Seeds council to pre-certify cassava planting materials

Source: The Guardian

The National Agricultural Seeds Council has been mandated to henceforth certify cassava planting materials before they are distributed for planting in the country.

Following the mandate, the council is to undertake inspection visits to farmers’ farms before such could be certified as input suppliers.
This was made known during the three-day training to onboard new Cassava Seed Entrepreneurs (CSEs) and Foundation Seed Producers (FSPs) in South East /South South states, organised by the National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike, Abia State, under the Basics -1 Programme.

NRCRI Executive Director, Prof Ukpabi Joe Ukpabi, through his Director of Research Support Services, Dr Godwin Asumugha, charged trainees/participants comprising 6O village seed entrepreneurs, 27 foundation seed Producers and three certification officers from Abia, Imo and Akwa Ibom states to, during the training, learn how to produce certifiable cassava seeds.

Asumugha said that the training, ‘Building an Economically Sustainable, Integrated Cassava Seed System in Nigeria,’ which was effected in partnership with the IITA, was intended to teach the trainees different aspects of cassava stem/seed production.

He added that while the entrepreneurs/trainees would require their farms to be certified by the council which is the national body mandated to monitor and pre-certify seeds before they are sold in the market, they (the entrepreneurs), would also be required to key into the cassava seed tracker for proper identification. 

A trainee, Mrs Ijeoma Nwachukwu, who is also leader of Imo State Women Farmers Association, said the training had not only equipped participants with the necessary knowledge, but had the capacity to engender massive production of appropriate quality seeds from next year.  

Firms team up to deploy solar energy to poultry farm

Source: The Guardian

Rensource, a leading West African renewable energy services provider, has announced a solar project partnership with the Norwegian impact investment company, Empower New Energy, to deploy a 700 KWp solar photo-voltaic plant to one of Nigeria´s largest egg producers, Premium Poultry Farms.

The power plant will generate 1 gigawatt hour of clean energy yearly, save up to 25,000 tonnes of CO2 in its lifetime and contribute to Abuja’s fight against local air pollution.

This landmark project is one of the largest power purchase agreements for solar energy signed in the C&I sector in Nigeria and will represent the poultry industry’s largest single clean energy project. The power plant is expected to operate for at least 25 years, according to the power purchase agreement signed between the off-taker Premium Poultry and Empower.

“This solution … demonstrates our ability to meet the energy needs of a diverse array of industrial customers. We are honored to supply affordable clean energy to further grow Nigeria’s critically important agricultural sector, while cutting emissions,” said Ademola Adesina, founder and CEO of Rensource.

The poultry farm produces 600,000 eggs daily and has its own feed mill, making it about the country’s largest egg producer.

Kano agric project to spend $3.33 on 100,000 farmers

Source: Vanguard

Kano State Agro-Pastoral Development Project, KSADP, and the Kano Agricultural and Rural Development Authority, KNARDA, have launched collaboration for the implementation of agricultural interventions worth 3.23 million US dollars.

2.23 million US dollars is coming from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) while Kano State Government will release 1 million US dollars as counterpart contribution to the KNARDA for its value chain interventions.

This was made known by the Director-General Media and Publicity, Kano state government Mal Ameen Yassar while addressing newsmen on the activities not the Agro Pastoral Development Project.

“The interventions target 100, 000 smallholder legumes farmers across the 44 local government areas of the state, over five years, beginning from the 2020/2021 planting season.

“The focus of the interventions is on equipping smallholder farmers, extension agents, agro-processors and post-harvest handling service providers with knowledge and skills on improved production, post-harvest and agro-processing practices and technologies as well as creating effective input and output market linkages, towards increasing outcomes for beneficiaries” he stated.

He further explained that “this is in line with KSADP’S theory of change which is to transform the smallholder farming to commercially viable businesses by developing commodity value chains to reduce rural poverty, food insecurity and unemployment.

“Through the agreement, KSADP will finance KNARDA annually, upon submission of its annual work-plan and budget which will be cleared by the State Ministry of Agriculture, the KSADP, and approved by the Islamic Development Bank.”

The Deputy Governor of Kano state, Dr Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, who doubles as the chair, Project Steering Committee, KSADP, and the Managing Director of KNARDA, Alh. Ibrahim Sulaiman Dan’isle signed the Memorandum of Understanding.

“This MOU, coming a few weeks after we signed a similar one with SASAKAWA, is a major step in our drive to ensure agricultural productivity”, Dr Nasiru Gawuna maintained.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic and it attendant repercussion on food security, taking into consideration our huge population, this MOU could not come at a better time” he stated.

The Managing Director of KNARDA, Alh. Ibrahim Sulaiman Dan’Isle said the synergy between his agency and KSADP will go a long way in reducing poverty, ensuring food security and minimizing natural resource degradation.

How sub-Saharan Africa can rethink its approach to agriculture

Source: www.theconversation.com

You have argued that governments should use the post-COVID environment to think differently about agriculture. What should be done differently?

African governments should have a fresh look at agriculture. This involves embracing technology (information technology, mechanical and biotechnology) and also private sector partnerships. There also needs to be confidence in the citizenry to manage their land parcels. This will involve the granting of title deeds or tradable long-term leases in various African countries. And in the case of better seeds, the evidence from South Africa is there for many countries to observe and learn.

The economic recovery from the pandemic therefore presents an opportunity for governments to explore available technologies that could help in the registration of land rights. These include global positioning systems, mapping and blockchain technologies.

This will help solve disputes and also with the tradability of land rights. This process can be piloted on agricultural land. The proper recording and confirmation of land rights will encourage individual entrepreneurs to invest in their farmland and thereby trigger the commercialisation and growth of the agricultural sector.

There are also examples of technologies that various countries could use to document land. Examples include the use of drones in India, and aerial photography in Rwanda. This would help change the troubling statistic that roughly 90% of rural land in Africa is not formally documented.

How would you envisage overcoming the concern that ambitious rights formalisation and documentation strategies tend to extinguish secondary rights, often held by women?

The overall intention is to ensure formalisation of land rights, with the objective of attracting investments in the agricultural sector and unlocking its potential.

Africa has, indeed, a history of disadvantaging women on land matters. Any strategy for the formalisation of land rights will have to be well thought out and transparent. The aim should be to ensure that there isn’t bias towards men and politically connected individuals as has been observed in land reform cases in South Africa.

Are you perhaps placing too much faith in technology?

To date, South Africa is the only country in sub-Saharan Africa that has embraced biotechnology. This is primarily because it’s the only country in the region that has adopted the use of genetically engineered cotton, maize and soybean seeds. Other countries that have done so include the US, Brazil and Argentina. In these countries, the use of the genetically engineered seeds has seen lower insecticide use, more environmentally friendly tillage practices and improvements in crop yields.

How productive is sub-Saharan African agriculture relative to other regions of the world? What can be done to improve yields?

There is compelling evidence of the increase in yields within the sub-Saharan Africa region. Consider South Africa. It produces about 16% of sub-Saharan Africa maize, according to the International Grains Council. But it uses a relatively small area of land – an average of 2.5 million hectares since 2010. In contrast, countries such as Nigeria planted 6.5 million hectares in the same production season but only harvested 11 million tonnes of maize. Nigeria’s output equates to 15% of the sub-Saharan region’s maize production.

South Africa began planting genetically engineered maize seeds in the 2001/02 season. Before its introduction, average maize yields were around 2.4 tonnes per hectare. That has now increased to an average of 5.9 tonnes per hectare as of the 2019/20 production season.

Meanwhile, the sub-Saharan Africa region’s maize yields remain negligible, averaging below 2.0 tonnes per hectare.

While yields are also influenced by improved germplasm (enabled by non-GM biotechnology) and improved low- and no-till production methods (facilitated through herbicide tolerant GM technology), other benefits include labour savings, reduced insecticide use, and improved weed and pest control. These labour-saving benefits, also for small-scale livelihood farmers, were also observed in a research study in the KwaZulu Natal province of South Africa.

Other countries like Kenya and Nigeria are increasingly field-testing genetically engineered crops. They should accelerate the process, and when it meets their scientific standards, should embark on commercialisation as part of the recovery from the economic slump caused by the pandemic.

Each country will have its domestic regulatory process which safeguards consumers and farmers. But these need not be too prohibitive to the extent that they disadvantage farmers. A case in point is Zimbabwe, where the importation of genetically engineered maize has recently been permitted but planting by domestic farmers is prohibited.

But high yield – that is the amount produced per unit area – typically means high input costs, which is one reason why small-scale farmers’ uptake of these technologies is limited. Also, won’t the emergence of larger and more commercially oriented and technologically capable African farmers result in agriculture absorbing less and less labour?

Africa’s smallholder farmers will generally struggle to access some technologies because of the associated costs. But if the goal is to ensure that the African continent can compete globally with the likes of the US, Brazil and Argentina, among others, then the focus should be on commercialisation of farmers and encourage the economies of scale on the continent. There have to be trade-offs. These include job losses in certain subsectors such as grains as farmers would be adopting more technologies.

But there are potential gains in other subsectors such as horticulture. If supported and developed to scale, these could create large numbers of jobs. Again, a case in point is South Africa, where there were job losses in field crops but horticulture created many jobs.

The key is to ensure job mobility so that people can progressively move to higher paying jobs in agro-processing and other subsectors.

In sum, this is not to mean we should move away from smallholder farming per se. We need a mixed farming system. Where conditions allow, commercialisation at large scale should be encouraged. This is precisely the case in Brazil, where there is a mixed farming system.

Give priority to agriculture, minister advises Nigerians

Source: The Guardian

Mr Sabo Nanono, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, says there is the need for Nigerians to accord agriculture its prime position a good replacement for the dwindling crude oil.

Nanono gave the advice on Owerri at a one-day workshop organised for maize growers and processors by the Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPMAN).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the programme, with theme: “Post-Harvest Management of Maize Stakeholders Conference- under the CBN Maize Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP)” , had many farmers, especially maize growers in attendance.

The minister, who was represented by Mr Chris Iwuchukwu, the State Director in the ministry, said that crude oil was failing the country and a reason why agriculture should be given more priority in the nation’s affairs.

He said the ministry was making efforts to see that farmers were encouraged and that maize would become “self sustaining and available for export”.

“Crude oil is failing the country, so we need to give agriculture its prime place in the country. Since 2011 till date the Federal Government has been doing its necessary best to boost agriculture.

“There is need to make agriculture have a face by making the rural community comfortable for the youth to farm.

“There is need for the South East and South South to begin to export maize. There is need for the farmers to manage the crop well in order not to suffer losses,” he said.

Dr Edwin Uche, the National President of the association, urged the people to embrace agriculture, especially the cultivation of maize to ensure food security.

“We need to embrace agriculture as a people. We need to strengthen its value chain in our communities, environment and society.

“We need to accept the fact that technology in agriculture has come to stay and that agriculture is the sector that can boost our economy and make life more meaningful to the people,” he said.

Uche said the workshop addressed issues that bordered on agriculture not only in Nigeria, but across nations.

“It opened our eyes to the realities in maize cultivation and broadened our hearts to it as a commodity we must all grow and support.

“The farmers must not look at the challenges and gabs, but on the opportunities that exist in the cultivation of maize,” Uche said.

Mr Ikongbe Iya, a Deputy Manager, Development Finance Office of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Owerri, who represented the Maize Champion Development Finance Department, CBN, said Nigerian population was increasing day by day with a lot of concern on natural resources and the environment.

He said there was need for sustainable agriculture, hence the workshop, to build maize growers capacity to reduce losses on agricultural products and not necessarily maize.

“There is need to develop low cost technology to grow the agricultural products. The machines for today’s demonstration was locally produced,” he said.

Iya said that the Anchor Borrowers Scheme was necessitated by the need to curtail importation of goods from outside the country, adding that it was also to supply agricultural raw materials to farmers and companies.

“The workshop is also to address some issues bothering farmers in the southern part of Nigeria,” he said.

Mr Olisa Mokelu, Branch Manager, Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation, Ebonyi State, said that agriculture engendered employment and development and urged people to embrace it.

He said that the company had been re-positioned to serve the people better and deliver the benefits of insurance.

Mokelu said the company was also working directly with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and CBN to serve the people better.

Mrs Blessing Amenze of the state Ministry of Agriculture, who represented the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, said people should embark on agriculture for growth and sustainability as “oil has failed.”

She pledged the continued support of the ministry to farmers in the state to succeed.

Dr Godwin Chukwu of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia in a paper on “Enhancing Post Harvest Management of Maize in Southern Nigeria” described agriculture as a major player in the socio-economic development of southern Nigeria.

He described maize as the most important cereal crop widely grown in southern Nigeria.

Chukwu said that although major part of the region had been categorised low in maize production potential, however, effective utilisation of available opportunities could scale up maize production in the region.

Some of the participants commended the association for putting up the programme, which they said, had added a lot to their knowledge of maize cultivation and preservation.

They promised to extend what they learnt to their colleagues.

A participant, Mr George Okeke, the Chief Agroforestry Officer, Imo State Agric Development Programme, Owerri, an extension of the state ministry of agriculture, described the programme as laudable.

He harped on the need to make farming easier for farmers by ensuring that fertilisers, other farming inputs and funds were made available to farmers on time.

Mrs Mary Okoro from Okwuabala in Orlu, Imo, said she had applied for her own Anchors Borrowers’ fund to start farming and was happy for the programme.

NAN reports that the highlight of the programme was the demonstration of a way of removing corn from the cob using locally produced machine.

NASENI Transforming Agriculture And Power Sector

Source: leadership.ng

Globally power and agriculture have remained twin sisters in the development and sustainability of economic growth in both developed and developing countries. No nation of the world can boast of economic viability without investing heavily on these two sectors, especially in this 21st century where modern technology has made investment in economic activities very easy.

In developing countries like Nigeria, the survival of about 60-70 per cent of the total population is hinged on agriculture and their productivity can be enriched with steady supply of electricity in these communities.

The economic potential of Nigeria’s agriculture sector is second largest after oil and gas with an estimated 60 per cent of Nigerians employed in the rural areas. Economic activity in the sector although consist mainly primary production with limited value added through processing and agribusiness, it contributes to employment, food production, foreign exchange earnings, industrial inputs and Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Therefore, there is need for the deployment of innovative technologies in all aspects of these two sectors in order to sustain their transformation and by extension the rural areas where the farmers live in line with the transformation agenda of the Federal Government.

Like in many developed countries of the world, the infusion of scientific knowledge and technologies to agricultural practice, process and business automatically endowed such economies with remarkable transformation from simple agrarian societies to high-tech mechanized farming including employment of best practices for product re-engineering and other techniques to achieve increased yields and other general improvement of economic activity in the sector. The new technologies beside increases in agricultural productivity require scientific and technological skills as a system for technology extension and other services for farmers, and commercial orientation in farm management.

But the question is, are there modern scientific and technological agricultural tools in the country to make agribusiness more attractive? Do farmers get enough incentives from the government to boost their efforts in ensuring that there is no shortage of farm produce in the country? Do they have enough water for the irrigation of their farms? Are there small dams to support their farming activities and at the same time electricity to power the dams? These are just few questions among many that need answers.

In many parts of Asia like Malaysia, China, Indonesia, Japan, etc. small farmers have shown remarkable capacities to use new technology once they are given incentives, adequate financial and infrastructural support. Also, small cash-crop farmers in Africa like Kenya, Uganda have demonstrated the potential of farmers within the continent to use technologies and in the last few years successes have been recorded in food crops also. But ecologically disadvantaged areas and land-poor rural masses in African countries like Nigeria have not benefited from advances in technology and will not until there are deliberate efforts to distribute such technology resource, machines and infrastructure among other incentives. In an increasingly globalized world, therefore the ability of African farmers to find pathways out of poverty and to contribute actively to the growth process depends on improving infrastructure and education, distributing key technologies and inputs, and promoting producer and marketing organizations that link small farmers to new market chains.

Nigeria is blessed with a wide variety of agricultural potentials, ranging from varieties of crops to varieties of animals, plants and natural agricultural-supportive factors like forests, waters,  soil and most of all human resources that are being under-used. Findings indicate that, in many African countries, only agriculture has sufficient scale to increase economic growth significantly over the foreseeable future.

Agricultural growth is also more effective at reducing poverty, even in countries that may have the potential for industrial growth driven by rich natural resources. Within the agricultural sector, there are a few countries that can generate broad-based growth without expanding the food-staple and livestock subsectors.

It is also a fact that Nigeria with vast arable land, favourable weather condition and population advantage has all it takes to feed its population. Economic analysts also believe that with the right policies in place, the revenue stream from agriculture can effectively surpass earnings from oil. However, the general consensus among the economic players is that such economic transformation can only occur when Nigerian farmers move from being mere agents of food production to being businessmen and women who enjoy the fruits of their labour.

What government is doing in agriculture and power sectors at present.

The present government came with a lot of promises to revitalize the agricultural sector of our economy which had once fed this nation and nations far and wide with her cocoa, groundnut, palm oil (not crude oil), rubber, hides and skins etc.  A vision for agriculture is expressed in the National Economic, Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) document, which was adopted in 2004. The strategic objective of NEEDS is to move the economy away from oil and to foster private sector development with community participation. NEEDS recognizes the importance of agriculture in the Nigerian economy, despite the projected dominant role of oil as the chief export. Poverty reduction in Nigeria is critically dependent on agriculture, given the share of the labour force producing rural goods, prospects for food security and the supply of industrial raw materials. Accordingly, the government is committed to increasing investment in food and agricultural production with 3 per cent of the national budget going to agriculture and a growth target of 6 per cent for the sector.

To restore agriculture to its former status as a leading sector in the economy, NEEDS envisages an increase in agricultural exports to $3 billion by 2007 and reduction in food imports from 14.5 per cent of total imports to 5 per cent by 2007. The Federal Government is at present doing a lot in the transformation of both power and agricultural sectors knowing very well that the economic sustainability of the nation depends largely on them.

Roepke: There are Significant Opportunities for Soybean Market in Nigeria

Source: This Day

As the Regional Director of Sub-Saharan Africa for the U.S. Soybean Export Council, Kevin Roepke is chiefly responsible for the strategy and implementation of market and trade development for the organisation within the region. In this interview with Oluchi Chibuzor he speaks about the work of the council as well as efforts to strengthen relationship with Nigeria. Excerpts:

What effect will the AfCTA agreement have on the U.S. Soybean Export Council’s operations within Sub-Saharan Africa?

First, for our industries to be successful and stable, free and reciprocal trade is needed. Second, Nigeria is already one of the largest wheat importers and a rapidly growing poultry importer. The U.S. Soy industry can leverage these commercial relationships to model a robust soy supply chain.

Conversely, Nigeria is plagued with low purchasing power, low life expectancy (55 years) and a critical lack of infrastructure.

USSEC’s strategy is to create long-term relationships in the region that will enable the U.S. and partners to seize opportunities and be successful. One of the ways we plan on doing so is by establishing a SoyExcellence Centre in Nigeria. This will be the technical and policy pillar to advance the region’s soy supply chain. Currently, there is a Soy Excellence Centre in Egypt. There are significant opportunities to drive growth in Nigeria. At the end of the day, our strategy at USSEC is to create long-term and lasting relationships so that we all can benefit. And as we move ahead into 2021 and beyond, our goal in the U.S. is to continue to make our partnership even stronger and remain a consistent supplier to your industry and your customers.

How does USSEC intend to strengthen its trade relationship with African countries amidst the Covid19 pandemic; also, considering the forecast of a second COVID-19 wave, would there be expectations of increase in demand of soybeans or a reduction?

As we continue to navigate these unprecedented times, it’s more important than ever that we demonstrate to current and potential international customers the strength of our farmers and benefits of buying U.S. Soy. Homeland Security deemed agriculture as ‘critical infrastructure’ amid the COVID-19pandemic, and our farmers take their jobs to globally provide food, feed, fuel and fibre, very seriously. Agriculture and farmers have weathered some of the world’s most difficult seasons and obstacles but survived and overcame. The last few years have been some of the most challenging on record, but farmers maintain their commitment to doing everything they can to provide soy for food, fibre, fuel and other products. The same applies for COVID-19, but we’re resilient and moving forward.

Soybean farmers intend to serve as an example to others. By continuing their work safely, sustainably and effectively, soybean farmers will be an example to others of how to stick to doing what they do best, even in the most trying times. Looking ahead, we are optimistic for what’s on the horizon. While our soybean farmers are doing their job of providing a sustainable and high-quality product, U.S. Soy is working tirelessly to provide stability by building demand and expanding global market access for U.S. soybean products. Amidst the pandemic, USSEC will continue to connect global customers near and far. Having virtual meetings like the African Trade Exchange is a part of our plans to connect and highlight how the U.S. is a consistent trade partner with cutting-edge sustainability initiatives, and defined quality advantages.

With virtual formats, we can continue to provide our African partners to quality content, interactive sessions and valuable experiences. While in-person meetings and face-to-face conversations will always serve an important purpose, our increased use of technology and virtual events have allowed us to build and grow relationships.

How can technology and innovation drive the soybean value chain in Nigeria and how is USSEC supporting the soy value chain in Nigeria?

At the U.S. Soybean Export Council, our global team is laser-focused both on existing relationships abroad and investing in new ones to evolve emerging markets, identifying factors like growing populations, improving economic conditions and addressing protein deficiency among populations. In addition, this farmer-led organisation works every day to ensure continued market access for U.S. soy in various markets around the world. Sub-Saharan Africa and Nigeria are part of USSEC’s long-term strategy to build a strong pipeline of demand for U.S. Soy. The population of this region exceeds one billion people, with predictions to double by 2050, making it one of the most substantial frontier markets in the entire world. At USSEC, we believe this region holds tremendous potential. It is a great example of where we see a future for U.S. Soy. For Example, because of its growing population and low consumption of soy, Nigeria has been identified as a market that represents a growth opportunity for U.S. soy. Encouraging soybean and soybean related product consumption. Our partnership can turn the country into one of U.S. soy’s top three growth markets by2030. Right now, Nigeria’s population is projected to reach 264 million people by the year 2030. In 2016, Nigerian consumption of soy and soy-related products was one kg/person per year compared to an average of 55 kg/person per year in similar markets. Nigerian agriculture is also primarily rain-fed and characterised by low productivity, low technology and high labour intensity. However, the poultry and aquaculture sectors in Nigeria are projected to grow on average by 50 percent per year between 2015 –2020, while soybean production growth will average less than three percent per annum. In short, this means the country’s soybean supply shortfall will continue to widen. Nigeria will increasingly continue to depend on imports to satisfy this growing demand. While accurate data is still difficult to get, Nigeria produces around 600,000 metric tons (MT) of soybeans each year, and another 400,000 MT or so come across the border from neighbouring Benin. Depending on credit availability and many other factors, USSEC estimates that Nigeria could become a 2to 4 million metric ton (MMT) market for U.S. Soy in the medium to long-term. At this time, the country crushes about 1 MMT/year. We also estimate an almost immediate need for 50 to 100,000 MT to fill the current demand gap. In MY 2018/19, U.S. soybean meal sales to Nigeria’s poultry sector were between 31,000 and 50,000 MT. One such shipment of whole soybeans, initiated in August 2018, was valued at$15.461 million. Raw material insecurity is also causing poultry producers and crush facilities to approach additional growth to address future demand with caution. These numbers show how the need for a high-quality protein product in Nigeria, like U.S. Soy, will be vital as this region’s population continues to grow. Our soybean farmers are prepared to meet this need and demonstrate to Nigeria how U.S. Soy delivers proven, consistent quality, reliability and value to earn its role as a trusted partner around the globe. There are significant opportunities for U.S. Soy and Nigeria to collaborate and drive growth. One example is Soy Excellence Centres. With Soy Excellence Centres, we will be able to leverage relationships, conduct training and connect buyers and sellers.

Soy Excellence Centres (SECs) will play an important part in U.S. Soy’s efforts to expand markets: One of the ways we are working to build demand for U.S. Soy is through SECs. The U.S. Soy industry is working to establish these centres throughout Sub-Saharan Africa starting with one in Egypt and a future site planned for Nigeria. The goal of SECs is to have them become a one-stop shop for industry training. These centres are designed to provide training, resources and education to all members of the soy value chain. They will target farmers, animal protein integrators, feed millers, animal nutritionists and local academic resources. This includes demonstration equipment used to show the production of soy. We will be able to expose participants to all the available options in the production of high-quality soymeal and soy.

These Centres will build help awareness of the benefits of soy in animal feed, aquaculture and human consumption through teaching and highlighting best practices: There will be an emphasis on providing opportunities for stakeholders to directly experience these practices in a real-world setting that is relevant to the local market and at a commercial scale. SECs will also build and facilitate business relationships and links between local and international businesses. These Centres will not only educate and train but they will also build and facilitate relationships while also supporting the soybean value chain in Nigeria.

How is USSEC giving back to societies in which it operates?

Our work to build preference for U.S. soy is more important than ever. Soy production is growing worldwide, and we continue to work across borders, industries and disciplines to find and develop markets for U.S. soy products. The U.S. Soy industry is proud to offer reliable supply, cost-effective commodities, complete nutrition and sustainably produced soy.

Sub-Saharan Africa is currently the sixth largest destination of U.S. feed and grain exports, with Nigeria Being the largest destination within the region. According to the USDA, soybean and soybean meal feed use in the region are projected to increase by 59 per cent and 35 per cent, respectively, until 2029. These numbers represent an opportunity for boosted demand in the U.S. Soy. The need for a high-quality protein product like U.S. soybean meal will grow even more vital as this region’s population continues to grow. Our farmers are prepared to meet this need and show how U.S. Soy delivers proven, consistent quality, reliability and value to earn its role as a trusted partner around the globe. Earlier this year, a new comprehensive study reinforced U.S. Soy’s reputation as a global leader in nutrient density and economic value. A meta-analysis of eighteen different studies with 1,944 samples quantified the relationship between country of origin of the bean and the chemical composition and nutritive value of the soybean meal. The analysis proves that U.S. soybean meal not only has an advantage relative to higher sucrose levels, superior amino acid profile, higher digestibility, increased metabolisable energy and lower fibre content (when compared to other origins) but it also has a price advantage. All of which can be beneficial to the Sub-Saharan Africa region.

What sort of policies and regulations would be essential for African governments to implement in order to drive rapid development of their agricultural value chains?

Lack of credit and under-utilisation of GSM credit guarantees have been long-standing constraints on sales of U.S. soy products to Africa. As part of its initiative to develop the multimillion-ton market for U.S.Soy in Africa, USSEC brought together key stakeholders this past September to address the credit issues head-on. On September 30, Nigerian banks, leading Nigerian supply chain executives, and Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) administrators came together with U.S. soy industry representatives from USSEC and the American Soybean Association’s (ASA) World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) during a virtual roundtable to discuss barriers to the use of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) credit guarantee programmes in Nigeria and other emerging African markets. USDA export credit guarantee programmes can help make commercial financing available for imports of U.S. Soy and other food and agricultural products on deferred payment terms.

Smallholder farmers are crucial to food security – NEPAD boss

Source: Nairametrics

According to a news report by NAN, the National Coordinator of NEPAD said the forum is concerned with accelerating food security in Nigeria and cushioning the effect of COVID-19 towards building long-term resilience for sustainable economic growth and development.

According to her, government needs to take more proactive steps to improve nutrition and food supply. She, therefore, called on the Federal Government to effectively address the issue of hunger and food insecurity by actively involving smallholder farmers across the country.

She explained that this would not only help in winning the war against hunger and the widespread food insecurity in the country, but would go a long way to boost food production and strengthen economic resilience, in a bid to stimulate and enhance sustainable economic growth and development.

GTBank 728 x 90

In this vein, Akobundu added that if the various intervention programmes were implemented, new jobs would be created, poverty reduced, while more youths would be engaged more positively.

What they are saying

The National Coordinator, New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Ms Gloria Akobundu, said:

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  • “This forum is to support the ruggedness of President Muhammadu Buhari and the state governors in mitigating the effects of COVID-19 and stamping out hunger in Nigeria through various intervention programmes. I believe that the high level of commitment shown by the governors of the participating states is due to the realisation that agriculture plays an important role in the economic development of any nation. However, a fundamental requirement for achieving food security is the availability of land, We also figure that a massive investment into the agriculture sector will promote industrialization.”

The Lead Consultant of the various intervention programmes, MrHenry Semenitari, said:

  • “We shall remain ready for your demands and needs. Everyone has a role in the value chain and no one will be at a loss. The programme will start at the bottom of the pyramid. NEPAD is ready. African Union Development Agency is ready. The governors and states are also ready. We are going to use modules and techniques, including local languages, to achieve maximum results.”

Lagos APPEALS set rules for farmers’ financial contracts

Source: Vanguard

Lagos State Agro-Processing Productivity, Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support, APPEALS, has revealed that it will ensure that farmers do not get into financial contracts that they will not be committed to.

The State Project Coordinator, APPEALS, Mrs Oluranti Sageo-Oviebo, disclosed this at the graduation of the first batch of 50 beneficiaries under the aquaculture, poultry and rice value chains training on accessing second level financing.

She said that the need for second-level financing for farmers, the agriculture funds via the Central Bank of Nigeria at single digits, was pertinent as the grant available under the APPEALS project now would not be able to finance large scale farmers.

APPEALS is a World Bank, Federal Government and Lagos State tripartite partnership for small scale farmers.

The training conducted in partnership with the Africa Leadership Forum, ALF, had the theme: “Entrepreneurship Accessing Single Digit CBN Agro-Credit and Export Readiness”.

According to Sageo-Oviebo, beneficiaries under the Commercial Agriculture Development Project ,CADP, who have done very well need to be trained on accessing more funds.

“We have five batches, 50 persons per batch, totaling 250 beneficiaries by the end of December. The criteria for selecting the trainees was farmers who benefited under the CADP and are doing very well, and also some women and youth who benefited and are doing very well.

“We will be facilitating and ensuring that farmers do not get into financial contracts that they will not be committed to. We will not leave them on their own; we are ready to support them all the way through.

“The truth is, we cannot support everybody with grant under this project, so for those we feel we cannot support based on the scale of their farms and all of that, we decided to bring them out and asked them to attend this training.

“Then we looked at farmers who had potential for export market because it is not everybody that can get into the international market; so, that was another criteria we looked at,” she said. According to her, after the training, the project will work closely with the Enterpreneurship Development Institute (EDI) and the Export Promotion Council on certification and export opportunities. She said:

“We will not stop there, for export we know that certification is key and that is part of what this project is looking at.

“We are looking at clusters and possible ways of satisfying them as a project, and we are not working in isolation; we are doing alliance, like farmers with processors and then the market.

“This is where we are partnering with EDI, Export Promotion, NAFDAC and other regulatory agencies.”

Dr. Olajide Bashorun, the Chairman of Rhyss Farms Limited and a former Permanent Secretary of the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture said that export was important to earn foreign exchange.

Bashorun said that the training was apt as Nigeria needed to expand market by exploring international market. “

The training is timely and the entire intervention of the project to improve productivity for expanded market and export is a very important opportunity.

“Most of us have not explored the export market, so this training is timely. One laudable thing is that the project brought people who are knowledgeable and are into export business themselves.

“What we produce in Nigeria are needed overseas; looking at Nigerians in the diaspora, most of them crave Nigerian foods like catfish.

“Now, how do we take it overseas, while meeting the safety conditions, the processes of preservation, handling and packaging.

“That is what the training is all about to improve farmers’ capacity to get technical know-how, and in the long run, earn foreign exchange to develop the economy,” he said.

Also commenting on the importance of seizing export opportunities and improving farmers Livelihood, Mr Kolawole Awe, Managing Director, SPT Logistics Nigeria Limited, said that farmers needed to collaborate to be able to penetrate the international market.

Awe said a lot needed to be done in the area of exporting homegrown foods and Nigerians in diaspora had a lot to do to complete the production and export chain.

Also speaking at the event, Executive Director, ALF, Dr Olumide Ajayi, said that donor projects such as the APPEALS needed to be sustained.

He said the sustainability of the APPEALS project after the external interventions is important, “Once the donors withdraw their assistance, the enterprises who benefitted just go down.

“So, what we are doing is collaborating with the APPEALS to offer this finance known as the second level finance to ensure sustainability after the World Bank withdraws.

“So, we will train them and give them all the requisite knowledge they need beyond what the project has done for them to enable them access funding and create more jobs,” he said.

“We have done a lot in the area of capacity building in governance and enterprise development.

“We have been working with the CBN since 2008, we were made the enterprise development firm for South-West in 2013.

“It has been a continuous process with them, and under this new dispensation where they have to set up a bank for the intervention funds, the ALF has been accredited as the EDI to train and assist small business owners to be able to understand how to manage a business before giving them the loan.”

Operators Urge FG to Incentivise Farmers to Boost Food Production

Source: This Day

Stakeholders in the nation’s agricultural value chain have advised the federal government to offer incentives such as mechanised equipment, acquisition and clearing of farmland for farmers to ease production.

The experts who spoke at the 8th Annual Brand Journalists’ Association of Nigeria (BJAN) Brands & Marketing Conference, held recently in Lagos, recently, also cautioned government against frequent policy somersault like the plan to reopen Nigeria’s borders, which they argued would be detrimental to local farmers.

President, Rice Millers Importers and Distributors Association of Nigeria, Dr Tunji Owoeye, who commended the effort being made by current administration to further deepen investment in the agricultural sector, said it would be suicidal for government to reopen the borders without adequate protection for local farmers.

According to him, the gains of the past few months could be eroded by smugglers who would flood the market with imported rice, chicken and other food items.

The Deputy Chairman of Lagos State All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Sakin Agbeyewa, who represented the association’s chairman, Femi Oke, stressed that Nigeria’s agricultural sector needs a lot of subsidy, not just in form of cash to farmers but through the provision of a conducive atmosphere.

He said: “The subsidy we are calling for is not in form of cash to our members. The subsidy we want is ready- to- plant lands. By clearing bush for our members, by helping us interface with all types of land owners who gather to disturb during planting and harvesting period.

“In the northern part, farmers are being prevented from going to farms to harvest their crops by terrorists that are forcing them to heavy dues for them to access their farms products, subsidy is also in form of provision of bulldozers for land, swamp-dozers for swampy areas, provision of food preservers for perishable products,”

Presenting a paper at the conference, President, Organisation for the Advancement of Cold Chain in West Africa, (OTACCWA), Tunde Okoya, dwelt extensively on developing a blueprint for a national cold chain in Nigeria, pointing out that it remained the only key strategy to consolidate the expansion and growth of agriculture in the country.

“According to FAO, post-harvest loss of many agric product in Nigeria could be as high as 50 per cent so invariably, a lot of production by our farmer goes into waste along the value chain and that cannot be a very productive way for any country.

So, the result of this is poor earnings for the farmers, poor nutrition for the children, and poor hygiene for the country. Nigeria is ranked 98 out of 107 countries in the global hunger index majorly because of this.

“The problem is that, even though we are producing a lot, a large percentage of the production is going into waste. With an effective cold chain policy, Agriculture in Nigeria will soar to greater heights”, Okoya stated.

Also speaking at the event, the Senior Special Adviser to the Minister of Agriculture on Communication, Mr. Richard Mark Mbaram, called on Journalists to hold government accountable to the citizenry, especially on issues related to government intervention in the Agricultural sector.

The minister’s aide made reference to the Anchor Borrower Programme introduced by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which he described as one of the issues which journalists should bring their interrogative minds to bear. Meanwhile, in a communiqué issued after the conference the organisers recommended that in joining Africa’s free trade agreement (AfCFTA), the Nigerian government should put in place policies that will fully protect local farmers.

Government was also urged to effectively check banditry, kidnapping and killings especially in food producing areas to ensure that food insecurity does become worse in the coming years.

The communiqué reads; “the government at the Centre as well as those in the states, especially the South-West, should promote economic integration by providing infrastructure to support rice and other farmers to ensure that production cost is reduced to a manageable level.

“A policy that will deepen insurance in the agricultural sector should be put in place as many insurance companies in Nigeria deliberately avoid providing insurance coverage for farmers.

“Governments at all levels should ensure that farmers are not excluded from budgetary planning as this negatively affected the quality of budget and planning for agriculture in the last few years.”