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Showing posts with label Food Production. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Food Production. Show all posts

Monday, September 10, 2012

ECOWAS partner UNDP to boost food production

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have partnered in a scheme towards value addition for a number of key crops in the West Africa sub-region.
The partnership seeks to boost food production in the sub-region while creating jobs, increasing farmers' income opportunities and Small and Medium Enterprise that deal with cash crops.
Some of the crops sidelined for the initiative include mangoes, onions and cassavas. NaijaAgroNet learnt that Cassava has been chosen following its classification as staple food in Sierra Leone and Ghana over the past three years while Nigeria is on the forefront of its producers in the region.
Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Mali are the leading producers of onion in the region, however NaijaAgroNet further gathered that these three countries face stiff competition from farmers in Europe, Asia and North Africa as regards quality and packaging.

Yinka Awosanya/LS
... Linking agrobiz, people & technology

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

UN calls for urgent actions against food price hike

The United Nations (UN) agencies have called for swift and coordinated international actions in a bid to maintain stable prices for food stocks.
In a press statement jointly prepared by three UN agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FOA), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) made available to NaijaAgroNet, revealed the need to maintain food price so that it does not turn to a catastrophe.
This, the agencies said, could hurt tens of millions over the coming months, and that the problems of some high food prices must be solved as well as the long-term issue of how we produce and consume.
Also, the agencies, disclosed that the food price hike does not affect every country in same way that the urban, rural poor and those in food import-dependent countries are most vulnerable to the international increase in prices as the listed categories spent a larger part of their incomes on food.
Findings by the bodies affirmed that although some smallholder farmers fall into the category of poor and food insecure that they can powered to take the food price hike advantages by becoming part of the solution and improve the overall food security.
NaijaAgroNet learnt that part of initiatives employed by the UN agencies comprise the UN High-Level Task Force on Global Food Security and Agricultural Markets Information System (AMIS), to improve transparency in the global food market.
Also part of the initiative, the Rapid Response Forum was set up to facilitate coordinated policy responses by the major world producers and traders of key cereals and soybeans.
WFP made an estimation of extra $200 million, about N31.6 billion per year for food assistance for every 10 per cent increase in food price; everyone is vulnerable as global grain production in a good year is not enough to meet the growing demand for food.

 Yinka Awosanya/LS

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Capacity trends in Nigeria’s agro value chain

Ordinarily, a value chain depicts a chain of activities for a firm operating in a particular industry, like agriculture.
Typically, the agriculture activities very often start with the search for seedlings, followed by the fertilizer acquisition after the clearing of farm lands, only then can the seedlings be planted.
Nowadays, there are various sets of people who specialize in various farming including clearing of lands and in the eastern Nigeria, those are known as the ‘Abakalikis.’ They are also useful during the harvest seasons, according to Madam Okwy, rice farmer at Awba-Ofemili in Anambra State.
She says, another value chain of note are those who put the seedlings on the grounds or cleared farm land for such purposes and those usually coming from neighbour towns, where either wages for farm workers are very low or lack the relevant arable lands. These set of workers go to their home towns as soon as the planting season is over, but once its harvest time, they return.
The food industry has been severally described as a complex, and a collection of diverse businesses that congregate to supply much of the food energy consumed by the world population.
Therefore, it is pertinent to state that though subsistence farmers; those known to grow for self or mere family survival could be considered outside of the scope of the modern food industry, because their original plan was not to engage in large scale farming for commercial purposes.
So, food industry  could be rightly said to involve several stages including regulation at different levels; be it local, regional, national and international rules and regulations for food production and sales, consist of food quality and food safety, and industry lobbying activities.
And to unlock the potential of agriculture to create jobs, the Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, disclosed that there is need to engage the energy, dynamism and entrepreneurship of the youth.
Adesina said that the President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s administration no longer treats agriculture as a development programme, declaring that the goal of the government is to treat agriculture as a business and to make the nation an agriculturally industrialized economy.
To this end, he said that under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda, this administration intends to add some 20 million tonnes of food to the domestic food supply with the creation of 3.5 million jobs in all the agriculture value chains before the end of year 2015.
Subsistence farming, he noted, is not viable to feed a nation, hence the importance of expanding the level of use of tractors in the country to boost the agriculture investment by small, medium and large scale farmers.
According to him, agriculture sector is the fastest in terms of employment generation, thus has the capacity to change the trend of economic growth in the country.
Adesina in his remarks at the Ekiti State’s Youth in Commercial Agribusiness Development Programme recently, noting that Governor Kayode Fayemi’s decision to involve the state’s youth in agriculture deserves commendation.
To raise the level of use of improved seeds, Adesina said his Ministry financed the entire seed supply for the country which amounts to N2.7 billion for the 2012 season, adding that the finance, is not from the government but the use of guarantees for banks to lend to seed companies.
Also, he affirmed that the Federal Government was able to secure financing for the supply of fertilizers for 2012, at the level of N27 billion from commercial banks using guarantees from the Ministry of Finance.
In a related development 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).
Alhaji Muhammad Nadada Umar, SMEDAN Director-General said the agreement, tagged SMEDAN-VSO Agro-Enterprise Project, is to engage women and youths between the ages of 18 and 35 years in agrobiz.
NaijaAgroNet learnt 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, Umar revealed would be established in four states; Nasarawa, Ondo, Kaduna and Cross Rivers States. Pointing out, “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.”
It was not surprising therefore that a multi-million Naira assembly plant was being targeted, a North American company, AGCO which specializes in manufacturing of agricultural equipments, in anticipation of Nigeria’s dream to grow the sector with 300,000 within the next three years.
AGCO, DigitalSENSE News gathered, offers a full product line including tractors, combines, hay tools, sprayers, forage equipment, groundscare and implements through more than 8,500 independent dealers and distributors around the world.
DigitalSENSE News investigations also revealed that AGCO is likely to provide this number of tractors through its worldwide retail financing scheme known as Agricredit joint venture.
Experts at Investopedia says joint venture is the cooperation of two or more individuals or businesses in which each agrees to share profit, loss and control in a specific enterprise. Describing it as a good way for companies to partner without having to merge and are typically taxed as a partnership.
Affirming this development, Dr. Adesina, emphasised that AGCO is the largest manufacturer of Marcy Ferguson tractors globally and that Federal Government has advanced strategies for the establishment of assembly plants in the country following a discussion with the manufacturer in April.
“Nigeria needs at least 300,000 tractors, to enable our youth to get into agriculture as a business,” he declared, pointing out that already the Nigerian government has concluded farmers’ census, while introducing an agric-wallet and employment of 36 agriculture directors, who have been deployed nationwide at the state capitals.
As we look forward to a better youth empowerment with all these laudable government programmes, it is high-time to walk the talk, while the Universities of Agriculture across the country should take up adequate research initiatives on agricultural related products for better production at the end of every farming season.

... Linking agrobiz, people & technology

Monday, June 18, 2012

Global food prices drop by four per cent in May

A woman removing straw from rice with a broom in 
Kamangu, Democratic Republic of Congo.
The global food prices have dropped sharply to four per cent in May as a result of the generally favourable supplies and strengthening of the United States (US) dollar.
The May edition of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisaiton Food (FAO) Price Index shows a sharp drop in international prices of food commodities by four per cent.
FAO informed NaijaAgroNet in a press statement that May food prices dropped to 204 points from 213, which is, 9 points down from April and the lowest level since September 2011; about 14 per cent below its peak in February 2011.
Abdolreza Abbassian, a grain analyst at FAO said crop prices have come down sharply from their peak level but still remain high and vulnerable due to risks related to weather conditions in the critical growing months ahead.
FAO's latest forecast for world cereal production in 2012 stands at a record level of 2.4 billion tonnes, 3.2 per cent higher than 2011 record.
A higher percentage of the increase, NaijaAgroNet gathered is expected to originate mainly from maize in the United States amid an early start of the planting season and prevailing favourable growing conditions.
However, with planting still to be completed and much of the crop at very early stages of development, the final outcome will depend greatly on weather conditions in the coming months.
The forecast of global rice production in 2012 is firmer and points to a 2.2 percent increase from 2011, to some 490 million tonnes, mostly reflecting larger plantings in Asia.
For wheat, latest indications point to a contraction of about 3 per cent in production in 2012, to 680 million tonnes, still well above the average of the past five years.
The global cereal utilization is predicted to expand by at least two per cent in 2012-2013 season; to 2 376 million tonnes, with feed utilization growing by 3.8 per cent, while food consumption is expected to increase by just over 1 per cent, thereby largely keeping pace with world population growth.
Yinka Awosanya/LS
... Linking agrobiz, people & technology

Nigeria: Expert attributes food price hike to Boko Haram insurgence

Market women selling farm produce
The Technical Adviser to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, Dr. Tony Egba said the activities of the Boko Haram sect in Nigeria are responsible for the rise in food price in the northern part of the country.
NaijaAgroNet gathered that Dr. Egba said, fears arising from the activities of the sect have resulted in transporters avoiding some areas in the north.
He also said that Nigerians’ involvement in subsistence farming was also responsible for the low food productivity and that the minister planned to change this.
The change, he said would come through the encouragement of mecahnised farming to boost food production.
... Linking agrobiz, people & technology

Friday, June 8, 2012

Nigeria, five others benefit from Gates’ largesse

    Farmers from six African countries, including Nigeria, are to benefit from the largesse of the second phase of the Commercial Products (COMPRO-II) project being funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
According to NaijaAgroNet investigations, Gates Foundation has before now approved the project which amounts to $7 million, about N1.09 billion, with Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, Uganda, and Tanzania as the six countries to benefit from the second phase of the project.
The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in a press statement made available to NaijaAgroNet also revealed that the project is tagged ‘Institutionalization of quality assurance mechanism and dissemination of top quality commercial products to increase crop yields and improve food security of smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.’
IITA Director General, Nteranya Sanginga noted that the main objectives of the project are to institutionalize quality assurance mechanisms and facilitate the rapid dissemination of top quality commercial products to increase yields and also improve security of smallholder farmers.
Further, he said the project is to increase awareness among over two million smallholder farmers on effective and profitable commercial products by 2016 through public-private partnership.
Prem Warrior, a senior Programme Officer at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said that the expected outcome of the project is the institutionalization of screening and approval of commercial products.
The phase II of the project proposes to transit technologies used for the phase 1 of the project into Ghana, Tanzania, and Uganda; institutionalize regulatory and quality control processes;    disseminate effective products through public-private partnerships; develop communication tools, and    strengthen human capacity.
NaijaAgroNet gathered that at the end of the project, more farmers are expected to confidently use the quality assurance products because of their safety, efficacy, and quality will be ensured through institutionalized regulatory and quality assurance mechanisms.
 Yinka Awosanya/LS
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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

Friday, June 1, 2012

N1.59trn on wheat imports, unacceptable – Jonathan

Nigeria women processing cassava
Nigeria President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has expressed federal government’s unacceptability over the importation of wheat, rice, sugar and fish only which amounts to over $10 billion, about N1.59 trillion.
He also said the federal government is facilitating the importation and installation of 100 new large scale integrated rice mills in Nigeria to enable the nation with a capacity to mill all locally consumed rice.
NaijaAgroNet gathered that the federal government would not only sustain farming in the nation as the largest producer of cassava in the world but also to ensure that Nigeria is the largest processor of high value cassava products globally.
To achieve this, President Jonathan said tariff and levy on the importation of wheat has been increased and proceeds from the levy will be used to support corporate bakers and master bakers across the country to use high quality cassava flour for baking.
The funds generated from the wheat levy, NaijaAgroNet learnt would be set aside to also support the promotion of high quality cassava flour and composite cassava bread in form of technical training, equipment for corporate baker as well as enzymes needed for production.
“Nigeria will export this year 1 million metric tonnes of dried cassava chips to China,” this he said would earn the nation $136 million, about N21.7 billion in foreign exchange.
The federal government is also reviving cocoa’s lost glory with massive distribution of about 3.6 million free pods of high-yielding cocoa varieties for farmers. Free cotton seeds will also be distributed to cotton farmers in the north.
Yinka Awosanya/LS
... Linking agrobiz, people & technology