Search NaijaAgroNet

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Greening agriculture vital for environmental protection

The policies governing the agricultural sectors, the use of natural resources, protection and conservation of endangered species, habitats and biodiversity have been identified as needing some alignment for the better protection of the environment and reduce the ecological footprint of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, reports NaijaAgroNet.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) at the farm level, production practices can be implement that not only safeguard biodiversity but also ensure that food producers will be able to sustainably make use of it.

This week's event at FAO,  NaijaAgroNet gathered, will examine real-world examples of how agriculture, fisheries and forestry have been successfully managed to safeguard biodiversity.

A series of working groups involving a wide range of stakeholder will focus on different avenues for advancing biodiversity mainstreaming in agriculture, including global governance; national policies and legislation; financial incentives and investments; and supply chain measures.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE

... Linking agrobiz, sustainable environs, people & technology

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Making agriculture work for biodiversity

By incorporating biodiversity as a priority in agriculture chain could yield multiple benefits, says experts at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), reports NaijaAgroNet.

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva made this call for transformative changes on how to produce food, grounded in sustainable agricultural systems capable of producing healthy and nutritious food while simultaneously safeguarding the planet's biodiversity.

"Biodiversity is essential for safeguarding global food security and nutrition, improving rural livelihoods, and enhancing the resilience of people and communities," he said in keynote remarks made at the start of a three day international dialogue (on mainstreaming biodiversity into agricultural policies and practices.

Healthy ecosystems provide a number of key services upon which humankind relies, such as water quality maintenance, nutrient cycling, soil formation and erosion control, and carbon sequestration. And healthy agricultural ecosystems provide the ecological foundations for food production, and the biodiversity of crops and livestock plays a critical role in humankind.

But today planetary biodiversity — genetic diversity at the level of organisms; diversity at the species level; and diversity ecosystem level — faces a number of threats, the FAO Director-General noted.

"The way we are producing our food is a big part of the problem", he said.

"Today, the world still produces food mainly based on the principles of the Green Revolution that started more than 50 years ago, and implies the use of high chemical inputs at a high cost for the environment," according to Graziano da Silva.

Yet he also noted that massive swaths of the Earth's surface are being used to grow food, raise animals, capture and farm fish, or produce forest products. This means that if managed sustainably — with biodiversity as a priority — the agricultural sector can make significant contributions to protecting biodiversity.

This renders promoting and facilitating the mainstreaming of biodiversity across all agricultural sectors "fundamental," FAO's Director-General argued.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE

... Linking agrobiz, sustainable environs, people & technology

Friday, May 25, 2018

2018 Children’s Day: Wanton killings worry MeCAM, says it compounds children malnutrition misery

As the world gear up to mark the 2018 Children’s Day, the Media Centre Against Child Malnutrition (MeCAM Nigeria) has expressed worries over the wanton killings going on across the country, especially by suspected terrorist-herdsmen and urged the Federal Government (FG) to put a stop to it, because its effect compounds children nutrition status, reports NaijaAgroNet.

A press statement endorsed by the Director, Outreach for MeCAM, Mrs. Julie Ekong, in commemoration of the 2018 Children’s Day, MeCAM chairman, Mr. Remmy Nweke noted that the destruction of farmlands and killings by the terrorists-herdsmen have reduced the number of farmers; while some have been killed, others have fled their farmlands.

The deaths have also left many children motherless, aggravating the already low percentage of exclusive breast fed children in Nigeria, which according to UNICEF stood at 15 per cent.
Conflicts and resulting mass displacement, he said, often results in increased prevalence of acute malnutrition and mortality.

MeCAM, therefore calls on Federal Government to pay more attention to children in Internally Displaced camps with a view to reducing malnutrition and stunted growth through vitamin A supplementation.

Although MeCAM noted that Nigeria has made progress in micronutrient deficiency, UNICEF says half of the children aged 6-59 months do not receive Vitamin A supplementation. Whereas, some 11 million under age children are said to be stunted especially in the North East and North West part of the country, as well as the poorest sectors of the society.

MeCAM believes that this year’s theme ”Creating safe spaces for children: Our collective responsibility,” is apt because intervention by relevant authorities will lead to the protection of children and their mothers which will translate to less crises and interruption in the lives of the children that will aggravate malnutrition and stunted growth of children in the country.
Children, MeCAM insisted have a right to life and food.

NaijaAgroNet recalls that Media Centre Against Child Malnutrition (MeCAM) Nigeria was founded Thursday, August 28, 2015, as a media advocacy group against child malnutrition and well-being, as well as to strengthen the agro-nutrition capacity and interest of its members professionally in contribution to nation-building, especially in Nigeria and across the continent of Africa among developing countries of the world.

MeCAM is committed to showcasing successful and development efforts in the area of agro-nutrition for the benefit of mankind and for Africa emancipation from extreme hunger especially in children, women and society, centred on Goal 2 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Isaac Oyimah/GEE

... Linking agrobiz, sustainable environs, people & technology

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Ebola outbreak: Africa CDC deploys experts to DRC

The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) is deploying 25 epidemiologists, laboratory experts, and anthropologists to support the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) efforts to control the recent Ebola virus outbreak in Mbandaka and Bikoro, reports NaijaAgroNet.

This, NaijaAgroNet gathered, followed the announcement on 8 May 2018 of the Ebola outbreak by the government of DRC.

According to Africa CDC, the deployment follows an assessment mission within 48 hours and activated Emergency Operational Centre to link, scan and monitor the situation.

“The global community needs to respond to this outbreak as a crisis and not as an emergency, by quickly deploying public health assets to the affected areas expiditiously”. I want to applaud the Minister of Health of the DRC for his exemplary leadership in managing this current outbreak so far. “All our efforts should be geared towards supporting his leadrship” said Dr. John Nkengasong, the Director of the Africa CDC, upon his return this week, with a high level delegation, to the affected areas in Mbandaka and Bikoro.

The DRC government is working with partners to improve coordination mechanisms, enhance surveillance, laboratory confirmation, contact identification and follow-up, case management, infection prevention and control, safe and dignified burials, social mobilisation and community engagement, logistics, risk communication, vaccination, partner engagement, research and resource mobilisation.

During the Africa CDC team’s visits they assisted the Ministry of Health, together with other partners,  to develop three strategies: a) surveillance and contact tracing, b) Defining the various health areas affected, and c) laboratory testing and network. The Africa CDC will provide up to USD 2 million to support Africa CDC interventions. Due to the remote nature of the Equateur Province, it is expected that more efforts will need to be put in supply chain issues to ensure that essential items needed are delivered swiftly.

Last week the African Union Peace and Security Council was briefed on the situation and will continue to receive reports.  Under Article 6(f) relating to its mandate with regard to humanitarian action and disaster management the Council can authorise deployment of military and civilian missions and assets to tackle emergency situations as it did in August 2014 in the Ebola outbreak in the West Africa sub-region. This outbreak is the 9th outbreak of the Ebola virus disease over the last 4 decades in the country.
NaijaAgroNet also gathered that the affected health area of Bikoro covers 1 075 km and has a population of 163 065 inhabitants. This huge population is supported by only 3 hospitals and 19 health centres, most of which have limited functionality. 

The risk of speard of the virus is high at national and regional levels due in part to the proximity of the epidemic focus to the Congo River which links with the capitals of the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. As such, Africa CDC is coordinating with these countries to ensure that their surveillance systems are activated and information is shared in real time.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE

... Linking agrobiz, sustainable environs, people & technology

Merck more than a mother debuts

The Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany has launched their ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ program in Namibia in partnership with the Chairperson of National Council of Namibia, Hon. Margaret Mensah and the Ministry of Health, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO Merck Foundation emphasized, “The time is ripe for a shift in mindset around the issue.”

“Not only husbands mistreat women [due to infertility], mothers-in-law and sisters-in-law can also influence their son or brother to harass his wife because she cannot have children. All this has to change.” she said.

She added that they are not only focusing on the education of adolescence about infertility prevention, but also on the trainings and awareness around infertility and infertility stigma.

“What about the present? We are also calling on Members of Parliament to advocate for this in their communities. A little bit of information which takes one minute can save lives, happiness, and can change culture and beliefs around you."Dr. Kelej said.

She further said the media could play a crucial role in sensitizing citizens on infertility, its prevention and the role of men and women in the fight. Therefore, we are going to launch media recognition award and media training program to prepare the media to advocate and raise awareness with the aim to break the stigma around Infertility in Namibia.

Merck Foundation has appointed Hon. Margaret Mensah-Williams, as the ambassador of ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign in the Republic of Namibia, to work with Merck Foundation in defining interventions, and to break the stigma around childless women across the country. Together we will transform the lives of unprivileged women, who suffered infertility stigma all their lives.”, Dr. Rasha Kelej said. Speaking at the same occasion, National Council Chairperson Margaret Mensah-Williams indicated that infertility is a reality in Namibia and should be addressed.

She also said that women who are unable to conceive do not owe anyone an explanation.

“Don’t care. Shine your shine. You don’t owe anybody an explanation. If God decides the time for you to bear a child, you shall bear that child. Don’t worry about people when they talk. They talk about us every day. You know what? I don’t care. I shine.” she said.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE

... Linking agrobiz, sustainable environs, people & technology

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Spousal communication key to family planning success

As communication is key to a successful marriage, so it is with family planning uptake among couples.

Conversely, lack of communication has often been linked to misunderstanding in relationships. Family planning, otherwise known as contraception, refers to the diverse methods and techniques whereby couples can determine the number of children they want to have and when.

Evidence has shown that many factors hinder rapid uptake of family planning by couples, due to lack of communication in the home.

Some of them include: myths and misconceptions on initiating use of traditional and modern methods of contraceptives.

Many couples are in relationships where it is commonly believed that the man being the head of the family dictates the tune with regards to taking key decisions in the home. For instance, if the man does not approve of any family planning method, the wife would have an uphill task convincing him on thinking otherwise.

Based on such differences, some women in marriage/relationships have gone behind their spouses and adopted family planning method without their knowledge, have often created mistrust which regularly leads to conflicts in homes. In one of such experiences which occurred in Lagos State recently, a man, names withheld, suddenly found out that his wife had adopted an implant, which is a hormone-based and highly effective contraceptive device.

The typical implant is a small flexible tube measuring about 40mm in length and is inserted under the skin (typically in the upper arm) by a health care professional. It prevents pregnancy by releasing hormones that prevent ovaries from releasing eggs and thickens cervical mucous. 

After putting pressure on the woman, she confessed to him, explaining that she wanted to space their children to enable her regain her health and then continue with her job. Besides considering the dangers of too frequent pregnancies, the woman also considered the burden of combining another pregnancy with her job, which she envisaged would be quite unbearable for her and might even make her lose her job that is so difficult to get these days.

Unfortunately, in all the woman’s explanations, her husband refused to see reasons with her just because he was not involved from the beginning when the decision was taken by his wife to have a family planning and during the process when the woman was counselled on the method to use.

Though the man in anger demanded that the healthcare provider that administered the implant on her should remove it, to the consternation of his wife, this misunderstanding could have been avoided if the couple had a collective decision on the issue which could only be achieved through effective communication.

This experience plays out in most Nigerian homes, often resulting in conflicts, separation and in extreme cases, divorce. However, it can be effectively addressed through constant engagement and communication among couples. This is because, embracing family planning methods and using them correctly after proper counselling  is more important than the conflict. Rather, it should be a measure to unite couples.

Experts say family planning gives individuals and couples the opportunity to have the number of their desired children, the spacing and timing of their births and this can be achieved through the use of contraceptive methods.

A Family Planning expert, Dr. Ejike Orji, believes that dialogue is very important when a spouse in a relationship plans to adopt family planning. According to him, any woman going ahead to do things that her husband do not like would not get his support and this may result into unnecessary conflict, whereas, the aim of using family planning was bonding in families.

It is obvious that a wide range of family planning options are available nowadays with their potential benefits. It, therefore, behooves on the woman who is initiating the subject of family planning to her husband to find a way to open conversation on the issue.

For instance, such a woman should find out what her husband thinks and says about it; and how he might relate with her on this issue. In conclusion, it is clear that a woman discussing family planning with her husband, would bring the partner to the same level on which she is, and this measure could pave way for the couple to be on the same page.

While on the same page, the woman should remember to consult a trained healthcare provider who can help her make the best choice tailored towards meeting her own unique needs.

*Courtesy: Media for Health Advocacy

... Linking agrobiz, sustainable environs, people & technology

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Nestle dangles $7.1b for Starbucks coffee

Nestle has indicated interest in paying the sum of $7.1billion (£5.2bn) on Starbucks for the company’s coffee products, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The Swiss giant, which boasts Nescafe and Nespresso to name a few of its brands, will afford the company the right to market Starbucks’ coffee in retail outlets outside the cafe chain.
The reports that part of the business currently generates $2 billion in annual sales.
The deal means Nespresso machine owners will be able to buy Starbucks coffee branded pods for use at home.
Based on the prevailing arrangement, Consumers will also find Starbucks coffee beans, ground and instant coffee more readily available as Nestle, the world’s largest food and drinks company, uses its vast distribution network to market Starbucks products worldwide.
Strategically, NaijaAgroNet gathered that Nestle’s name will not appear alongside Starbucks’s, but the deal could still help Nestle strengthen its US business, thanks to the powerful High Street coffee brand.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE

... Linking agrobiz, sustainable environs, people & technology

FAO convenes 34th Session on Near East regional confab 2018

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Near East Regional Conference has opened in Italy bringing together delegates from 30 member countries across the region, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The participants, NaijaAgroNet gathered, include 15 government ministers, to elaborate on regional challenges and priorities for food security, and to promote regional coherence on global policies.

The Conference is set within the framework of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 2 Zero Hunger. At a high-level side event on Zero Hunger on 10 May, attendees will examine the challenges to achieving Zero Hunger in conflict zones including Somalia and Yemen, and develop recommendations for strengthening collective action.

The agenda also includes agricultural transformation in the region and the challenge of youth employment and migration; adapting to climate change in semi-arid areas through agroecology; and regional cooperation to address transboundary plant, animal and fish pests and diseases.

Results and priorities for FAO in the Near East and North Africa Region will also be raised.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE

... Linking agrobiz, sustainable environs, people & technology

Monday, May 7, 2018

Cereal price index rises to 1.7%

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Cereal Price Index rose 1.7 percent in April, its fourth consecutive monthly increase, and is now 15.4 percent above its value a year earlier, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Wheat prices NaijaAgroNet were supported by weather-related risks in the United States, while drought-reduced production in Argentina and lower plantings in the U.S. pushed up international maize prices. Rice prices also rose.

The FAO Dairy Price Index rose 3.4 percent from March, reflecting robust demand for all milk products and apprehensions about export availabilities in New Zealand.

The FAO Food Price Index is a measure of the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities.

Declines were posted in April on the three other sub-indices. The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index declined by 1.4 percent since March, while the FAO Meat Price Index fell 0.9 percent.

The FAO Sugar Price Index fell 4.8 percent in April from the previous month, continuing a decline that began last December, and averaging 24 percent lower than April 2017. Lower prices reflected a supply glut buoyed by record outputs in Thailand and in India, the world's second-largest sugar producer, as well as the depreciation of the Real, the currency of Brazil, the world's largest producer.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE

... Linking agrobiz, sustainable environs, people & technology

Friday, May 4, 2018

Food prices hold steady in April

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Food Price Index has showed broadly steady in the month of April, 2018 with the average of 173.5 points for the month, a tiny notch up from March and 2.7 percent higher than in the same month of 2017, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Prices of cereals and dairy products continued their recent rising trend, while those of sugar continued their decline.

FAO also released its first forecasts for the 2018/19 marketing season, predicting a decline in global cereal output and reserves, both of which have been at or near record highs.

Early prospects for global cereal markets in the year ahead are favourable, despite a forecasted decline, according to FAO's new Cereal Supply and Demand Brief, also released today.
Global cereal crops output in 2018 is expected to fall to 2 607 million tonnes, about 1.6 percent below the near-record harvest of 2017.

The decline is mostly due to an anticipated contraction in maize production, especially in the United States of America. Lower wheat output is mostly associated with an expected decline in the Russian Federation after an exceptional outcome the year earlier. Meanwhile, FAO tentatively forecasts world rice production to increase by 1.3 percent to reach 510.6 million tonnes, setting a new record high, due primarily to expanded cultivations in Asia.

As for cereal utilization, FAO's new forecast - both food and feed - also points to an all-time high of 2 626 million tonnes.

That reflects a projected 1.0 percent increase in world rice utilization, a 0.8 percent expansion in global wheat utilization and a 0.4 percent rise in total utilization of coarse grains, of which maize feed use is expected to increase by as much as 2.8 percent to a new high of 615 million tonnes. The largest year-on-year increase in the feed use of maize is envisaged in China and South America.

As a result, FAO expects world cereal stocks at the close of seasons ending in 2019 to decline by 2.7 percent and the world cereal stocks-to-use ratio to drop to 27.2 percent, down from its 16-year high level of 28.8 percent in 2017/18 but well above the historical low of 20.4 percent registered in 2007/08.

FAO's first forecast of international trade in cereals in the year ahead is pegged at 406 million tonnes, implying a mere 0.6 percent decline from the all-time high anticipated for the current season.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE

... Linking agrobiz, sustainable environs, people & technology

GMG join forces in crafting global compact on migration

Joint efforts of the 22 United Nations agencies under the aegies of Global Migration Group (GMG) and led by the duo of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and International Organisation for Migration (IOM) have resulted into crafting a global compact on migration, reports [NaijaAgroNet.

Speaking at the opening of the GMG meeting in London on Wednesday, the two co-chairs of the Group, IOM's Director General, William Lacy Swing and FAO's Director General, José Graziano de Silva, highlighted the importance of the current negotiations of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, and of the Global Compact on Refugees, due to be completed later this year.

DG Swing said: "This is a period of great promise, but also uncertainty. The UN family, working in close partnership with each other, must be ready to support governments and relevant stakeholders at all levels in implementing the outcome of the Global Compact negotiations itself in the coming years."

"Migration can contribute to development, and that should be kept front and centre of public attention" added FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.

"The GMG brings together the diverse expertise and operational capacity of its members. This is fundamental to harnessing the many opportunities migration brings for development, and managing the challenges that can arise. In addition, the members of the GMG can help states achieve the sustainable development goals which are influenced by human mobility."

The Global Migration Group (GMG) is an inter-agency group comprised of 22 UN agencies working on migration issues. It is co-chaired by FAO and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in 2018, and is providing technical support to the intergovernmental negotiations taking place in New York expected to lead to the adoption of a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration by December 2018.

The Group discussed ways in which they can help ensure that communication on migration increases understanding, counters xenophobia and ensures a more balanced picture of migration, to give space to governments to develop fact-based migration policies. A number of events highlighting case studies and examples of good practice are planned for coming months.

The GMG's members include the following organizations, in addition to FAO and IOM: IFAD, ILO, OHCHR, UNCTAD, UNDESA, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNODC, UN Women, UNU, World Bank, WFP, WHO, and the UN regional commissions.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE

... Linking agrobiz, sustainable environs, people & technology

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Make family planning sermons, media executive urges religious leaders

Religious leaders In Nigeria have been urged to make family planning a key subject in their sermons, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Leadership Newspapers, Mr Dele Fanimo, gave this charge at the Lagos office, when a delegation of Family Planning Media Advocacy Working Group (FPMAWG) led by its chairperson, Mrs. Chioma Umeha, paid him an advocacy visit.

Churches and mosques, he told NaijaAgroNet, need to do more, underlining the fact that some of these things should form part of the Sunday sermon and Friday mosque service.

“They need to demystify the myths and misconceptions to their members. Imagine a woman attaching child birth to inheritance. Some will say, if you live in a man’s house and no so, you will suffer when the man dies.

“Not able to cater for a large family can also lead to corruption because when you have more than you can care for, you would be forced to steal,” he bemoaned.

He also called on traditional leaders, religious leaders and political elites to help and demystify the myths and misconceptions of family planning as the media alone cannot do it.

As part of contributing its quarter in creating more awareness on FP, Fanimo assured FPMAWG that Leadership Newspaper is ready to work with them, declaring that he and Leadership team are already converts on FP.

Fanimo, accompanied by the acting General Manager, Southern Operation at Leadership, Mrs. Angela Tony Iji, further urged the FPMAWG to see beyond newspaper publications but go to the rural communities, community leaders and other stakeholders to sensitize them on the importance of FP.

“… They in turn will now be an advocate of family planning,” he declared.

The working group chairperson, Mrs. Umeha, noted that Family Planning (FP) has been a worldwide issue, which paved the way to an international Family Planning Summit in London on July 11, 2017, to discuss efforts to reach the FP 2020 goals and ensure that more women and girls around the world are able to plan their families and their future.

Umeha at the advocacy visit was in the company of Chioma Obinna of Vanguard Newspapers and Remmy Nweke of DigitalSENSE Africa Media, publishers of NaijaAgroNet, pointed out that the Summit made a commitment to increase the Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) from 15 percent to 27 percent by 2020 at that meeting.

He also said that in Nigeria, government at both the Federal and State have shown commitment to the provision of free FP services to the entire women of child-bearing age in the country.

Further, she said that family planning initiatives when effectively done, could reduce maternal deaths by up to 34 per cent and newborn death by about 15 per cent.

Also, the chairperson’s team included Pastor Olusegun Omotayo Adeboye as well as Mrs Shotomiwa Olubunmi, both of Lagos Advocacy Working Group (LAWG) and Public Health Sustainable Advocacy Initiative (PHSAI).

Isaac Oyimah/ED, Ops

... Linking agrobiz, sustainable environs, people & technology