Cassava

A TEEP ALUMNI TALKS ABOUT HIS CASSAVA BUSINESS, ADVICES UPCOMING YOUNG AGROPRENEURS

Photo Credit: Kolawole Omotola 

This month we interview Kolawole Omotola a young entrepreneur from Ekiti state. He is also a Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP) Alumni, today he has a cassava processing facility where he packages “garri” for consumers within and outside his community. Omotola is one youth who have succeeded with support through business skills training, mentoring, access to seed capital funding and together with passion for entrepreneurship.

We introduce him as our Young Agropreneur of the Month, here he tells us his story, how he started and established his company “Oyinkola Enterprises” and how he overcame market acceptance of his product which was his major challenge. He discusses constraints to cassava business among others. Omotola ends with his future plans, recommendations for government and advice to upcoming youth intending to go into Agribusiness.

Introduction

I am Kolawole Omotola, a native of Ekiti state, a graduate of Computer Science from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State and the CEO of Oyinkola Enterprises.

I am a member of a big family with many siblings. I had no choice but to strive and cater for myself. This thought me to stay focused and be determined to never give up and be a great achiever. Growing up was indeed by God’s grace. I have great passion for agricultural activities and I have a goal to produce food for my community.

Starting up

I am into cassava crop processing, I am a garri maker! The major challenge that was faced while starting up was market acceptance. But with God it came as a success, our product was evenly embraced by all in the community.

 

Photo credit: Kolawole Omotola

Benefits

  • Agribusiness is my lifestyle; I personally made the choice of the business of agriculture. I am happy doing it because I am achieving my dreams. It gives me joy when customers give happy comments on the product, like your garri was wonderful; we so much enjoy taking it.
  • Oyinkola Enterprises have employees that help in the cassava crop processing. We have 4 permanent staffs and about 8 casual staffs with different roles. We have been able to create little jobs for the society as the women who come to peel our crops go home with little cash at the end of the day to help with their various family; we also train our workers to gain some skills, this we believe has its multiplier effect on our productivity as an enterprise.

Constraints

  • The hardest part of the business is the peeling of crops before grating and what makes this difficult is lack of peeling machine. We believe, as soon as the enterprise is able to get this machine, our work will be easier and faster.
  • Another issue we are experiencing is on some of our causal staffs who have little or no formal education; we are faced with the problem of starting with them from the crash.
  • Government’s inconsistent policy is also a major constraint that needs a positive change and adjustment. This will encourage more youths to be involved in the business of agriculture.

Future Plans

  • Even though we still purchase cassava crops from farmers to process, we are planning on cultivating our own cassava and increasing the quantity of our processed product.
  • We intend to venture into the business of industrial starch and cassava flour soonest.
  • We are planning to have a branch in Ekiti state before the end of the year and hope to have branches of Oyinkola Enterprises in different states of Nigeria as time goes on.

Recommendation to the Government

  • Kindly empower more extension workers to assist farmers on their farm to get it right on modern farming techniques and methods.
  • Help Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) by easing the process of getting the NAFDAC number for their products.
  • Ensure adequate access to agricultural machinery, like the tractor, plough etc.

Advice for Upcoming Entrepreneurs and Youths 

  • My advice is that you should be ready to face your life and prepare to start small because where you start from will not be where you will be in few months after starting. Start now and face the challenges ahead as life itself is a challenge. So this is a challenge worth facing to better your life, family and community. You will be proud you did!

Many youths always complain of fund as the major problem of not starting their dream business. But I will say it is not the first thing to consider if one wants to start. Firstly, seek for more knowledge on that particular business and before you are done with that, there will be provision of finance.

Oyinkola Enterprises on Facebook, Website

 

Covenant University diversifies into agriculture, cultivates 1,000 hectares of plantations

image130As part of extension services, which a university is expected to offer in addition to academics and research, the Covenant University (CU), Otta in Ogun state, has established about 1,000 hectares of plantations, cultivating both cash and food crops such as cassava, plantain, oil palm, water melon, cucumber, pawpaw, tomatoes, pepper and vegetable, among others.

According to Oladejo Oladipo, farm supervisor, Covenant University Farms, establishment of 300 hectares of cassava plantation; 250 hectares of oil palm and several other plantations which are located in three places, namely, Canaan Land, Igbesa and Oko-Omi in Ado-Odo/Otta Local Government Area of Ogun state, started about three years ago.

The supervisor of Covenant University Farms, who disclosed the cultivation of about 1,000 hectares of plantations by the university management, said that the agricultural project was borne out of the missionary-owned institution’s desire to deepen extension services by inculcating agriculture-based entrepreneurial skills into its students.

Read more here

AgInvestment Guide #1 – Breaking some myths about agricultural investments (Part 1)

does-financing-benefit-Afri

I thought it would be ideal to start the series by first dispelling some myths about investing in the agriculture space. I expect that if you are reading this, you are interested in investing some of your hard earned income or time into agriculture. If you are financially savvy, you would also want to compare the return on investment (ROI) from an agricultural investment to more mainstream investments such as bonds, treasury bills, real estate, etc, (I will run the numbers on the ROI for several investment options later on). Hence, it will be good to know if your thoughts around agricultural investments are founded or endeavor to understand why some of your earlier investments failed.

Myth #1:  I need a sound agricultural background to invest in agriculture.

The truth is that in any  investment, a technical knowledge always comes in handy but it’s overrated to think without that knowledge, you cannot invest. It will however be helpful to build your technical knowledge and expertise along the way. Your will be amazed at how relevant even your current skills are to succeeding in agricultural investments.

Myth #2: I can’t invest in agriculture because farm work is hard work which I’m not prepared for

Indeed, agriculture is hard work but increasingly, it’s becoming more intellectual than physical. With the basic knowledge of technology – improved seeds, crop protection, fertilizers, irrigation, aggregation, market, etc – it becomes less dependent on physical exertion. However, one thing many fail to realize is that investing in agriculture does not necessarily have to be on farm. People need to understand the value chain perspective of agriculture and see what part of the value chain they have an appetite for and go for it.

Myth #3: I will not be competitive with imported products

Indeed, imported products are major concerns in Nigeria. In 2011, over $1.8m was spent importing rice, and this has been on the increase. However, observing trends in the country, Nigeria is starting to place more emphasis on local production in order to promote employment. While importation (both legal and illegal) will not disappear immediately, you will be doing yourself a lot of good by getting into the local production early

Myth #4: You cannot go wrong in agriculture

I’m sure some of you will have had horrific experiences investing in this space and lost money doing it. Long gone are the days when you think agriculture is about throwing the corn seeds in the soil, go to sleep and come back for a bountiful harvest or buy the birds, let them run around and get your daily crates of eggs. If you want to make money in agriculture, you have to understand that it takes good management to succeed. You have to also do your research. There was a wave of cassava investment at a time without a clear idea of the market to absorb that particular variety of cassava you were growing. Yes, while some varieties might be great for garri making, they might not be suited for processing into beer etc.

To be continued…

This article was written by Adedeji Adebusoye and was first published on his blog -http://goo.gl/wL8iqG. Any questions can be directed to him via his twitter handle @amdeji

Photo credit – Future Agricultures

Agrikexpo 2015 Calls on Agric Stakeholders in West Africa

Photo credit: Google images

Photo credit: Google images

The Annual Agriculture/Food exhibition (AGRIKEXPO) would now hold this year on NOVEMBER 5 -7, 2015 at the Prestigious Eko Convention Centre, Victoria Island Lagos. The event which will be going into its 4th edition was originally set for 14 – 16 April, 2015 and has a focus on delivering the highest turnout of stakeholders (Import buyers/distributors, Farmers, Top Government Officials, Exporters, Academics, Consultants, Bankers, Various Food and Beverage industry Captains, Agribusiness men and women etc.) who represent key gathering of decision makers from different countries of West Africa.

Agriculture is fulcrum to most other economic successes, there is a renewed drive for commercial scale agricultural practice with the attendant need for renewed approach away from the labour intensive practice. With more than 84million hectares of arable land, abundant sunshine, over 160million people, cheap labour and a renewed zeal towards agriculture, the nation is clearly headed for an agricultural boom. Our vast fertile lands calls for the deployment of modern technology for commercial scale productivity and Governments are willing to lend supports in partnership with the private sector. Indeed the opportunities for agri-business activities are clearly enormous.

AGRIKEXPO 2015 is being partnered by the Conference of the European Union in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration & Control (NAFDAC) with endorsements from Federal Ministry of Trade & Industry, National Association of Chambers Of Commerce Industries and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Community of Agricultural Stakeholders Of Nigeria (CASON), All Farmers Association Of Nigeria. (AFAN), Nigeria Agribusiness Group. (NABG), Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Cocoa Association of Nigeria (CAN), Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Ministry of Trade & Investments Ghana, Agricultural Research Council Of Nigeria(ARCN), Agricultural Society Of Nigeria, Cassava Growers Association.

Government representatives are going to be present at various levels in West Africa. The event is determined to encourage creditable networking and best practices amongst Agro-preneurs, including establishment of direct partnerships with Manufacturers, Suppliers, Service providers and Consultants where necessary. AGRIKEXPO having continuously evolved has established an outstanding pedigree and remains a premium face-to-face networking forum and a reference event for decision makers.

The 2015 edition of AGRIKEXPO is set to deliver as the largest West African exhibition for agricultural products and services assembling Agricultural stakeholders from all over West Africa. The visitor traffic for the event in 2015 is expected to reach an all-time high put in the range of 7000-8000 people.

For more information about AGRIKEXPO 2015

Follow AGRIKEXPO on Facebook and Twitter

http://www.agrikexpo.com/

Email: info@151productsltd.com

Nigeria releases more cassava with higher pro-vitamin A to fight micronutrient deficiency

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Hernan Ceballos (left) CIAT Plant breeder with IITA Cassava breeders Peter Kulakow (middle) and Elizabeth Parkes (right), harvesting the new cassava varieties in Ibadan

Three newly improved vitamin A cassava varieties with yellow roots have been released by the Nigerian government, stepping up efforts to tackle the problem of vitamin A deficiency especially among women and children in the country. These new varieties were developed jointly by IITA and the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) Umudike.

The three varieties—UMUCASS 44, UMUCASS 45, and UMUCASS 46—are the second in the series of pro-vitamin A varieties released in the country, and are commonly known as NR07/0220, IITA-TMS-IBA070593, and IITA-TMS-IBA070539.

The new varieties have a pro-vitamin A content that averages 10 parts per million (ppm) based on fresh roots as compared to the first series (UMUCASS 36, UMUCASS 37, and UMUCASS 38 commonly known as IITA-TMS-IBA011368, IITA-TMS-IBA1371 and IITA-TMS-IBA011412) that were released three years ago with a pro-vitamin A content of between 6-8 ppm.

Dr Peter Kulakow, IITA Cassava Breeder, said that the development of the varieties demonstrates strong collaboration between scientists at NRCRI and IITA which benefits Nigerian farmers and especially women and children who suffer from vitamin A deficiency.
Afflicting almost 20% of pregnant women and about 30% of children under the age of five, vitamin A deficiency results in stunting in children, predisposes them to sicknesses such as diarrhea and measles, and even premature death. In pregnant women, vitamin A deficiency results in night blindness and increases the risk of mortality.

Measures to address this deficiency include dietary diversity, fortification, supplementation, and now biofortification.
In 2011, researchers from IITA and NRCRI with funds from HarvestPlus developed the first series of biofortified pro-vitamin A cassava varieties to help reduce the incidence of vitamin A deficiency especially in the rural communities.

Dr Chiedozie Egesi, NRCRI Cassava Breeder, said this newer set of pro-vitamin A cassava varieties will play a role in attaining the goals of the Cassava Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government of Nigeria and help improve cassava food products such as gari, fufu, high quality cassava flour, cassava bread, and starch.

“This new set of pro-vitamin A cassava varieties have increased beta-carotene levels as well as matching agronomic characteristics as an incentive for better farmer adoption,” he added.

Prior to their release, participatory varietal trials involving farmers were conducted across 10 states in Nigeria, the world’s top cassava producer, cutting across the different agroecological zones.

The varieties have potential yields of 32–36 tons per hectare; they branch either moderately or profusely and possess yellow roots.
Farmers’ love for the varieties is helping to increase the acceptance of “yellow cassava,” Dr Egesi added.

The next steps to rapidly disseminate the varieties include the rapid production of breeders’ and foundation seed stock so that commercial farmers will have access to these new varieties.

The development of these newer set of provitamin A varieties demonstrates that plant breeders are not resting. Dr Hernan Ceballos, cassava breeder from CIAT in Colombia has developed biofortified germplasm that IITA breeders are actively using in crosses to select for even higher beta carotene germplasm.

The research was funded by HarvestPlus. Other partners include the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa), and various Nigerian government agencies.

For more information, please contact: Peter Kulakow, p.kulakow@cgiar.org; Chiedozie Egesi, cegesi@yahoo.com; Godwin Atser, g.atser@cgiar.org or Adaobi Umeokoro, a.umeokoro@cgiar.org

Nigerian Engineers Join Forces With IITA To Halt Devastation By Weeds

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Efforts to control weeds in cassava farms received a boost with Nigerian engineers joining forces with experts from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to seek sustainable solutions to tackle the menace.

The team of engineers drawn from members of the academia, IITA, public and private sectors are exploring mechanical weeding options used elsewhere in the world with the hope of adapting them to African cropping systems.

The team intends to build on present motorized weeding equipment already available in the market by studying their limitations in the African farming context, understanding those limitations and modifying the equipment for maximum efficiency.

At a meeting in Ibadan to kick off the collaboration on 13 August, Project Leader for the Cassava Weed Management Project, Dr Alfred Dixon described the partnership as key milestone that would redefine mechanical control of weeds in crops such as cassava in Nigeria in particular, and Africa in general.

“For us to maximize yield in Africa, we need to mechanize weeding. And the challenge before us is to innovate options that will take off drudgery from farmers, and make the farms weed-free so that the crops will grow and express their full potential,” Dr Dixon said.

Accounting for between 50 and 80% of the total labor budget of cassava growers, weeds are major disincentives to African farmers. And with traditional agriculture still predominant, women and children bear more the brunt of weeding investing between 200 and 500 hours annually in clearing weeds on a hectare of cassava to prevent economic root losses in Nigeria. The drudgery involved in weeding places a hard-to-bear yolk on women, compromises productivity, and more importantly, put to jeopardy the education of children of ages 5-14 years as most are forced out of school to assist their parents.

Dr Dixon said unless solutions to weeds are made available, African farmers will not increase their farm sizes and enjoy the gains of agricultural growth. “They can plant only what they can weed,” he added.

Prof  Olawale John Olukunle, Head, Department of Agricultural Engineering, Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), commended the IITA Cassava Weed Management Project for welcoming the proposal to jointly work with the Nigerian experts; and praised the Institute’s efforts towards addressing the problem of weeds in cassava and other African crops.

Launched early this year, the Cassava Weed Management Project is confronting the problem of weeds on several fronts including the use of best-bet agronomic practices by combining improved cassava varieties with proper planting dates, plant populations, plant nutrition options and also focusing on intercropping and tillage research. The integrated weed management approach of the project also includes the use of herbicides that meet globally accepted conventions and safety thresholds appropriate for smallholder farmers.

The project intends to widely share knowledge to farmers on cassava weed control so they can make informed and better choices in controlling weeds on their farms using labor-saving options. 

Young #farmers rate weeds as most challenging constraint to #cassava farming

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In an interactive discussion aimed at unraveling bottlenecks to farming, young farmers identified devastations by weeds as the most challenging constraint demoralizing cassava farming and hurting yields.

“Our experience is that even before you complete the first course of weeding, you see another set of grasses coming behind,” Akinyele Bankole, a youth agripreneur with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, said during a meeting with members of the Cassava Weed Management team at IITA.

“We have weeded about five times but it appears we are not doing anything when you see the weeds in the fields. This is the most difficult challenge we are facing,” he said.

“And sometimes it looks discouraging seeing our fields with weeds competing with cassava,” Evelyn Ohanwunsi, another youth agripreneur added..

Generally, farmers weed cassava three times, but in cassava farms where perennial weeds such as spear grass are predominant, more weeding may be required.

Researchers estimate that weeding takes 50 to 80% of the total labor budget, and up to 200-500 hours of labour of mostly women and children per ha are required to prevent economic cassava root losses in Nigeria.

Dr Alfred Dixon, Project Leader for the project Sustainable Weed Management Technologies for Cassava Systems in Nigeria said solutions on weed control in cassava farms were underway following efforts between IITA and partners to combat weeds in cassava.

Under the cassava weed management project, Dr Dixon and his team are conducting research that will develop new best bet innovative weed management practices, combining improved varieties, proper planting dates, plant populations, and plant nutrition, all coupled to intercropping and tillage options, through well-focused trials in the three agro-ecologies where cassava dominates in Nigeria. The project is also testing herbicides for efficacy and economic merit to help make weed control in cassava more efficient and effective.

Dr Dixon said results from the 5-year cassava weed research would be shared with the IITA young agripreneurs and other farmers to enable them to make informed decisions that would not only increase the productivity of cassava but also make cassava farming more attractive and put money in their pockets.

“I am sure with the cassava weed project, we will be able to tackle the menace of weeds… so be rest assured… we will support you,” he said.

Established two plus years ago under the leadership of Dr Nteranya Sanginga, IITA Director General; the IITA Youth Agripreneur program is an Africa-wide initiative that is attracting youths back to agriculture by exposing the youth to the numerous opportunities that exist in the agricultural sector.

Last year, the IITA youth agripreneurs in Nigeria cultivated more than 50 hectares of cassava, maize and soybean. The group intends to more than double the hectarage this year as weather conditions look positive.

Dr Dixon was accompanied by Dr Gbassey Tarawali, Representative of the IITA DG and Deputy Director General (Partnerships & Capacity Development); and Godwin Atser, Communication & Knowledge Exchange Expert.  IITA DG Sanginga also dropped by and partook in the focus group discussion.

Young Agropreneur(JAN’14)- Agbonlahor, Ehizogie Marymartha

This month’s Young Agropreneur (YAP)  is Agbonlahor Marymartha. Her compaling story is quite inspiring. One that portrays hard work, consistency and a never give-up spirit. She share with the Agropreneur Naija! team her story

 

MaryMatha


Agbonlahor, Ehizogie Marymartha

MY BACKGROUND

I am Agbonlahor, Ehizogie Marymartha, an indigene of Edo State, Nigeria. I had an early exposure to agricultural activities, crop and livestock production from my parents who were farmers and teachers, my dad being an Agricultural science teacher for over 28 years.  I graduated from the Bachelor of Agriculture program of the University of Ilorin in 2010 with First Class Honors and the best graduating student in the Faculty, as well as the best and only First Class graduating student in the Department of Animal Production. I had my NYSC primary assignment at the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta now Federal University of Agriculture from 2010-2011. I received commendation from the Acting Registrar at the time for commitment and hard work. I proceeded with the Masters in Animal Production program (2011-2013) at the University of Ilorin after my NYSC, and graduated with Distinction, the only one from my Department for that session. I am passionate about agriculture both in academic research and as a business. My first experience as an entrepreneur in agriculture was in 2008, during the Farm practical training year, we were involved in the production of maize, cowpea, vegetables and cassava. I recorded the highest outputs from my plots and made good sales from them. I went into broiler production during my M.Sc to generate income to support my program. And then also I started as a consultant, first among my colleagues but my services were pro bono. I was passionate about helping youths make a start in agribusiness. I was often called upon by many to assist and advice in their production activities. My interest in agriculture also drives my research focus. I worked with farmers and senior colleagues in the industry to ensure that the research I did both during my Undergraduate and M.Sc were relevant and applicable to solving the current challenges poultry farmers were experiencing. I tested different feed enzymes for improving the nutritive value of high fibre but readily available feedstuffs to reduce cost of production as well as reduce nutrient excretion and environmental pollution from poultry waste (undergraduate project) and to help farmers manage an odor free environment through the use of nanotechnology (M.Sc research). Currently I work with Starwumi Intl., and GABINTECH to install the nano-engineered device for livestock farms across Nigeria. I am glad to say that we have helped keep many poultry and piggery farmers in business in their neighborhood; as many were either at the brink of closing down or relocating to villages-which subsequently become towns; because of complaints from their neighbors. I also consult and troubleshoot for poultry farms. I also work with youth development agencies and NGOs.

MY EXPERIENCE AS AN AGRICULTURIST

My journey as an agriculturist has been very fulfilling and though challenging, the opportunities that lie at the end of every challenge has kept me going. Despite the glaring fact that every human is dependent on the growth of agriculture, it is saddening that very little appreciation is offered to the profession, industry or students of agriculture. While at school, it was not unusual to find my peers in other fields of study advise that I make a change of course or go for a 2nd degree in another field on completion of my First. This is the disposition of most youths and even parents, and it does not bode well if food sustenance is to be attained. However, for the agriculturists in ‘embryo’ who understand the opportunity they have and what pivot role they have been given to play in feeding the nation, they do all it takes to learn, apply, consult with like minds towards fulfilling the mission for which they have been called. I find my greatest moments to be those times I’m working in a field of maize, cassava or cowpea; or receiving dayold chicks and acclimatizing them to their new dwelling, feeding the birds, collecting eggs, vaccinating them, or getting worried when there is a drop in their production, bringing them back to normal health, or making supply of feed ingredients from remote villages, working with farmers in the feedmill; the list is endless; and my best moments come when it’s time to ‘harvest’ the fruits of these long hours.

@bethel farm, Ilorin

 

IS AGRICULTURE VIABLE?

Yes it is. The opportunities in agriculture are boundless. I can say categorically that it is a sure way to wealth and sustained livelihood. It requires dedication as do everything worth doing and can give a 100% return if well managed (a broiler production outfit can give this and even more). The market for all forms of agricultural activity is limitless and yet to be met. As a matter of fact, the demands are increasing with the increasing population and meeting it has not been easy for farmers most of whom in Nigeria; are small-medium scale farmers. The challenge of coping with the changing climate has adversely affected production activities; however, with integrated efforts of government, the industry, research institutions and the international community, there is hope of improving agricultural production processes to both reduce the sector’s contribution to environmental pollution as well as cope with the effects of global warming.

CHANGING THE MINDSET OF YOUTHS TOWARDS AGRICULTURE IN NIGERIA

Agriculture holds the key to providing more jobs for the teeming graduates and youths generally. But while it is still seen as the business of the rural dwellers, the

To encourage youth involvement in agriculture, an entrepreneurial mindset is important. A good point to start will be students of agriculture in tertiary institutions. Student’s cooperative farming as well as intensive farm practical business training should be encouraged. It will give them better footing to take off individual enterprises in agriculture on completion of their course by being both a source of start-up capital and experience. The orientation of students seeking admission to university should not be to agriculture as a last resort; but career guidance and counseling inn secondary schools should be treated with more priority to guide secondary/high school students on their strengths. I am a case study. I didn’t have to spend much time studying for my exams in agriculture and economics in secondary school. I was very at home with these subjects. Having attended a public school fought with incessant strikes, I was mostly studying independently by taking notes from my colleagues in private schools and I had help from my dad who was also a teacher in a private school. But I wanted to study Medicine in the University as there was so much hype and prestige with the profession. But when I couldn’t gain admission for medicine I had to choose between General agriculture and Agricultural Engineering. Thank God I didn’t get the Medicine admission I sought!!!

Also farming should be treated like every other serious business, because it is indeed a serious one! Youths should be exposed early in the university to the business side of agriculture, from writing a business plan, to accessing loans, managing the business, product marketing, accessing inputs etc.

Innovation should be encouraged in our research institutions and universities. Research or students’ projects should be tailored towards solving challenges of the industry and feasible. Universities should encourage partnership between agro-allied industry and the departments under agriculture to create the link and career direction for the students.

Think-tank groups should be formed among students in the departments of agriculture to proffer novel solutions and test their ideas, share information, and encourage networking with professionals locally and internationally.

Students’ agricultural cooperative societies should be formed to encourage entrepreneurship in agriculture.

These will ultimately have a multiplied effect on the development of agriculture, and reduce unemployment.

Youths should be enlightened to use social media to improve the awareness on agricultural news, opportunities, and in marketing their products.

On the part of government, programs like Youwin, should be developed but this time tailored towards agricultural enterprises, making access to land for agricultural activities less bureaucratic and more accessible.

THE FUTURE OF AGRICULTURE IN NIGERIA

It is very bright, more youths are catching in on the goldmine it is. And with more commitment from government in agriculture, Nigeria has the potential to return to its glory of having agriculture making up its major GDP and better quality of life for Nigerians.

MY PRESENT ENDEAVORS, CHALLENGES AND ASSISTANCE NEEDS

Currently, I work to help create environment friendly farms in communities, using nano-technology, and reducing emissions from livestock waste. I also consult for poultry farms in setting up as well as trouble shoot for existing farms to improve production. I engage in broiler production and my ultimate goal is to set up an integrated farm (an agricultural village); that will both provide food as well as serve as a training centre for youths and women of any level of education to gain knowledge and experience in running a farming business. Presently, I’m working on increasing my poultry production to include laying birds and snail production. This would depend on how soon I get access to more funds (loans, grants) to achieve this, and that has been the major challenge; as with any business, operating on a small scale incurs a higher cost/unit product than when operating on a larger scale.

You can contact Agbonlahor, Ehizogie Marymartha for issues related to you poultry production and setup on jmarymartha@gmail.com.

“Garrison” can make u rich

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Garrison, what is this? I am sure this is the questions on your mind as you read the theme of this blogpost. Well by “Garrison” I refer to Gari made from Cassava and it can indeed make you rich.

Cassava is one of the most popular and widely consumed food crops in Africa. Because it is such an important food in the region and an extremely versatile crop, it is commonly referred to as cornerstone of food security in Africa. The competing needs for cassava cut across both human and animal consumption. It is fast becoming a popular raw material in industrial production and is now a preferred material for making biofuels.
Cassava is highly adaptable to our tropical climate and soils, and remains very popular for producing excellent harvests even when other crops fail. Cassava is also the most widely available source of carbohydrates and dietary energy in Africa. Processed forms of cassava, especially Gari, fufu and tapioca, are very common throughout West Africa.

Garri is hugely popular in the region as it has traditionally remained cheaper than other carbohydrate sources, especially rice and maize. This has aptly earned it the nickname “the common man’s food”
Garri is the most widely traded processed cassava product. It is estimated that more than 75 percent of the cassava produced in Africa is processed into garri. As a result, garri prices are often a reliable indication of the demand and supply of cassava.

Market Opportunities for Cassava and Gari production in Africa
Even for small scale entrepreneurs who are unable to participate in the international cassava export market, feeding the local African population with this most basic food stuff remains an interesting and highly lucrative prospect. What is more interesting is that as humans, animals, industries and biofuels compete for the valuable cassava crop, the prevailing local market prices will continue to explode!

The annual consumption of gari in West Africa is valued at several million dollars (annually) and is expected to grow with the population explosion in the region. For as long as a large proportion of the population in the region remains predominantly poor, gari will continue to be the preferred food product for many years to come. Gari has several applications in African cuisine and is prepared in very many ways across cultures and countries. It’s really well enjoyed and consumed by both rich and poor.

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Cassava – Different garri African foods

Garri can be consumed in a variety of ways. The gallery shows different forms of cooked and raw garri creatively expressed for every belly’s pleasure.
Of all the forms of cassava that can generate income, garri is the cheapest and easiest way for entrepreneurs to enter and exploit the processed cassava market. Garri production is a low-cost and largely traditional process and can be done on a small scale. To produce garri, fresh cassava tubers are washed, peeled, mashed, fermented and fried to produce the coarse-grained product. A kilogram of Garri fetches up to five times the price of an equal weight of fresh cassava. By adding value to the cassava crop and processing it into a ready-to-eat staple like garri, entrepreneurs can earn a very healthy profit on the open retail market.
In addition to the large local market for garri, there is a huge opportunity, with a much higher profit potential, in exporting this product to the increasing number of Africans living abroad in the US and Europe. However, there are strict guidelines concerning food exported to these countries.

Success tips for aspiring Garri and Cassava producers…

For any entrepreneur to favourably exploit the opportunities in this market, he/she may have to invest in cultivating the cassava crop on a farm. If you are sure of a steady and very cheap supply of the fresh cassava tubers, you are likely to succeed without your own cassava farm. However, due to the high perishability of fresh cassava tubers, it may be very challenging to get the tubers to a processing centre or facility fast enough before spoilage starts.

It is also important to note that processed cassava (especially garri) is available in several different varieties. Be sure that your finished garri product appeals to the taste and tradition of your target market. Garri in Ghana may look and taste different from Nigerian or Togo garri. Even within our different countries, there are still many different types, shades and flavours of garri.

Additives such as palm oil and soya bean are sometimes used to enrich the look, feel, taste and protein content of the product. Understanding the ‘Garri’ needs of your market (quality, packaging etc) is very important so you don’t end up with the right product in the wrong market.

Garri that is not properly processed (especially by manual methods), may not last long in storage due to its high moisture (water) content. You may choose to sell the finished product as soon as it is bagged and ready. On the contrary, if moisture content in the finished product can be kept very low (using machine production), garri is known to last up to a year in storage and will command premium prices in the market during non-harvest periods.

Some things you should consider before you start…

A key success factor in this business is the nearness of a garri processing location to the source of your cassava tubers. Remember, if the tubers are not processed within 48 to 72 hours, cassava may start to spoil. If your source is far from your processing area, you may have to decide on a very reliable means of transportation to get your tubers to site as soon as possible.

Second, garri production can be a very manual process but the required labour is largely available and cheap. Using labour with previous experience of gari production from the interior villages (where the practice is prevalent) will be very helpful. However, this traditional manual production of garri is considered to be crude, uneconomic and unhygienic. Investment in cassava processing machinery may help to save a lot of costs and improve the quality of your garri. Several machines including Cassava graters, Fermentation racks, Hydraulic presses, Automatic Garri Fryers and Vibrating Sieves are available and can make the production process hygienic and economical.
Process flow chart for garri
image

It is commonly consumed either by being soaked in cold water with sugar, coconut, roasted groundnuts, dry fish, or boiled cowpea as complements or as a paste made with hot water and eaten with vegetable sauce. When properly stored, it has a shelf-life of six months or more.

Principle of preservation and processing of cassava
Cassava is fermented to remove cyanide and produce the desirable flavors. It is then roasted to destroy enzymes and microorganisms, to drive off cyanide gas, and to dry the product. Preservation is achieved by heating during roasting. A low moisture content inhibits recontamination by bacteria. Packaging is needed, especially in areas of high humidity, to retain the low moisture content.

Raw material
Fresh cassava should be free from microbial or insect damage and without serious bruising or cuts. It should be processed within two days of harvest to prevent deterioration and loss of quality in gari.

Hygiene
Fresh cassava is a moist, low-acid food that is susceptible to bacterial and fungal growth. Hygienic practices, especially in the early stages of processing, should therefore ensure minimal contamination. All waste materials from the process should be removed from the site as they are produced to avoid the risk of cross-contamination.

Process control
Washing should be carried out thoroughly to avoid contamination of the final product with peel, sand, and so on.
Fermentation must be properly controlled, as too short a period will result in incomplete detoxification and a bland product. Too long a period will give the product a strong sour taste. Both over- and underfermentation also badly affect the texture of the final gari.
If too much liquid is pressed from the grated cassava, the gelatinization of starch during subsequent roasting is affected and the product is whiter.
If sufficient liquid is not removed, however, the formation of granules during roasting is affected and the dough is more likely to form into lumps. The ideal moisture content is 47-50 %, and this is assessed visually by experienced garri producers.
Sieving is important to obtain a high-quality product, free of fibrous contaminants and with similar-sized granules. The granules must be roasted to about 80 ºC/175 ºF to achieve partial gelatinization of the starch.If lower temperatures are used, the product simply dries and produces a dry white powder. Too high a temperature will cause charring of the product and make it stick to the roasting pan.

Packaging and storage
The product is hygroscopic (it absorbs moisture from the air) and should be packed in airtight and moisture-proof bags, especially in areas of high humidity, to prevent mold growth.
Other forms of cassava utilization include
1. Fufu flour
2. High quality cassava flour
3. Tapioca
4. Lafun
5. Kpokpogari
6. Glucose syrup
7. Glue
8. Ethanol
9. Composite bread
10. Livestock feed industry
11. Livestock feed products
12. Starch in paper, etc.
13. Starch in food
14. Starch production

Top 10 Lucrative Farming Businesses

Goat rearing in Kenya

Farming in Nigeria has taken a dramatic turn to better directions in recent years, creating jobs and opportunities for Entrepreneurs who dare to go into Farming Business. Millionaires are made every year through Farming in Nigeria and there is simply no end to the prospects of creating more wealth in Nigerian Farms in the coming years.

There are good reasons why Farming in Nigeria is currently doing well, and understanding these reasons will help any serious Entrepreneur (no matter where he comes from) to think seriously about setting up Farms in Nigeria. There isn’t any other African country where Farming is as viable as it should be in Nigeria in terms of productivity and profitability. And there is no other country where farmers are more advantaged as they are in Nigeria — take a look at my top five reasons you need to start Farming in Nigeria.

5 Reasons Why Farming in Nigeria is Irresistible

(1) Nigeria has a huge population of over 150 Million people, twice more than the populations of Zimbabwe and South Africa combined. The entire population of Nigeria depends on staple foods produced from farms and other farm produces for their daily meals and sustenance — and more than 80 percent of Nigerians buy their Farm Produce from the market.

(2) Nigeria has very large expanses of fertile farmlands laying fallow for nothing. Nigeria Land area when measured in sq. km is 910,770. The Land area of any country is the country’s total area, excluding areas that are considered to be water bodies. So, Nigeria has one of the biggest expanse of Land in Africa of which 70 percent is available for Farming.

(3) Nigeria Government is seriously turning it’s attention to promoting Farming in Nigeria to help boost food productions in the country and minimize foods importation. The government is willing to assist any would be Farming Entrepreneur with the necessary supports and logistics. But not funds

(4) Nigerians have very high purchasing power, far more than any other indigenous Africans — we buy things here and we pay cash! Talk about parties, Nigeria is the most merriment people on earth — the foods used for parties and merriment in Nigeria can feed four other African countries.

(5) By the time Nigeria attain it’s full capacity utilization is agriculture, Farming in Nigeria will become great foreign currency earner more than as it already is. The implication is that Nigerian Farmers will be able to earn in Naira and in Dollars as well as Euros and Pound Sterling.Â

The prospect for Farming in Nigeria is high it. Having said that, let’s take a closer look at some of the types of Farming that can do very well in Nigeria.
1. Rice Farming – Nigeria has one of the world’s highest Rice consumption stat. Rice is by far one of the most popular staple food among Nigerians, almost everyone eats rice daily in Nigeria. In 2011 alone, Nigeria spent N991 Billion on Rice importation and the rice we import is said to be nothing less than 10 years old in storage. That means we spends billions buying Rice that has since lost it’s nutritional value.
Any Entrepreneur in Nigeria who go into Rice Farming is sure to be smiling to the bank. A bag of Rice is currently sold for N8,000 to N10,000 depending on the quality. Any Farmer who is able to invest in large scale Rice Farming in Nigeria and produce 100,000 Bags of processed Rice in a year and sell at wholesale price of about N7,000 per bag, he will be making 7,000 x 100,000 = N700,000,000 ($5.5 Million)

2. Cassava Farming -The popularity of cassava as the major source of food for Nigerians dates back to ages. Between Garri and Rice, it’s hard to tell which one is the most popular as both are the most consumed food staples in Nigeria — I think if one is King the other will be Queen.
A bag of Garri costs almost the same as a bag of rice, and apart from Garri — there are tens of other food stuffs that are processed from Cassava in Nigeria. The introduction of the high yield species of Cassava has made it possible for Nigerian Cassava Farmers to produce more Cassava per plot. Nearly every land in Nigeria is good for growing Cassava and 1 Acre, when properly planted and managed can produce N2,000,000 worth of Cassava in a year!

3. Plantain Plantation – One thing I like about Plantain is that when planted once, it keeps producing year in year out for eternity. Like Rice and Garri, Plantain is widely consumed in Nigeria and you know — any food that is popular in Nigeria is always a huge income earner due to the population of the country.
I really haven’t seen Farmers in Nigeria taking advantage of the opportunity in Plantain Farming to create wealth for themselves. Plantain is highly priced in Nigeria and is always in high demand all year round. Fry it, Boil it, Roast it — it will never get angry with you, that’s how liberal Plantain is. I can tell you, Millions of Naira is currently lying fallow untapped in this sector of Farming in Nigeria.

4. Poultry Farming – Everyone knows how ‘Cashy’ this one is, it doesn’t need much introduction and yet it’s still not fully tapped in Nigeria. What we currently have in Nigeria are few badly managed, scantily equipped poultry farms here and there. I’m yet to see a full fledged, high tech Poultry Farm in Nigeria as it is in The USA and Europe except Obasanjo’s Farm
Any serious Entrepreneur who is able to fire this up will have huge Cash profit to contend with. The reason is because Nigerians eat chicken more than Snake and 70% of our consumption still base on importation. The egg is yet another goldmine!

5. Pineapple Farming – Money is sweet, everything sweet is money, and Pineapple is sweet – Ask any Australian Farmer and he will tell you how huge the income in Pineapple Farming is in their country. Any juice maker that doesn’t have Pineapple flavor variety in his product line is not yet in business. That tells you how popular Pineapple is, not only in Nigeria but Worldwide.
Nigeria seems to have better soil for Pineapple Farming than Australia where Farmers are making it big in the business. A Pineapple sells in Mile-12 market in Lagos for about N200 — If you are able to harvest one million in a year, you’ll be sure of at least N80 x 1,000,000 = N80,000,000

6. Beans Farming – A bag of Beans costs twice more than a bag of Rice and Garri the Northern Nigerians are making it big in Beans Farming, supplying almost all Nigeria and beyond. But one thing is that, this same Beans also can do very well in the South East, South West, and South South Nigeria soils. So why only the North?

7. Catfish Farming – Catfish Business is really hyping in Nigeria right now but how many are really getting it right? Get it right and you’re in money. A single Catfish sells for N700 in Restaurants and about N400 in open market.

8. Goat Rearing – It’s only in the North that Goat is reared in commercial quantity. I don’t know why we so looked down on Farming Investment in the South even though there are millions to be made in this business. Why would you chose to sell used shoes in Oshodi and make few thousands of Naira yearly than to engage in productive Farm Business and make millions of Naira? In The USA and Australia, Farmers are among the Richest people – Get involved in professional Goat rearing and make money for yourself.

9. Snail Farming – I see Snail Farming really picking up in Nigeria very soon — but if you don’t hurry up, others would have made the money before you realized what you have missed. The potential in this business for you is about N50,000,000 Annual revenue.

10. Maize Farming – You never know the profit in Maize Farming in Nigeria until you try it, and one thing I like about it is that everything happens fast. It takes less than Four months between planting and harvesting.

Sourced from here

Photo Credit – Ace Africa