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.


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



Email: with copies to: ; ;

Cell numbers; +265999378275 and +265 999 510 796

To reach not later than 4th September 2015

Original Post 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.

2014 – Nigerian Association of Agricultural Economists (NAAE) Conference

The Nigerian Association of Agricultural Economists (NAAE) and the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, The Federal University of Technology, Akure, (FUTAkure) Ondo State is pleased to announce the 2014 Annual National Conference ( Akure 2014)  with the Theme: CLIMATE CHANGE , AGRICULTURE and FOOD SECURITY IN NIGERIA.

This conference seeks to bring together members of NAAE, students and relevant public and private sector stakeholders to discuss and map out a way forward for agriculture and food security in the face of climate change. The event which will hold between the 24th and 27th of February 2014 at the CCE Hilltop Auditorium, FUTAkure Ondo State Nigeria will have the following as it sub-themes

·         Climate Change and Trends in Agricultural Production.

·          Climate Change and Policy Options for Food Security in Nigeria.

·         Climate Change, Agricultural Research and Extension in Nigeria.

·          Agricultural Research, Technology Dissemination and Adoption.

·          Policy Interventions for Market-driven Agricultural Sector for Food Security.

·         Climate Change, MDGs and beyond.

·          REDD Climate change and Sustainable Development in Nigeria.

·         Modelling the impact of climate change on agricultural production.



Regular Members – 15,000 Naira

Students- 7500 Naira

Others – 20,000 Naira

This Registration fee covers the conference materials and lunch for 3 days.



Professor T.T. Amos- Chairman LOC – +2348062484770

Mr. Niran Thompson -Secretary LOC- +2348072237255


An open Letter to Agricultural Students

MY dear friend Emmie Kio from Kenya had put up this open letter on her blog. I totally agree with her and found it worth sharing with you all . Enjoy reading ..


Dear Agricultural students,

“Go to the University and get yourself a degree.Be grateful that you got a chance to be part of the team” . This is just one of the many statements you will encounter in your path to learning that agricultural course . 

Its these statements that will make you feel awful as to why you didn’t get that Medicine position that you so hoped to and what you never thought of choosing during the JAB selection process turns out to be what you get. Now this is what happens. Agricultural sciences have been degraded in the past often being given the last option.During the JAB courses allocation, when all  other disciplines have their fill  the remaining un-allocated  students are lumped in to the Agricultural sciences as very few students pick them as their first choice.

Well you have no choice. You go with what is written in black and white. Three weeks after commencing your studies, your classmates  will do inter-faculty transfers with a majority of them blindly escaping to Faculty of Arts, BA to be specific. They cite reasons like Economics students have the say in campus when it comes to dressing and partying. Don’t despair. You never came to school for dressing or partying reasons. You came to gain knowledge. You neighbors and some family members will also be on your neck disapproving your choice of  career, telling you how scanty jobs are in the agricultural arena.Listen to their concerns and be wise enough to settle on the best decision. And while at it, be bold enough to tell them that as farmers ………….

For without food there’s basically nothing the economist or the technology person can do. They all depend on farmers for daily sustenance. So imagine what happens when a new generation of farmers isn’t raised to replace the old one? I bet you must have read that the average age of a farmer in Kenya is above 55 years of age constituting mostly of the old and retired. So what will happen when there’s no one to continue the farming profession?We shall all starve and die, right? Or maybe manufacture our food in the laboratories.

In addition to showing that you aren’t in the scam of professions, consider Prince Williams ,the Duke of Cambridge, who chose to enroll  himself  for an Agricultural Management course at Cambridge University so as to gain a deeper understanding of  issues affecting Agricultural businesses and rural communities in the UK. And it doesn’t end there. We have  celebrities the likes of Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Russell Crowe all preferring to get down in their farms.
(Olawale OJO- And even D’banj in Nigeria)

“I don’t think any place of dirt anywhere in the world means more to me than this.” 
Russell Crowe

So, Why am i saying this?

Its basically to show you that you are what you believe you are. And any career is as important as you deem it right in your mind. Passion is what it takes to be what you want to be and to be gracefully good while at it and job opportunities will follow you. And that is regardless of what people will tell you about the farming career. Let it come from within you.

Enough said so,……..

Yours’ farming


You can read the original Post here

Women, Water and Security

Water Work

By Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi

Growing up in Nigeria, I had access to basic amenities such as running tap water, but for most rural women and girls in some parts of Nigeria and Africa, access to clean water was a gift. Women there still shoulder the burden of collecting water daily for both domestic and agricultural use; bathing is a luxury.

A UN report on the gender dimension of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) estimates that 62 percent of women in sub-Saharan Africa are responsible for collecting water. Living among northern Nigerian women, I observed how lack of access to water hurt their economic status, hygiene, and access to sanitation and irrigation. Women often walk two hours daily to collect water, carrying heavy containers on their shoulders and disregarding the effect it has on their health. As a result of the strenuous walks, some pregnant women suffer miscarriages. Most times, the water fetched is unclean, and the children who drink it are especially susceptible to waterborne diseases such as cholera, while others die immediately after drinking acidic water.

Women’s lack of access to water and land ownership are entwined, making them more susceptible to poverty. While men have access to cars and camels for transporting water to grow crops, women rarely do . Women sometimes must get approval from their husbands or male family members to own land. Without title to land, women are often denied access to technologies and resources –– such as credit extension and seed –– that enable them to expand their businesses. With men’s agricultural activities regarded as the top priority, there may be water provided through irrigation for farming, but no such prioritization for accessible and safe drinking water. Access to water can enhance women’s income generation in agricultural activities, enabling them to reinvest in their families and communities.

Resolving the clean water scarcity is not just a matter for the government. Privatization — when the government sells the rights to private companies — has also hindered women’s access to water. Although women place high importance on water, their inability to pay for water constrains them to use dirty rainwater.

Women in the rural areas lack sanitation facilities such as toilets, sewers and wastewater treatment. Sometimes they can’t afford to build these facilities, while other times it’s based on cultural beliefs. In a village where I stayed in southern Nigeria, it’s believed that it’s a waste of space to construct a toilet. Without access to latrines, many women and girls become prisoners of daylight, only daring to relieve themselves in the bush under the cover of darkness. This makes them vulnerable to sexual violence and attacks by animals. Access to sanitation facilities is especially imperative for menstruating women, pregnant women and nursing mothers.

Education is another casualty of the water shortage. Girls miss school because they have to take care of their siblings while their mothers are collecting water, or sometimes they themselves have to collect water. They also leave school during their menstrual period as there are no adequate sanitary facilities in their schools.

Tackling the water shortage faced by women can lead to progress in many other areas, such as sustainable development, poverty eradication, women’s rights, reproductive and maternal health, improved education for girls and a reduction in morbidity and mortality rates.

Let’s think of a new framework for security. When people think of security they think of weapons of mass destruction, war and terrorism. When I think of it, I look at it from the human security perspective. Are you safe from chronic threats such as hunger? Are you able to attend school with your brothers? Are you able to earn a steady income through ownership and cultivation of your own land? Having access to water is not just a human need, it’s a matter of human dignity.

The writer Osowobi Ayo  is a master’s degree holder in International Relations and a gender advocate from Swansea University, Uk

Sustainable food systems for food security and nutrition -IFAD President’s speech #WFD

Statement by IFAD President on the occasion of the 33rd observance of World Food Day

Today, on World Food Day, I am not going to talk to you about climate change, although our topic is sustainable food systems.

Neither am I going to talk to you about the financial environment, although it has an important relationship to food security.
Nor am I going to talk to you about the 842 million men women and children who go to bed hungry every night, appalling as that statistic is.

You already know about the human suffering caused by poverty and hunger, and the role played by climate change and unstable economies.
Today, what I want to talk to you about is not what is wrong, but about the steps we must take to set it right. I want to talk about three elements that are preconditions for sustainability. Three things that need to change because, without them, all of our well-meant efforts will not be generating the lasting benefits that 842 million people need.

The first thing that must change is government policy. It is time for governments to go beyond words to action. Every country needs policies for inclusive growth to maximize its food production potential, and in many countries that means supporting smallholder-led agriculture.

This includes policies that offer incentives for investment in agriculture and reduce the risks for farmers and private sector partners alike. Policies that encourage inclusive business models. Policies that facilitate the ability of poor farmers to access finance and technology and to have rights to water and land.

We are starting to see progress, with national policies being tailored to local needs. In Burundi, for example, IFAD supported CAADP in lobbying for policy changes. As a result, the government has introduced fertilizer subsidies and increased the share of the budget to agriculture from 3.6 per cent in 2010 to 10 per cent in 2012; or in Panama, where an IFAD-supported project provided economic and logistic support for negotiating laws for indigenous peoples’ land rights.

And there are also encouraging developments with Ethiopia’s Agricultural Transformation Agency, Tanzania’s Growth Corridor. And, of course, my own country, Nigeria, which has made agriculture a top priority of its Transformation Agenda.

Now to the second element – of effective institutions – because policies are only worth the paper they are written on if they are supported by strong institutions. We have seen the power of institutions to transform agriculture and economies in Brazil, where EMBRAPA, working jointly with other national and state level institutions, has contributed to an enormous transformation in just 30 years. Today, Brazil is no longer a food importer and becoming one of the biggest producers and exporters in the world.

The third essential element for sustainable food systems is infrastructure, from production to processing plants, warehouses, roads and ports.

Today, more than one third of the rural population of sub-Saharan Africa lives five hours from the nearest market town of 5,000 people, making transport and marking costs too high. Across the continent, badly maintained roads are the norm.

Equally important are processing and storage facilities. An estimated 20 to 40 per cent of crop production is lost in sub-Saharan Africa because of deterioration after harvest. Post-harvest losses on this scale are scandalous, particularly on a continent where millions of people go hungry.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We know that smallholders can contribute to sustainable food systems if they have well-functioning infrastructure, supportive policies and institutions. We have seen it in Brazil, China, Malaysia, and Viet Nam.

On this World Food Day, let us renew our commitment to a world without hunger. Let us work to support governments that are making the right policies, governments that are building effective institutions and governments that are investing in infrastructure.

But let us also call on every government to do its part.

As I have said before, I will say again today: No amount of sunlight or rainfall will allow a plant to grow and flourish unless it is first fully rooted in its own soil.

Growth and development are intrinsic processes and they must first be nurtured and cultivated from within. Only then can external forces add value to the process.

Thank you.

16 October 2013, Rome
Sourced HERE


Today, I watched as students in their fourth year in my university (Federal University of Technology Akure, Nigeria) picked up their log book for the six month SIWES program. This is generated some thoughts in my head as it relates to the development and sustainability of agriculture among young people especially those studying courses related to agriculture.

The Student Industrial Working Experience Scheme (SIWES) was established by the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) in 1973 to solve the problem of adequate practical skill, preparatory for employment in industries by Nigerian Undergraduate and Diploma students of tertiary institutions. The scheme was designed for duration of six months for university undergraduates. During this period, every student is expected to acquire all necessary practical skill and orientation, as well as technical knowledge needed to adequately develop national man-power and human resources.

Based on these facts, I proffer the following suggestion to boost Agricultural Research and Development:

1.      Partnership With the Government: The universities can partner with the government by having an agreement with them that they would accept a certain number of students to intern with the Ministries of Agriculture, Ministries of Environment and Agricultural Research Bodies owned by the government. This would afford the students the opportunity to learn new things, practice what they have learnt over the years and get exposure. They could also engage in ongoing projects and be of help to the facilitators.

2.      Full Usage of University Farms and Research Centre: Oftentimes, universities have farms, the university could expand these farms and take in some students to work during the SIWES program. The farm can initiate various mini-project and research works under proper supervision that would engage the students, thus promoting skill acquisition and capacity building in ARD.

3.      Partnership with Privately Owned Agro-based Industry: Most times, student battle with getting placement in companies and industries to carry out their internship. Some even spend as much as three to four months out of the six months before getting a placement. Another set of students, even go ahead to work in places having little or no relation to their course of study. Considering these fact, the university can partner with industries and farms privately owned to take in the student during the SIWES program as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility.

4.      Payment of Monthly Stipend: In Nigeria, a stipend of about 100Dollars (15,000 Naira) is paid after the entire six months. Sadly, for the past four years it has not even been paid. Arrangement should be made to make sure it is paid and can also be reviewed that something is paid monthly rather than at the end of the whole program.

5.      Proper Documentation of Activities: The Universities should take in proper and well detailed reports of the student’s activities during the SIWES program. Their report can be a base for further research work or re-modeling of existing agricultural practices and research work.

The agricultural Sector in Nigeria can have sustainable development when young men and women coming out of the tertiary institutions have the required skills and knowledge to work with when they leave the four walls of the universities. If these suggestions can be implemented I believe there would be considerable advancement in Agricultural Research and Development.