information

Technology as a key to agricultural growth and success in Nigeria

“As we search for a less extractive and polluting economic order, so that we may fit agriculture into the economy of a sustainable culture, community becomes the locus and metaphor for both agriculture and culture.”  ― Wes Jackson, Becoming Native to This Place

africanfarming5-www-peacetimes-news

By Olasupo OJO

The prevailing economic situation in Nigeria has prompted the need for a diversification to ameliorate the economic challenges hitting the country in the face. Oil prices have dropped drastically, the Naira was depreciating at an alarming rate until recently, and the prices of commodities have risen.

Agriculture has become the talk on everyone’s mouth, a means to liberate and sustain the economy. Needless to say, that many have forgotten that the 60’s – early 80’s are far from different from the 21st century that we find ourselves. The era when the population was barely 45 million, employment rate was high, the economy was stable and agriculture was a joyous occupation. But the “oil boom” came along and agriculture was long gone. Paying less attention to agriculture resulted in a decline in policy support and public funding for agriculture, strong decline in domestic production and rising level of dependence on agricultural imports. Now, population has grown to over 180 million, oil is losing its value and the naira’s value is dwindling. Isn’t it time to go back to the 60’s? A resounding ‘yes’.

The truth is that agriculture can take us back to where we were. Little wonder then that the government is doing everything within its reach to resuscitate this sector of the economy. The role of the public and private sectors in agriculture, the farmers, youths and women, donor organizations, research institutes, health care organizations and other organizations or agencies that play a role in the agriculture value chain can’t be overemphasized. But, it is noteworthy that just like science and technology have played their roles in our lives in this century, they are also a backbone to achieving the long-term goal of sustaining the agricultural sector of the economy.

TECHNOLOGY

Technology is shaping the world, improving lives, making things easy and transforming the continent. In the world of agriculture too, a lot is being done to improve seeds and increase production. This will also help in restoring increased production of food in Nigeria.

Here are some technological inventions that will definitely improve the agricultural sector of the economy:

Mechanization

The 60’s are far gone, the era of farmers using crude farm implements like hoe, sickles and cutlasses. Painfully, many farmers still use these tools in their farming operations, the effect? Low supply of farm products, poor efficiency and sustenance of products. Mechanized form of farming involves the use advanced technological machines, tools and techniques in rearing plants animals, this will:

  • reduce energy exerted in the agricultural process
  • improve productivity
  • improve life span
  • regular supply of farm produce
  • enhance economic growth

Nigeria faces a Hello tractorslot of challenges in this area. For example, the land use decree (1978) makes acquisition of land difficult in a way making it difficult for peasant farmers to acquire sufficient land mass to practice mechanized farming. Unavailability of infrastructural facilities like good road network, communication facilities and transport system. Illiteracy among farmers and sufficient funding.

The use of tractors, boom sprayers, ploughing machines and pumps are mechanized tools that will help reshape the agriculture sector and help farmers. A revision of the land use decree of 1978 will help farmers acquire more acres of land to practice this form of farming.

AGRICULTURAL BIOTECHNOLOGY

Simply put, agricultural biotechnology is the manipulation of crops and animals or their parts for the production of value added goods and services for man’s use.  It is being used to address problems in all areas of agricultural production and processing. This includes plant breeding to raise and stabilize yields; to improve resistance to pests, diseases and abiotic stresses such as drought and cold; and to enhance the nutritional content of foods. Despite reservations about GMO plants, security and regulatory agencies have stood up to defend advantages of this plants. South Africa for example has recorded remarkable increase, remaining till present the leaders in Africa in the use of biotech crops. In an interview with UK MP Owen Paterson by SASHNEE MOODLEY, South Africa as realised an economic gain of $1.15-billion between 1998 and 2012 from the use of genetically modified (GM) crops or biotech crops. Sudan has also increased its biotech cotton hectares by almost 50% to 90 000 ha. He said, “although humanitarian and environmental groups have disputed the use of GM technology on crops, studies have shown that GM technology adoption has reduced chemical pesticide use by 37%, increased crop yields by 22% and boosted farmers profit by 68%.” Nigeria can definitely increase its crop production through the use of biotech plants, having them available, educating rural farmers on how to successfully maximize profit and strengthen the food growth of the country like other African countries like South Africa and Sudan. Read more on Biotech here from a Nigerian health practitioner.

Information and Communications Technology

The Internet is a standing topic in newspapers and on television, and the number of users doubles every year. IT can be used a tool for direct contribution to agricultural productivity and an indirect tool for empowering farmers to take informed and quality decisions which will have positive impact on the way agriculture and allied activities are conducted. The main objective of ICT application, from a development perspective, is that of empowering people through knowledge.  It increases the effectiveness of their development efforts through informed decision making and through their capacity to harness science and various forms of knowledge to achieve the objectives of poverty eradication,
food security and sustainable development. This would be an effective tool for the very large uneducated populace farmers in the country and also help foster a better understanding of farming practice and marketing among the youths who are eagerly delving into farming today.

esoko-com

Photo Credit- Esoko.com

The 60’s are here in the 21st century, Agriculture should be fully worked on and modified in order to meet the needs and number of populace in the country. Application of technology in agriculture accompanied with the best policies can liberate Nigeria from the shackles of poverty, high cost of living and unemployment ravaging the country currently.

SIMPLE STRATEGIES FOR PROFITABILITY IN YOUR AGRIBUSINESS

Agriculture should be viewed as “agri-profit” since business is all about making profit. Once you have a chosen agribusiness venture, your key profit drivers need prioritized strategies to ensure growth. In making your business more profitable that is increasing sales and revenue as well as decreasing cost and having savings, you should choose and focus on effective agribusiness growth strategies.

Agribusiness strategies transform subsistence activities of low productivity and low value addition to commercially oriented, innovative and modern agribusiness. It will enable you invest your resources technically to trigger profit and growth, and change your thought of just producing to producing to solve  problems and meeting market needs. When you choose to implement agribusiness strategies, it means you choose to allow your produce/product find a positionand meet competitive demands in the market.

Core values that will drive these strategies include:-

  • Efficiency which will be driven by the aim to reach higher competitiveness.
  • Innovation which will be driven by the aim to be impactful.
  • Positivity which will be driven by the aim to sustain performance.

The prioritized strategies include:

Putting Markets at the Center of all Production, Processing, Product Development and Packaging

  • Collate, update and provide relevant, timely and accurate market information to your customers and potential customers.
  • Be specific about your target market and the agribusiness you are into, so as to ensure optimum use of your resources in a particular direction.
  • Promote your produce and products by value addition, for example increase the quantity of your produce or products and still sell at the same price. This definitely doesn’t mean your business will run at a loss. Don’t forget I said agribusiness means agri-profit.
  • Be informed on agribusiness marketing, you can do that by using the internet appropriately and attending organized seminars and programs on agribusiness marketing.

Joining Vibrant Agribusiness Organizations and Forums

  • Connect, network, collaborate and share ideas with people of like minds.
  • Be part of a collective action that will lead to increased bargaining power.
  • Be active in the organization, dialogue and share information that will establish favorable business relationships with other agribusiness managers. This act can spur a member to refer you for business or link you with people that need your services.
  • Be part of organized seminars and programs by the organization or forum. There will be an opportunity for you to market and promote your agribusiness.

Improving on Quality Service to all Customers and Potential Customers

  • Treat all your customers well, definitely loyal customers should be well recognized but all customers deserve a great treat.
  • Satisfy your customers beyond their expectation, they will be motivated to continually patronize and refer you to other people.
  • Motivate steady customers by acknowledging their loyalty and by rewarding them; this can be with a discount, extra produce/ product or gift item. They can also be appreciated with a thank you message or call.
  • Provide concise information of your agribusiness services to all customers and potential customers.
  • Issue receipt to your customers, even if your agribusiness is small. Look at your agribusiness as a dressing that needs to be addressed appropriately. So step up and start issuing receipt.
  • Promote your business on different media (facebook, whatsapp, bbm, twitter,instagram). You can read on digital marketing for more information.
  • Be informed on climate, diseases, market trends to guide against low quality of produce/products and loss, through various means like paying attention to agribusiness news, joining interactive groups and platforms on social media.
  • Be informed about credit services, be part of a mentorship scheme and have a model farmer.

Read And Apply These Strategies To Your Agribusiness And Make Your New Profit Level A Reality. SUCCESS!

This blog post was written by Idowu T. Owoeye

email; idowuowoeye6@gmail.com

Web 2.0 & Social Media Learning Opportunity, National Institute for Freshwater Fisheries Research, New-Bussa, Niger State, Nigeria,

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Venue: National Institute for Freshwater Fisheries Research, New-Bussa, Niger State, Nigeria

Dates: 20-24 October 2014

Technological innovation is taking place at a breath-taking pace. Simple, open source internet-based applications and services designed to enhance on-line collaboration are now available to the wider public at little or no cost at all. These new online technologies known as Web 2.0 and Social Media applications enable people to collaborate to create, share and publish information.

The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation EU-ACP (CTA) has a mandate to facilitate access to and dissemination of information in the fields of agriculture and rural development in 78 countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP). Supporting the adoption of Web 2.0 applications and Social Media represents a great opportunity for meeting it.

The National Institute for Freshwater Fisheries Research, New-Bussa, Niger State (NIFFR) in collaboration with CTA and the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) and the Federal College of Freshwater Fisheries Technology (FCFFT), will host a 5-day Web 2.0 and Social Media Learning Opportunity on 20-24 October 2014. Participants will be introduced to selected web 2.0 applications including social media and will learn how to use them hands-on.

The Learning Opportunity will cover advanced online searching, getting information served via alerts and RSS, collaborating remotely using Google Drive, Dropbox, VoIP, online mapping and social networking.Participants will get a chance to see what others have done, get hands-on experience on how to use innovative applications, and assess how they could adopt these innovations within the context of their work and organisation.

This Learning Opportunity forms part of CTA initiatives that support development partners in networking, accessing and disseminating information more effectively.

Programme of the Learning Opportunity

·         Web 2.0 and Social Media: concepts and principles;

·         Selective access to information via (i) advanced multilingual search options; (ii) RSS and (iii) automated alerts;

·         Content curation: Tagging and Social Bookmarking;

·         Photos for the web;

·         Remote collaboration (e.g. GoogleDrive, Dropbox);

·         Online conversations (Skype, Google Hangouts, Viber, Whatsapp);

·         Online mapping (New Google Maps);

·         Blogging (Blogger or WordPress);

·         Micro-blogging (Twitter);

·         Social networking (LinkedIn and Facebook), risks and mitigation measures;

·         Online Communities of Practice;

·         Web 2.0 and Social Media for Agri-business and marketing.

Participants – Eligibility and responsibilities

Participation in the Learning Opportunity is free of charge, but subject to acceptance by the organisers. 25 participants will be accepted for the event.

Eligibility criteria

·         be computer literate and conversant with browsing the Internet;

·         have regular access to a computer (ownership of a computer is an advantage);

·         be in a position to take along a WIFI-enabled laptop to the training;

·         be competent in the use of the English language;

·         have an active e-mail account;

·         be actively engaged in agriculture and rural development / natural resource management / biodiversity conservation in the domains of ICT for development (ICT4D), policies, markets; publishing, communication and media; and

·         be resident in Nigeria.

Responsibilities

Accepted participants will be responsible for all costs related to their travel to and from the venue at the NIFFR, accommodation, breakfast and supper, daily subsistence allowances, and for bringing their own WIFI-enabled laptop to the event.

Entitlements

During each event, the organisers will provide lunch and refreshments and distribute copies of CTA publications and instructional material.

How to apply

If you are interested in applying, please click on this link to complete the online form.

Deadline for applications: 22 September, 2014

Feedback

The organisers will inform successful applicants about the status of their application ~two week before the commencement of the course. Successful applicants will receive confirmation letters. Others will be duly informed about the results of their application.

YOUTHS CAN BE AGRICULTURAL COMMUNICATORS

Dr. Cho's extension education to a vegetable farmer from Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA (Credit: Cornell University College; Flicker)

Dr. Cho’s extension education to a vegetable farmer from Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA
(Credit: Cornell University College; Flicker)

Agricultural communication (or agricultural communications) is a field of study and work that focuses on communication about agriculture-related information among agricultural stakeholders and between agricultural and non-agricultural stakeholders. It is done formally and informally by agricultural extension and is considered a subset of science communication. However, it has evolved into its own professional field.

By definition, agricultural communicators are science communicators that deal exclusively with the diverse, applied science and business that is agriculture. An agricultural communicator is expected to bring with him or her level of specialized knowledge in the agricultural field that typically is not required of the mass communicator. Agricultural communication also addresses all subject areas related to the complex enterprises of food, feed, fiber, renewable energy, natural resource management, rural development and others, locally to globally. Furthermore, it spans all participants, from scientists to consumers – and all stages of those enterprises, from agricultural research and production to processing, marketing, consumption, nutrition and health.

A growing market for agricultural journalists and broadcasters led to the establishment of agricultural journalism and agricultural communication academic disciplines.

This field of study needs more hands at the moment. You might ask why. This is because one of the key ways to transform the agricultural sector is to be able to communicate properly with the so many smallholders out there. There is a need to not only give them information available for them but more importantly to be able to listen to them and know what their need are so they can be met by providing them solutions tailored to their needs.

The job market for agricultural communicators that young people can tap into includes:

  • Farm broadcasting
  • Journalists and editors of agricultural/rural magazines and newspapers
  • Communication specialist, public relations practitioner, or Web developer for agricultural commodity organizations, businesses, non-profits
  • Sales representative for agricultural business
  • Science journalist
  • communication specialist
  • Public relations or advertising for firms that specialize in or have agricultural clients

Like it is always said, not everyone can become farmers. However, there are a lot out there that can be done by young people who would still serve as a boost for food production, reduce unemployment, and improve the livelihood of the numerous small scale farmers out there

SOURCE

Wikipedia- http://wikipedia.org/wiki/agricultural_communication

Connecting the dots with knowledge management technologies

How can we make African researchers and research centers work faster and collaborate more efficiently with other stakeholders?

The FARA Social Reporters Blog

How can we make African researchers and research centers work faster and collaborate more efficiently with other stakeholders? With the support of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) Networking Support Function 2 (FARA-NSF2), a pilot project was implemented in 2012 in Madagascar to develop an Innovation Platform supported by a web-based system.

Rasoanindrainy Andrianjofy (FTA) noted that the project managed to convert “highly hierarchical and fragmented organizations” into a funtional network of all actors and organizations (more than 50), including the 6 research centers involved in ARD.

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