Search NaijaAgroNet

Sunday, December 29, 2013

West Africa food security: Small-scale farmers must have access to markets

A new study by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) made available to NaijaAgroNet shows that for West Africa to surmount its food security challenges, small-scale farmers must have greater access to markets.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that the study, entitled Rebuilding West Africa’s Food Potential, presented a range of successful case studies since the region stepped up investments in agricultural development in the wake of the world food crisis in 2007-2008. 

The study revealed to NaijaAgroNet that countries could benefit significantly from policy support that targets broader agricultural development and greater coordination among producers, private industry and the public and financial sectors.

FAO Senior Economist, Aziz Elbehri, who edited the publication told NaijaAgroNet that although some West African countries are doing better than others, the region has lagged behind other parts of Africa in terms of basic infrastructure, investments, research and development and agricultural processing.

The book reasons, Elbehri said that the region should direct greater efforts to develop its staple food crops, which in the past have been sidelined in favour of a few export commodities. 

NaijaAgroNet  noted that Maize and cassava, which are two of the main pillars of West Africa’s food security, could form the backbone for a thriving agro-industry given their multiple market applications, the publication suggests.

“There is a huge production deficit in rice in the region, which currently imports an unsustainable 70 per cent of what it consumes,” FAO said, stressing that yields of sorghum and millet which are critically important for the food security of 100 million people in the Sahel, could double or triple with the help of improved seed varieties and fertilizer. Pointing out that providing farmers’ with the means to boost the yields of staple food crops is not enough.

“Farmers have little incentive to increase production if they can’t sell their crops because of cheaper and easily accessible imports. Policy and market incentives are needed to improve the competitiveness of locally grown crops and increase their share in the consumer market,” Elbehri said. 

NaijaAgroNet recalls that the study also underscored the importance of continued investment in export crops such as cotton, coffee and cocoa, which play a significant role in generating income and employment, and flags tropical fruit and vegetables and other emerging niche products like sesame and cashew nuts as another viable area for export growth.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE
... Linking agrobiz, people & technology

UN agencies team-up on Swiss funded $2.7m project in 3 African countries

Three United Nations (UN) agencies have teamed up on the $2.7 million project funded by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC) targeting food losses in developing countries, with capabilities to boost harvesting, processing, transportation and storage as a result of inadequate infrastructure or lack of skills and technology, reports NaijaAgroNet.

These UN agencies, NaijaAgroNet gathered include Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) in three countries, namely Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda.

NaijaAgroNet notes that about one-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted each year, which amounts to 1.3 billion tonnes or enough food to feed 2 billion people. 

The three-year project, NaijaAgroNet learnt will focus on reducing losses of grains and pulses such as maize, rice, beans and cow peas, staple foods that play a significant role in global food security and have a major impact on the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers. 

According to a 2011 report by the World Bank, FAO and the United Kingdom's Natural Resources Institute, grain losses in sub-Saharan Africa alone are worth potentially $4 billion a year and could meet the minimum annual food requirements of at least 48 million people. 

At a global level, the joint initiative will share knowledge on the most effective ways to reduce post-harvest losses and help countries introduce policies and regulations to cut down on wastage at national and regional level. 

The project will also identify critical points for losses in pulse and grain supply chains in three African pilot countries - Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda - and identify and test potential solutions to issues such as ineffective harvesting and handling, storage moisture levels, attacks by rats, birds and other pests, and insect damage. 

Isaac Oyimah/GEE
... Linking agrobiz, people & technology

Thursday, December 12, 2013

'7 ways to promote family farming and rural development'

The goodwill ambassador for the International Year of Family Farming for the World Farmers Organisation (WFO), Mr Ger Sonnleitner, has outlined some Seven ways to promote family farming and rural development, NaijaAgroNet reports.

The two day conference on family farming in Brussels, according to NaijaAgroNet reports is on “Regional Dialogue on Family Farming: Working towards a strategic approach to promote food security and nutrition.”

The conference is organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the World Farmer’s Organisation (WFO), the World Rural Forum (WRF), and the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA).

The event taking place in the framework of the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) NaijaAgroNet gathered is the final conference in a series of five held to increase knowledge on the state of family farming, the challenges and the actions and policies needed.

Additionally, NaijaAgroNet reports that the regional dialogue on family farming is a multi-stakeholder initiative aimed at identifying best practices in family farming as well as policies and practices in support of family farming around the world.

The year, NaijaAgroNet gathered will serve as a catalyst in the creation of a multi-stakeholder dialogue that will continue after the IYFF comes to an end in order to keep family farming high on the international agenda.

Mr Gerd Sonnleitner, representative of the World Farmers’ Organisation, spoke at the opening ceremony of the conference, and highlighted seven points that are deemed to be fundamental in order to ensure rural development around the world.

He listed good governance, enabling rural development through capacity development programmes for farmers, pointing out that rural development must be a central point on the international development agenda, just as there must be a specific support measures for small farmers aimed at making their farming activities more profitable.

Equally, he advocated for “economically and politically independent farmers’ organizations” stressing that modernization of farming, and a subsequent increase in production, and positive effects on food insecurity cannot be over-emphasised, just as a local and regional focus of rural development programs, and keeping in mind that one size does not fit all, are imperative.

“In this moment of crisis, family farming represents a flexible model, able to adapt to changing contexts and emerging challenges such as climate change, price volatility, and the marginalization of farmers in the value chain,” he said.

Insisting that if all work together and promote this model of farming, the issue of food security will no longer be a global problem.

Remmy Nweke
... Linking agrobiz, people & technology

Africa unites on Climate Change negotiations

African Ministers of the Environment have agreed on a unified continental position at the Conference of Parties (COP) to the 19th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations in Warsaw, Poland, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Correspondent gathered that the jointly organized event with the NEPAD Agency, African Union Commission and the Environment ministries, saw to the consultative meeting also attended by some Heads of State and chaired by Dr Terezya Huvisa, Minister of State for Environment, Tanzania.

Dr. Huvisa said that with 96 per cent of African agriculture dependent on rainfall and 50 per cent of fisheries related jobs estimated to be lost by 2050, climate change poses unimaginable consequences to livelihoods in Africa.

Thus, the ministers were forthright in calling for a new climate regime that is legally binding and which addresses the continent’s needs after the current regime, which is at end of the Kyoto protocol in 2015.

At the, NaijaAgroNet reports that Warsaw talks the continent will engage the global community on negotiations relating to climate change adaptation measures which Africa, led by the Conference of African Heads of States on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) has consistently flagged as a priority for the continent.

NaijaAgroNet recalls that Africa is responsible for less than three per cent of total global emissions yet bears the brunt of climate change, hence calling for a post Kyoto climate change agreement that is binding, rules-based; predictable, robust, clear, enforceable and scientifically-sound.

The African Ministers also pointed out that historical responsibility in greenhouse gas emissions as well as loss and damage should be addressed in the new agreement. The African group will negotiate on issues such as a programme of work on adaptation, technology transfer and development, capacity development and climate change finance.

Director of Programme Implementation and Coordination at the NEPAD Agency, Mrs Estherine Fotabong expressed confidence in the work of the ministerial body particularly as the continent speaks with one voice and with a unified position. She pledged that NEPAD is always available to assist the AMCEN technically towards presenting a common position for the continent.

“We shall push for all developed countries to commit to new and additional public finance over the period 2013-15, in a way that is transparent and predictable” said Mr Emmanuel Dlamini from the Kingdom of Swaziland who is the chair of the African Group of Negotiators.

The ministerial group indicated that the continent will negotiate for the implementation of commitments made under previous COPs and ensure that mechanisms established from previous decisions such as finance, technology transfer are pursued. The group singled out commitment of new and additional finance that must clearly demonstrate year-on-year increases for climate change initiatives on the continent.

While recognizing the need for Africa to increase domestic resources allocated to Environment and Climate adaptation, they strongly reiterated the obligation of developed countries to allocate public resources to support adaptation actions in developing countries. The idea of an African Climate Change Fund was mooted and supported.

Isaac Oyimah with agency report/GEE
... Linking agrobiz, people & technology

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

World cereal output expected large increase in 2013


The world cereal production will reach a new high of almost 2,500 million tonnes, including rice in milled terms, according to new Food Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The figure, NaijaAgroNet gathered is almost 8.4 per cent more than last year and some 6 percent above the previous record in 2011, according to the latest issue of the Crop Prospects and Food Situation Report. 

While global cereal production is expected to increase, FAO warned that food security conditions in several parts of Africa and elsewhere are deteriorating.

However, in the Sahelian countries of West Africa - Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal - crops and pastures have been affected this year by late onset and early cessation of rains.

The situation, NaijaAgroNet also gathered could lead to a new surge in food insecurity and malnutrition in the 2013/14 marketing year.

A large Malian population displacement due to civil unrest is also contributing to regional food insecurity. 

In Central African Republic, FAO said that 1.3 million people are in need of emergency food assistance due to civil unrest.

NaijaAgroNet further reports that in Southern Africa, prices of cereals are near or at record levels in several countries, underpinned by tighter supplies in the 2013/14 marketing year. Dry weather has delayed planting of the 2014 crops in parts.

Whereas in the Philippines, estimated 14 million people adversely affected by Typhoon Haiyan, FAO said, has appealed for over $30 million for agricultural rehabilitation and the World Food Programme has proposed emergency food assistance for 2.5 million people.

On the other hand, in Syria and Yemen, continued civil conflicts have resulted in severe food insecurity for 6 million and 4.5 million people, respectively, requiring emergency food assistance.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE
... Linking agrobiz, people & technology
Pix: FAO DG de-Silva

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Bali ’13: WFO urges political leaders on increasing trade systems

As the city of Bali hosts the 9th World Trade Organisation (WTO’s) ministerial conference, the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO) has urged the political leaders of trade to give new momentum to the multilateral trading system, in order to throw-up new balance of trade that is transparent, reports NaijaAgroNet.

“Farmers from throughout the world today called on leaders attending the WTO ministerial in Bali this week to give new momentum to trade talks by reaching a balanced agreement and a clear work programme to ensure a fair, predictable and transparent trading system” says the Marco Marzano, executive director, WFO.

This was the main message of the WFO at their side event held in Bali, Tuesday, during the Trade and Development Symposium, which is being held in parallel with the 9th WTO Ministerial Conference.

The panel of the session featured: Bruce Wills, President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand, Henri Brichart, Vice-President, National Federation of Agricultural Holders’ Unions (FNSEA), Ron Bonnett, President-Canadian Federation of Agriculture.

For Bonnett, the international trade is one important way of evening out supply and demand imbalances, but more work is needed if farmers are to meet future demand for food around the world. The World Farmers’ Organisation believes that an agreement on terms of trade at a multilateral level is the best way to ensure the greatest benefits for the widest population and strongly supports the World Trade Organization. 

According to him, it is not only important that the Ministerial tackles some long-standing trade problems but also look for solutions to new challenges, such as the increasing concern about food security, in ways which do not result in trade distortions.”

“The WFO's trade policy position was adopted by farmers’ organizations from Africa, Asia, North America, Latin America, Europe and Oceania in April 2013 – added World Farmers’ Organisation - . The WFO is committed to the pursuit of ambitious trade policy objectives guided by basic principles which ensure that farmers throughout the world can fulfil their wider economic, social and environmental role and that the special needs of the least developing countries are taken into account. 

WFO is also calling for action to reinforce the global trading systems by strengthening international standards, reducing protectionist measures, encouraging capacity building, increased transparency and predictability of agricultural markets, and ensure farmers benefit from the opening of markets. The WFO calls on world leaders in Bali to set out a clear work program for 2014 which will ensure concrete progress in this direction”.

“We welcome the conclusion of the agreement, a clear sign of another step forward in ensuring a more balanced and transparent trade system also for farmers," the group emphasised.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE:
... Linking agrobiz, people & technology

Transcorp in 2013: Ughelli power plant tops achievements list

The Transnational Corporation of Nigeria plc (Transcorp) has demonstrated its transformational ability over ailing businesses as it presented laudable achievements of 2013 to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) Monday afternoon, reports NaijaAgroNet with investment on Ughelli Power Plant topping list, while food processing subsidiary, Teragro, enjoying new investments.

Management officials visited the NSE for a ‘facts behind the figures’ presentation to the Exchange, stockbrokers and analysts, highlighting key fundamentals of the company’s business dynamics that have driven its recent impressive performance on the stock market.

NaijaAgroNet notes that key accomplishments for Transcorp in 2013 include the acquisition of the 1000MW Ughelli Power Plant in November, after paying a bid price of $300m. Earlier this year, Heirs Holdings committed $2.5b to power investments throughout Africa under the Power Africa initiative; the Ughelli purchase is the first major transaction under the programme.

Transcorp’s strategy of seeking synergistic investments across the value chain in Nigeria, with the power purchase complementing existing investments in oil and gas, has been welcomed by investors, who are beginning to appreciate the strong strategic direction Heirs Holdings brings to the conglomerate.

Chairman of Transcorp, Tony O. Elumelu, who doubles as chairman, Heirs Holdings, was quoted in a press statement made available to NaijaAgroNet as saying, “Transcorp represents the new Nigeria—dynamic, globally competitive, transparent and founded on good governance. We promised our investors that they would reap the rewards of their patience, and now we have built a company that is not only sharing the tangible fruits of our labour, it is also a vehicle for all Nigerians to gain access to the opportunities that our country offers.”

NaijaAgroNet notes that Transcorp’s presentation showed the company’s investments benefiting key sectors across the Nigerian economy.  

In the agribusiness space, the company is making new investments in food processing subsidiary Teragro, following its recent attainment of global certifications in international safety standards for its juice concentrate products. In the hospitality sector, Transcorp has commenced the refurbishment and expansion of the award-winning Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja. In oil and gas, the company expects to see production start on oil block OPL 281 next year.

“Transcorp is one of the few ways through which institutional investors can obtain diversified access to Nigeria’s key economic sectors, from power and hospitality to oil and gas and agriculture. Our long term, sustainable investment philosophy reflects Heirs Holdings’ ability to create value, just as we did with the United Bank for Africa, which started as a national bank and is now one a pan-African institutionm” he said.

Transcorp’s CEO, Obinna Ufudo also said, they were delighted to be able to come to the Exchange having delivered on promises.

“We believe the Transcorp transformation is only the beginning and we look forward to recording further success for our shareholders, stakeholders and staff. We also pay tribute to the critical role leading shareholder Heirs Holdings has played in catalyzing change,” Ufudo said.

NaijaAgroNet recalls that Transcorp’s performance has been transformed from a loss of N8.88 billion loss in 2007, to a profit after tax (PAT) of N1.257 billion in 2011. This was further improved in 2012 with a PAT of N2.527 billion, and by the end of September 2013, Transcorp recorded a profit before tax of N5.1 billion for the first three quarters of the year.

Chuks Egbuna/GEE/APO
... Linking agrobiz, people & technology
Photo Tony Elumelu:

Sunday, December 8, 2013

World Farmers extol Madiba, say ‘He is one of us’

"Be free Madiba, the last of the last, but the first to defend his people. A just man, a visionary, a good man, simple, one of us” these are words of exaltation from the World Farmers Organisation (WFO) reports NaijaAgroNet.

According to WFO, this is the way to say goodbye to Nelson Mandela, who they said was a symbol of the struggle against apartheid and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, expressed by the World Farmers' Organisation (WFO -OMA).

Marco Marzano, Executive Director of WFO told NaijaAgroNet that Mandela was always ready to fight for equal rights, “so world’s farmers recognize in him an example of humility, justice and hope for everyone.”

Also, Marzano noted that Mandela was a symbol not only for African farmers, but for those of every country, who are committed to produce the food that feeds the world's population, mostly to ensure a future for the planet and for future generations through a conscientious use of natural resources.

As said by WFO, despite many challenges such as the marginalization in the agricultural sector, lack of access to credit, the limited recognition of the role in the mitigation of climate change, exclusion from decision-making, farmers continue to struggle daily to assert their rights.

WFO pointed out to NaijaAgroNet that the legacy left by Madiba, an icon of determination and peace, “is an example to be followed by farmers around the world.”

Isaac Oyimah/GEE
... Linking agrobiz, people & technology

FAO: Nelson Mandela is champion of right to food

Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) lauds Nelson Mandela, describing him as champion of right to food, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Director-General, FAO, Mr. José Graziano da Silva on learning of the death of Nelson Mandela, former South Africa president declared that "We have lost one of the world's passionate defenders of the right to food." 

"As a true champion of human rights, Nelson Mandela understood that the hunger of millions of people was unjust and unsustainable," he said.

At FAO, he said, have been inspired over the years by Mandela's repeated calls to address hunger and the many social and economic ills that either led to hunger or resulted from a lack of access to food in a world of relative plenty.

"Mandela understood that a hungry man, woman or child could not be truly free. He understood that eliminating hunger was not so much a question of producing more food as it was a matter of making the political commitment to ensure that people had access to the resources and services they needed to buy or produce enough safe and nutritious food," he said.

NaijaAgroNet recalls that since 2009, the United Nations has recognized
 July 18 as Nelson Mandela International Day.

Graziano da Silva further said to NaijaAgroNet that it was fitting that the South African government had chosen to highlight food security and nutrition issues in celebrating Mandela's 95th birthday this year, even though the former president and anti-apartheid activist had been too ill to participate.

"Mandela has been an inspiration to me in 30 years of work to improve food security in the world, and he will continue to inspire our work at FAO," Graziano da Silva said.

FAO, he said, owe him a debt of thanks for speaking out on hunger. More importantly, “we owe it to the 842 million people in the world who suffer from chronic hunger to redouble our efforts to eliminate hunger in our lifetimes."

Isaac Oyimah/GEE

... Linking agrobiz, people & technology

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Novartis is focusing on new technologies beyond therapeutic solutions - CEO

The Chief Executive Officer of Novartis, Mr. Joseph Jimenez, has declared that they are focusing on new technologies beyond therapeutic solutions, reports NaijaAgroNet.

“Novartis is taking an outcomes approach, looking beyond therapeutic solutions to a focus on new technologies, new commercial models, education and training,” says Jimenez.

He made this declaration at the opening session of Novartis senior executives assemblage in Basel, Switzerland for the first-ever tagged Novartis Africa Day 2013, to review the company’s innovative work in Africa, including growing commercial activity, novel approaches to expand access to high-quality, affordable medicines, local talent development and the company’s Malaria Initiative.

“As the continent increasingly grapples with the dual healthcare burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases, we believe we can make a significant difference in improving lives as the demand for healthcare rises,” he said.

Africa, he told NaijaAgroNet at the opening session, faces immense challenges in its efforts to provide adequate healthcare to its people. Stressing that the continent is home to one-seventh of the world’s population, shoulders one-quarter of the global disease burden, but it has only two per cent of the world’s doctors and less than one per cent of global health expenditure.

“Life expectancy is 15 years less than the global average. Africa is also at a turning point as it begins to be challenged by a dual disease burden; both communicable diseases that have historically plagued the continent, such as malaria, and non-communicable diseases that are on the rise due to lifestyle changes, such as diabetes,” he said.

Jimenez also decried low levels of disease awareness, declining infrastructure and poor distribution channels, which further compound Africa’s problems.  

Novartis, he said, employs a range of activities on the African continent with the aim of becoming the leading healthcare company in Africa.

Programmes to be discussed at the event include Sandoz Health Shops in Zambia, the Novartis Malaria Initiative and SMS for Life.

NaijaAgroNet recalls that Sandoz Health Shops have the potential to reach more than 2.5 million patients over the next four years. While Novartis Malaria Initiative, reportedly provided more than 600 million antimalarial treatments, without profit, to more than 60 malaria-endemic countries.

Additionally, SMS for Life has reduced wait times and stock-outs for antimalarial medicines from three months to a few days and from 79 per cent to less than 26 per cent in three districts in Tanzania.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE/APO
... Linking agrobiz, people & technology

Schneider’s 2 projects scale through 100 BipBop energy programme

The Schneider Electric has confirmed that its two projects in the concept of Business and Innovation for the People at the Base of the Pyramid (BipBop) access to energy programme scale through in the “Africa Forum – 100 innovations for sustainable development” which took place in Paris on 4 and 5 December 2013.

NaijaAgroNet reports that this forum was initiated by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, prompted by the Deputy Minister responsible for Development, Pascal Canfin, in partnership with the French Development Agency (AFD). 

The “Africa Forum – 100 innovations for sustainable development” aims to highlight innovative concrete examples and practical solutions on a national or local scale, in such varied fields as health, the environment, agriculture and food safety, education and new technology.

In addition to the entrepreneurial nature and economic viability of these innovations, their contributions to sustainable development and their social and environmental dimensions will be recognized. The event follows on from the Development and international solidarity forums, closed on March 1st 2012 by the French President. It is evidence of France's support, via the AFD Group, for the promotion of innovative sustainable development in Africa.

Two projects developed by Schneider Electric in the context of BipBop, its access to energy programme, were selected from the 100 projects presented, namely the “Energy and Microfinance” project in Cameroon and decentralized rural electrification project at Abu Monkar, Egypt.

NaijaAgroNet further reports that “Energy and Microfinance” project in Cameroon was sponsored by the Participatory Microfinance Group for Africa (PAMIGA) association, in collaboration with Schneider Electric and the MIFED in Cameroon.
This project consists of offering micro-credit solutions in rural and urban areas to finance the purchase of solar solutions. Such schemes, NaijaAgroNet gathered, could boost the economic development of individual tradesmen and small businesses.
Schneider Electric provides solutions which meet the needs identified by microfinance institutions (MFIs) and uses its local partners (distributors, integrators, installers) to assure the customers of these MFIs of the availability of these affordable solutions, combined with a quality service.

The customers of these MFIs are offered two types of credit: “light” credits which offer low-energy solar lighting systems; and “energy” credits, designed to provide solar solutions suitable for the needs of an income-generating activity. This project has also been initiated in Tanzania and Ethiopia.

Also supported by Schneider Electric, the decentralized rural electrification project at Abu Monkar in Egypt project paved the way for development of the first solar power plant built in the Egyptian province of New Valley.

The solar power plant at Abu Monkar, built more than 75 miles from the nearest grid, delivers 108 kWh/day, enough to meet all the village's basic needs (school, mosque, homes, etc.). Schneider Electric also trains the residents of Abu Monkar to ensure optimal operation and maintenance of the power plant.

"The strength of the BipBop program relies on the combination between the R&D capabilities of Schneider Electric and the engagement of our local employees who all know perfectly their own countries’ problematic and ecosystems. Answering the rural energy challenge is key both for the continent’s economical development and for the people who directly benefit from light, from a better agriculture, education or healthcare. It is an exciting challenge and I think all our employees who made these two BipBop projects happen can be very honored and proud to see their efforts recognized by the French government," said Mohammed Saad, President of Schneider Electric in Africa.

Chuks Egbuna/GEE/APO

... Linking agrobiz, people & technology

Dell, eWSAA partners on Kenya e-Waste facility, create jobs

The partnership between Dell and Kenyan e-Waste Solutions Alliance for Africa (eWSAA) in Nairobi paved the way for the opening of East Africa Compliant Recycling to create businesses to be supported by a regulatory model tailored for developing countries, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The new regulatory model was developed by Kenyan officials and representatives from non-governmental organizations and the IT and e-recycling industries.

Speaking at the opening of the facility, Honorable Amina A. Abdalla, MP, Chairperson, Committee of Environment and Natural Resources, Kenyan Parliament pointed out that they we were looking at ensuring that e-waste is recycled in such a manner that ensures the people are not exposed to hazardous materials.

“And so basically, we’ve invested in getting out a regulation that is more proactive managing e-waste. With the regulation, its enforcement, and partnering with not only recyclers but producers, we’ll go a long way in addressing these challenges,” Abdalla told NaijaAgroNet.

The Kenyan Environment Secretary,  Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources said that  they were seeing green technology as good business sense, and not just because it creates profits, but if persons working for such a company are of higher health status because of a good environment, then productivity also goes up.
“We want to create jobs, particularly for our youth. So it’s a triple way: We have a clean environment, we have jobs created, we have industrial growth and economic growth of the country,” she underscored.

The Director, Compliance at Dell Takeback, Jean Cox-Kearns, says “It is so exciting to see this sustainable model be implemented on the ground in Nairobi, creating green jobs and implementing a solution that deals with e-waste being generated both in Kenya and the greater East African Region, and providing environmentally sound management of e-waste collected.”

Chuks Egbuna/GEE
... Linking agrobiz, people & technology

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Family farming, organizational model to overcome food crisis - WFO

The family farm represents the backbone of agriculture all over the world according to the World Farmers' Organisation (OMA-WFO) during an intervention at the conference tagged "Family farming: A dialogue towards more sustainable and resilient farming in Europe and the world," reports NaijaAgroNet.

The forum was sponsored by the European Commission which was held in Brussels within the context of the "International Year of Family Farming."

Luis Miguel Etchevehere, WFO Board Member, Marco Marzano de Marinis, WFO Executive Director and Cinzia Pagni, represented WFO jointly reaffirmed to NaijaAgroNet the active role of the organization in the framework of the global initiative of the United Nations scheduled for the year 2014.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that with FAO and other organizations such as the World Rural Forum, WFO actively participation in the International Steering Committee for the International Year of Family Farming, the aim of achieving the goals set by the UN. 

Family farming, NaijaAgroNet reports, plays an important role among the nearly 60 members of the WFO coming from 44 different countries.

NaijaAgroNet recalls that in some countries, such as Belgium, Ghana, Norway and Sweden, family farming represents the quasi entirety of the agricultural sector, while in others, such as Switzerland, United Kingdom (UK), Finland, Ireland, Uganda, Australia constitutes 95 per cent of the agricultural production.

Globally, WFO says, family farming represents the principal organizational model in agriculture.
Family farming, therefore, represents an important opportunity for the economy; some countries already implemented policies to support family farming, while in other countries more work needs to be done. 

In addition, NaijaAgroNet learnt that among WFO members, the UK, Finland and Switzerland have highlighted the need for measures to enhance competitiveness and reduce the dependency from the European funds of the CAP for example. On the other hand, some countries are asking for more funds directed to specific countries, such as Albania, South Africa and Ghana, or better access to credit, such as Uganda.

According to WFO’s Cinzia Pagni, they are aware of the difficulties faced by family farmers, namely the limited access to credit, marginal position in the value chain, lack of infrastructure, limited access to information, and a marginalized role in international fora and development agendas, hence “WFO considers the 2014 International Year of Family Farming as an excellent opportunity to reposition family farming on the top of national, regional, and international development agendas.”

Isaac Oyimah/GEE
... Linking agrobiz, people & technology

Animal milks not recommended for infants under 12

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has warned that animal milks are not recommended for infants under 12 months, according to the latest publication: Milk and Dairy Products in Human Nutrition.

NaijaAgroNet gathered this position from FAO Senior Nutrition Officer Ellen Muehlhoff, who co-edited the publication, noting though that milks are efficient vehicle for delivering vital nutrients and improving growth for young children, whose nutrition is critical in the first 1 000 days of life.

FAO also lamented on prohibitive prices of milks and dairy products saying these are still too expensive for the poorest families to buy.

Dairy consumption in developing countries, FAO disclosed to NaijaAgroNet is expected to increase by 25 per cent by 2025 as a result of population growth and rising incomes, but milk and dairy products will likely still be out of reach for the most vulnerable households.

Governments, therefore, FAO insists need to address the issue by making nutrition a specific objective in dairy sector development and by investing in programmes that help poor families keep small dairy livestock like goats at home, according to the publication.

Also speaking, FAO Livestock Industry Officer, and co-editor of the new publication, Anthony Bennett, said that small-scale dairy farming is especially beneficial to poor households as it provides food and nutrients but also a regular income.

“Whereas crop agriculture means getting paid once or maybe twice a year, dairy is produced and sold daily so smallholders have cash in hand for immediate family needs such as food, household goods, clothing and schooling – and that changes lives,” he said.

FAO says that currently about 150 million households made of some 750 million people are engaged in milk production around the world, the majority of whom are in developing countries.

“A major challenge is for governments to develop inclusive policies and encourage investment from the private sector that helps these small-scale farmers take advantage of the escalating demand for milk and dairy in developing countries to improve their livelihoods,” Bennett said.

Remmy Nweke
... Linking agrobiz, people & technology

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Make milk, dairy products more accessible to vulnerable FAO told governments

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in its latest publication urged government to make milk and dairy products more accessible to vulnerable households so as to improve on livelihoods of hundreds of millions of poor people across the world, NaijaAgroNet reports.

The new FAO publication launched at the weekend, according to NaijaAgroNet inquiries shows that the book, Milk and Dairy Products in Human Nutrition, demanded of governments to invest more in programmes that make milk and dairy products available to poor families and help them in production of milk at home.

FAO Senior Nutrition Officer Ellen Muehlhoff, who also co-edited the publication, affirmed to NaijaAgroNet in a public statement endorsed by Fiona Winward of FAO’s Media Relations in Rome that as part of a balanced diet, milk and dairy products could be an important source of dietary energy, protein and fat.

“They are also rich in micronutrients critical for fighting malnutrition in developing countries where the diets of poor people are often starch or cereal-based and lack diversity,” she said.

Muehlhoff underscored the fact that a combination of food is necessary for a healthy diet, and milk and dairy products are not the only sources of essential nutrients.

NaijaAgroNet recalls that in a landmark decision the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) endorsed the new Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security on 11 May 2012. 

Also, FAO launched a major fund-raising campaign with the aim of securing USD 20 million to translate into action the guidelines, aimed at helping governments safeguard the rights of people to own or access land, forests and fisheries and others to help the focus on improving the lives of millions of smallholder farmers and their families.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE
... Linking agrobiz, people & technology
Pix: Cover of the latest FAO publication on Milk

COP19 lacks climate justice says IIED

The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) has reacted to the outcome of the recently held 19th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP19) in Warsaw, Poland, saying it lacks sense of climate justice, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The COP19 — the 19th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change -- ended on 23 November. Here, IIED's climate change specialists react to the conference outcomes.

Head, IIED's climate change group, Dr Simon Anderson, informed NaijaAgroNet that there is no sense from the outcomes of Warsaw that climate justice is any closer than before the COP was inaugurated.

The delays, he said, in countries disclosing how they will reduce greenhouse gas emissions continue has continued unabated.
“It would seem that we are moving almost inevitably to a 4C degree warmer world. Having been billed as a climate finance COP, Warsaw failed to deliver,” he said.

Stressing that the need for both finance and disbursal mechanisms that genuinely reflect and respond to the needs of countries and people that need to adapt and become more climate resilient is imperative.

He maintained that in the absence of agreement on a mid-term target and a clear pathway, poor and vulnerable countries are unable to understand how the developed countries are going to deliver the promised target of US$100 billion annually by 2020.

“Looking at decisions related to long term finance, developing countries can see a few gains, but there were reassuring words and little else," he noted.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE
... Linking agrobiz, people & technology
Video: Dr Saleemul Huq, senior fellow in IIED's climate change group summarises how COP19 ended and what will happen next. Enjoy!