Search NaijaAgroNet

Showing posts with label Agro-Deal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Agro-Deal. Show all posts

Saturday, June 2, 2012

AATF enters deal with Japan Tobacco on rice varieties

In order to develop varieties of rice in sub-Saharan Africa, the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) has signed a license agreement with Japan Tobacco (JT), a leading international tobacco product company.

The license, as revealed in a press statement made available to NaijaAgroNet, would enable smallholder farmers in Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Uganda to use JT's transformation technology to develop new rice varieties.

The project which seeks to address major constraints facing rice production in Sub-Sahara Africa region is tagged 'Nitrogen Use Efficient, Water Use Efficient and Salt Tolerant (NEWEST) Rice Project.' Japan Tobacco would also offer free technology in support of humanitarian aid projects.

Commenting on the agreement, AATF Executive Director, Dr. Denis Kyetere affirmed that slow growth in domestic rice production has contributed to the low output achieved by farmers in the region.

“Several factors are responsible for the low rice production. However, nitrogen deficiency and drought have been cited as leading constraints to upland rice production, while high salinity is increasingly becoming a major problem in many rice growing areas of Africa,” he noted.

NaijaAgroNet recollects that the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) once revealed that rice production in the region has stagnated at about 14.5 million tonnes per year, which is against the annual consumption of 21 million tonnes, hence the need to boost production.

The license, JT’s Chief Strategy Officer, Mr. Masamichi Terabatake said would also enable the use of JT's plant transformation technology for monocot species, PureIntro; developing and deploying the nitrogen efficient, water efficient, and salt tolerant rice products, free of royalties.

PureIntro is an agrobacterium-mediated plant transformation technology that is recognized worldwide as de facto standard for monocot transformation, which reduces development costs and time.

Additionally, PureIntro has been licensed by JT to more than 50 private and public entities worldwide for numerous monocots including maize, rice, wheat, barley, sorghum, sugarcane, switchgrass, miscanthus, forage and turf.

JT’s plant biotechnology is independently managed from its core businesses including its tobacco business and food business, thus not applied to its product development conducted within those businesses.

AATF launched the NEWEST Rice for Africa Project in 2008 with the objective to transform some varieties of the New Rice for Africa (NERICA) to improve their productivity in nitrogen-poor soils.

Experts say, provision of smallholder rice famers with higher yielding varieties are well adapted to the upland and lowland rice-growing areas in Africa, which also is another goal for establishing NEWEST.

Other partners in this private public partnership include Arcadia Biosciences who are providing access to traits that confer nitrogen use efficiency, water use efficiency and salt tolerance. The University of California is donating required plant transformation technologies. The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the national agricultural research institutes of Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda will conduct the necessary field trials to test the performance of the new varieties.
The project is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), and will initially be implemented over a 10-year period.
Yinka Awosanya/LS
... Linking agrobiz, people & technology

Monday, May 28, 2012

Farmers call for involvement in cassava action plan

Pastor Segun Adewunmi
Nigerian farmers have call on the federal government to involved farmers in the cassava and other agricultural transformation agenda action plan for implementation purposes.
The national president of Nigeria Cassava Growers Association, Pastor Segun Adewunmi made the call recently at the ‘This Morning’ talk show on Television Continental.
The NCGAN president also commended the Lagos State government for its concern in the cassava sector with about 40 per cent subsidy on cassava input and 50 per cent off price of tractors used on cassava farms, stressing these are initiatives to encourage cassava producing in the state.
While applauding the federal government for the Cassava Transformation Agenda Action Plan which he said was organized in such a way that every farmer would be a beneficiary, asserting “The policy has to involve the farmers.”
The transformation agenda action plan during the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime, he said gave room for more use to cassava products for industrial uses as against the usual garri and starch only.
Pastor Adewunmi further said his association is working towards the eradication of unemployment among youths in the nation, which includes the recruitment of about 5 youths from each local government to be trained on agriculture extension services.
Over 5,000 youths, he said, are also to be involved monitor cassava growing in the nation with about one million farmers to grow cassava.
Women taking part in processing Garri
NaijaAgroNet learnt that cassava production cost in Nigeria surpasses any other cost of producing cassava anywhere in the world; hence this necessitated the proposal by the federal government to establish 18 large scale processing cassava plants for flour.
N300bn, Pastor Adewunmi said has been saved from flour importation as a result of the Cassava Transformation Agenda Action Plan which sees to the production of cassava flour. And increase of agricultural loan from about 1.03 per cent to about 3 per cent.
Part of the strategies by the association to improve cassava production, NaijaAgroNet further gathered is to ensure that every local government authority has a minimum of five extension officers who will supply agricultural inputs for their respective local government authority.
Uzo, a caller from Lagos affirmed that funds do not get to the right farmers as they are not part of the action plan, hence they cannot monitor the implementation process of the action plan.
Speaking in the same vein, the publicity secretary of Agbekoya Farmers Association, Chief Olatunji Bamidele affirmed the greatest challenge facing farmers in the nation to be lack of funds. The Agbekoya Farmers Association, he said had requested for loan from the federal government for months back which they are yet to receive any response as regards the loan. 
Chief Bamidele said any agricultural transformation agenda that excludes the farmers in the process have a very little chance of seeing the light of the day.
Yinka Awosanya/LS
... Linking agrobiz, people & technology

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

SMEDAN, VSO sign women, young farmers’ deal

An agreement to establish and implement an agricultural development project was signed by Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) and Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO), reports DailyTrust.
The agreement, tagged SMEDAN-VSO Agro-Enterprise Project, NaijaAgroNet learnt is to engage women and youths between the ages of 18 and 35 years in agrobiz.
Alhaji Muhammad Nadada Umar, SMEDAN Director-General said at the signing session that the agreement combines expertise of both bodies would add tremendous value to the development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and the nation's economy.
The pilot programme as revealed would be established in four states; Nasarawa, Ondo, Kaduna and Cross Rivers states. 
“Our organizations both share the same values in respect of assisting disadvantaged people. SMEDAN, as a gender-sensitive organization, with our high level of professionalism, has a lot to offer to this nation,” SMEDAN DG affirmed.
... Linking agrobiz, people & technology