent in two-year time, that is, by 2020.

Opportunities, he said, are abound in the media to get policy makers to do the needful, stressing that the current state of “our health indices are too bad for us as a country.”

He also said that there have been calls on why another group is being created because there are other advocacy groups, insisted that “Pathfinder wanted a very focused and evidence-based advocacy.”

The workshop moderated by the Communications Officer at Pathfinder International, Mrs. Somto Atuanya, alongside, Mrs Yemisi and Mrs Edirin Aderemi, while other speakers at the event included Dr. Sidiat Okaga, Dr. Folashade Oludare and Mr. Ayo Adebusoye among others.

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Worldwide Cereal production now @2,640m tonnes

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has updated its forecast on the worldwide cereal production as at the end of 2017 to stand at 2,640 million tonnes, reports NaijaAgroNet.

This, NaijaAgroNet also discovered is 13 per cent higher than 2016 and an all-time record high.

The forecast, NaijaAgroNet gathered, has been raised by 13.5 million tonnes since December, with coarse grains driving the bulk of the increase, due largely to higher maize output expected in China, Mexico and the European Union.

Also, FAO raised its 2017 production forecasts for wheat, due to expectations of bigger harvests in Canada and the Russian Federation, and for rice, following an upward revision in China.

NaijaAgroNet reports that projected cereal utilization in the 2017/18 season was also raised, now up 1.4 per cent from 2016/17. Just as the upward revision includes a notable jump for coarse grains, whose use for livestock feed is forecast to reach an all-time high on the back of sizable increases projected for Brazil, China, the EU and Mexico.

As cereal output, NaijaAgroNet report, is seen expanding more than utilization, stocks are projected to rise above their already high opening levels, leading to a comfortable world stocks-to-use ratio of 27.7 percent, the highest since 2001/02.

In a related development the international trade volumes, are expected to contract slightly for all the major cereals except maize.

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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Marie Claude Bibeau on tour of West Africa

The Canadian Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, is on working visit of West African States, reports NaijaAgroNet.
The visit, NaijaAgroNet gathered is part of Canada’s re-engagement with Africa and its commitment to work together to address challenges facing the continent.
 the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, will travel to West Africa from February 1 to 8, 2018.

During her 7-day visit to Senegal and Benin which coincides with International Development Week, the Minister met with woman leaders, development partners and government officials, as well as representatives of La Francophonie institutions, to discuss issues of mutual concern, including efforts to advance the rights of women and girls in Africa.

Further, discussions would focus on education, the need for greater access to sexual and reproductive health services; decreasing child, early and forced marriages; and providing humanitarian assistance in countries affected by drought and conflict.

Minister Bibeau will revisit Benin for the first time since she started her career in the West African country in the 1990s. She will also participate in Replenishment 2020, the Global Partnership for Education’s Financing Conference, from February 1 and 2 in Senegal to reiterate Canada’s long-term commitment to quality education.

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Pix: Marie-Claude Bibeau - Canadian Minister