opportunity

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

 

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

A lifestyle of Passion and Hardwork – Atinuke’s story on her Agribusiness and challenges

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Atinuke on the farm

This month we introduce you to Atinuke Lebile a young agro-entrepreneur without a family farming background but has grown for herself a lifestyle in Agriculture that is inspired by passion and hardwork. Atinuke started her agribusiness year 2014, today she has sole income from her 10 acre farm where she plants plantain, cassava, rice and vegetables while also processing some of her farm products.

Agropreneur Naija had an interview with her where she tells us about herself, how she started her agribusiness enterprise, challenges she faced when she first started up and how she was able to hold on despite the challenges faced.

Q1: Agropreneur, can we meet you?

Answer:  My name is Atinuke Lebile a native of Ondo State, Nigeria. I live in Ibadan, Nigeria. I am a rising young female, social agro-entrepreneur with apt interest in societal and human capital development. I manage La’Luce Foods and Integrated Services. I’m a Strategic Officer at Ogunmod Farms & Farmers and Farmers’ Academy and a Production Manager at Cato Foods and Agro- allied Global Concepts. I have a passion for feeding the nation and I’m so overly excited about agriculture. I was born in December!

Q2: How do you view Agribusiness?

Answer: Agriculture is a lifestyle borne out of passion. In this way I’m able to face challenges and head on when they arise.

Q3: Did you grow up on an Agricultural farm?

Answer:  No, I don’t have a farming family background.

Q4: So, what brought you into Agribusiness?

Answer: Passion and business. In spite of me being a graduate of Agriculture from the University of Ilorin, my venture into agribusiness was largely of passion and the need to do agriculture in a more attractive way like a real profitable business. The need to reduce postharvest losses experienced by farmers and develop the value chain of primary agricultural products also motivated me to go into agribusiness. I still strongly believe agriculture needs to become attractive especially to young people like me; we are the future of Africa.

Q5: When did you venture into Agribusiness?

Answer:  I started agribusiness in the year 2014.

Q6: What Agribusiness do you manage?

Answer:  I am into cultivation of vegetables, plantain, cassava and rice. I package ofada rice, fruits, chips, plantain flour, garri, catfish in various sizes (100g – 50kg), and I’m also involved in agro-processing.

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Atinuke harvesting her corn from the farm.

Q7:  How many acres is your farm?

Answer: 10acres

Q8: Is farming your only source of income?

Answer: YES

Q9: What time does your day start and end?

Answer: My day starts at 4am and ends at 11pm

Q10: Does your family have an influence on your Agribusiness?

Answer: Yes, they do. They respect my choice and provide guidance where and when necessary. Even though while starting my dad was not happy seeing his only daughter going into farming. He has    been a great support, just like every member of my family. Financial and moral support from my family has really been encouraging.

Q11: Did you face any challenge while starting up?

Answer: YES!

Q12: What challenge did you face, and how did you deal with it?

Answer: Funding is a major challenge for startups and I wasn’t exempted in the funding issue. I also faced the challenge of standardization and certification by NAFDAC. I chose to start small to achieve my big dreams in terms of finance. I also learnt a lot from mentors.

Q13: What part of Agribusiness do you find hard?

Answer:  Primary Production

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Atinuke performing irrigation on the soil

Q15: What part of Agribusiness do you find most satisfying?

Answer: The part of having to create products through postharvest processing and cultivate to feed people

Q16: What is the difference in your Agribusiness now and when you started?

Answer: I am still operating at a small scale compared to where I would love to be, but I am not where I used to be. No matter how small progress is, it is still progress anyway.

Q17: Have you ever considered getting out of agriculture for a more lucrative career? Answer: Agriculture is the only sector that has the capacity to create many jobs. My passion has always kept me going. However, there are times that one just feels overwhelmed.

Q18:  How do you see your role in your community?

Answer:  My role in my community is a very crucial one because I provide food on people’s table.

Q19: How do you think the government should implement the change in the agricultural sector?

Answer: There should be strong input from the youths on policy formulations that can drive the agricultural sector in the direction of commercialization and business development. Agricultural inputs should be subsidized and marketing board should be developed.

Q20: Have you seen any change in the present government involvement with agriculture in Nigeria?

Answers:  I believe there will be a change. But I would suggest that they should improve on the achievements of the last administration

Q21: Do you think Nigerians are aware or care about mechanized farming?

Answer: Sure, Nigerians care about mechanized farming

Q22: What changes do you predict the agricultural sector in Nigeria will see over the next 3 years?

Answer: There is going to be more youth involvement. Agriculture will create a lot of jobs and it will benefit from diversified funds.

Q23: Do you have any neighbor, family or friend that have given up Agribusiness?

Answer: YES, a lot.

Q24: What made them choose to give up?

Answer: It was mostly due to the enormous challenges of finance, marketing, climate change, most importantly impatience.

Q25: Do you plan to extend your Agribusiness?

Answer: YES

Q26: What is your plan?

Answer:  To expand postharvest production and create more jobs. I intend to expand production to reach out to more markets.

Q27: What advice would you give a friend that is also an Agropreneur?

Answer: Take Agriculture as a business. It is viable when you give your best to it. Don’t seek overnight success. Agric will not give you sudden wealth but it will build you sustainable wealth. More females need to come into agriculture because females do things with more precision, care and passion.

Follow her on Twitter , Linkedin

 

 

Small-scale Postharvest Handling Technologies Short Course/Study Tour 1-5 February 2016 in Bali, Indonesia

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Program leaders

Dr. Lisa Kitinoja, The Postharvest Education Foundation, USA

Dr. I. Made Utama, Udayana University, Bali, Indonesia

The Postharvest Education Foundation offers global postharvest e-learning programs, training materials and participatory workshops on appropriate postharvest technologies for participants in more than 15 developing countries. In association with Udayana University, we are launching a new program “Small-Scale Postharvest Horticultural Technologies Short Course/ Study Tour” in February 2016 to be offered for up to 45 participants in Bali, Indonesia. This is the second time we will offer this program in Bali (our first short course was held successfully in August 2014).

As a major global tourist destination, the demand in Bali for a large variety of fresh produce has developed following the country of origins of tourists and their eating habits. The varieties of fresh produce demanded by hotels and restaurants have increased since 1970s, and now more than 100 types of fresh produce include vegetables (leafy vegetables, fruit vegetables, tubers, roots, shoots, immature flowers, mushrooms, sprouts) and herbs. Cut flowers are also increasing in demand especially for hotels and restaurants. The small scale farmers in Bali have to be creative, innovative, efficient and effective in production and postharvest handling in order to meet the dynamic demands of the wholesale and retail markets, or they will be pushed out of the local markets by large scale enterprises outside of Bali, and especially from overseas competitors. To strengthen the competitiveness of small scale fresh produce farmers in the highland production area of Bedugul, Udayana University has been implementing the Value Chain Partnership Program under the long term project HI-Link to help farmers and intermediaries to create higher value markets via an efficient and effective value chains.

Program Title: Small-Scale Postharvest Horticultural Technologies Short Course/Study Tour

Site: Udayana University, Bali

Duration: 5 days of training, demonstrations, local tours

Maximum number of participants: 45

Registration Fee: US$1000 per person  (Registration is open now and the deadline is November 30, 2015). Please contact Dr. Lisa to register via email.  We will send you the details on how to make payment via PayPal (send to postharvest@postharvest.org) or via wire transfer the The Postharvest Education Foundation.

Participants are responsible for their own travel to Bali, meals and lodging expenses in Sanur and Bedugul hotels during the program. (Hotels stays on Feb 1 and 2 in Bedugul at the Bali Handara, approximately $85/night, and on Feb 3-5 in Sanur at the Bali Hyatt, approximately $100/night). Dr. Made Utama and his staff can assist you with hotel reservations if you have questions or concerns.

Purpose and target audience: Short course topics and activities include many practices and management approaches for reducing food losses experienced by small-scale farmers, value chain actors, agri-business marketers. This program is aimed at the learning needs of international horticultural workers, extension agents, NGO staff, private sector consultants and public sector decision makers, horticultural researchers and others involved in horticultural value chain development and management.

Host: Udayana University, Bali

Sponsors: The Postharvest Education Foundation (PEF) and Udayana University

Instructors: Program leaders plus invited regional and international experts and practitioners

Learning package based upon instructor experiences and the publications: Small-scale Postharvest Handling Practices: A Manual for Horticultural Crops, cost/benefit analyses generated during BMGF Appropriate Postharvest Technologies Project and Hort CRSP postharvest projects, Energy Options for Horticulture manual, Value Chain development publications.

Learning Agenda and Topics:

Introduction to appropriate scale postharvest technologies

Missions and metrics (how to measure success?)

Harvest practices, maturity and quality / Curing practices

Packinghouse operations / Packing and packaging materials

Postharvest pest management

Temperature and relative humidity control / Energy efficiency

Storage practices / Transport practices

Small-scale food processing / Food safety issues and practices

Value chain development for horticultural crops

Costs and benefits of appropriate scale postharvest technologies

Examples of Postharvest Demonstrations:

Maturity indices / Postharvest tools for quality assessment

Effects of improved packages on shelf life and quality

Effects of cooling on shelf life and quality / Low cost cooling methods

Self-built storage structures for the farm and marketplace / Solar drying methods

Tours:

Visits to Bedugul farms / Visits to small-scale packhouses and field packing operations

Postharvest training center / CoolBot™ equipped cold room

Postharvest lab visits on Udayana University campus

Bali Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (Sayan-Ubud) / Slow Food -Bali
Cultural sites in Bali

For more information, please contact:

Dr. I Made S. Utama

Director, Center for Research and Development on Horticultural Crops (CREDHOC), Udayana University

Professor in Postharvest Physiology and Technology of Horticultural Crops, Dept. of Agric. Engineering, Faculty of Agricultural Technology, Udayana University

suparthautama@ymail.com

Dr. Lisa Kitinoja

Postharvest Training Specialist
President and Founder, The Postharvest Education Foundation
PO Box 38, La Pine, Oregon 97739 USA
Website homepage: www.postharvest.org

kitinoja@postharvest.org

Conquering the challenge of starting up as young agropreneurs

startupIn previous times, young agricultural graduates usually get Federal Government jobs in the Ministry of Agriculture as Extension Agents who support local farmers in the country, now only a small fraction of graduates do have these “so-called” Federal Government jobs, this leaves majority of them to fend for themselves. This is usually frustrating, difficult and discouraging. What differentiates us from the bandwagon of young individuals who want to invest in agriculture is our passion, drive and our belief in the prospects of agriculture in Nigeria despite all odds.

As young agripreneurs when life throws lemons at us, we can duck them and keep asking where they came from or we could make lemonade out of them. In recent times more young agripreneurs are having interests in agriculture with most of them not knowing how to.

In the mist of their passion and drive, youth have a couple of challenges. In this post i will share some of them with a few tips to help.

  1. Inadequate technical know-how: young agripreneurs who intend running his/her agribusiness in the future need to develop their own technical knowledge of the intricacies of such agribusiness. They need to get familiar with operational activities of such agribusiness by either volunteering for a short period in farms, farm centres, or related agribusinesses while understanding and gathering operation information relating to market information, production facilities, and financial analysis among others.
  2. Funding: Since investing in agribusiness involves risk taking, you should have some money put aside in case things do not work out as planned. One mistake young agripreneurs make is not setting aside enough cash reserve to support oneself, most entrepreneurs run out of money to support the business and/or themselves before the business is profitable enough to sustain itself and however fail within the first few years.

Tip: Proactively set up a special fund intended to support yourself during the business startup phase for the first year and second to relieve pressure.

  1. The role of passion and consistency: Passion and resilience will grow your agribusiness and give you energy to go on whenever the question comes on to why you are doing agriculture.
  2. Not sure of what to plant or area of agribusiness to specialize in: One should understand the value chain of his crop/agribusiness then start analyzing which area to focus on. One cannot excel in agribusiness if you are a jack of all trades.

Tip: Pick one area and focus on it.

  1. Marketing: Market is the end in business. The primary goal of getting into agribusiness is to make profit. Before you get into any form of agribusiness, find out if there is a market for your product and seek a thorough understanding of that market. This saves you the hassle of having a product and no market for it in the long run.
  2. Lack of technical support and mentorship: Get information about area of interest and interact with as many people as possible in your value chain area so as to understand the technical intricacies involved about the crop, livestock or service you want offered. Essentially if need be volunteer for at least 3 months to get familiar with best practices that will yield best results understand the business arm, farming operations, processes and strategically add value to what exists. know enough to find mentors who would push you to the right path because mentors make success possible.
  3. Not willing to start small from ideas one currently have: One key lesson you should learn as a young agripreneur is you will need a lot of patience to see results as a young agripreneur. Start small and scale up gradually this way you would learn from experience and can adapt to painful lessons of the dos and don’ts of agribusiness without running at big losses. The aphorism that goes, experience is the best teacher, holds true in agriculture.
  4. Lack of innovation (one way traffic): Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results. Young agripreneur should keep an open mind to problems and see opportunities in every challenge they face when running their agribusiness.

NB: if after 3 years you realize that you haven’t made any profit in your agribusiness venture then it’s time to pitch your tent somewhere else.

  1. Lack of business plan: Have a clear business plan and assess the risks of your business. Consider all the requirements necessary to start off your business. Do you have land? If you don’t, how do you intend to acquire one? How much will it cost? How far is the land from your nearest selling point? What will be your means of transport and how much does it cost?
  2. Network Amputation: Recent fast developing trend in Nigerian involves use of social media by young agripreneurs who have various form of agribusiness ventures and use it to link up with potential customers, investors. A recent Pew study found that 73 percent of surveyed people 18 years of age and older use social media. Agripreneurs now get to know people and make friends in the agribusiness sector both online and offline; this way agripreneurs will have people to share their experience with and learn from too. To effectively reach those customers, one must integrate social media with old school marketing such as print ads, radio, billboards and direct mail. The average consumer spends just over five hours daily on digital media according to a recent study.

Tip: There are farmer groups one could join on social media platforms some of them includes; (Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) Nigeria), Agropreneur Naija, Youths Initiative for Sustainable Agriculture (YISA) Nigeria, Some of these groups also have accounts on twitter, google plus and linkedin, this medium gives opportunity to cultivate healthy regular relationships with your farmers and customers. Also endeavor to contribute to agricultural discussions online.

Elumelu Foundation launches $100m entrepreneurship initiative

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  • Targets creation of 1 million jobs

THE Tony Elumelu Foundation, on Monday, announced the launch of a $100 million Pan-African entrepreneurship initiative, The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme, a multi-year programme of training, funding and mentoring designed to empower the next generation of African entrepreneurs.

The initiative, the largest African-sourced philanthropic gift, is intended to raise and empower 10,000 pan African entrepreneurs over a period of 10 years.

Unlike other initiatives that focus on funding or training, the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme is a combination of entrepreneurship skills acquisition, mentoring, networking and funding for start ups.

At the launch in Lagos, Mr Tony Elumelu, founder of the foundation, said: “The opportunity and challenge in Africa is scale – in our people, our resources and our horizons. In my business and philanthropic journeys, I have always sought ways to help inspire a generation across our continent.

“This programme brings together my own entrepreneurial experience and my fundamental belief that entrepreneurs – women and men across Africa – will lead Africa’s development and transform our futures.”

He added: “The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme will offer a structured, multi-year opportunity to access funding, knowledge and perhaps most importantly mentoring, on a scale that is unprecedented in Africa – it is our opportunity to empower a generation.”

The programme will identify and help grow an initial 10,000 start-ups and young businesses from across Africa over the next 10 years, targeting the creation of 1,000,000 new jobs and $10 billion in annual revenues.

“Whether you’re in Lagos, Accra, Johannesburg, Nairobi or Dakar, Africa is buzzing with entrepreneurs who need a platform that enables them to take their business or idea to the next level. The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme has been designed to provide that mechanism,” said Parminder Vir, Director of Entrepreneurship at The Tony Elumelu Foundation.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme is inspired by three guiding principles: the inclusive economic philosophy of Africapitalism, based on the belief that a vibrant African-led private sector is the key to unlocking Africa’s economic and social potential; commitment to drive African economic growth through the empowering of African entrepreneurship; and a mission to‘institutionalise luck’ by creating an environment where African entrepreneurs can get critical elements of support in the early stages of their business life.

A selection committee of African business leaders will select the most promising 1,000 start-ups annually from across the continent.

Members of the committee include Ory Okolloh, Director of Investments at the Omidyar Network’s Government Transparency Initiative in Africa; Dr Ayodeji Adewunmi, CEO and Co-Founder of Nigerian job search site Jobberman; Dr Vera Songwe, Country Director at the World Bank Group for Senegal, Cape Verde, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Mauritania; Opunimi Akinkugbe, CEO of pan-African board game company Bestman Games Ltd; Dr Ndubuisi Ekekwe, founder of technology company First Atlantic Semi-Conductors & Microelectronics; Sam Nwanze, Chief INVESTMENT Officer at Heirs Holdings; Monida Musonda, CEO of Java Food in Zambia and Dr Wiebe Boer, CEO of The Tony Elumelu Foundation.

“World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim has an agenda focused on innovation and entrepreneurship as a key prerequisite to achieving global competitiveness and building long-term wealth, especially for the youth. We must strive for entrepreneurial innovation in Africa and my participation in this programme further promotes the World Bank Group’s push for entrepreneur-led global development,”said Dr Verga Songwe, Country Director for the World Bank Group.

Successful applicants will participate in a comprehensive programme designed to equip them with the skills needed to build a successful business. The programme includes seed funding, a customized 12-week business skills training course, mentoring, an entrepreneurship ‘boot camp’, participation in the annual Elumelu Entrepreneurship Forum and membership of the Alumni Network.

 

Picture credit by: Skoll World Forum

Originally published here

 

Enterprise Graduate Employment scheme (EGES)

 

enterprise bank

 

Introducing: Enterprise Graduate Employment scheme (EGES)

Enterprise Bank is inviting candidates to apply for its 2014 Graduate Employment Scheme (EGES).

2014 Enterprise Graduate Employment Scheme (EGES)

The scheme was designed to bridge the gap between the innovative entrepreneurial ideas of young school leavers and access to the right financial support to transform the ideas into money making enterprises.

Description

Are you a graduate?
Do you have a viable business idea?
Do you already have a small existing business?
Are you ready to take charge of your financial future? Then this is for you!

Description

Are you a graduate?
Do you have a viable business idea?
Do you already have a small existing business?
Are you ready to take charge of your financial future? Then this is for you!

 

Application closing date not stated

 

Interested candidate should click

here to download application form

http://web.entbankng.com/Enterprise/EntDownLoadPage.aspx

 

 

 

 

 

Enter the Think.Eat.Save Student Challenge of $10,000

14853564441_b507e11da6_kAll the school/university students around the globe are invited to participate in the Think.Eat.Save Student Challenge to fight against food waste and encourage children (as well as the elders) to help save people around the globe from hunger and malnutrition.

If you are a school/university student, take action by launching a team project that will prevent or reduce food waste; raise awareness among students and teachers to stop wasting food; spread the word to all your friends on your social media networks and bring about changes in at least your school or your country to help reduce malnutrition, help people around the globe fill their stomach.

The winners will be announced on 15 December 2014. The UNEP will send the winners an email notification.

Prizes

US$5,000 – 1st Prize

US$3000 – 2nd Prize

US$2,000 – 3rd Prize

Determining Factors

Ideas & approach

Results accomplished

Level of interest and support generated

Eligibility Criteria

  • Entrants can be any students at the secondary and university levels from any school worldwide.
  • Proposed project should address one of the following:
    • Assess the level of food waste that is generated by the school and identify/understand the causes of this.
    • Generate an idea or ideas for eliminating or reducing food waste in their schools and undertaking a project to implement at least one of these.
    • Raise awareness in their schools or communities on the issue of food waste and why it should be reduced and eventually eliminated.
  • Entrants can be individuals or teams.
  • Participants should formulate and implement their activity from registration date till 16 November. The posting of entries should be made on 16 November 2014.
  • Entries can be submitted in one of the following languages – Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.
  • Entrant under the age of 18 must get consent of their parent/guardian/school.
  • Submissions must have been taken witht the permission of the subject(s) and/or venue/location and does not infringe on the copyright of any third party.
  • The entrant warrants that they own the copyright for the submissions and for the usage rights required by the challenge, and that their entry does not infringe on the privacy rights, copyright or any other rights of any person.

How to Enter & Promote the Project?

  • Signup for the Challenge.
  • Create a project on how you can reduce (or check) the food waste in your school. Think about an innovative solution and implement the proposed solution to bring about the changes you think you can bring.
  • Come back to your account on the website to report your accomplishments once the project is completed. You will have to describe what the project was, its objectives and the results.
  • You should post the supporting photos on your own twitter, Facebook or Instagram accounts using the hashtag #ThinkEatSave.
  • Make your social media accounts public so that your work gets promoted.
  • You can post maximum 3 minutes videos on your Youtube Channel. (need not upload a professionally produced video)
  • Promote your projects as much as you can.
  • Share the links to facebook photo albums, instagram photoes and/or Youtube video in your report.

For more information, please visit ThinkEatSave Student Challenge.

Originally Published here

Youth Empowerment Scheme for Agriculture graduates in Nigeria via ARMTI

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In pursuant of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA),  The Agricultural And Rural Management Training institute (ARMTI), invites Youth to seize the opportunity of the ATA and participation in its Empowerment scheme.

The scheme is aimed at addressing the problems of youth unemployment provide necessary entrepreneur skills for the selected Agricultural graduates and link them with selected financial institutions that will provide them loans to engage on agricultural enterprise of their choice.Participation in the scheme is open to both male and female candidates desiring to take career in agricultural enterprises.

Requirements for participation

 Any of the participant should fulfill the following conditions among others

1. Be a Nigerian with evidence
2. Be physically fit and willing to work hard
3. Have interest in Agricultural production/enterprise
4. Be between 22 and 39 years of age
5. Have a solid agricultural production background
6. Have minimum Bachelor Degree or Higher National Diploma  in Agriculture or related disciplines
7. Must have completed NYSC at the time of application
8. Be prepared to take up career in agricultural based enterprises such as arable crop production, fish production, poultry production, e.t.c
9. Be interested in arable crop production and have evidence of access (Not necessarily ownership) to a minimum of 2- 3ha of land for raining season arable crop production OR a minimum of 0.5-1ha land for dry season/irrigation arable crop production OR
10. Be interested in livestock/poultry/fishery enterprise or production and have evidence or production and evidence of facilities (such as land space, water etc.) that support the enterprises
11. Pass a written test prior to final selection
12. Prepare a pro-forma business plan of agricultural enterprise of their choice.

Method of Application

Written application including concrete information in respect of each of the above requirements together with a letter signed by chairman or secretary of the candidate’s local qualification or relevant documents and (3) references (including the community leader of the applicant and a senior civil servant of the rank not less than Assistant director in the Federal civil service or a Deputy Director in a state civil service) should be forwarded to the  address below within 3 weeks of this advertisement.

The Executive Director
ARMTI Km18, Ilorin-Ajase –Ipo Road
P.M.B 1343 Ilorin, Kwara State.

Published on The Guardian Newspapers Page 66, 08/07/2014

Youth Innovation In Livestock Production: Challenges And Wayout In Nigeria

Livestock are taken to water in the Awash River Basin, Oromia, Ethiopia (photo credit: ILRI)

Livestock are taken to water in the Awash River Basin, Oromia, Ethiopia (photo credit: ILRI)

Livestock production as a business is seen by most youths as being only for the already rich and wealthy Nigerian, due to the huge start-up capital requirement. Nigerian youth population between the age of 15 and 35 is accounted to stand at 64 million (Nigerian Bureau of Statistics report; 2012). Among these, an estimated 54% are unemployed with the unemployed females taking up 51.9%.
Agriculture has been identified as a viable means of creating gainful employment for youths and women in Nigeria. Despite the promise of better livelihood through agricultural production; youth manpower is yet to be harnessed for agricultural production particularly in livestock enterprise.

Among the ‘excuses’ given by youths for this include: access to land and capital, diseases and lack of expertise in livestock production. Haven been into poultry production myself; I have realized that these limiting factors usually thought to be surmountable only through government intervention may not totally depend on government. In the face of these challenges some youths have ventured into livestock production and are creating more employment for other youths with no assistance whatsoever from the government. An opinion poll of a section of these youths in Ilorin and Lagos, Nigeria to ascertain how they overcame the challenges highlighted above revealed that the challenges are really limiting however they have found innovative ways around them.

Land is available in Nigeria, but access to it for agricultural activities is difficult especially for youths. This is due on the one hand to the lack of funds to acquire it and access to information on other means of accessing it. For instance, in Oyo area of Nigeria, the rural community leases out land for livestock or crop production at a rate of N2000/acre. But not many youths are aware of this and those that are; do not see the opportunity it offers. Poultry and fishery production is predominant among the youths interviewed with the size of the farm ranging from 100-500 birds. Land for production is got from
-using their parents’ or family land;
-leasing land with existing poultry production facilities on it,
-at their backyard with some pen structure constructed,
-using space available at the house of family friends
-adaptation of cage system to maximize the use of space above the ground and ease waste collection

Most of these youths started their production after 2-5years of being unemployed or working. Source of start-up capital include personal savings from the 1 year National Youth Service or from salaries at previous job, with support from parents, relatives and friends; and pooling of resources with colleagues to make a joint ownership of the business. In the last instance, the management of the farm is left in the care of those with some experience in agriculture/livestock production either from their university education or previous job. However, they still maintain a network of senior colleagues and professionals with more experience in the business and are able to make consultation with them in the case of disease outbreak, or any challenge in the day to day running of the farm for free.

Access to market for broiler chickens is also a challenge for this group. My experience in Ilorin brought to my attention the importance of networking in business. My birds were sold through information from friends on those who needed dressed chicken for their events, supply to fast food centers and restaurants. The trending these days is for ‘processors’ who buy live birds from the farmers directly, dress and resell to restaurants, hotels and food joints. Most of these processors are young women, some of whom were into backyard poultry production at their parents’ house (as described above) but had to relocate when they got married.

There is always market for agricultural products especially with the explosion in population. Livestock production (particularly poultry) provides a cheaper source of meeting the protein requirement of the populace and job creation; as most livestock are not seasonal and are available and affordable all year round. However, there is a gap between the farmers and where the demand for their products is; hence the need for the ‘processors’.

Another major challenge identified by the respondents was waste management. Regular cleaning of the pen is done to reduce odor in the neighborhood for those in urban areas while the usual practice is for the waste to be dumped in surrounding land or general dumpsite. This still constitutes nuisance to the immediate environment of the farm causing disapproval from neighbors. Few among the youths are aware of the use of the Gabintech nanotechnology system to eliminate odor from livestock waste and only one was using it on her farm. Beyond the handling the odor, she also has a standing contract with vegetable producers who buy the waste from her farm to use as manure at N100/bag. On her part, she ensures the manure is dry and friable. Very few farmers even among the very established ones exploit the potential revenue from the sale of livestock waste. There is an increasing awakening in Nigeria towards the potentials of poultry waste as a replacement for fertilizer. It is not unusual to find lorry loads of poultry manure being transported to Northern Nigeria from the South West. 75% of the manure dealers are women and the price/bag ranges from N100 to as high as N600 says Mr Ariyo, a farmer and consultant in Lagos.

Since bank loans are not readily available, acquiring land not so easy, nevertheless there is always a way out. The advice to youths is to start small, pool resources together and network. There are so many advantages open to us in this 21st century. We are in connection with the world through our android phones; there is information available to us at the click of few buttons. Our local networks are also important. It is easier to get support from government, funding bodies, relatives and friends when we have put in some effort. In these present times one may not readily find someone to nudge or push you in the right direction; however, looking closely, we find a lot of opportunities around us. Innovation is key to success. Timely access to information is also important.

A changed mindset will go a long way towards reducing the unemployment scourge among youths. It is pertinent to mention that most of us still see farming as being a last resort. The craze for white collar jobs is still rampart, forgetting that the existence of any white collared office job is related to the existence of a production activity somewhere. And there will be no white collared jobs if production stops. I am a testimony to the viability of agriculture as a source of livelihood. I and my siblings owe our education to the income generated from my mum’s poultry enterprise and my dad’s cassava/maize farm; and as an agricultural science teacher. After my First degree, sustenance through my Master’s course was from revenue generated from my broiler sale which was set up as a joint business with a colleague in the backyard of a family relative. The story of the youths identified above buttresses the saying that ‘when you think it’s impossible someone else is already doing it”.

Blog Post by Agbonlahor Ehizogie Marymartha

This was first published in the World Farmers Organisation Newsletter February 2014 Pg 15 to 16