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Thursday, September 29, 2011

NaijaAgroNet wins Highway Africa new media prize

The 2011 edition of the Highway Africa conference ended recently in the city of Cape Town, South Africa, with Nigeria winning the first runner up by a Lagos-based NaijaAgroNet, an initiative of DigitalSENSE Africa (DSA) Media.

DSA was honoured for the innovative use of new media for corporate category at this year's Highway Africa New Media Award, which held penultimate Sunday night.

The prize was presented to the Executive Director, Operations, DigitalSENSE Africa Media, Mrs. Nkemdilim Nweke by the Honourable Minister of Information, Nigeria, Mr. Labaran Maku in the company of the Vice Chancellor of Rhodes University, Grahamstown, Dr. Saleem Badat and Group Executive Director, Telkom, Mrs. Brenda Kali among others.

Commenting briefly on the award, Maku commended the management of DSA for the initiative and invited more Nigerians to emulate such step to sustain the tempo of good image for the nation.

Equally reacting after receiving the award, the Executive Director, Operations, DigitalSENSE Africa, Mrs. Nkemdilim Nweke, expressed gratitude to God Almighty for his mercies, especially considering the fact that NaijaAgroNet was an initiative that berthed a few months ago.

This award, she said, indicates there is a brighter future for online revolution in the most populous nation on the continent and the world generally.

The event which held at the Cape Town International Conference Centre (CICC), also saw Nigeria emerging finalists in all the three categories, namely the individual, student and corporate at the award supported by the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), and Telkom South Africa.

Other Nigerian-based initiatives that made it to the finalist included African Interest and Africa Athletes; all are online based outfits.

Welcoming participants to the event earlier, Director, Highway Africa, Mr. Chris Kabwato noted that on January 12, 2004, when his family of two adult and three children came to the university town of Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape from Johannesburg, their expectation was uncertain.

“It was a terribly hot day and the infant was irritable,” he said, stressing that the eight years after, it has been an incredible journey for the entire family.

According to him, it is not very often that one declares that certain jobs were made for some people, yet he thinks of having the Highway Africa DNA.

He pointed out that today, Highway Africa now consists of research, education and training of future journalists programme; conferences, namely the Highway Africa and Digital Citizen Indaba.

Although he said, they were not relenting; Kabwato said that his team is now morphing into a distinct entity called the Highway Africa Centre, with the support of Rhodes University, its parent entity, the School of Journalism and Media Studies, sponsors and great team to take Highway Africa to another level.

He emphasized that 15 years of Highway Africa, it is appropriate to celebrate what have been collectively achieved and look forward to the next 15 years.

“Celebrate with us; comrades and friends and I hope our timely conference will be an occasion for learning, sharing and taking action to save our world, especially with the theme of this year:

African Media and the Global Sustainability Challenge.

Meanwhile, a Nigerian new media outlet, the published by DigitalSENSE Africa Media, was recognized with enlisting into the finalist for the 2011 year.

NaijaAgroNet is a project of DigitalSENSE Africa (DSA) Media with concentration on bridging the digital gap between the teeming youths of Nigeria, technologies and agro-business.


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GEJ prioritizes agriculture - Okonji Iweala

The current Federal Government administration led by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ) has prioritized agriculture.

Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonji-Iweala made this disclosure at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) meeting in Washington DC to negotiate a $550million about N86,8billion financing from the World Bank for the country, MenaFn.

She noted that the present administration is keen at creating jobs for the teaming unemployed populace and in particular the youths.

According to her, agriculture is part of the priorities of the government in driving this dream home, re

She also told newsmen that the financing is meant to meet the federal government's transformation agenda couple with the land pollution at the Niger Delta region.

Okonji-Iweala said that other sector that the loan will be put into use is environmental issues among others.

She affirmed that the responses of multilateral institution to Nigeria’s request have been quite encouraging and the deal will be finalized upon the arrival of the new World Bank Country Director for Nigeria. Read more

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Kenya urges ACP to invest more in agrotech

A call has been made by Kenya to African, Caribbean and Pacific States (APC) countries to give more funds to agricultural and technology development in order to help its marketability, reports CoastWeek

This call was made by Romano Kiome, Kenya Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture while at Eastern and Southern Africa agricultural meeting in Nairobi, Kenya recently.

He said if agriculture is to become a profitable venture in the continent, the priorities must be inputs, markets, credit and institutions.

Inputs like seeds, fertilizer, external market, loans, research and supports from governments, he said are catalysts to a revolution in agriculture within the continent.

He also said that the use of technology in agriculture in the continent is low when compared to other nations of the world, hence the result in low productivity. Read more

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Monday, September 26, 2011

US allocates N782.8m to gender equality in agriculture

In an effort to fight food security in the world, the United States government has allocated about $5m, about N782.8m to promote gender equality in involvement in agriculture and land use this year, reports GhanaBusinessNews.

The announcement was made recently by the Secretary of State, Mrs. Hillary Clinton, while hosting a panel discussion with the theme "Women and Agriculture: A Conversation on Improving Global Food Security” in New York.

The gender equality programme, NaijaAgroNet gathered would be under the previous initiative of Feed the Future which is in United State's efforts to combat hunger and promote food security.

She also said that according to the United Nations, the drought in some parts of Africa, the worst in decades is affecting 12.4 million African.

The US gender equality programme, she said, is to remove obstacles facing women in agriculture globally so as to increase women's contribution to food production. Read More

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

High level dialogue on food security ends in Swaziland

High Level Food Security Policy Dialogue of the Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) ended at the weekend in Swaziland alongside FANRPAN Annual General Meeting (AGM) with over 300 participants.

Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, the Swaziland Prime Minister opened the event with the theme "Advocating for the Active Engagement of the Youth in the Agricultural Value Chain.”

The AGM which ran between September 19 and 23, this year, ended with case study presentations from some African nations including the host country, Tanzania, Zambia, Angola, Bostwana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Madagascar and Mauritius.

Delegates at the meeting were also taken out on groups for field trips to see actions on ongoing projects for food security, while the Food Security Policy Leadership Award was presented to Her Majesty, Queen Mother Ntombi Indlovukazi of Swaziland as a result of the motivation of the project witnessed.

The engagements of young people in agricultural sector topped discuss, even as different components of agricultural sectors implication on youths and alternative policy approaches to the development of agricultural sector.

Speaking at the dialogue, Hlobsile Ndlovu, Swaziland's Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs noted that there could only be solutions to youths’ challenges when the youth themselves are involve in the fight.

"We believe that nothing is for the youth without the youth,” Ndlovu declared and urged those youths should not just to seen as assets of any nation but permitted to access all the advantages as set out by the constitution of their countries.

In Swaziland, the minister said, government gave youths access to land for productive use in partnership with stakeholders like the traditional rulers. Stressing that programmes concerning the youths are being implemented and evaluated in order to eliminate any challenge for the youth.


Yinka Awosanya
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Friday, September 23, 2011

African youths possess energy, passion to use ICT

Yinka Awosanya

Co-chairman of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development (BCDD) and Rwandan President, Mr. Paul Kagame has expressed optimism on African youths’ ability to make appropriate use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).

He said that African youths possess the energy, passion and dedication to use these technologies in facing the global challenges and truly gain from ICTs.

Kagame made his voice known at the just ended Broadband Commission for Digital Development (BCDD) meeting in Rwanda, saying that the Commission has high hopes on young innovators from the continent tapping on ICT for getting Africa online.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that Kagame was optimistic that the role of youths in defining new ICT services and driving take-up remain the focus of Commission, noting that half of Africans are yet to reach the adulthood, while 42 per cent of Rwandans are under the age of 15.

The Rwandan President also stressed the fact that African leaders are to build the right environment and promote the necessary investments to allow the youths on the continent to fulfill their potential, said “African youths possess the energy, passion and dedication to use these technologies in facing the global challenges and truly gain from ICTs.”

He further said that Africans do not have to wait for another century before recognizing the fact that broadband was another missed opportunity of the continent.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Scientist decries lack of implementing agro action plans in Africa

Scientist has said that in order to combat poverty on the continent, African leaders must implement various actions plans already mapped by strategic groups.

Speaking at the just ended Highway Africa conference in Cape Town, South Africa, Dr. Richard Munag, a Scientist with the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) advised African countries to implement action plans earlier outlined to pave way for its improvement, reports RadioVOP.

Dr. Munag, also told participants that most African countries have National Action Plans but these action plans are not been implemented.

He equally said at the conference with the theme "African Media and the Global Sustainability Challenge" noted that the confab seeks to encourage African journalists in the coverage of issues surrounding climate change, food security and global sustainability.

Keith Alverson, another Scientist said it would be devastating for governments not to address issues on global sustainability and climate change on time.

"It is high time that countries address issues of the environment" Keith said that since statistics have it that 30million hectares of forest are lost yearly. Read more

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Legislators worry over food insecurity

With at least 12.4 million people facing drought in Eastern part of the continent, the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) has expressed worries over the food insecurity.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that EALA has taken steps that will bring about lasting solutions to drought and food insecurity in the region by recently announcing strategic measures to be taken.

Though approved by the Assembly in December last year, EALA wants to enthrone a common food security strategy in addition to a 25-year action plan tagged, the East African Agricultural Development Action Plan to run from 2010 to 2035.

IPPMedia reports that EALA in partnership with global parliamentarians from 30 countries appealed for aid in combating the extreme hunger threatening the lives of over 10 million East Africans.

Speaker of EALA, Abdirahin Abdi, said at a press conference in Kigali, Rwanda recently that the drought is the worst in six decades. Read more

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Farmers told to strengthen cooperatives

A senior lecturer of the Department of Food Technology, Kyambogo University, Uganda, Dr. Byarugaba Bazirake has advised farmers to strengthen co-operatives so as to boost transportation of farm produce, reports AllAfrica.

This, he said would remove middlemen exploitation of the farmers.

"A middleman takes 100 per cent profit, this business does not benefit or motivate the farmer," while speaking at a recently Pan Africa Agribusiness and Agro-Industry Consortium (PANAAC) organized agribusiness stakeholder meeting.

PANAAC is a continental network with the objective of improving the linkages in the agriculture industry while increasing the food value production. Read more.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Technology to improve agricultural yields - Fadama

The involvement of Information and Communications Technology in agricultural practice would lead to an increase in output for local farmers, AllAfrica reports.

This, Mr. Tayo Adewunmi, the Acting National Project Coordination of the Fadama III programme stated this at the technical forum on the commencement of Component IV analysis.

He also said the focus of the Component Four is research and agricultural extension to be able to carry out numerous activities especially practical demonstration for farmers.

Fadama's priority according to Adewunmi is to fall in line with the transformation agenda of the Federal Government of Nigeria by working towards the attainment of food security and making contributions to the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Read more

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Experts warn against trans-bounder animal diseases

Veterinary experts from East Africa and Horn of Africa at a three-day meeting in Kigali, last week discussed the cause of animal diseases, just as they cautioned over Trans-bounder animal Diseases (TADs).

According to AllAfrica, the experts said TAD could lead to food insecurity in the region.

They warned that if no serious action is taken to avert the transmission while seeking a common approach towards the prevention of animal diseases across borders to ensure food security.

Director-General, Rwanda Animal Resources Development (RARDA), Dr. Christine Kanyandekwe, affirmed the tendency of TAD, pointing out that it was imperative for regional countries to develop such an approach.

"We have seen animals dying of these diseases in various parts of Africa. We should not therefore sit as our animals die. We need to draw a roadmap to prevent these diseases," she said. Read more

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Monday, September 12, 2011

UNEP says forest protection to create 5m jobs

A new report from the United Nations’ Environment Programme (UNEP) has shown that spending about N6.24 trillion, just 0.034 per cent of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) annually in forest protection would create estimated 5 million jobs worldwide.

The Citizen reports that such investment would allow forests to absorb 28 per cent more carbon from the atmosphere.

UNEP further said in the report that the proposed investment would lead to about 140 per cent rise in the number of new trees to be planted and increase employment in the forest sector, which currently at 25 million to 30 million by the middle of the century.

Additionally, the report stated that public and private sectors could be sourced for finance using strategies that pay landowners for maintaining the ecosystems.

With a drop in the annual net forest since 1990 from about eight million hectares to about five million hectares, it is reported that the amount of forested areas has actually increased over those 20 years in some regions of Asia, the Caribbean and Europe. Read more

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Pressure on soil threatens global food security - FAO

The Director General of Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Jacques Diouf, has called for a renewed global effort to ensure sufficient fertile and healthy soils usage, reports StarAfrica.

Speaking recently in Rome, Italy, Diouf at the commencement of a three-day meeting to launch a new Global Soil Partnership for Food Security and Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation, warned that pressures on the world's soil resources coupled with land degradation are threats to global food security.

He noted that Africa with 6.3 million hectares of degraded farmlands having lost their fertility and water holding capacity, hence the need for a regeneration of the soil to be able to meet the food demands in years to come.

According to Jacques, soil is an essential component of the world's production systems and ecosystems, but is also fragile and non-renewable resources though could be easily degraded to difficult and expensive to regenerate. Read more


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