Africa

THE ROAD TO 2030: ERADICATING POVERTY AND ACHIEVING SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTION AND CONSUMPTION .


adeI wrote this article for the 2016 International Youth Day and it was first published on Rural Reporter’s website

Mallam Audu works out of the agro shop smiling. He has just purchased all the input for this season’s planting and also got his 30 minutes advisory session from the agro dealer. Two thousand kilometers away, Mr Obi takes delivery of fresh tubers of yams; two bunches of plantain and a basket of tomatoes just 20 minutes after ordering from a mobile app.  The roads leading to Thai community are now well paved and the first textile factory is up and running with quality cotton supplied by farmers in the community. Aba is now home of quality textile with exports to the other regions of Africa. You might wonder, when did all these happen? The year is 2030.

Of course many will say, “These are just wishful thinking and dreams”. They are however very achievable. The role young people in Nigeria, and indeed Sub Sahara Africa, have to play to make all the above a reality cannot be over-emphasised. Little wonder then that this year’s International Youth Day focuses on three fundamental elements –eradicating poverty, achieving sustainable production and consumption by the year 2030. While a whole lot goes into achieving these, agriculture and agribusiness plays a major role. It is also one of the few sectors that can conveniently engage young people solving issues related to hunger, mal-nutrition, unemployment and ultimately food security.

THE ROAD TO 2030

Much is needed to achieve this goal it is however achievable. This article highlight 3 kick off steps needed to achieve this by 2030. It is important to note though that actions are required from now to make this reality To start with, an all inclusive stakeholder consultation is needed. This consultation will involve both public and private sector in agriculture, the farmers, youths and women, donor organizations ,research institutes, health care organization and other organizations or agency that play a role in the agriculture value chain to mention a few. The purpose of this consultation will be to have a holistic need assessment of what is needed to improve and transform agriculture. It will also be an avenue to priotize key focus areas and synergize across board on steps to take to achieve the set goal.

One of the fundamental outcomes expected from this consultation should be a clearly defined value chain transformation road map for each key commodities and agricultural services. A consultation usually ends with a long list of needs to be address and responsibilities to be shared. Due diligence needs to be done to this to ensure every one knows the role they have to play and in what areas of the sector.

It is on the basis of these that required increased investment need to be provided. The Feed Africa Report by the African Development Bank clearly stated that Africa requires US$315bn- US$400bn to realize the Sustainable Development Goals on poverty and ending hunger. It is thus imperative that consistent and purposeful effort be made to provide funding to transforming agriculture and it value chain. This should start with increased allocation of budget to agriculture and related sectors by the governments. It is also important that the government allows the private sector handle the job of running agribusiness while they focus on issues like regulation, health care, research, infrastructure to mention but a few.

Young people are dynamic and energetic. They are also not blinded to the challenges and pressures of the times we live in and as such might not be quickly drawn to engaging in agriculture as they believe that a white collar career in other sectors will provide a better life for them. Of course not every one will be in the agriculture sector. It is however important to note that more than ever before the sector needs intelligent, hardworking, smart and entrepreneurial young men and women to engage in the various aspect of the value chain. It is thus important that changing young people’s perception toward agriculture be given attention.

To succeed in this, a couple of things need to be done

  • Improving the lifestyle of existing smallholders to reflect success by helping them do agribusiness rather than just farming
  • Promoting the success of young people who are doing well in agribusiness
  • Parents and educational institutions promoting from an early age importance of growing ones food through backyard farming and school gardening
  • A joint collaboration by the public and private sector to fund scholarships to study agriculture and to provide grants and loans to young people with ideas in agriculture and agribusiness These kick off steps needs intentional efforts from all involved.

There is no folding of hands and waiting to be spoon fed. Youth, need to get involved in shaping the future they want for themselves. Join in policy discussion, partner with others in areas of interest in agriculture and agribusiness, be ready to learn and get trained if needs be. Display qualities of hard work, honesty and endurance to achieve set goals. If opportune to get funding please use wisely for intended purpose.

 

2030 is not far off from us. As a young person are you prepared to take needed steps to achieve these goals. We all should take sometime to think about this and see areas we can contribute. A little bit of effort will collectively yield good results. . – See more at: http://ruralreporters.com/the-road-to-2030-eradicating-poverty-and-achieving-sustainable-production-and-consumption/ | Rural Reporters

Advertisements

Youth Agripreneurs Project – Call for sponsors

 

young-agripreneur-ccafs_0

This blogpost originally appeared on the GFAR website

It is our firm belief that youth are pivotal for the future of agriculture and the world’s food security.

As such, we are committed to integrate, stimulate and mentor youth through any of our projects. In GCARD3, the Third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development, we will take any opportunity to live up to that commitment.

We want to use the upcoming GCARD3 global event to pilot a number of innovative projects and approaches. One of these projects is “YAP”, the Youth Agripreneurs Project. “YAP” is a pilot project targeting young agricultural entrepreneurs (“agripreneurs”).

Within “YAP” we want to select ten young agripreneurs from all over the world, and provide a seed fund to facilitate the startup of their project. During one year, we want to mentor them within their project by linking the youth with seasoned researchers and practitioners and integrating them in the YPARD (Young Professionals for Agricultural Development) mentoring program. We also want to train them on new ways to advocate and network using innovative communication tools.

“YAP” is a pilot project, a proof of concept. If successful, we want to refine and expand the project, combining the seed funding and mentoring program, to give youth a chance to realize their projects, and to give them a platform to showcase their projects. It is our hope this will inspire other youth and prove that agriculture and all its value added services ARE a viable, respectable, profitable business and livelihood.

To fund the “YAP” project, we are looking for sponsors who will collectively contribute to the seed fund, for a total of US$75,000.
This will be used to fund US$5,000 to each of the 10 selected agripreneurs’ project. An additional US$2,500/person will be used for their participation at the GCARD3 global event (travel and accommodation) to kick-start their mentoring and training program.
There is NO administrative overhead in this entire project. All funds are directly allocated to the young agripreneurs.
Potential sponsors can be institutes, organizations, private donors or companies.

Here are the full details of the “YAP” project.

Interested? More information and expressions of interest can be sent to Fiona Chandler (GFAR Secretariat): f.chandler(at)fao.org
And… act fast! By Feb 15th we will evaluate if we have the needed funding quorum to launch the public appeal for youth project proposals!

Background:
CGIAR (the Global Agricultural Research Partnership) and GFAR (the Global Forum on Agricultural Research) co-organize the global event of GCARD3 (the Third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development) in April 2016. This event will be held in Johannesburg, co-hosted by the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa.
In cooperation with YPARD (the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development), we aim to fully integrate youth in the whole GCARD3 process and to showcase their crucial role in the future of agriculture.

Picture courtesy Vivian Atako (CCAFS)

THOUGHT FOR FOOD CHALLENGE- An enabler for sustainable food security

Email-able Flyer - Are you

More than ever before the issue of food security is a priority for us all. Day in day out around the world researchers, scientists, policy makers and stakeholder from various sectors even outside the agriculture sphere are working hard to proffer sustainable solution to the issue of food security. They are in labs, workshops, meetings to conceptualize solution and map out way forward. Many of these ones are old and are doing these activities not just because of the 10 -30 years or less they have to live but because they are also concerned about what becomes of the future generation( young people like myself and the child unborn). They have a lingering question at heart

BY 2050 WHAT WILL THE OVER 9BILLON PEOPLE FEED ON?

Have you thought of this yourself? Have you got some ideas in your head on how things can be made better? Have you been discussing this with a group of friends a week or two back? Have you wondered about how you can contribute to this burning issue even though you are just a student? I HAVE GOODNEWS FOR YOU

For the past 2 years, young people, students from around the world have gathered to pitch ideas and solution to the issue of feeding the world in a sustainable and environmentally manner. They have met at what is known as the “Thought for Food” Summit. They meet here not to just pitch, they network, prize money is won and of course they party to their success. Watch this video that highlights last year’s event

This year will not be am exception as the THOUGHT FOR FOOD CHALLENGE is again open to student teams to sign up for this prestigious competition with over 10000 USD to be won. I personally have followed the #TFFChallenge for two years and I can tell you these three things

  • It is absolutely worth all the effort
  • I have not seen a team from West Africa or Nigeria qualified to the top ten teams that are able to pitch their ideas at the #TFFSummit.
  • This year provides an opportunity for teams of students in Nigeria and West Africa to show case their ideas and get the chance to pitch their idea

So what needs to be done?

The TFFChallenge allows for university students (Undergraduate-Phd) from all field of study to explore and generate sustainable ideas that can help feed the world. Take for example in 2014 the team FoPo Food Power from the Lund University Sweden came up with the idea to convert unsellable and almost expiring food into food powder with dozens of uses including space mission, humanitarian aids and lot more. The powder has a longer shelf life than fresh produce and preserves nutritional qualities, properties and taste. This team came out as runner up and went home with $5000.

I am absolutely certain that the teaming number of youth in universities in Nigeria can definitely come up with an idea worthwhile and the TFFChallenge gives you the place to showcase it.

Here is what is needed

  • Sign up on www.tffchallenge.com
  • Form your team of 3-5 students from different fields,
  • Begin the TFF Challenge and develop your Project.
  • All project development and submission is due by Dec 1 2015 as finalist will be announced on the 15th of December 2015.

We all have a role as young people to contribute to the kind of future we want for ourselves and the generation to come. And this competition is one avenue to do so.

Personally I encourage all Nigerian students who are innovative and have got great ideas to team up and sign up for the TFFChallenge.

For more guidance download the student info pack here

Opportunity! Masters Research Grants – Fish Trade Program in Africa

The shores of Shiroro dam in Niger State Nigeria is a fishery hub

The shores of Shiroro dam in Niger State Nigeria is a fishery hub

The WorldFish Center with the funding from the European Commission (EC) has joined efforts with AU-IBAR and NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA), to implement a programme called “Improving Food Security and Reducing Poverty through Intra-regional Fish Trade in Sub-Saharan Africa” (also referred to as Fish Trade Program). The Fish Trade Program aims to improve food and nutritional security and reduce poverty in sub-Saharan Africa by enhancing the capacities of regional and pan-African organizations to support their member states to better integrate intra-regional fish trade into their development and food security policy agendas. The Program works within the four corridors in Africa (Western, Southern, Eastern and Central) aims to deliver on the following results:

  • Generate information on the structure, products and value of intra-regional fish trade in food security in Sub Saharan Africa and make it available to stakeholders.
  • Come up with a set of recommendations on policies, certification procedures, standards and regulations, and get them well embedded in national and regional fisheries, agricultural, trade and food security policy frameworks in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Enhance the capacities for trade amongst private sector associations, in particular of women fish processors and traders and aquaculture producers, to make better use of expanding trade opportunities through competitive small and medium scale enterprises; and
  • Facilitate adoption and implementation of appropriate policies, certification procedures, standards and regulations by key stakeholders participating in intra-regional trade in the four trade corridors.

This program focuses on four main African trade corridors, in Western, Southern, Eastern and Central Africa. It is focused in three main areas namely to:

  • Strengthen the evidence base for coherent policy development at national and regional levels,
  • Support the formulation and implementation of appropriate policies, standards and regulatory frameworks to promote intra-regional fish trade, and
  • Strengthen the capacity of private sector associations, in particular of women fish traders, to enhance the competitiveness of small- and medium-scale enterprises engaged in this trade.

The Program responds to the potential of Africa’s intra-regional fish trade in addressing the region’s food and nutrition insecurity, as well as poverty reduction through wealth creation which has been overlooked and neglected in national and regional policy. As a result, intra-regional fish trade has largely remained informal, with substantial volumes traded by artisanal and small – medium enterprises, mostly by women.

African Union and its Regional Economic Communities (RECs) have therefore prioritized strengthening of regional trade and have identified fish and fish products as key commodities for investment and policy support. This is evidenced in the African Union Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture document which clearly aims to “Promote responsible and equitable fish trade and marketing by significantly harnessing the benefits of Africa’s fisheries and aquaculture endowments through accelerated trade and marketing”.

Nature of Research Grant

This research grant forms part of the mentorship program which aims at building the capacities of the youth and young professionals in Africa through active engagement in the program implementation process. This is based on the assumption that there exists huge opportunity to generate volumes of data on fish trade in Africa, and the project offers opportunity to even generate more information which can be capitalized on to inform national and regional policies at the same time bring forth academic excellence to a number of individuals who can help in contributing to the development of Africa at large if their capacities are built.

Eligibility

It is expected that the candidates should be from AU Member states and should have completed their course work in any of the following Universities which are participating in the implementation of the Fish Trade project;

  1. University of Abidjan, Ivory Coast
  2. University of Dakar, Senegal
  3. University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  4. University of Douala, Cameroun
  5. University of Ghana, Ghana
  6. University of Ibadan, Nigeria
  7. Lilongwe University of Agriculture & Natural Resources, Malawi
  8. National University of Rwanda Other Universities within the regions will also be considered but priority will be given to the Universities above

The students should be pursuing masters or have proven background in the following programs; Economics, Fisheries Economics, Agriculture Economics, International Trade and other related programs.

The candidate should be willing to undertake the study in the southern corridor and parts of eastern corridor, such as Rwanda at the minimum possible cost.

Selection Criteria

The selection of candidates shall be done through a rigorous exercise, consisting of independent reviewers. The basis of selection shall be made on academic merit obtained at Masters Coursework and evaluation of content of concept note.

How To Apply

The candidates must develop a five paged concept note together with their supervisors and must have an endorsement letter from their supervisors and should include the followingkey sections;

  • Indicate the country in which the study will be undertaken
  • indicate the university of study, degree program being undertaken and indicative courses so far studied under this program
  • Clearly indicate what they are going to do and how they are going to do it (proposed methodology)
  • Linkage of academic study to overall fish trade project
  • How their project will contribute towards achievement of their national developmental goals
  • How they are going to collect data and analyze their data to ensure that the work is publishable and have an academic tone
  • Expected Results
  • An indicative budget for the whole study and workplan

Candidates shall be requested to attach transcripts from their masters course work and a letter of consent from supervisory committee.

The applications shall be addressed to

NEPAD Regional Fish Node

Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Box 219

Lilongwe

Malawi

Email: fishnode@yahoo.com with copies to: lissubby@gmail.com ; ekaunda@yahoo.com ;

Cell numbers; +265999378275 and +265 999 510 796

To reach not later than 4th September 2015

Original Post Here

Six tips for Nigerian banks to help financing agriculture

14104599600_632838fff8_z

As I sat in the e-conference Hall of the Kenya School of Monetary Studies, the venue for the 2nd African Continental Briefing organized as part of the Fin4Ag Conference: Revolutionising Finance for Agri-value chains, I could not but help listen attentively as Esther Muiruri, the General Manager Marketing and Communications, from Equity Bank gave the presentation on “Banking Agriculture in the Eastern African Region”. As she spoke, all I could say to myself was “These are the things the banks in Nigeria should be doing to finance agriculture”.

Today I am going to share the 6 things done by the Equity Bank in East Africa, that in my view, I believe Nigerian Banks will find helpful if implemented both for them as a business and for the beneficiaries (players in the agric sector).

  1. Understand the client: the risks in agriculture are not perception, they are realities. As a matter of fact, there are some conditions that the farmers absolutely have no control over. Thus, it is important that bank understand the farmers, the peculiarity of their business, be it cropping or animal production. What this does is to enable the banks develop and offer products and services tailored to the need of the client.
  2. Know the kind of value chain the client is into: This helps the banks identify and know the players in the sector the client is. Who are the buyers? What is demand like? How effective are the other players in the chain.
  3. Recruiting Agric based employee: The Equity Bank, according to Esther Muiruri, ensures they employed people with agricultural knowledge base and this helps them to have people on the ground who can relate to the feelings of the farmers, and more importantly, build a relationship with clients (farmers/growers), that in turn, aid to serve as a risk mitigation strategy. These employees are of course trained in money management and finance.
  4. Offering trainings for farmers: these trainings help the banks to understand better the activities of the farmers in terms of their growing cycle and practices. It also help to get feedbacks and monitor the progress of the farmers and other value chain player throughout the season.
  5. Provision of financial training programme: The farmers are given financial education to aid their businesses and also encourage them to save so as to be able to have access to investment money from the bank.
  6. Partnership: To be able to serve their client well, the bank partners with relevant organisations like AGRA, IFAD, input dealers, commodity buyers and this enables them know the acceptable standards, new best practices and technology available.

To be able to finance the agriculture value-chain, fund providers must understand what goes on in the agricultural system. Sitting in offices and waiting for client will not help. Activities need to be on the ground. Banks need to be in the shoes of the farmers, growers and agribusiness owners to know and meet their needs. And the only way to achieve this is by building relationships and going all the way out to provide tailored services and products for farmers and relevant value chain players.

Will the Nigerian Banks take up this task and make changes that will help in revolutionising agriculture and agribusiness? Will they contribute in removing so many smallholders out of poverty helping them increase their income and be better player in agribusiness? Only time will tell..

Photo credit: C. Schubert/CCAFS

First Published here

Increased agricultural investments in Africa, an absolute necessity

 

Ten years ago, African leaders peered into the future and decided to plan ahead. They agreed to invest at least 10% of their national budgets into Agriculture in what is called the Maputo Declaration. Unfortunately, so far, only a handful of countries have lived up to that promise.

These include Ghana, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mali and Burkina-Faso. Others, in contrast, are yet to fulfill this agreement. Nigeria, for example, has reduced its allocation annually, with a mere 1.47% allocated to agriculture in the year 2014. The question, therefore, is what needs to be done?

Poverty, hunger, food insecurity and wastage are sadly characteristics that African countries – like Nigeria my country – all have in common. This is indeed sad because Africa is blessed with all we require to feed ourselves and the rest of the world. Aside this is the increasing youth unemployment that is becoming an increasing burden to our economies. All these are issues we all know and have many times discussed. But of course we cannot keep dwelling on problems.

Less talk, more action

So let’s talk about solutions. In my opinion, the examples of successful African countries need to be studied carefully and, if possible, copied. The viable policies, implementation plans, programs and projects underpinning these successes should be replicated especially among countries in the same region with similar socioeconomic conditions. There is also a need to move from paying lip service to actions that show a true sense of commitment to agricultural investment. As a young person I must mention the need for viable empowerment programmes for the youth in agriculture.

Solutions driven policies

Governments need to pay attention to the next generation of farmers who are highly energetic and also interestingly trying to find a path in the sector. This will also help dispel some of the negative impressions around agriculture. Our leaders need to develop solution driven policies that will create an enabling environment for these young people looking to create a future through farming.

They also need to develop partnerships and collaborations with the private sector for the capacity-building of youth and women in agriculture, develop the value chain, improve access to market locally, regionally and globally. Governments also need to be proactive in providing infrastructure that make rural economies beneficial for agri-producers and other rural dwellers. Of course a better ICT-driven extension service that will let all players in the sector have prompt access to needed information is also of high importance.

In investing in agriculture, African countries have a lot to benefit. Poverty alleviation, massive employment generation, women empowerment, foreign exchange and trade, quality nutrition for citizens and of course the ability to not only feed themselves but others. Doing agriculture by increasing investment in the sector should not be an option; it is indeed a necessity that must be paid attention to more than ever before. Our leaders need to move on from just admitting agriculture is important but also take all required action to increase investment and transform the sector. They just have to DO AGRIC.

This blog post by the author was first published on the ONE Campaign website

ONE is campaigning for African leaders to keep their promises to invest in Agriculture. Join the campaign and sign our DO Agric petition now.

9 ways to engage youth in agriculture

ID-10083575

In Africa over 200 million people are aged between 15 and 24, the youngest population in the world. This age group according to the African Economic Outlooks is expected to double in number by 2045. Low profitability, poor security of land tenure, and high risks are just some of the reasons Africa’s youth are leaving rural areas to seek jobs in cities, a migration that could see Africa with a shortage of farmers in the future. Given that agriculture is one of the continent’s biggest economic sectors, generating broad economic development and providing much of the population with food, this poses a serious threat to the future of farming and to meeting the demands of a rapidly growing urban population. Growing youth unemployment, aging farmers and declining crop yields under traditional farming systems mean engaging youth in agriculture should be a priority.

Recent articles highlight this key challenge and suggest solutions for making agriculture more attractive to younger generations.

1)      Link social media to agriculture

The rise of social media and its attraction among young people with access to the appropriate technologies could be a route into agriculture if the two could be linked in some way. Mobile phone use in Africa is growing rapidly and people are now much more connected to sources of information and each other. Utilising these channels to promote agriculture and educate young people could go a long way in engaging new groups of people into the sector.

2)      Improve agriculture’s image

Farming is rarely portrayed in the media as a young person’s game and can be seen as outdated, unprofitable and hard work. Greater awareness of the benefits of agriculture as a career needs to be built amongst young people, in particular opportunities for greater market engagement, innovation and farming as a business. The media, ICT and social media can all be used to help better agriculture’s image across a broad audience and allow for sharing of information and experiences between young people and young farmers.

3)      Strengthen higher education in agriculture

Relatively few students choose to study agriculture, perhaps in part because the quality of agricultural training is mixed. Taught materials need to be linked to advances in technology, facilitate innovation and have greater relevance to a diverse and evolving agricultural sector, with a focus on agribusiness and entrepreneurship. Beyond technical skills, building capacity for management, decision-making, communication and leadership should also be central to higher education. Reforms to agricultural tertiary education should be designed for young people and as such the process requires their direct engagement.

4)      Greater use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)

Not only can ICT be used to educate and train those unable to attend higher education institutions but it can be used as a tool to help young people spread knowledge, build networks, and find employment. Catering to a technologically savvy generation will require technological solutions. Such technologies can also reduce the costs of business transactions, increasing agriculture’s profitability.

5)      Empower young people to speak up

If we are to enable youth to transform agriculture then the barriers to their engagement, such as access to land and finance, need to be addressed. National policies on farming and food security need to identify and address issues facing young people. As such youth need to become part of policy discussions at the local and national levels, whether as part of local development meetings, advisory groups or on boards or committees.

The Young Professionals for Agricultural  Development (YPARD) aims to provide a platform for young people to discuss opportunities in agricultural development, share experiences and advocate for greater youth engagement and representation.

6)      Facilitate access to land and credit

Land is often scarce and difficult to access for young people, and without collateral getting credit to buy land is nigh on impossible. Innovative financing for agriculture and small businesses is needed. For example soft loans provided to youth who come up with innovative proposals in agriculture or microfranchising.

7)      Put agriculture on the school curricula

Primary and high school education could include modules on farming, from growing to marketing crops. This could help young people see agriculture as a potential career. Farm Africa run a project aiming to help school children discover more about agriculture as a profession.

8)      Greater public investment in agriculture

Young people may see agriculture as a sector much neglected by the government, giving farming the image of being old fashioned. Investment in agriculture is more effective at reducing poverty than investment in any other sector but public expenditure on agriculture remains low. Regional and continent-wide programmes such as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) may go some way in transforming the prominence and reputation of agriculture in Africa but national efforts and public investments are also needed.

9)      Make agriculture more profitable

This is an easy statement to make but a difficult one to realise. Low yields and market failures in Africa reduce the potential of agriculture to be profitable and to provide people with a chance of escaping poverty and improving their quality of life. Making agriculture profitable requires that the costs of farming and doing business are reduced while at the same time productivity increases. Although large-scale commercial farming springs to mind, this is not necessarily the case, and small farms can be highly productive with low labour costs.

Of course all of these solutions come with their own hurdles: access to education and technologies, rural development, land rights etc. But as one article states “Africa has the highest number of youth in the whole world, and some of the most fertile soils – the two combined could be a force to promote agricultural development!“ Foregoing engaging youth in agriculture and the potential for transformation this could bring because of the complexities of modernising agriculture would be a huge opportunity lost.

Can you add to this list? If you know of any ways or projects to help youth engage in agriculture, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

First published here