farmers

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

Plantain & Banana Stakeholders Plan Inaugural Meeting for August 13

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Over the years, Nigeria has been one of the highest producers of plantain and banana yet this noble produce has never been exported, production remained irrational as its either too much in the market at some times causing glut and wastage or very scarce at other times becoming expensive.

There is no clear policy from the government on the industry though individuals have embarked on massive campaign for increase in production and the potentials in the industry, government has played negligible role in the production, processing and marketing of the crop that has been tagged has the third staple food in the country. Cooperatives and associations on these crops are hardly heard or known.

It is out of passion for these crops and the huge potential the industry can impact on the economy of the country especially now that its struggling that this association is founded to create a new course and way forward.

The aims and objectives of this association are:

1. To organise all existing and intending plantain and banana farmers, processors and marketers.
2. To provide a forum or avenue where members can speak with one voice.
3. To set and improve the standard of production, processing and marketing of plantain and banana which are given to the public, ensure even distribution of produce and maintain fair price profitable to stakeholders and convenient for buyers.
4. To improve plantain and banana industry education at all levels throughout the federation.
5. To participate in planning, policy making and administration of plantain and banana industry at all levels of government.
6. To provide a forum whereby understanding, fellowship and unity can be achieved and maintained at all times amongst all members of plantain and banana industry stakeholders.
7. To raise the status of plantain and banana industry, seek loans, grants and incentives from government, non governmental organisations, financial institutions and international donors.
8. To extend protection:- legal or otherwise.
9. To uphold the international standard of cultivation, harvesting, processing and marketing of plantain and banana to facilitate exportation and balance of trade.
10. To affiliate with All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) and or fraternize with any other association relevant to plantain and banana industry in Nigeria and international bodies with similar aims and objectives.
11. To establish and maintain good relationship with members of the public, other commodity associations and all levels of government.
12. To establish and maintain good relationship with plantain and banana industry stakeholders in Africa, Commonwealth and other parts of the world.
13. To operate benefit schemes for the members as may be decided by the National Executive council from time to time.
So, if you are an existing or intending plantain and or banana farmer, processor or marketer, make it a date with us for the inuagural meeting of the association on August 13th, 2016.

For more inquiry call 08167434244, you can also drop your number and first name to join the whatsapp forum.

BY- Adeniyi Bunmi

GROWERS: Know your Nozzles.

More and more growers or farmers are beginning to adopt the use of Crop Protection Products (CPP) in their farming operations. These could include herbicides, insecticides, fungicides or even liquid fertilizers. To effectively use these farmers usually needs to have spraying equipment which could be a knapsack, a mechanized sprayer and for large farms boom sprayers attached to a tractor.

Sprayers have various parts and this I will discuss in another blog post. However, from my experience with farmers I have discovered that many a times the wrong kind of nozzle is used per time. What do I mean, for example a farmer is spraying an insecticide and he uses a nozzle fit for an herbicide. Let’s take a short ride to know a bit more about nozzle.  I really do hope this is helpful to one or two of my readers, if possible all of you.

ARE NOZZLES EVEN IMPORTANT?

Nozzles are critical in spraying. It is helps to control spray of liquid be it fertilizer or pesticides. It aids in atomization. Atomization involves the breakup of spray liquid into droplets. A nozzle also ensures that the spray liquid is dispersed in a specific pattern. Thus nozzles play a very important role in spray.

NOZZLE CLASSIFICATION

  1. Hydraulic : This basically uses water pressure as a means of transmission
  2. Gaseous : This uses air pressure
  3. Centrifugal : This uses gravitational pull
  4. Electrical : Uses electricity

NOZZLE TYPES

Flat Fan Nozzles

flat fanThis is the appropriate nose for herbicides. It usually found on tractors and has medium droplet size. It’s not fit for knapsacks.

 

 

 

 

Flood Jet Nozzle

flood jetThis kind of nozzle is appropriate for a knapsack. It releases droplet in big size. The flood jet nozzle is very fitting for fertilizer application.

 

 

 

Full Cone Nozzle

full coneThis nozzle type should be used for fungicide and insecticide. It provides fine droplet when spraying

 

 

 

 

 

Even Flat Fan Nozzle

This is very similar to the flat fan nozzle and is fitting for herbicide spray. It is suitable for a knapsack.

even flat fan

Hollow Cone Nozzle

hollow coneThis is also used for insecticide and fungicide applications. It has a hallow spray pattern

 

 

 

 

The next time you spray be sure to you the right nozzle. It goes a long way to ensure you efficiently use your CPP or fertilizer as the case may be.

Six tips for Nigerian banks to help financing agriculture

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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.

Agric Engineer uses ICT to provide support services to farmers

Yet again, BusinessDay Nigeria, sheds some light into my activities as a youth in Agriculture in the Wednesday 24th April 2014 edition of the newspaper. Spare a  few minutes and read below this piece by Yinka Alawode of Businessday

A young Chief Executive of Agropreneur Nigeria runs his family piggery farm and combines it with his knowledge of Agriculture and ICT to provide business support services to farmers.

Olawale Ojo has a degree in Agricultural Engineering from the Federal University of Technology Akure and a Diploma in Integrated Farming Systems from the Songhai Centre for Production, Training, and Research, Port Novo, Benin Republic.

His inspiration came after his course at the Songhai Centre, which served as an eye opener to him as he worked with other youths planning to launch agribusinesses.

He started Agropreneur Nigeria April 2012. The business provides business support services to farmers, especially young agriculturists. The firm also does advocacy and capacity building for young people. “We believe the future of the agricultural sector is in the hands of the youths when they take it as a business. So, we work on changing the mindset of young people and in turn provide information and business support to help them grow,” says Ojo.

To achieve this, Agropreneur Nigeria profiles successful young farmers called agropreneurs on the internet and share their stories so that others can learn. “That also serves as an incentive to these hardworking young people. We have also worked on agricultural research and share the information via social media to enable a proper understanding of what is happening in the sector,” Ojo says.

He explains that this business is targeted at the youths and it focuses on making agriculture attractive while at the same time introducing modern technology like ICT for agriculture and social media as a tool for knowledge and information sharing in agribusiness.

Agropreneur plans to have a considerable expanse of land separate from the family farm he runs, where youths can be trained in farming and can establish their own businesses. “We also want to engage rural areas by creating access to market for them and providing qualitative extension service for them, especially with the internet. I must say that a lot of youths are beginning to see that the agriculture sector is a gold mine,” according to Ojo.

 

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Africa’s biggest maker of ethanol from cassava says IITA technologies are helping farmers to double yields

                                                                                                              

L-R: Godwin Atser, Communication Officer (West & Central Africa), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA);  Kenton Dashiell, Deputy Director General, Partnerships & Capacity Development, IITA;  Rajasekar Rajavelu, Director (Agro), Allied Atlantic Distilleries Limited, AADL; and an AADL official during a tour of the cassava-ethanol plant in Igbesa, Ogun

L-R: Godwin Atser, Communication Officer (West & Central Africa), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA); Kenton Dashiell, Deputy Director General, Partnerships & Capacity Development, IITA; Rajasekar Rajavelu, Director (Agro), Allied Atlantic Distilleries Limited, AADL; and an AADL official during a tour of the cassava-ethanol plant in Igbesa, Ogun

 

Allied Atlantic Distilleries Limited (AADL), , Africa’s biggest maker of ethanol from cassava, says improved varieties and best-bet agronomic practices in the production of cassav

a, which it obtained from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and passed on to farmers have almost doubled the yield of the root crop, making it possible for farmers to supply more of this raw material to the industry

than earlier expected.

Commissioned on 30 January (Thursday) in Lasada, Igbese community in Ogun State, the ethanol factory will produce 9 million liters per annum of extra neutral alcohol, requiring approximately 250 tons of cassava per day.

Already over 8,000 farmers located within 70-km radius of Igbesa covering Ogun and Oyo states, southwest Nigeria, have been engaged and the factory is providing more than 40,000 indirect jobs to people in the area, Mr Ola Rosiji, Chairman of

AADL said.

 “With the support of IITA, our farmers have doubled their yields from an average 12 t/ha to 22 t/ha; our farmers now earn double what they would have earned,” he added.

Commending the board and management of the company, Dr Kenton Dashiell, IITA Deputy Director General, Partnerships & Capacity Development, representing Director General Nteranya Sanginga, said the inauguration of the factory was indeed a good opportunity for Africa, and especially cassava growers, who now have more markets for their produce.

 He said that the factory would create jobs, attract foreign investment, and create wealth for the people, adding that IITA is willing to partner with the private sector to lift 11 million people out of poverty and also reclaim and put into sustainable use 7.5 million hectares of degraded land.

   Collaboration between IITA and AADL, a subsidiary of the Lexcel Group, began in the early 2000s when the project was conceived and IITA provided inputs to the feasibility study of the investment. Also under the Cassava Transformation Agenda, which is being coordinated by Dr Richardson Okechukwu, IITA is again linking farmers to the factory. In addition, the Institute is also providing training and improved planting materials and technical advisory support to the firm.

HarvestPlus Country Manager Paul Ilona said the factory would change the outlook of cassava from the global perspective of “a poor man’s crop” to an industrial crop.

The Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun commended IITA for the good work it has been doing to improve the lives of people in Africa.

For more information, please contact: Godwin Atser, g.atser@cgiar.org; or Andrea Gros, a.gros@cgiar.org