Agricultural Development

HOW TO ACCESS FINANCE FOR YOUR AGRIBUSINESS DURING RECESSION

 

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In line with the current economic situation, Agrihub together with other partners has decided to host a virtual workshop to engage youths in Agriculture on how to Access Finance for your Agribusiness.

As part of its capacity building activities, Agrihub Nigeria invites you to participate in the themed workshop – Financing Agriculture for Economic Development.

This Workshop will be in Partnership with Agropreneur Nigeria and it will be a series of 4 events held over the coming week. The initial 3 events will be online while the 4th a physical meeting.

For now, the event will mostly require you to view pre-recorded videos with some of the speakers and engage with them via tweets for questions and comments. Speakers will discuss on different topics on Financing Agriculture for Economic Development.

This will require your engagements via your twitter handle, please use the hashtag #Agrifunding and tag @agrihubng in all questions, and comments on twitter.

Objective of the Workshop

The objective of the workshop is to ensure that participants have the understanding of the various forms of financing that are available to them in the agricultural sector while at the same time change the mindset that only commercial banks or government can finance agribusinesses.

Schedule of Events

  • On Saturday, November 19th, 2016, Begin of Online Workshop on funding Agriculture for Economic Development with the Upload and streaming of series of pre-recorded interviews around the theme from 9am via the AgriHub Youtube Page.

 

  • On Tuesday, November 22nd, We will have a tweet chat with Dr. Mayowa Oguntoyinbo CEO Freshly Yours Ltd, on Record Keeping for Agribusinesses from 5 – 7 pm. Please use the hashtag #agrifunding and tag @agrihubng in all questions, and comments on twitter.basicbookkeepingagrihubnov22seminar-tweetchat
  • On Thursday, November 24th, We will have a tweet chat on Insurance in Agriculture based on information received during an interview with a representative of the Nigerian Agriculture Insurance Co-operation, NAIC from 5 – 7 pm. Please use the hashtag #agrifunding and tag @agrihubng in all questions, and comments on twitter.

  • There will be a number of viewing centers across Lagos to discuss the said topics and spark the conversations around financing agriculture. YPARD and Agroprenuer Naija, will moderate Physical Group Discussions at 2 locations, 9 Adepegba Street, Ilupeju and The Jetty, Wole Olateju, Crescent off Admiralty way Lekki Phase 1 , Lekki, Lagos from 12 – 2 pm on Saturday, November 26th, 2016 where opportunities and next steps forward will be discussed.

NB: Speakers would be available on Twitter at various times of the day to answer possible questions from viewers. Questions and comments can be asked on twitter on Sunday 20th November by 5 – 7 pm

See Agrihub’s Youtube Page for All Speaker Videos http://bit.ly/2g5JSNw

PS: Twitter comments are be welcomed and will be discussed during these conversations.

Please register here to gain access to the videos and ATTEND the physical event at http://agrihub.org/REGISTRATION/

Speaker Videos

Speaker 1 Welcome and Introduction by Agrihub

Introduction to Workshop by Ronke Aderinoye, Founder and CEO Agrihub Nigeria discussing on why talk about Finance in Agriculture now. A description of Agrihub Nigeria and an overview of the agenda. http://bit.ly/2gtCI7o

Speaker 2 Finance in Agriculture; Types of Finance available.

Financing Options for Agribusiness by Ada Osakwe, CEO Agrolay Ventures, Nuli Juice and Foods. Discusses what Finance options are available to Agric businesses http://bit.ly/2g5DBRY

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Speaker 3: Funding Opportunities Available and the Challenges (Panel Discussion) –What records are necessary, what amount can be accessed?

Micro Finance Bank: Micro Finance in Agriculture by Gbemi Awoniyi-Folayan http://bit.ly/2fF9bWb

Speaker 5 Agrihub’s “Financing Agriculture for Economic Development”

Real Life Experiences of an Agropreneur in Nigeria, by Seun Abolaji, Founder, Wilson’s Juice Co. http://bit.ly/2fF8tZ3

Concluding Remark, Agrihub’s “Financing Agriculture for Economic Development”

Conclusion by Ronke Aderinoye http://bit.ly/2fF9IaC

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Exploiting Agribusiness Opportunities in Africa: Food Security, Employment, and Economic growth

Photo credit: esoko.com

In various continents of the world, Agribusiness has been known to be a driver of economic growth. In Africa, it has a positive impact as it accounts for 30% of national income as well as a bulk of export revenues and employment. Kenya for example, is a key producer of tea, accounting for 59.6% of total production in Africa. The country is a leading tea exporter and one of the largest black tea producers in the world. With an estimate of 33 million small holder farms in Africa, a vibrant agriculture driven economy can cause increase in yields, increase in income generation, reduce in post- harvest losses and thereby put an end to food wastage. Agribusiness is capable of initiating the agricultural growth that will positively improve the livelihood of Africa’s increasing population. It can fasten Africa’s progress towards development.

In Nigeria for example, over 78.4 million people are willing, able and actively looking for job, development in agribusiness can have a direct impact on this people because an efficient and effective agribusiness will lead to increased employment in agro industrial activities.

Agribusiness does not only cover farmers it covers input suppliers, agro processors, traders, exporters and retailers. It is a term which indicates farming and all other industries, and services, that constitute the supply chain. The business of agriculture is not to be neglected in development priorities, the focus should not only be on urban industrialization, government need to get their role right on building necessary industrial capability and capacity, strengthening managerial capacity and promoting institutional services.

To successfully achieve desired result in agribusiness, understanding and comprehension of the nature of the business and its untapped opportunities is important. Food importation in African countries has to reduce and promotion of local agricultural products has to be carried out adequately. Although there are challenges as regards climate, policies, governance, laws, infrastructure and basic services, the goals to end poverty, hunger, have improved nutrition and sustainable agriculture should be a focus that will ensure motivation. To reduce the incidence of extreme poverty and unemployment, increase in importation, massive migration of rural peasants into the cities, agribusiness needs to be promoted and financially supported efficiently and effectively.

Africa’s projected population by 2050 is 2 billion; the continent has an estimate of more than one- fourth of the total un-fed people in the world. To guide against starvation, rapid rise in food prices, severe malnutrition, food riots, extreme poverty, higher rate of social vices and diseases; there is indeed a crucial need, to exploit the opportunities in agribusiness and make the business of agriculture more productive and profitable like never before so as to achieve improved social outcomes and solve the problem of poverty and food insecurity.

For a better result, Africa needs to take important decisions concerning agribusiness opportunities and act in a better way.

Written by Idowu T.Owoeye

 

Agribusiness Incubation: A Young Agropreneur’s Story, Post Incubation

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Johnbosco on the farm

This month we bring you a model youth of the IITA youth Agripreneur who was mentored to see Agriculture as a business. Today he has moved on to make for himself a growing and thriving business in plantain, banana and pineapple sucker production and multiplication among others, he distributes his suckers to various locations across Nigeria while he also helps farm setups both in Nigeria and diaspora with their farm management and setup. He also gives training on the production and business aspect of his mandate crops.

JohnBosco has since realized that picking agriculture as a business is the only work of life that is capable of giving massive percentage return on investment with eye-catching cost benefit ratio and higher curve of income, only if seen as a business. He thanks IITA for taking the lead to walk the talk on Youth in Agribusiness in Africa and encourages the Private and Public sectors and the world to rise up and walk the talk with proactive measures to help Youth see Agriculture as a business.

JohnBosco advices young people who have failed before in their agribusiness not to see it as a setback as every time invested in business has an impact and enables us see ways doing business in a particular way would’nt work.

In this piece he reveals how he started and projects he is currently working on in the value chain and discusses challenges faced as it relates to youth engagement in Nigeria.

Q1. Can you briefly introduce yourself? How was growing up like for you?

Answer: My name is Ezemenaka Johnbosco, preferably called Bosco by fans. I come from Anambra state, born and brought up in Ibadan. I grew up as a normal child with passion for business and development, but with no formal foresight of what sector of business I wanted as a child. Now, I’m the C.E.O of AgroBosco – Agribusiness and Consulting, Founder – International Forum for Youth in Agribusiness ‘IFYA’ (a virtual non-formalized platform), Agribusiness Analyst for Aroms Farms Nigeria Limited and Program Manager for McPennin Nigeria Limited.

Q2. Can you please tell us how you came into farming/agribiz? Do you have a background in Agric? If No, Tell us why you considered agriculture?

Answer: I have an Agricultural background in Soil Science and Land Management, Agricultural Extension and Rural Development. There’s no doubt I had the background from a Federal Agricultural University, still I had no clue of what aspect of life I was going to make that money from, even as at my fourth year as an undergraduate. I eventually graduated and as luck would play its role, I found myself in International Institute of Tropical Agriculture as my place of primary assignment as a Youth Corper serving my nation.

I was mentored and spawned to see Agriculture as a business. From there, I gained momentum with a crystal clear vision and goal to my independence and self-sustainability, so I decided to scramble for professional experience in Agribusiness Development, Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership, Public Management and Leadership.

Picking up Agribusiness as my part of life is simply because Agriculture is the ONLY work of life that is capable of giving you massive Percentage Return on Investment with eye-catching Cost Benefit Ratio and higher Curve of Income, only if seen as a business.

John bosco working on the farm

Q3. What aspect or nature of work in Agriculture do you practise? Briefly, Tell us about your work?

Answer: With practical experience in maize seed production, soybean seed production, cassava production / stem multiplication, plantain / banana fruit production and rapid sucker multiplication using macro-propagation technique and pineapple production / rapid sucker multiplication, this has helped me setup my own company. I give trainings on the aforementioned crops, help clients near and in diaspora set up farms and management, help develop Agribusiness companies in line with their business strategies to meet their business goals, help develop business plans, project plans and proposals with groovy and keen attention in Agri-start-ups for Youths.

Q4. What societal problems are you solving with your work and what solutions are you using? What are the hurdles currently being faced?

Johnbosco facilitating Macro-propagation of Hybrid Plantain

Answer: I have been giving trainings on the production and business aspect of my mandate crops to Youths and Farmers for self dependence, sustainability and enhanced income. Since commercial banks hardly finance Youths to start their venture, I’m working on providing Agri-finance with the Co-Founder of International Forum for Youths in Agribusiness – IFYA through ‘crowd-funding’ (micro fund raising through our members on the IFYA virtual platform) to set up Agri start-ups (maximum of $26,000 USD with an approved business plan).

Q5. What do you think about youth participation in Agriculture?

Answer: Youth participation is Agriculture is just the tool-box for significantly increasing food security, reducing world poverty and unemployment to ALARP level. Statistically, Youth make up the highest percentage of world’s population density with significant physiological and morphological capacity capable of deactivating the world time bomb. There’s no two ways about using Youth as a veritable tool.

Q6. What are the challenges of youth engagement in agribusiness as it relates to what you do, How do you think it is affecting Agricultural Entrepreneurship in Nigeria?

Answer: There are numerous challenges faced by Youth engaged in Agribusiness. The primary and number one challenge is ‘change of mindset’, others are secondary. Youths should have their mindset changed about Agriculture, the Private and Public sectors should help Youth see Agriculture as a business. A proactive concept and programs with strong Monitoring and Evaluation should be developed in all continents to tackle this and not just financing start-ups for Youths. Special regards to the IITA’s concept of Youth in Agribusiness, as a model in Africa. I tell you this; if you give a Youth $1 billion for an Agribusiness venture without having his/her mindset changed about seeing Agriculture as a business and the prospects attached to it, then you just poured water into a basket. I know there are so many programs and concepts about changing the mindset of Youths towards seeing Agriculture as a business, but the world has to rise and walk the talk with proactive measures. More regards to IITA for taking the lead to walk the talk on Youth in Agribusiness in Africa.

Johnbosco at the IITA youth Agripreneur incubation plot

In Nigeria, this has greatly affected negatively, considering the teeming Youth population moving into Nigerian labour market quarterly, and then you can figure out how devastating this is in Africa, having Nigeria as the most populous country in Africa. Just figure it out! Example: My friend ‘A’ is comfortable working as a freelancer with a bank and receiving a limited token as salary, while my friend ‘B’ quitted his freelancing ICT job for just a commodity in Agribusiness and now making fortune with unlimited revenue and profit generation.

Q7. What advice do you have for young people engaged in agriculture?

Answer: My advice for young people engaged in Agriculture is to see it as a business. Only then will they realise the fortune that awaits them. In business, every time invested has an impact. Failing is normal in life, but they should NEVER see ‘fail’ as a setback in any of the value-chains of Agribusiness they are into, but rather see ‘fail’ as a finding of ways that don’t work.

Q8. What do you think government should put in place to improve the agric sector in Nigeria? Suggest Advice

Answer: Nigeria government should; 1. Take Youth as a tool-box for development of the Agricultural sector. 2. Work on changing the mind-set of the Youths through Non-Governmental Organizations and private sectors who are walking the talk and proactive, and embracing these organizations with resources needed. 3. Significantly reduce the interest rates on loan and to make it easily accessible to the common Youth. Government should be proactive about the aforementioned using aggressive and diplomatic Monitoring and Evaluation framework base approach.

Here is a Youtube video of Johnbosco talking about Plantain Macropropagation in Nigeria.

Contact him via boscowjay@yahoo.com or Blog

How I resigned my teaching job in Lagos to start a big farming business in Sokoto – CEO Sawah Farms

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Ezedike Fredrick on his farm

Editors Note:

Ezedike Fredrick is a “northern farmer” who hails from Imo State.  He is a graduate of Pure and Applied Physics from Lodoke Akintola University (LAUTECH) Fredrick’s interest in agribusiness developed during his youth service year when his students became his friends. They took him to their various farms after school hours and enlightened him about the business of agriculture. He was encouraged to buy bags of onions for storage and make extra money apart from his NYSC allawe. Unfortunately, the onions spoilt but He did not give up! In fact, the situation triggered him to have a better interest in farming. Today, he is an onion, garlic and tomatoes farmer and CEO of Sawah Farms based in Sokoto state, Nigeria. Fredrick is our Young Agropreneur of the Month!

Introduction 

My name is Ezedike Fredrick. I hail from Nwagele Local Government Area, Imo State.  I had my primary and secondary school education in Lagos, so I will say I was born and brought up in Lagos State. I studied Pure and Applied Physics from Lodoke Akintola University (LAUTECH). Great Lado-ki-te!

How did you develop the interest in Agriculture and when did you consider it as a business to venture into?

My interest in agriculture developed during youth service year in Wurno Local Government Area, Sokoto State. I was posted to a school and my first new friends were the students I taught Physics, my new friends enlightened me about farming by taking me to their individual farms. They encouraged me to buy bags of onions for storage and make extra money apart from the NYSC allawe – assuring me that within few months, before my passing out parade day I would make huge returns. Unfortunately, the onions spoilt but I did not give up! In fact, the situation triggered me to be very interested in farming. This is because I wanted to know what caused the spoilage of my onions.

What aspect of Agriculture do you practice?

When service year ended, I travelled back home to Lagos but before I did, I bought a cow with the little money I had and left  the cow in Wurno with one of my friends because I knew I was still going to travel back. I worked in Lagos for some time hoping to get funds and go back to farming, but it did not work out as planned.

In March 2015, I resigned from the teaching job I got in Lagos and went back to Sokoto to learn about farming- with no money and no plan of how I was going to get accommodation. The only source of getting income was the cow I bought and left behind after youth service. Also, Language (Hausa) was another barrier but I moved around with my young friends, and volunteered to take free English lessons, this made me popular with other people around. I learnt the Hausa language and was able to communicate well with people about my wants and as God will do it a lot of people gave me advice on what to get and how to start farming. I presently specialize in the area of onions, garlic, and tomatoes farming.

Can you tell us the challenges you faced while starting up?

My main challenge while starting up with agribusiness in the northern part of Nigeria was having to call the names of chemicals used in farming in the local language (Hausa) and not in English. Also in the area of nursery development, the rain was a major factor that destroyed the seed beds while growing up.

What societal problem are you experiencing, and what measures have you implemented to curb it?  

The major societal problem that affects my business directly is the inability to get people that are educated technology wise. Also, communication is very much needed in farming – most of the rural farmers don’t have a means of communication talk less of knowing how to operate a phone. I buy phones and give to some farmers I work with, I also teach them how to operate it – so as to ease our work as a team.

What do you think about youth participation in Agriculture? Do you think funding is a major challenge for youths?

 

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I believe if the youths participate in agriculture like the way they do in the entertainment industry, Nigeria’s economy will grow. For now youth participation is still not impactful. Youths should be aware of what they are getting into- before thinking of how to fund it. In an area where a fund is available and a youth is not enlightened about what to farm- of what use is such fund! Funding is not the only challenge. Youths should show seriousness, commitment, zeal and passion for farming.

What advice do you have for young people still thinking of going into agriculture?

My advice to the young people thinking of going into agriculture is that they should first forget about making a quick profit. ‘First know what you are getting
into because it is not a course but a life experience’ so be ready to be hard working.

What do you think the government should put in place to improve the agricultural sector in Nigeria?
The government should farm directly. They have hectares all over Nigeria, let them    get involved and see what farmers go through in terms of getting inputs like chemicals, seeds, and fertilizer. They should subsidize inputs and encourage farmers to expand their agribusiness. They should also concentrate on areas known for the production of certain food crops in the past and find out why it is no more as productive as it was then –this will help them have an appropriate solution to solve such a problem.

Ezedike Fredrick  – CEO, Sawah Farms

Email: Sawahfarms@gmail.com

Twitter: @Sawahfarms

OPINION: The increase of labor-saving machinery and the present state of Nigerian Agriculture, a challenge or not a challenge?

Agricultural machine working in the late evening. Photo credit: Flickr, Ookpik Prod.

Agricultural machine working in the late evening. Photo credit: Flickr, Ookpik Prod.

The introduction of the increase in “labor-saving machinery” for farm practices is indeed a requirement for improved output and productivity; however its implication on agricultural development with the present state of the country should not be overlooked.

According to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Nigeria has over 84 million hectares of arable land of which only 40% of the 84 million hectares is cultivated. Cultivation of the 50.4 million hectares of land, – which is capable of being plowed to grow crops and has huge potential to be productive – is one of the diverse ways in which increased output can be achieved other than focusing squarely on increasing labor-saving machinery in the country.

Increase in mechanized agriculture will definitely replace human labor – in a case of a country with abundant labor the importation of labor saving machinery will not only affect the physical environment negatively but it will create more rural unemployment and may not really cause a reduction in per-unit cost of food production.

Even though improved mechanization will help increase farm output, there are over 78.4 million people in Nigeria  that are within the working age population, these persons  are willing, able and actively looking for work. The striking effect on the quantity of output per worker if “labor-saving machinery” increases cannot be overstated, for example, one man operating a harvester will accomplish in a single hour what will be required by hundreds of men using crude implements. But in a situation, of few land ownership, scarce capital, and high rate of unemployment the importation of labor-saving machinery could increase the problem of poverty and unemployment, and be anti-developmental.

Do we need to ask ourselves how many hectares of land have the potential to be productive? How many have been cultivated on? How sufficient is the capital of the present day Nigerian farmer? How many hectares of land are owned by individual Nigerian farmers? Where does most agricultural activity occur in Nigeria? What is the state of the rural area? It is a known fact that good roads, adequate storage facilities, incentives to farmers, improved farm income and access to credit will attract more youths to agriculture than the increase in labor-saving machinery.

We should focus and fix our most severe agricultural constraints to attract both young and old to agriculture and exploit other opportunities for significant and sustainable land expansion before facing the challenges of labor-saving machinery.

This blog post was written by Idowu T. Owoeye

email; idowuowoeye6@gmail.com

PRESIDENTIAL LAUNCH OF THE CBN ANCHOR BORROWERS’ PROGRAMME AND FLAG-OFF OF DRY SEASON RICE AND WHEAT FARMING IN BIRNIN KEBBI, KEBBI STATE

 

Pres. Buhari launches CBN Anchor Borrowers' Programme. Photo credit: Encomium

Pres. Buhari launches CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme. Photo credit: Encomium

On Tuesday 17th November, 2015 was the launch of the “CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme” and flag-off of Dry Season rice and wheat farming for farmers across the country. The programme was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in Birnin kebbi, kebbi state, Nigeria and is a financing model for small-holder farmers.

Majid Jeremiah of Agropreneur Naija who was at the airport in birnin kebbi and reports that the President Muhammadu Buhari’s airline landed at the Sir Ahmadu Bello International Airport, Birnin Kebbi at 10:13am where he was received by The Executive Governor, kebbi state, Directors, HODs, Permanent secretaries of government institutions and parastatals, other dignitaries present were; the Honourable minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh; CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele (CON); President, National Rice Millers Association of Nigeria; Chairman, Flour Mills of Nigeria, John G. Coumantaros; President, Rice farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Malam Aminu Goronyo among others. Earlier in the day CBN officials had arrived in their chartered airline. The President thereafter made a courtesy visit to the Emir of Gwandu before proceeding to the venue in Zauro in Birnin Kebbi for launching of the CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme and flag-off of dry season rice and wheat farming in Nigeria.

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President Buhari with the Emir of Gwandu and Executive Governor Kebbi state. Photo credit: Encomium

The CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme is an initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria and is aimed at creating an ecosystem to link small-holder farmers to local processors, increase banks’ financing to the agricultural sector, enhance capacity utilization of agricultural firms involved in the production of identified commodities and as well as the productivity of incomes of farmers.

How to Access CBN’s N220 Billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF)

How to benefit from the N220 Billion MSMED Fund

  1. Is your business in any of the following areas?
  • Agriculture
  • Manufacturing
  • Cottage industries
  • Artisanship
  • Services
  • Trade and general commerce
  • Renewable energy/energy efficient products and technologies
  • Other income generating projects as may be prescribed by the CBN
  1. If “YES”…
    • Prepare your business plan or statement on how much you want for your business
    • You can get a loan up to:
      1. N500, 000.00 for your micro-business; and
      2. N50 Million for small and medium enterprise (SME)
    • Go to your bank or any of the following institutions to access the Fund:
      • Microfinance Banks
      • Commercial Banks
      • Cooperatives
      • Finance Companies
      • NGO-Microfinance institutions
      • Development finance institutions i.e Bank of Industry (BOI) and Bank of Agriculture (BOA)
  1. Tell your bank how much you need
  2. Your bank will discuss your request and provide you the money
    • The maximum interest rate of 9.0% p.a (all charges inclusive) is applicable to all loans.
  3. Period of the repayment of the loan:
    • For micro business, it is a maximum of one year
    • For small and medium enterprises, it is a maximum of three years

NOTE: 60% of the fund is reserved for enterprises owned by women; 2% for persons living with disability and 10% for start-ups.

For further enquiries, please send an e-mail to: msmedf@cbn.gov.ng or call the following numbers: 09-46238630, 09-46238608 or 07080650000

Syngenta Launches Ampligo amongst other Products

Syngenta-1140x641Subsequent to the massive destruction of tomatoes by Tuta Absoluta, Syngenta Nigeria yesterday launched Ampligo, a simple and fast crop protection solution against many insect-pests that ravaged food crops in Nigeria-especially in Northern part of the country recently.

Syngenta, the leading agricultural company helping to improve global food security has also launched two new tomato hybrids; Chibli and Kilele alongside two local rice varieties; Faro 44 and Faro 52.

These launches, according to the company’s country Director Dr Shachi Sharma, reflects “Syngenta’s continued commitment to playing a leading role in the transformation of Nigeria’s agriculture”.

Ampligo, according to him, is a simple and fast acting crop protection product for use anytime against many insect- pests in many crops, especially against Tuta Absoluta , a deadly pest that if not controlled, can destroy up to 100% of the tomatoes on a field.

“Thousands of Nigerian farmers have suffered great loss due to this pest and Ampligo provides an effective solution.

“Ampligo works against wide varieties of sucking and biting pests in vegetables, potatoes and field crops, giving up to 21 days protection. This means that, farmers can reduce the number of times they need to spray their fields, saving them time, energy and cost –while freeing up time for them to conduct other important tasks.”

On one hand, Syngenta has launched Chibli hybrid tomato variety for farmers who grow for both the fresh and for the tomato processing market. According to Sharma, the variety grows well across different agro-ecological zones and has a high solid content making it suitable for tomato paste processors.

On the other hand, Kilele is a high quality hybrid tomato that can be harvested over a 10-week period compared to local varieties that can only be harvested over a four week period or so. The long harvesting period extends farmers’ sales window, increasing their abilities to optimize their returns.
According to Sharma, Nigeria currently imports 2.9 million tons of rice. “In a bid to support the government’s drive to boost local rice production, Syngenta is multiplying, cleaning, treating and packaging local popular rice varieties developed by AfricaRice by training and up-skilling Nigerian farmers as out-grower seed producers. Due to this effort, farmers across Nigeria now have access to high quality certified Faro 44 and Faro 52 rice seeds, assuring them of improved germination and yield.”

“Syngenta Nigeria Limited has worked tirelessly with smallholder farmers and key partners on multiple crops in multiple states across the country. Working closely with key national institutions like NAFDAC, NASC, NIHORT, NPQS, and FMARD and other stakeholders, we are today excited to be able to introduce not only new tomato and rice seeds, but, introduce advanced crop protection technology like Ampligo to fight serious pest like Tuta Absoluta. We believe this range of new agricultural technologies will really help in improving farmers ’productivity and income, and make a positive contribution towards Nigeria’s agricultural development,” Sharma said.

Originally posted here

Check this out! ORYZA2000, a computer program that simulates growth and development of rice

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IRRI ricetoday oryza model, a big hit in global rice research

ORYZA2000, a computer program that simulates growth and development of rice under a wide range of environments, has been cited by scientific papers at least 16,616 times as a tool for rice research and crop management. Developed at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), ORYZA2000 has become an important tool in modern agricultural research.

“In China, hundreds of research groups, students, and government agencies are using ORYZA2000 and/or ORYZA rice model for different purposes,” says Tao Li, the scientist-crop modeler at IRRI who currently leads the Crop Modeling Team. “ORYZA2000 appeared 16,616 times as research tool, reference or citation in scientific papers. We believe it has become one of those IRRI products that widely served rice and rice-related science research. It is a great achievement for all ORYZA developers and working teams for the past 20 years, including Bas Bouman.” Bouman is director of the Global Rice Science Partnership, which IRRI leads.

The ORYZA model has become widely popular because users are confident of its output predictions that include yield, water and fertilizer use, and environment impacts on a variety’s performance. User communities are growing quickly not only in Asia, but also in America and Africa.

ORYZA2000 has undergone several updates since its release in 2001 (v2.0 in 2004 and v2.13 in 2009). The latest version, called ORYZA v3, was released in 2013. “We’ve added new accompanying tools and more functions with every update,” says Tao Li. “We also made it very user-friendly. We learned that a lot of users use it for large-scale predictions such as environment assessment and regional rice monitoring, so we provided tools to easily organize input information, manage simulations, and organize outputs for analysis. ”

ORYZA and ORYZA2000 simulate growth and development of rice under a wide range of environments. The tool has been used to test hypotheses before conducting field experiments, extrapolate observed data from field experimental site to regional scales over different time periods, and provide information for decision-making on crop management, food security, climate change adaptation and improvement of the sustainability of rice production systems.

The ORYZA Team is now working closely with rice breeding. “We are in the process of developing ORYZA’s capacity to pinpoint parents and select breeding lines that have high potential for improvement and stress tolerance. This can shorten the conventional process of breeding by high throughput screening based on genotype and environment interaction” says Tao Li.

Next in the development pipeline, ORYZA 4 will include a genetic information module. It will be ready in a few years and is expected to help reduce the time to develop and release a rice variety by 3 or 4 years.

Originally posted here

CALLING ALL YOUTH! Youth for Food Security and Nutrition (Y4FSN) Idea Incubator

committee in world food security CFS

Photo credit: Committee on World Food Security – CFS

Youth are invited to pitch their idea/initiative which engages youth in agriculture and food systems in a 3 minute video outlining how their initiative will help end hunger and malnutrition. All videos will be featured on the Youth Idea Incubator page of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) Website. Ten youth will be selected to deliver their pitch in person to a panel comprised of inspiring individuals working on youth engagement and food security and nutrition, including entrepreneurs, social leaders, academics, and others. Youth will receive feedback on their ideas and establish contacts with a network of actors engaged in food security and nutrition. They will also be invited to participate in the full CFS plenary week.
The objective of the event is to facilitate capacity development of youth through feedback from inspiring individuals on their proposals to address food security and nutrition and networking opportunities with key stakeholders.

We’re looking for youth who are tackling food insecurity and malnutrition. Are you:
• Someone with a bright idea about how to engage youth to end hunger and malnutrition?
• Are you 15 – 35?
• An engaging and inspiring speaker?

If so, how can you participate?
You’re invited to pitch your idea/initiative which engages youth in agriculture and food systems in a (maximum) 3 minute video outlining how your initiative will help end hunger and malnutrition. Upload the video to YouTube or other video hosting website with the hashtag #Y4FSN_CFS by July 31st, 2015 and send the link to cfs@fao.org

Guidelines for Video Submissions
• The format should be MOV, MPEG, AVI, or MP4
• The submission must not include images that are copyrighted, obscene, pornographic or libelous
• Only one entry per person only
You should introduce yourself and what your idea is and how you would propose to accomplish it. The more passionate you are about your idea the more people will want to engage with you. Tell us how your idea transforms the status quo to engage youth more effectively in ending hunger and malnutrition.

Live speakers will be selected based on the way their idea addresses the following criteria:
• Impact on food security and nutrition (50%) – What scale of impact will the idea have on local/global community? Is the idea scalable?
• Viability (30%) – Can the idea be realized in the near future (5 years) with a reasonable amount of resources?
• Originality (10%) – Is it a transformational idea?
• Clarity (10%) – How clearly is the idea communicated?

Timeframe
• Call for Videos is published and disseminated: 1 July 2015
• Deadline for video submission, all videos available on CFS website Youth Incubator page: 1 August 2015
• Ten youth who submitted videos are contacted to arrange participation in CFS 42: 1 September 2015
• Panelists are invited to review youth videos/ideas in advance: 15 September 2015
• Event at CFS 42: 12 October 2015, 17.30 – 19.00 Iraq Room, FAO, Rome, Italy

All information can be found on the CFS Website at: http://www.fao.org/cfs/incubator
Follow @UN_CFS and #Y4FSN
Enjoy it, share it, get involved!

Me and the ‘wonder crop’

DCF 1.0

 

Nigeria cultivates a large array of food and cash crops among which rice has emerged as the fastest growing sub-sector and a popular staple food, especially for urban dwellers. Rice is cultivated in virtually all of Nigeria’s agro-ecological zones. These versatile attributes make it a unique crop with various potentials for enhancing productivity, thus this had made rice to be specially named the ‘wonder crop’.

Enhancing rice productivity through modern knowledge

I recently participated in a 5-day Capacity building workshop on Best Practices for Rice Production in Nigeria by the National Cereals Research Institute (NCRI), Badeggi, Niger State, in partnership with CORAF/ WECARD with funding from USAID.

The main objective of the event was to equip participants with modern knowledge in order to enhance rice productivity and profitability. Promoting the uptake of improved rice production technologies, agronomic practices, new varieties, enhance institutional and organizational capacities of farmer’s organizations leads to improved access to services to its members, and increased access to profitable markets for small holder rice farmers in Nigeria.

During the workshop, several agricultural professionals trained us on vital areas of modern rice production covering some like: rice growing environment, field establishment and methods of planting, growth phases and physiology of plant, integrated nutrient management for increased rice yields and production in Nigeria, amongst many others.

My journey as a young agriculturist

After the technical sessions, we went to NCRI Rice research and production fields as well as farmers’ fields in order to get on-farm knowledge and practices through the research scientists, superintendents and farmers. This properly equipped me with the knowledge and skills to contribute my quota meaningfully towards achieving the ambitious goal of rice sufficiency by the end of 2015.

My journey as a young agriculturist has been very fulfilling and though challenging, the opportunities that lie at the end of every milestone have kept me going due to my strong passion for agriculture. My first field experience as an agriculturist was in 2011 at the Teaching and Research Farm, University of Agriculture Makurdi during my six months Industrial Training. We were involved in the production of rice, maize, cowpea, soybean and cassava. I recorded the highest yields from my rice plot and made good sales from them. I also worked with rice farmers during the extension work. Since then I have developed keen interest due to the potentials of this ‘wonder crop’.

Nigeria – an arising Agriculture Power House

I am a corps member serving with NCRI Badeggi currently under the rice research program. Hence, I work with senior colleagues and rice farmers to ensure the research we carry out is relevant and applicable to solving the current challenges rice farmers are experiencing. We are conducting field trials on new accessions that have just been breed. There are a lot of boundless opportunities across the rice value chains ranging from production through processing and storage to marketing and so forth.

When rice farmers have access to viable and high yielding seeds from research institutes, reputable seed companies, National Agricultural Seed Council, ADPs and Ministries of Agriculture as well as other inputs such as adequate fertilizers, effective agro pesticides, credit and loans, modern production and processing technologies such as mobile soil testing kits, Sawah eco-technology and enabling infrastructure are provided. When these are provided through government assistance, then Nigeria can once again be on the path to rice sufficiency which will mark the end of rice importation. This is a sure path to wealth, job creation and food security.

For as we do, I have every faith not only that we shall succeed, but that, through our passion and efforts, our Nation will once again be able to hold up its head high within the community of nations and be a food basket for Africa and the world. Together, we can be great again! Today our future lies before us. I can see Nigeria arising as an Agriculture Power House. Nigeria will arise, my friends. Agriculture was Nigeria’s past and agriculture is Nigeria’s great future!

Picture credit: Rice fields, by Jose A. Warletta.

 

First published on Ypard website