Search NaijaAgroNet

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Gov. Obiano inaugurates the Agriculture Committee

Newly sworn-in governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano has inaugurated a 14-man think tank agriculture committee, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Obiano, NaijaAgroNet gathered charged the Committee to draw-up the operational blueprint for revolutionizing agriculture in Anambra State. 

The Committee, which has 33-point Terms of Reference, include "mapping of the State to determine which areas/zones that have the right soil and topography to produce cassava, maize, soya beans, vegetables and rice in commercial quantities," among others. 

NaijaAgroNet further gathered that the Committee is to determine how much food Anambra produces; how much the state consumes, and what is the critical gap in food production and how to fill that gap and ensure food security and export but more importantly to confer a food production comparative advantage on the state. 

Members of the Committee are, Prof. C.P.E. Omaliko (Chairman), Mr. Ndubusi Menakaya (Member/Secretary), Prof. Nath Nwonwu, Mr Victor Ikeli, Hon. Emma Makeudo, Dr. Michael Chike Ikwele, Dr. Raymond Onweluzo, Dr. Chris Okeke, Mr. Isaac Mbanefo, Mr. Ebenezer Ikechukwu Ubaka, Dr. Ernest Igwe, Mr. Nnamdi Mekoh, Engr. Emeka John Okafor and Mr Albert Odukwe.  

The Committee has thirty days to complete its work.  

... Linking agrobiz, people & technology
Pix: Gov Obiano and SSG Oseloka with committee members.

IPCC report highlights threats of climate change to people says Toulmin

The Director of the International Institute for Environment and Development, Dr Camilla Toulmin, has commended the IPCC latest report on climate change, saying it exposes threats to people and prosperity, reports NaijaAgroNet.

“The new IPCC report highlights the threats climate change poses to people’s peace and prosperity,” he said in a press statement made available to NaijaAgroNet.

According to Dr. Toulmin, it shows that countries, communities and companies must act fast to adapt to the changing climate, but it also shows too that there are limits to adaptation and this drives home the urgency of global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Toulmin told NaijaAgroNet that its high-time for unprecedented global solidarity and cooperation.

“Now is the opportunity for true leaders to shine. Some of the world’s least developed countries are already forging ahead,” Toulmin said.

For Dr. Toulmin, Ethiopia has committed to carbon-neutral development. Bangladesh has invested US$10 billion of its own money to adapt to extreme climatic events.

Just as Nepal is the first country to develop adaptation plans at the community level, insisting “It is time for the richer countries to pull their weight and do the right thing, by investing at home and abroad in actions that can reduce emissions and protect people and property from danger.”

The climate, Dr. Toulmin reminded that though the world is in this together and that shows “we can only solve this problem as a united international community.

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

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Health Ministry partner stakeholders on Healthcare Entrepreneurship

The Federal Ministry of Health and five stakeholder organisations have concluded plans to host a business development seminar for healthcare entrepreneurs on March 20, 2014, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The seminar scheduled as part of the upcoming Medipharma Expo in Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos, comes with the theme “Key issues on Business Development for the Healthcare Entrepreneur.”

NaijaAgroNet also reports that it will cover subjects such as  Feasibility Studies, Marketing and Branding; Financing Your Project or Expansion; Business Plans; Buying and Maintaining Equipment; Legal, Liability and Regulatory Concerns; People: Recruiting and working with Motivated Personnel; and  What it takes to be successful – Real Life Experience.

The other partnering organisations for the seminar include Association of General Medical Practitioners of Nigeria, Nigeria Medical Association, Medipharmafrica, Anadach Group and Global Health Project & Resources.

Dr. Egbe Osifo-Dawodu of Anadach Group, one of the organizers of the event told NaijaAgroNet that the seminar is an opportunity for the individuals or potential investors interested in the healthcare industry to understand the intricacies of a healthcare business.

“It will also enable attendees understand efficient strategies and identify requirements required to establish a viable healthcare business,” he said.

Dr. Wale Alabi, CEO of  Global Health Project & Resources, a leading healthcare Consultancy Firm  in Nigeria, stressing that this  business development seminar will bring together current healthcare stakeholders within the private and public sector who are interested in improving their organizations’ efficiencies. Furthermore, attendees will receive five (5) CPD units after the seminar.

Experienced professionals from local and international firms in the healthcare sector will feature as speakers. They include; Adetola Adegbayi, Executive Director Leadway Assurance; Dr. Segun Oso, Associate Director Abraaj Group-a health investment fund; Mr. Diran Ajayi, Senior Associate at Templars-legal sector etc.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE

... Linking agrobiz, people & technology
Pix: Health Minister, Prof. Chukwu

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

EU, UN, Austria partnership assists Somali farmers to produce food

For the first time, Somali farmers are turning themselves into suppliers of high-quality food assistance for their fellow Somali people, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The new initiative, NaijaAgroNet gathered is backed by the European Union (EU), the government of Austria and two United Nations food security agencies has helped Somali farmers achieve this major agricultural breakthrough in a region of the country that was gripped by famine less than three years ago.

NaijaAgroNet also gathered that with the support of the EU and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), small-scale farmers have boosted the yields and quality of their maize grains, allowing them to sell 200 metric tons of high-quality maize to the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP), which purchased the grain with funds supplied by Austria.

Agricultural communities – especially in south-central Somalia, the country’s grain basket – have, over the last two decades, been severely affected by conflict and recurrent drought, which has resulted in the widespread failure of crops and poor yields. The EU, Austria, FAO and WFP are working with local farmers to change that.

"The EU strongly supports this pilot initiative to empower the Somali farmers and their markets,” said Michele Cervone d'Urso, the EU Ambassador to Somalia. “By enabling them to provide food aid for Somalia, we support the entire Somali economy."

“This initiative shows that Somali farmers are not helpless. With minimal assistance including agricultural inputs, tools, technical skills in storage, grading and marketing, they can make a great difference,” said Luca Alinovi, FAO’s outgoing representative for Somalia.

WFP Country Representative Stefano Porretti described the initiative “as a significant achievement for the participating farmers” and a milestone for WFP’s operations in Somalia.

“Strengthening livelihoods and increasing resiliency is an integral part of WFP’s strategy in Somalia,” Porretti added. “WFP will continue to support small-scale farmers in Somalia by empowering them to produce and sell more food, so as to become competitive players in local markets.”

The Austrian embassy in Nairobi, which also covers Somalia, said that Austria, as one of the partners and sponsors of this project, was delighted that this valuable initiative had been such a success. It further added that it was another example that people in need, given the necessary assistance and possibilities, are able to help themselves and thus make a difference to their lives.

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

FAO warns on Asia, Pacific food insecurity

Governments in Asia and the Pacific have been warned to take some major, fundamental decisions and very soon too on ways to increase their food production and address undernourishment, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The warning came as nearly 40 FAO member countries gathered in the Mongolian capital for the 32nd FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific to examine the state of food and agriculture in the region and a number of other important agriculture-related issues.

NaijaAgroNet reports that while the Asia-Pacific region is making good progress in reducing under-nutrition, it still has more hungry people than all the other regions of the world combined – more than 550 million. 

The Millennium Development Goal of reducing hunger by half by 2015 is on course to be met, and in Southeastern Asia has already been achieved. Timor-Leste has launched a national campaign to take forward the fight against hunger beyond 2015, inspired by the UN’s global Zero Hunger Challenge (with a goal of 2025).

However, the region as a whole needs to improve food production systems and delivery to consumers or face significant food security problems within the next generation. Indeed some developing countries in Asia and the Pacific will need to increase their food production by up to 77 percent to feed their people by 2050, when the world’s population is expected to top nine billion.

Asia and the Pacific accounts for more than 90 percent of world rice production and consumption. The region’s food security and people’s livelihoods are very much dependent on rice. As a response to a request by FAO member countries, FAO has produced a Regional Rice Strategy which is being discussed at the regional level for finalization.

Farming, fishing and forestry practices need to be modernized and made more profitable, while countries in the region must take serious, coordinated steps to reduce food losses and food waste, which is as high as 30-50 percent regarding grains, fruits and vegetables.

Accordingly, FAO launched the regional Save Food Asia-Pacific campaign in August 2013 with an aim to promote public awareness of the need to minimize food losses and food waste.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE

... Linking agrobiz, people & technology

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bank Ki-moon, da Silva call for pro-family farming policies

The United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon and FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, have called on the international community for commitments during International Year of Family Farming, reports NaijaAgroNet.
They made this call while speaking in support of small-scale family farmers, urging governments to boost support to the world’s small-scale family farmers in order to win the fight against hunger.
Mr. Ban said the International Year of Family Farming being celebrated in 2014 called “for commitments” in a message relayed by Graziano da Silva to the Global Forum and Expo on Family Farming in Budapest.
“Governments can empower family farmers, especially women and youth, by creating policies conducive to equitable and sustainable rural development,” Ban said. “This includes better infrastructure to reduce the amount of food lost after harvest when small-scale producers are unable to store, process and transport their goods.”
The UN Secretary-General also encouraged public and private lenders to provide vital financial services such as credit and insurance.
Ban warned that small-scale family farmers are particularly vulnerable to climate change events such as extreme weather, droughts and floods.

Pro-family farming policies

In his address to the forum, Graziano da Silva echoed the UN Secretary-General in urging governments to adopt explicitly pro-family farming policies.

He underlined that family farmers, fisher folk, forest-dependent people, pastoralists and traditional and indigenous communities are key for food security in most countries but at the same time are among the world’s most vulnerable populations.

A recent study of 93 countries shows that family farms account for over 90 percent of all farm holdings, he told the forum.

Family farmers also manage most of the world’s farm land, including 63 percent in Europe, he said.

“Apart from producing a high proportion of the food we eat, family farmers are by far the biggest source of employment in the world,” the Director-General stressed, adding that they are also the guardians of the world’s agro-biodiversity and natural resources.

... Linking agrobiz, people & technology

UN beckons on donors to assist in Zimbabwe food crisis

THE United Nations (UN) is approaching donors to raise about $60m to help alleviate a rapidly worsening food crisis in Zimbabwe, as this season’s woeful harvest leaves more than 2-million people in need of food assistance, reports

Zimbabwe, NaijaAgroNet recalls has been experiencing an extensive migration of farmers ditching the production of staple crops such as maize in favour of cash crops, such as tobacco, and this is quickly raising the import bill for food.

Sory Ouane, country director of the UN World Food Programme in Zimbabwe, disclosed that the UN has budgeted $86m for its food assistance programme to June this year in order to feed 1.8-million of those in need, but despite some "generous contributions" from donors, the fund had a $60m shortfall.

The Portfolio manager, Investec Asset Management, Roelof Horne, blamed the lack of clarity over property titles after the land grabs in the 2000s as holding back investment in agriculture in that country.

Zimbabwe was once known as the bread basket of Africa but has seen its economy shrink by half since 1980 as a result of indigenisation and the farm invasions.

However, tobacco is making a comeback again to levels near 200-million kilograms, last seen a decade ago.

"It’s a mess. I think Zimbabwe will be an agriculture power again, but there are complex issues to resolve first," said Mr Horne.

... Linking agrobiz, people & technology

Farmers general assembly to meet in Buenos Aires

Plans have been advanced for the General Assembly meeting of the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO-OMA) to be held in Buenos Aires from March 25 to 29, 2014, reports
According to information made available to NaijaAgroNet, every year, the event forms an opportunity to gather about 100 agricultural confederations from 80 countries in Argentina to discuss the future of global agriculture.
The annual event, NaijaAgroNet gathered will be hosted by the Sociedad Rural Argentina (SRA), the organization designated to host the event after JA ZENCHU, Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives in Japan.
NaijaAgroNet equally gathered that subjects on climate change, innovation, food security, value chain, women and youth in agriculture are some of the key themes of the meeting, even as it’s an avenue for meetings and debates between the leading experts of world agriculture and large international organizations affiliated to it.
Among other attendees , correspondent learnt will be members of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), World Metrological Organisation (WMO), Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases and Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP), OIE, the International Meat Secretariat (IMS), International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT), International Finance Corporation (IFC).
Prominent personalities expected at the farmers assembly include the United Nations ambassadors of the International Year of Family Farming, Gerd Sonnleitner and Myrna Cunningham, the U.S. Ambassador Dr. Quinn, President of the World Food Prize.
 The presence of the mayor of Buenos Aires, Mauricio Macri, the Director-General of WMO (World Meteorological Organization) and many other representatives of international agricultural is also expected.
The World Farmers’ Organisation General Assembly will be preceded by four workshops which will address the following themes: animal welfare on farms, improvement of agricultural contracts, innovative processes in the field of agriculture and services related to climate. The days of the General Assembly will be dedicated to in-depth sessions  on the role of farmers in the food chain, to the changes as a result of climate change, food security, the role of women, gender differences in this area and, finally, issues related to the generational renewal.
Marco Marzano, WFO Executive Director, said that the World Farmers’ Organisation General Assembly is an important opportunity for the global agriculture community to discuss the major challenges of the near future.
 Also, he said, towards which direction global agriculture is moving, as it changes to cope with the effects of climate change, such as innovative ways to take on and manage the economic crisis: these are some of the topics on which farmers’ organizations will be called upon to discuss”.

... Linking agrobiz, people & technology

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Maseru hosts Africa Environment Day, Wangari Maathair Day

African leaders, civil society and youth groups marked 2014 Africa Environment Day and also to honour Wangari Maathai, with aim of accelerating actions on several environmental challenges on the continent, to be hosted in Maseru, the Kingdom of Lesotho, with the theme ‘Combating Desertification in Africa: Enhancing Agricultural Productivity and Food Security.’

NaijaAgroNet reports that the regional host of the 12th annual celebration, which attracted over 200 young people and high-level experts, reviewed key environmental issues impacting Africa, including illegal wildlife crime, forest conservation and food security.

The event which dovetails with Wangari Maathai Day, a celebration of the life and work of the Green Belt Movement founder is organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Government of Kenya and the Green Belt Movement.

Professor Maathai was Africa's first female Nobel laureate, a champion of grassroots environmental activism and a fervent defender of biodiversity. She was also the inspiration for the Billion Tree Campaign, which UNEP began in 2006. Eight years later, 13.8 billion trees have been planted under the campaign, which is now run by the Plant for the Planet Foundation.

"The Green Economy transition is already well underway in Africa," said UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. "From plugging into solar power in Algeria and Tunisia to investing in green funds in South Africa, diverse pathways to greener and more-inclusive economies are being pursued across the continent."

Isaac Oyimah/GEE

... Linking agrobiz, people & technology

Denting youth unemployment through agriculture in Africa thumbnail

Agriculture is not glamourous. It suffers from entrenched negative perceptions. In the minds of many African youths, a farmer is someone like their parents, doing backbreaking labour in the fields and getting little to show for it. Nonetheless, agriculture is the engine driving many African economies. If it were to get the same political support and financial investment as the mining sector, agriculture would be capable of providing more decent jobs and filling millions more stomachs with nutritious meals.
Francisca Ansah, an extension officer with expertise in agriculture and rural services, works with farmers in the upper west regions of Ghana. At a farmers’ conference in Ghana last year, she said the image of poor, ragged and weather-beaten farmers puts off many young people. Having seen their aging parents go through the traumatic experience of farming using basic equipment, these young people opt to settle in urban areas in search of employment. “Young people have second thoughts about agriculture as the source for jobs,” said Ms. Ansah.

Despite the negative perceptions, the agricultural sector employs as much as 60% of Africa’s labour force, according to the Africa Economic Outlook Report 2013, published jointly by the African Development Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the UN Development Programme. Yet because of low productivity, the sector accounts for only 25% of the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP).


... Linking agrobiz, people & technology