Uruguay Reiterates Interest in Agricultural Exports to China

Montevideo, March 21 (Prensa Latina) Uruguay continues this Thursday in its interest in exporting to China refrigerated products such as beef cuts, honey, soy and sorghum at a time of strengthening bilateral relations.
This was one of the main issues discussed in Montevideo between the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rodolfo Nin Nova and the Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, Qu Dongyu.

Both stressed the importance of the agricultural economy for the development of their mutual countries, as Uruguay and China are complementary partners in this area, informed an official note from the Foreign Ministry.

They also exchanged views on multilateral issues relating in particular to the importance of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) for their respective countries.

In this order they exchanged views on the leadership of FAO, which will elect its new Director-General during its 41st conference in Rome from June 22 to 29, a post for which China nominated precisely Qu as a candidate.

Uruguay’s interim minister, Alberto Castelar, also greeted the visitor with the prospect of making further progress in the coupling of strategic guidelines, especially in South-South cooperation.


STEP Woos Nigeria’s Youths To Agriculture

Start Them Early Program” (STEP), is an intervention designed to take agribusiness studies to primary and secondary school students, engaging them in club participation, course work, and experimental learning. The STEP is designed to operate in Nigeria, DR Congo and Kenya, for over two years and in nine secondary schools and is partnering with a local organization of young people called NEWDAY Afrika to expand an already existing initiative and has been introduced in three secondary schools in Bukavu, DRC. At the 2018 Africa Food Prize, AFP, ceremony in Kigali, Rwanda, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA, Director General, Dr. Nteranya Sanginga, reiterated his commitment to invest in the future of Africa’s younger generation and emphasized the importance of raising the ambition of primary and secondary school students to guarantee a food- and nutrition-secure continent. With the $100,000 AFP prize money, Sanginga promised to carry out an intervention program, using a unique approach that would redirect primary and secondary schools and their students to agribusiness skills. Dr Sanginga followed up on his promise by initiating the “Start Them Early Program” (STEP), an intervention designed to take agribusiness studies to primary and secondary school students, engaging them in club participation, course work, and experimental learning. STEP aims to provide primary and secondary schools with agricultural inputs, and train and empower students to change their mindset towards agriculture as a business and as an opportunity for job creation. Currently, over 800 students have been reached in DR Congo. Thirty-three, pupil-initiated agribusinesses are thriving; some are involved in rabbit farming, guinea pig production, poultry, and vegetable production. School managers are also involved in agricultural production especially in poultry and rabbit rearing to improve school incomes and pupils’ practical knowledge. All DRC students involved in the project succeeded in their national examination with two girls among them scoring the best results, 88 per cent and 84 per cent. Most of them are committed to continue in agriculture at university level. Exactly six weeks after DG Sanginga dedicated the Africa Food Prize award to agribusiness development in secondary schools, he initiated the process in Nigeria when he visited the students of IITA International School to share his strong passion for agriculture and his experiences on how he developed his career in the agriculture sector. The students have also undergone a series of agribusiness training by the STEP team set up to commence activities on the program. The curiosity of the students to learn more about agribusiness continues to grow day by day. The team is also working closely with the IITA Women’s Group to engage more students in Ibadan, Oyo State, in the program. Since the program commenced in Nigeria, the STEP team has reached out to more than 100 students from three schools to educate them about the benefits of modern agriculture and different viable opportunities along its value chain. 

Read More at: https://leadership.ng/2019/03/14/step-woos-nigerias-youths-to-agriculture/

Nigeria overtakes Egypt as Rice largest producer in Africa

Harold Roy-Macauley said rice cultivation in Egypt requires 1.8 billion metres of water in evaporation among other factors. Roy-Macauley noted that Nigeria has become the largest rice producer at four million tonnes a year

The director general of Africa Rice Centre, Harold Roy-Macauley, on Monday, February 4, said that Nigeria has overtaken Egypt as largest producer of rice in Africa. The Nation reports that Roy-Macauley said Nigeria has become the largest rice producer at four million tonnes a year. He noted that while Egypt was initially producing 4.3 tonnes per year, an almost 40% production reduction in 2019 attributed to the Egyptian government decision to limit cultivated to preserve water resources. According to him, rice cultivation in Egypt requires 1.8 billion metres of water in evaporation, transpiration and irrigation each year while Africa produces an average of 14.6 million tonnes of rough rice annually.

Roy-Macauley said there have been efforts to increase overall rice production in Africa although there are doubts that it will curb rice importation as population has increased across the continent.

He also said that the centre is ready to partner with Nigeria and other governments in Africa through training of farmers, extension officers and exporters on best practice’s in cultivation and post- harvest care and to understand market requirements to meet the production expectation. Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the Kebbi state governor, Atiku Bagudu, had said that Nigeria is on the path of taking on the world in terms of rice production.

The governor said this on Wednesday, December 19, at a Gala night organised by beneficiaries of the government’s Anchor Borrowers Programme held at the State House Conference Center, Abuja. Bagudu who is the vice chairman of the national food security council, noted that President Muhammadu Buhari has shown unprecedented commitments to agriculture development in Nigeria.

Source: https://www.legit.ng/1222101-how-nigeria-overtook-egypt-largest-rice-producer-africa-official.html

Africa: AU Commission Conducts Malabo Declaration On Agriculture Training of Trainers for Biennial Review Process

The African Union (AU) Commission’s Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA) and the AUDA-NEPAD last week organized a workshop for the Training of Trainers on the AU Malabo Declaration Biennial Review process.

The Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods was adopted by African Union Heads of State and Government in June 2014 at the 23rd Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly. It commits leaders to a set of actions that will accelerate agricultural growth and transformation across Africa. The Declaration was a recommitment to the principles and values of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) as well as additional commitments and targets for results and impact.

To ensure mutual accountability and to institutionalize a system for peer review that encourages good performance on achievement of progress made in implementing the provisions of the Declaration, the AUC was tasked to conduct a review on a biennial basis, the progress achieved by its member states in securing their CAADP and Malabo Declaration commitments.

The workshop was attended by officials from RECs, partnering institutions (including IFPRI/ReSAKSS, FAO) and Trainers from respective countries.

Opening the workshop, Mr. Ernest Ruzindaza, CAADP Team Leader, AUC, said the outputs of the training would be critical in the upcoming BR process in 2019 by improving the capacities of the trainers and the existing reporting tools and mechanisms.

During the five days training, the participants undertook a thorough review of the performance indicators captured under the various Performance Themes captured in the Technical Guidelines for reporting. This was vital in bringing the participants on the same wavelength in terms of understanding of the indicators measurement to adequately support the countries. It should be recalled that the Technical Guidelines is the output of an extensive review undertaken by the seven technical working groups tasked with revising the BR indicators in light of the lessons learned from the previous edition and the emerging issues. The participating experts therefore went through the updated metrics, while providing critical inputs to ensure technical soundness, relevance and usability by the countries.

Source: https://allafrica.com/stories/201902270614.html

Rwanda: Farmers Seek Govt Support

The income that coffee farmers earn from the produce is set to reduce after the farmgate price for a kilogramme of coffee cherries dropped from Rwf267 in 2018 to Rwf190 this season.

The new price was announced las week by the National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB).

Theopiste Nyiramahoro, the President of Rwanda Coffee Cooperatives’ Federation (RCCF), told The New Times that the farmers have no other option, but to accept what the market offers them, hence appealing for measures to contain market volatilities.

Some farmers started harvesting their produce this month while others will harvest from March through June 2019.

“The price is not good, but because there is no other alternative, we accept that as we don’t have anywhere to sell it,” she said, adding that the new price will reduce farmers’ profits.

Celestin Gatarayiha, the Coffee Division Manager at NAEB, said that the price on international market had dropped from $3.3 per kilogramme in 2018 to $2.2 per kilogramme in 2019.

“The farmgate price may change if there is change on the international market,” he said.

He added: “Again when we fix the farmgate price we also consider the cost of production at the different levels of the coffee value chain. For example, for a farmer to produce one kilogramme of cherries they need to invest Rwf177. If they get Rwf190, they make a small profit.”

Nyiramahoro says that NAEB should diversify the country’s coffee market.

“If our coffee was consumed domestically, even if there was a financial crisis [at the international market], we would be cushioned against the shocks by the domestic market consumption,” she said.

Max Veglio, the Managing Director of Rwacof Exports Limited, a Rwandan based coffee processing and exporting company, told The New Times that international coffee prices had been falling over the last three years.

“It’s very difficult to sell Rwandan coffee in large volumes using the old minimum price because other countries become extremely competitive,” he said, citing Colombia and Ethiopia.

He said that reducing the price on the local market was a tactic to make Rwandan coffee competitive on the international market.

Veglio said coffee supply on the international market outstrips demand.

Rwanda exported 23,000 tonnes of coffee in the financial year 2017/2018, generating $67 million. It produced 24,500 tonnes in 2018/2019 which are expected to generate $75 million, according figures from NAEB.

José Dauster Sette, the Executive Director of the International Coffee Organisation (ICO), said that: “We are seeing record exports from producing countries, stocks in the world are increasing, and with all this factors put together, that means there is a lot of coffee on the market and it is difficult to predict that prices will rise significantly.”

Sette, who was talking to journalists at a recent news conference in Kigali, said that the annual coffee produced in the world is estimated at 162 million bags of 60 kilogrammes each, and Africa represents between 11 and 12per cent of that global supply.

Source: https://allafrica.com/stories/201902260538.html

French President Calls on Europe to Use Block-chain to Innovate the Agriculture Industry

French President Emmanuel Macron has advocated the use of blockchain to innovate supply chainmanagement in the European agriculture industry. The president made his remarks during the 56th International Agriculture Fair in Paris on Saturday, Togolese agriculture news site Agridigitale reported on Feb. 23.

Macron called for unity among European nations to counter competition from global markets in ChinaRussia and the United States, underscoring the importance of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in this regard.

He identified three broad strategies to advance the continent’s agricultural industry and maintain a competitive edge, affirming that “no farmer or consumer wants to be subjected to the diktat of non-European countries.” Among these strategies was a call for innovation using vanguard technologies such as blockchain, with Macron saying:

“Let’s do this in Europe, the avant-garde of agricultural technology, by developing tools that will track every product from raw material production to packaging and processing. The innovation  is there and it must be used in the agricultural world, it must be fully used because it is at the service of shared excellence and it will serve the consumer.”

Blockchain can bring transparency to agricultural production and distribution to assuage mounting consumer concerns about products’ provenance and sustainability, he added.

Alongside a discussion of ecological policies under the CAP, Macron also focused on opportunities for shared development in Africa, calling for France to “export its know-how” and foster the strength of emerging markets.

As reported, Macron — a former telecoms executive — has supported digital innovation as a tool to reform French administration and boost the national economy since his early days in office. In 2017, the president pledged to transform France into a startup nation — a sentiment followed through by the country’s Minister for Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, who has said that France is ready for a blockchain revolution.

As blockchain gains increasing traction globally for rehauling agriculture — across management, financing and supply chain integrity — a report issued in fall 2018 forecast that blockchain in the agriculture market would be worth over $400 million by 2023.


U.S.-China Trade War Rattles Agribusinesses, Especially Bunge

President Donald Trump’s trade war with China has roiled agricultural markets and given the world’s top grain merchants the one thing they have long claimed was essential to turn a trading profit: volatility.

And yet, Archer Daniels Midland Co, Bunge Ltd , Cargill Inc, and Louis Dreyfus Co, the so-called ABCDs of grain, have not performed as well as expected – and, in some cases, failed to deliver the profit windfall promised by company executives, investors and analysts said.

If anyone should have been a winner in the Trump administration’s sweeping trade war, it should have been the ABCDs, said industry analysts. Investors had expected these international grain traders to benefit from market volatility and shifts in global grain flows resulting from a trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

But as China imposed steep tariffs on a raft of U.S. goods including grain and soybeans in July, the traders have struggled to capitalize on moving goods from areas of surplus to areas in need. The reasons are varied and company-specific, from bad political bets to supply-chain gaffes.

If not for the silver lining of solid soy processing results due to strong global crush margins in 2018, their earnings would have been far worse.

“Benefiting from trading opportunities and arbitrage and dislocations around trade … that, overall, turned out to be a more difficult landscape to navigate, which ultimately hurt these companies,” said Chris Johnson, director and agribusiness lead for Standard & Poor’s.

Bunge, which reports its fourth-quarter results on Thursday, has arguably fared the worst of all as at least two trade-war-related bets backfired, leading to the removal in December of the companwww.agriculture.comy’s chief executive, Soren Schroder.

Bunge had already been conducting a strategic review after pressure from activist investors, and was the target of takeover attempts from ADM and global commodities trader Glencore Plc after an earlier string of weak profits.


CBN agric programme: Cotton farmers target 300,000 tonnes production

The National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NACOTAN) says it is targeting the production of between 240,000 and 300,000 tonnes of cotton in 2019.

Mr Anibe Achimugu, the President of NACOTAN, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday.

Achimugu said the set target would be achieved under the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).

According to him, the association produced an estimated seed cotton of between 60,000 and 80,000 tonnes in 2018.

“This year, I believe that we will be able to achieve a minimum of 240,000 tonnes and a maximum of 300,000 tonnes.

“I am saying this with confidence because of the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the fact that we have started early in engaging the CBN to participate fully in the ABP programme.

“It means that before planting which is usually about June of this year, we would have gotten all the required inputs.

“And under the programme, it is so specific, in the sense that, the recommended quantities of input such as fertiliser of seven bags as recommended per hectare and agro-chemicals for instance.

“We are going to ensure that our members have those recommended quantities and dosages and apply them accordingly.

“The figures are on the basis of our target to have at least 100,000 farmers involved in the programme for this year on the basis of two hectares per farmer which basically will be 200,000 hectares.

“And we are looking at a minimum of 1.2 tonnes per hectare yield which is 240 and the best in case scenario will be 1.5 tonnes which will be 300 tonnes per hectare.

“I believe we can achieve that with good seeds, with the right quantities of input as recommended and the training that we also intend to do before planting starts,’’ he said.

Achimugu listed some of the challenges facing the association to include poor seeds, poor timing or delivery of input, inadequate extension services, poor training and guidance.

He noted that the CBN programme would assist the association to source the right seeds and deliver them to cotton farmers at the right time.

Source: http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com

Soybeans May Lose Less Land to Corn Than Expected

The U.S. is awash in soybeans, the result of the trade war with China — which has crimped exports — and a string of bumper crops that are clogging storage bins. Although farmers were expected to respond by planting more corn this year while cutting back sharply on soybeans, there is skepticism that a large rush to corn will actually occur.

Soybeans may be nearly as profitable as corn in the Midwest this year, said economist Gary Schnitkey of the University of Illinois after comparing likely expenses and revenue from the two crops. “Projected returns call into question assumptions of large switches of acres from soybeans to corn,” wrote Schnitkey at the farmdoc Daily blog.

Traders expect soybean plantings of 86.1 million acres this spring, down by 3.5% from 2018, according to surveys released by Reuters and Bloomberg on Wednesday. Based on conditions last fall, the USDA has projected a plunge of 7.5% in soybean plantings, while corn plantings would grow by a bit more than 3%, to 92 million acres. The USDA’s annual Outlook Forum, which opens today, is traditionally a time when its analysts update their figures.

A year ago, soybeans were expected to become a perennial challenger to corn as the most widely planted crop nationwide, due to strong global demand for the oilseed, especially in China. Soy plantings nearly equaled corn plantings in 2017 and nosed ahead last year — 89.2 million acres of soybeans vs. 89.1 million acres of corn. With the soybean stockpile forecast to swell to a record 910 million bushels by the time this year’s crop is ready for harvest, the common belief has been that corn would be more profitable this year, while the prospects for soybeans hinge on trade negotiations.

Source: http://www.agriculture.com

NRCRI suggests diversification of cassava produce

National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), has proposed product diversification as a remedy to retain Nigeria’s position as one of the world’s leading producers of cassava.

Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Institute, Prof. Ukpabi Joseph Ukpabi made the suggestion during an interview with AgroNigeria at the National Stakeholders Workshop on the prevention of cassava brown streak disease in Nigeria, organised by West African Virus Epidemiology (WAVE) recently in Abuja.

Prof. Ukpabi stressed the need to diversify the uses of cassava in the country to serve other purposes other than food consumption.

According to him,“Product Diversification is the key. We need to diversify the use of cassava as 30% of our cassava is being consumed as human food but if you go to some countries like Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia, majority of their cassava are exported to Europe. We need to know how to diversify the market because of international policies.”

The CEO noted that the lifting of the ban on exporting cassava would be beneficial to the country, while maintaining that the momentum can only be built if the produce is being utilised both for food, livestock, and industrial purposes.

He also admonished that farmers should ensure the quality of their products because international trade requires certain precautions and standards.

On the varieties of cassava, Prof. Ukpabi added that the leaves would also be utilised and exported to China to generate more income for the farmers and subsequently improve the economy of the nation.

He further stated that any country that possesses the wealth of cassava can never face famine, while also highlighting the need to prevent viruses and diseases from crippling the cassava value chain.

“If there is excess rainfall, drought or starvation, famine comes in. Because cassava is a hardened crop, it can withstand some harsh condition so based on that, we take cassava very serious. By our local tradition, we consider yam as the king of all crops but when it comes to cassava, we overlook the kingship and look at the one that is sustainable in terms of food security in Nigeria which brings me to WAVE.”

“Due to the problem of viruses wiping out our cassava crops, anything that will affect the crop will affect Nigeria and because we have that mandate to research into cassava, we are willing to collaborate with international agencies like IITA, universities, state governments, farmers, food processors and extension organisations to make sure that we have food security and generation of income for farmers, processors and even the marketers.”He explained.

While commending the organisers of the event, Prof. Ukpabi noted that WAVE is not limited to Nigeria or West Africa alone, but also stretches across Africa.

Source: http://www.agronigeria.com.ng