Search NaijaAgroNet

Showing posts with label Making. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Making. Show all posts

Friday, June 14, 2024

Making of visionary dairy farmer, Josephine Kimonyi - NaijaAgroNet

Madam Josephine Kimonyi before moving to a small village in southeast Kenya called Ngumu, was busy working and raising her five children in urban Nairobi. 
Then realized she, wanted more for her family than the city could provide. Determined to make a change, Josephine took a leap into farming. Excerpts courtesy Gate Foundation.
Making of visionary dairy farmer, Josephine Kimonyi - NaijaAgroNet
A Kenyan entrepreneur finds promise in a special breed of cow—and makes a bold investment.

Monday, December 12, 2022

How LAPO is making great impact in Nigerian agriculture - NaijaAgroNet

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

Agriculture is deeply woven into the fabric of Nigeria’s history and culture and it remains a central pillar of the economy. A dominant sector in Nigeria, it consistently contributes (specific figure) to Nigeria’s GDP, and accounting for the livelihoods of almost 84 percent of households in rural communities.
However, despite recent gains, the vast majority of farmers practice subsistence farming characterized by lack of modern implements and low yields. Sadly, farming is still largely defined by the poverty of practitioners, rather than its great potentials, although an emerging generation of young farmers are trying to change the narrative of Nigerian agriculture through a focus on new techniques and 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, March 17, 2017

Nigeria’s steady progress in agriculture, a potential history

Viewed from the historian’s perspective, a significant advance in a nation’s fortunes can seem to occur almost overnight and be driven by destiny. The reality of course is quite different.  Meaningful change is most often the long-term product of a series of small, connected, deliberate actions whose importance may not be immediately apparent.

One of those low-key events that one day could be endowed with historical significance took place in Nigeria last month, when senior officials from the national government and the African Union Commission, joined by agriculture experts from across the continent, gathered in Abuja to consolidate Nigeria’s National Agriculture Investment Plan (NAIP). Similar blueprints are being drawn-up across sub-Saharan Africa to ensure countries stay focused on the African Union’s Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and their commitments, re-enforced in the 2014 Malabo Declaration, to place African farmers and agriculture businesses at the center of the continent’s economic development. 

If there is anywhere in Africa where a surge of agriculture investments could change the fortunes of an entire country, it is here. Moreover, success in Nigeria would send a strong signal to the rest of the continent that agriculture offers our most promising path to sustainable and equitable economic growth.

Agriculture’s emergence as Nigeria’s number one economic opportunity comes as falling oil prices are taking their toll on this oil-rich country. Nigeria urgently needs a more stable foundation for providing income and employment for a fast growing population that, by 2050, is likely to be larger than that of the United States.

Agriculture already accounts for 70 per cent of employment in Nigeria, but only 40 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), an indicator that the sector is underperforming. Every year, Nigerians still spend billions of dollars on food imports, a huge economic opportunity forfeited to farmers and food companies outside of the country.

Part of the reason for the shortfall is that Nigeria has 84 million hectares of land suitable for farming, but less than half of this  area is planted with crops and most of the farming is accomplished with inefficient, outdated methods and without basic inputs. Irrigation, which is becoming more important as climate change disrupts rainfall patterns across the country, is available on only 220,000 hectares, when there are enough water resources in the country to supply three million.

But if the recent meeting is any indication, agriculture may finally be getting the attention it deserves in Nigeria. Under the leadership of Chief Audu Ogbeh and his predecessor, Dr.  Akinwumi Adesina, who went on to become president of the African Development Bank, over the last few years, Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has pushed through several ambitious initiatives.

For example, Nigeria is the world’s largest cassava producer. And there are now a number of new income opportunities for poor smallholder farmers and local agriculture entrepreneurs around producing and processing this hardy root crop. Cassava is now being processed into high quality flour that can be used as a substitute for expensive wheat imports. It’s providing a source of fish feed for Nigeria’s rapidly growing aquaculture industry. Cassava can also provide an industrial starch with surprising usefulness in areas like paperboard and plywood manufacturing.

Similar efforts are underway to bring jobs to rural areas by attracting investments in maize, rice, sorghum and livestock production. For example, the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) has generated US$273 million in loans for some 454 projects. They include a new rail-shipping venture that is connecting struggling livestock producers in the north to consumer markets in the south.

Despite the promising progress, agriculture in Nigeria still needs far more investment. For example, a lack of storage and processing options causes many poor farmers to lose nearly half of their harvest to rot or pests.  Also, while fertilizer usage is up and local seed production is rising, many farmers in Nigeria still lack access to improved crop varieties and basic inputs. 

That’s why it’s so critical to develop a new agriculture investment plan that shows Nigeria is committed to ensuring agriculture can flourish as a business. Numerous studies have shown that, along with increasing food security, economic growth driven by the agriculture sector is far more effective at pulling people out of poverty than growth in any other sector.

If Nigeria ultimately realizes its ambitions for agriculture, historians of the future may point to an investment meeting that occurred in Abuja in February of 2017 as the juncture when farming and food production became an engine of opportunity for Nigeria and helped rally similar efforts across the continent. And those falling oil prices that capture the headlines of today? Maybe they will be relegated to a footnote.

*Contributed by Kehinde Makinde is the country lead for Nigeria at the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

... Linking agrobiz, sustainable environs, people & technology
Pix: Dr. Agnes Kalibata, AGRA president

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Opinion: Making food supply election issue in Ghana Decides 2016

Ghana has been hailed as a “beacon of hope” on the African continent due to its record of political stability and progress in development areas. In about 4 months from now the country will once again go to the polls to judge the governance of the current National Democratic Congress (NDC)-led regime, and the question is what this judgment by the people should be based on.

In recent times, election campaign speeches have been high on issues, ideas, policy alternatives on health, education, shelter, national security, energy, mass transit etc.

Efficiency within food systems and food security has been high on the global agenda since 2008 and the world, including Ghana, reeled under high and volatile food prices caused by the 2008 – 09 food crisis, a crisis that was followed by the 2011 – 12 food crisis. These crises drove millions more people into poverty and thus placing them at risk of malnutrition and starvation. The Government of Netherland in 2015 hosted world leaders, civil societies and businesses in the Hague for the “No More Food to waste” conference which addressed issues of food wastage, hunger and efficiency within global food systems. France this year pass into law a policy which admonishes supermarkets to donate their excess food products to charity homes.

The EU and US Government has started a global campaign that educates people on “best-before” date labels on food products. The FAO Save Food initiative has also been providing platform for organizations across the world to work on improving food systems. In Africa, the Food for All Africa program has been using innovative approaches towards educating the populace on the economic and environmental impact of food wastage and hunger. 

Building West Africa’s first food bank in Ghana to recover over $150,000 worth of food products annually to provide 48,000 meals to feed and create sustainable means of nutrition for over 3,000 vulnerable children, aged and mentally challenged.

The 2016 elections forms a solid foundation for political parties to share with businesses, governments and non-government groups their national food policy framework to meet emerging challenges and opportunities for both food suppliers and each of us as food consumers.

Food wastage, hunger and inefficiency within Ghana’s food supply chain:
The global food market is rapidly changing and facing new challenges. At home, through utilizing innovation and efficiency we can benefit from a vibrant food industry. With the changing face of international food markets Ghana must position itself to manage the current challenges, future risks, but equally, to reap future gains.

Supermarkets in Ghana are wasting over GH¢ 2million weekly to food wastage at a time when 1 out of 4 children in most parts of Ghana goes to bed hungry. Available data shows over 40% of food goes waste along Ghana’s food supply chain from production to consumption. Farmers have willowed in poverty due to post harvest losses, the poor state of our roads to transport food across the country, poor transportation facilities, local market setup and lack of food processing facilities are some of the factors affecting the efficiency of our supply chain to achieve food security.

High tariffs on imported food products, high food prices, lack of tax incentives for food recovery initiatives are also some of the factors which has resulted in perfectly edible food going waste along the supply chain. Ghana as a country of 27 million people after 59 years of independence has no national food plan and Government must be committed to working with Ghanaians in developing a national food plan that is centred on efficiency within the supply chain, production and processing. 

The development of the food plan must start with a community discussion about our food and the issues affecting it. In seeking feedback from stakeholders on what the plan should aim to achieve, Food for All Africa program through the 1st Food for All Ghana conference is preparing an Issues paper to inform the development of a national food plan in collaboration with all stakeholder’s most especially individuals and political parties seeking election into public office. Elections are about our rights and the “Right to food” must be at the forefront of engagement into the 2016 elections.

Food Security v Food Self-sufficiency v Efficiency:
Our nation’s food supply is not secure, and we need to collectively work together as stakeholders to create efficiency and remain vigilant in working to ensure food security in the years to come. At the same time we want to ensure our food industry can make the most of the rapidly developing market opportunities for food +industry goods and services, especially in Africa

For these reasons, Food for All Ghana program remains mindful of the need to maintain a long-term outlook for our food industry so it remains sustainable and resilient to climate variability and other significant pressures. The sector will need to continually adapt to such challenges and to ensure that, we must charge politicians who are standing to be elected into public offices to share their plans for improvement of Ghana’s food supply chain to ensure food security.

Food security does not mean that a country must be 100% self-sufficient in all forms of food . The World Food Summit of 1996 defined food security as follows, “Food security, at the individual, household, national, regional and global levels [is achieved] when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”.

The key word is “access”, and since the beginning of mankind nations have filled gaps in the access to food through trade, meaning importing and or exporting food.Production and importation of food is important in achieving food security however addressing inefficiencies within the food supply chain in the surest way of ensuring food security and availability to all.

There are currently many government policies, programs and regulations to address food-related policy issues. There is, however, no overarching food policy framework. The development of a national food plan will address this need by better integrating food policy along the whole food supply chain—from paddock to plate.

Individuals, businesses, governments, non-government groups and communities all contribute to Ghana’s food sector. Developing a national food plan gives us an opportunity to talk about our
collective vision for Ghana’s food sector and to identify how we can ensure its success.
Regions, territory and local governments play an important role in the supply and consumption of food.

Food Recovery: A social intervention to inefficiency, food wastage and hunger:
A food processing company donates extra packaged products to a national network of food banks or to a community food bank. The Food and Drugs authority helps divert more than 21,000 tons of excess food from state landfills by assisting local food recovery programs through a food waste reduction grant program. Whether you call it feeding the hungry or food recovery, such efforts are all part of a growing national movement that must work daily to ensure good food goes to the dinner table instead of going to waste. 

In the Ghana, we do not produce enough food and we waste an enormous amount of it. More than 40% of Ghana’s food, or about 8 billion dollars of food a year, goes to waste—in fields, commercial kitchens, manufacturing plants, markets, schools, and restaurants. 

While not all of this excess food is edible, much of it is and could be going to those who need it. Food waste is not only unfortunate in terms of the lost opportunity to feed hungry Ghanaians but also in terms of the negative effects on our environment. The nation spends millions of dollars a year to dispose of excess food and waste. That is a waste of both food and money, however not all food is appropriate for human consumption. Livestock farmers use some excess as animal feed. Renderers and other businesses could recycle many forms of excess food into other products. 

Food scraps can be composted to create a valuable fertilizer. A food waste reduction hierarchy—feeding people first, then animals, then recycling, then composting—serves to show how productive use can be made of much of the excess food that is currently contributing to leachate and methane formation in landfills. This helps any government or stakeholders, as well as any private business that deals with food to reduce its solid waste by facilitating the donation of wholesome surplus food according to the food hierarchy.

As we develop and implement the plan and other policy initiatives, we will continue working closely with stakeholders for the long-term benefit of our food industry and food consumers.

Food for All Africa program would like to charge all individuals and political parties to contribute to the issues paper by sending us their plans to improve the efficiency of our food supply chain to ensure food security, reduce food wastage, hunger and improve nutrition to the vulnerable in Ghana. Our Food Policy Working Group, which continues to advise generally on food-related issues and policies, will acknowledge receipt of your responses.

Finally, I want to repeat that we all must share feedback and work collectively to help create Ghana’s national food plan. I look forward to hearing your views.

*Founder/Executive Director, Food for All Africa Programme, Chef Elijah Amoo Addo, contributed this piece via:

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