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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Nigeria targets 1,200 agro-equipment hiring centres - Jonathan

The Federal Government of Nigeria is targeting 1,200 Agricultural Equipment Hiring Centres (AEHCs) by end of 2016, says President Goodluck Jonathan, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Speaking to NaijaAgroNet recently in Abuja, the nation’s capital, at the launch of Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP), President Jonathan also disclosed that before December 31, 2014 some 80 Agricultural Equipment Hiring Enterprises (AEHEs) will spring up.

He explained that AEHEs launch by his leadership is motivated to pave the way for the future agriculture programme pleasant to the youth generation who will see agriculture as business and devoid of undue hardwork will adequate fruit for their labour and as part of effort by Federal Government to mechanize agriculture.

Jonathan also explained that AEHEs is a private sector driven programme that will provide mechanized services for farmers across the country. 

“While over the next two years, a total of 1,200 of the Agricultural Equipment Hiring Centers would be established across the nation,” he said. 

To achieve the drive to encourage young commercial farmers, Jonathan told NaijaAgroNet, concerted effort must be made to take the hoes and cutlasses away from the farms and replace them with tractors and mechanized equipment. 

“The Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP), which I am flagging off today, will further change the face of Nigeria’s agriculture. YEAP has been designed to create a new generation of 750,000 young commercial farmers and agribusiness leaders (Nagropreneurs) that will make Nigeria’s agriculture more efficient, profitable and competitive. They will become the CEOs of their own farms and agribusinesses, create jobs in the rural areas and reverse the trend of high rural to urban migration. They will help to change the mindset of the younger generation on agriculture,” he declared.

These Nagropreneurs, President Jonathan said, will become models and champions for our newly launched National Agriculture Schools Initiative, as they project to younger school children, the image of agriculture as an attractive and wealth creating sector. 
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Friday, December 12, 2014

Merck supports WHO to fight parasitic worm disease schistosomiasis in Africa

 … Ethiopia to receive 13m Praziqantel tables in 2015

Arising from the first meeting of the Global Schistosomiasis Alliance which took place at the United Nations (UN) Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, the Merck Group endorsing the World Health Organization (WHO) fight against the parasitic worm disease schistosomiasis on the continent of Africa, reports NaijaAgroNet.

This is coming as NaijaAgroNet reports that Ethiopia is expected to receive 13 Million Praziquantel Tablets in 2015 to cater for patients suffering from schistosomiasis as Praziquantel has proved to be the most effective treatment for schistosomiasis.

WHO revealed to NaijaAgroNet that Ethiopia is one of the most endemic countries for schistosomiasis in the world, with an estimated 22 million people, which is over 20 per cent of the global population in need of treatment.

NaijaAgroNet also reports that since the start of the programme about 1.4 million patients, primarily children, have been treated.

Head, Public Affairs at Merck and responsible for the Merck Praziquantel Donation Programme, Frank Gotthardt, reiterated to NaijaAgroNet that they are committed to continuing the efforts in Africa, in cooperation with WHO, until schistosomiasis is eliminated.

“In order to fulfill this commitment, we will donate 100 million praziquantel tablets to African countries in 2015. Ethiopia will be one of the main beneficiaries of this donation," Gotthardt said in a press statement endorsed by the African Press Organization (APO).

This alliance, he said, will allow the different constituencies to engage in a coordinated approach to better address the challenges of meeting the elimination target. Just as the round table discussions and first global schistosomiasis meeting took place during the neglected tropical diseases week being hosted by the Ethiopian government from December 8 to 12.

NaijaAgroNet  recalls that the Merck Praziquantel Donation Programme was launched in 2007 with over 200 million tablets supplied since then and over 54 million children benefiting from the treated. Between 2011 and 2014, Merck’s annual donation, NaijaAgroNet  gathered, has grown from 25 to about 75 million tablets.

At the beginning of 2012, Merck announced that it will fight schistosomiasis until the disease has been eliminated in Africa. To reach this goal, the company will increase the annual donation of tablets up to 250 million in the medium term.

The further scale-up of the programme saw the offer allowing the treatment of about 100 million children a year. The expanded Merck Praziquantel Donation Programme will result in a financial commitment totaling around USD 23 million a year.

In addition, Merck is also supporting awareness initiatives at African schools to explain the causes of schistosomiasis to children and teach them how to prevent the disease.
Further, NaijaAgroNet reports that Merck is conducting research on a pediatric formulation of praziquantel for preschool children within the scope of a public-private partnership. So far, praziquantel tablets can only be administered to children over the age of six.   

By Isaac Oyimah/GEE
 +Remmy Nweke @Merck +World Health Organization

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Boosting African fishery sector via partnership

This report identifies the need to encourage partnerships for the African fishery industry by African governments and alongside global agencies, especially if the continent must take advantage of the potentials global fish explosion by 2030, writes REMMY NWEKE.

Recently, a joint research by the World Bank, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPI) predicted that fish farms sub-sector will produce two-third of the global food fish supply by 2030, reports NaijaAgroNet.
With this, NaijaAgroNet also reports that there are prospects for fisheries and aquaculture globally. But the fish farming, according to the tripod report has potential to provide close to two thirds of global food fish consumption by 2030 as catches from wild capture fisheries level-off and demand from an emerging global middle class, especially in China, substantially increases.

Global Trade in Sea Food:
NaijaAgroNet gathered that the report highlighted the extent of global trade in seafood which tends to flow heavily from developing to developed countries, which may have ignited the recent Nigeria’s acquisition of a 10.1 million Euro fishery vessel.
Also, NaijaAgroNet learnt from FAO that presently 38 per cent of all fish produced in the world is exported and in value terms, over two thirds of fishery exports by developing countries are directed to developed countries.
Further, the "Fish to 2030" report revealed toNaijaAgroNet that a major and growing market for fish is coming from China which is projected to account for 38 per cent of global consumption of food fish by 2030. 
NaijaAgroNet notes that China and several other nations like Nigeria are daily increasing their investments in aquaculture to help meet these growing demands. Just as the Asian tigers which includes South Asia, South-East Asia, China and Japan has been projected to make up 70 per cent of global fish consumption by 2030.

Population versus consumption:
In Sub-Saharan Africa, NaijaAgroNet findings showed an anticipated per capita fish consumption decline of 1 per cent per year from 2010 to 2030, but due to rapid population growth of 2.3 per cent in the same period, the region's total fish consumption will likely grow by 30 per cent generally.   
Additionally, the joint report forecasted 62 per cent of food fish to come from aquaculture by 2030 with the fastest supply growth likely to come from tilapia, carp, and catfish. Global tilapia production, NaijaAgroNet  reports is expected to almost double from 4.3 million tonnes to 7.3 million tonnes a year between 2010 and 2030. 
Experts at an online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, defined aquaculture as the farming of aquatic organisms such as fish, shellfish and even plants. Yet other experts say aquaculture is the breeding and harvesting of plants and animals in water, which could take place in natural water-bodies such as ponds, lakes, marsh-land or brackish water to name a few.
Siwa Msangi of IFPRI, disclosed to NaijaAgroNet that the fast-moving nature of aquaculture made this a particularly challenging sector to model and at the same time, embodies the most exciting aspect of it in terms of future outlooks for transformation and technological change.
"Comparing this study to a similar study we did in 2003, we can see that growth in aquaculture production has been stronger than what we thought," Msangi told NaijaAgroNet

10.1m Euro vessel, a boost to fish production:
Probably, these future outlooks for transformation and technology change in aquaculture motivated the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) to acquire the 10.1Million Euro, about N 2,162,177,947 trillion research vessel for the Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR).
For the minister, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, the approval for the purchase of the 10.1 Million Euros deep vessel by President Goodluck Jonathan became imperative in view of the need to properly monitor and manage the diversity of the country’s resources.
Adesina insisted in a chat with NaijaAgroNet that Nigeria has no business importing fish, but stressed that Nigeria has abundance of water. Noting “We are blessed with numerous lakes, rivers, reservoirs, dams and flood plains, spanning about 13 million hectares which can support artisanal fisheries and aquaculture.”
Nigerian shrimps, he revealed to NaijaAgroNet, are considered one of the best in the world and presently generates foreign exchange worth $65 million annually. Even as work has started on unlocking of Nigeria’s fisheries potential with the launch of a nationwide provision of subsidized fisheries inputs last year.
He pointed out that “Fish farmers were registered under the e-wallet scheme and provided with juveniles and subsidized fish feed. Artisanal fishermen were provided with nets, ropes, sinkers, floats and insulated boxes free of charge and canoes at 50 per cent subsidy.”
Adesina equally said, the Federal Government has commenced a coordinated inter-agency effort to curb incidents of piracy and armed robbery at sea, emphasizing that Nigeria will not tolerate illegal fishing in its territorial waters and will work with international agencies to enforce compliance.

First Lady Commendation:
Performing the commissioning on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria in Poland, recently, Dame Patience Goodluck Jonathan, the Nigerian first lady, remarked that the acquisition of the vessel would boost Nigeria’s local fish supply and successfully help in achieving the policy of the government towards self-sufficiency in fish production in the near future.
Similarly, NaijaAgroNet  reports that Dame Patience Jonathan said penultimate Wednesday, 13 August, 2014 in Gdanski, Poland, that the vessel christened “RV Bayagbona” would boost the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) created to promote strategies for ensuring sustainable fish stocks, integrated fisheries management, aquaculture and improving trade through established global best practices in overall fisheries management.
“Nigeria is blessed with abundant aquatic resources with a coastline of 853 kilometres, also rich in fish and shrimps,” she said, citing for instance that Niger Delta of region in Nigeria, is reputed as the second largest salt-water habitat in the world and has shrimps that are most highly valued resource after crude oil.
The First Lady went on to commend the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and his team for the successful acquisition of the vessel, which she said, would help to increase Nigeria’s capacity in marine and oceanographic research for sustainable management of the nation’s vast deep-sea resources.
NaijaAgroNet recalls that the vessel constructed by Remomtowa Holdings was named after the first Executive Director of the Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR).

Enhancing management, conservation of tuna fisheries
On related circumstance, the Global Environment Facility (GEF)-funded and Food Agriculture Organisation (FAO) project, joined efforts at improving fisheries management in the common oceans
The chief executive officer at GEF, Naoko Ishii told NaijaAgroNet that they approved a project coordinated by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to improve the health and sustainability of tuna fisheries worldwide by reducing illegal catch and supporting related marine ecosystems and species.
NaijaAgroNet  notes that GEF, an international institution uniting 183 countries to address global environmental issues and support sustainable development, approved funding for the implementation phase of the multi-partner project coordinated by FAO which aims to improve management of tuna fisheries on the high seas and conserve biodiversity of related marine ecosystems and species. It will reduce illegal catches of the far-ranging, highly-prized and globally consumed fish.
As said by Ishii, the latest decision sets the stage for action on a global scale that will address both an economic and environmental threat to one of the world's most important commercial fish species.
"I am pleased that we are able to bring together both public and private partners in this project, which give us a fighting chance to work on a scale sufficient to reverse negative trends threatening the global tuna fishery and the ocean environment that sustains it," Ishii said.
Till date, according to NaijaAgroNet investigations, an estimated $30 million in GEF grants has leveraged over $150 million of co-financing in support of the project, which forms part of a broader multi-stakeholder initiative working to ensure that these precious resources are harvested in a sustainable way.

Attaining MDG via NEPAD, FAO fisheries’ project:

In realisation of the need to structure partnership for African fisheries, the NEPAD Agency and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) recently commenced the implementation of a joint project aimed at boosting fisheries development in Africa and improving the standard of living of fishers on the continent.
This collaboration, NaijaAgroNet reports was undertaken with the objective of supporting regional efforts to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with expected long-term impact by significantly enhancing contributions of fisheries and aquaculture to poverty alleviation, food security and economic growth through improved and sustainable management of the fishery and aquaculture sectors.
This partnership, NaijaAgroNet gathered, focuses on the environmental sustainability of ecosystems in both marine and inland fisheries and aquaculture. An approach, industry observers have the Ecosystem Approaches to Fisheries and Aquaculture (EAF/EAA) with second focus being on Climate Change Adaption (CCA); whereas other elements will deal with sustainable development of aquaculture businesses, post-harvest value chain and Disaster Risk Management (DRM).
Dr. Sloans Chimatiro, NEPAD Agency’s Fisheries Advisor and leader of Partnership for African Fisheries (PAF) said the implementation of this programme was long awaited, and now it’s time to deliver for the benefit of the African people continent-wide.
Co-ordiantor, NEPAD-FAO Fish Programme (NFFP) Ms. Gunilla Greig was optimistic the programme would make a significant contribution to NEPAD’s fisheries agenda and further promote long-term NEPAD-FAO co-operation, for the benefit of several people who depend on fisheries and aquaculture in Africa.
Further speaking, Dr. Chimatiro said PAF was created with the vision and aims working to improve the sustainability of Africa's fisheries and improve the returns provided by this sector by way of supporting and assisting in implementing the African fisheries instruments-targeted reform.
These, he said, include the Abuja Declaration (NEPAD, 2005); the NEPAD Action Plan (2005); and the regional economic integration policies of the Regional Economic Commissions (RECs) such as the SADC Protocol on Fisheries (2001) and PAF has been incorporated into CAADP programme, with five (5) key policy thrust namely good governance, illegal fishing, trade and access to markets, aquaculture, finance and investment in Fisheries as well as aquaculture
So far, Chimatiro confirmed to NaijaAgroNet that the Comprehensive African Fisheries Reform Strategy (CAFRS) through the Think Tank Unit of PAF is partnering the World Bank’s PROFISH on an initiative tagged “Currents of Change” programme to work and define CAFRS. Hence this programme has four stages of work which have been consolidated into a World Bank publication providing guidance on future fisheries reform and investment.

Partnership that works:
With the aforementioned, there is no doubt that Africans have grown some programmes and instrument towards improving the fishery sector across the continent, hence it was not surprising that Nigeria’s 10.1m Euro vessel is yearning for exploration through international agencies collaboration among the African states, just as indicated in the Comprehensive African Fisheries Reform Strategy.
Also by strengthening the existing partnerships among World Bank, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPI), GEF, CAFRS to name a few. And the earlier African member states begin to take this advantage, the better for the continent and fishery sector particularly.

+Remmy Nweke +Remmy Nweke (ITRealms) +Naija AgroNet @DigitalSENSEng

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