New reports from AfDB, FAO, CGIAR showcase digital agriculture opportunities for Nigeria, Rwanda, Côte d’Ivoire, S’Africa

Source: Business am

Should Nigeria, continental economic giant, and countries like Rwanda, Côte d’Ivoire and South Africa deploy drones, satellites, geographic information systems, weather stations and advanced analytics, then they may just be on the way to providing solutions to Africa’s agricultural challenges, which has been bedevilled by droughts, inundations, flooding, no value-addition.

A new joint digital profile done by African Development Bank (AfDB, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), said, the above “are some of the most promising technologies for providing solutions to Africa’s agricultural challenges.”

“The future of agriculture is data-enabled. Conventional approaches to food production are no longer able to keep up with Africa’s fast growing food systems demands and the impact of climate change on agriculture. Technological innovations and digitalization offer an opportunity to transform African agriculture to produce higher yields, increase value addition and ensure more nutritious foods on a wider scale,” said Martin Fregene, director for agriculture and agro-industry at the AfDB.

Clearly, agriculture in Africa today, potentially offers massive investments in climate-smart crops to build more resilient food systems, climate-resilient infrastructure and energy transition combine to offer investment potentials of between $130 billion and $170 billion, according to a recent report by AfDB.

Meanwhile, the continent faces the vagaries of climate change at the cost of between $7 billion and $15 billion – and could rise to $50 billion by 2040 according to the IMF.

The profiles, covering Côte d’Ivoire, Rwanda and South Africa, map the challenges and opportunities to scale the adoption of innovative digital technologies in the agriculture sector. These include: national digital technology and the policy landscape, user demands along the value-chain, and available digital agriculture services and applications. The profiles also examine the main barriers to adoption as well as the digital technologies with the greatest potential to transform the sector.

Although Nigeria was not included in the digital profiling, the country could cash in on the lucrative opportunity from the report’s recommendations. Time it brought on its NIGCOMSAT-1, a Nigerian satellite ordered and built in China in 2004, which is Africa’s first communication satellite, and Nigeria’s second satellite. It was launched on 13 May 2007, aboard a Chinese Long March 3B carrier rocket, from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in China.

Fregene said, “the Digital Agriculture Profiles provide a snapshot of how a country is positioned in that transformational process.”

The series is based on the concept of the Climate-Smart Agriculture country profiles developed by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security. The methodology was designed in close collaboration with the World Bank Group.

The applications of digital technology in agriculture are diverse. For example, using satellite data, farmers can monitor crop health, soil quality and water and fertilizer usage. Sensors, automation and machine learning allow for the adaptation of more precise agricultural operations for specific locations and conditions. Digital payment systems, index insurance and mobile platforms help connect farmers to markets and financial services.

According to Mohamed Manssouri, FAO investment centre director: “Agriculture’s digital transformation is an exciting and fast-moving train, and we need to make sure that small-scale farmers, women and rural youth are able to benefit from these technologies. The profiles give international and national financing institutions, policy-makers and public and private investors a good and quick overview of a country’s current digital landscape, as well as the main constraints and opportunities for digital policies and solutions.”

The profile highlights showed that: in Rwanda, up to 85 per cent of rural consumers will have access to basic mobile phone services in the next five years.

For Côte d’Ivoire: access to digital technologies rose sharply in the last decade; nearly everyone in the working-age population now has mobile phone access, and nearly half of Ivorians use the internet.

South Africa, by far the continent’s country with vastly developed systems: precision agriculture is strongly adopted by large-scale commercial farmers; blockchain, barcoding and fleet tracking solutions offer unique benefits for the traceability of agricultural products.

The profiles also offer analysis on the future of digitalization. Project coordination was led by the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture’s technical community, the Data-Driven Agronomy Community of Practice, with contributions from researchers at the Alliance of Biodiversity International and CIAT (International Centre for Tropical Agriculture).

“It is critical that all development partners join forces with governments, the private sector and non-state actors to accelerate agricultural digitalization and ultimately defeat hunger globally,” said Andy Jarvis, Associate Director General of the Alliance of Biodiversity International and CIAT and co-founder of the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture.

The digital agriculture profiles are part of the AfDB’s digital agriculture flagship. Profiles have also been produced for countries such as Argentina, Grenada, Turkey,

Agriculture: Kogi State secures $100 million AfDB loan

Source: Nairametrics

The Kogi state government announced that it has secured a $100 million loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB) for the purpose of funding Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) in Kogi.

This was disclosed in a statement by Commissioner for Finance, Mr Asiru Idris, in Lokoja on Tuesday.

The Commissioner added that the project will be a boost to improving production and employment in the state for 2 million people and also open the state up for private investments, citing that 280 hectares of land would be acquired in 5 local government for the scheme

“The project will create employment for two million people in the state and by extension, curb poverty, reduce youth restiveness and open doors for private investors,”  he said.

He also added that the scheme would be beneficial for both farmers and processors which will also be an advantage for distributors in the state as transport costs will also be reduced.

Lagos agricultural sector to generate $10 billion in the next 5 years

Source: Nairametrics

The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has projected that the agricultural sector in the state could generate as much as $10 billion within the next 5 years.

This is as the governor noted that Lagos could no longer afford to rely exclusively on other states for its food, adding that it was time to unlock its immeasurable agricultural potential through the implementation of the 5-year roadmap.

This disclosure was made by the Governor at the formal launch of the state’s 5-year Agricultural and Food Systems Roadmap, on Thursday, adding that most of the investments would be private sector-driven while the government acts as the catalyst and enabler.

Governor Sanwo-Olu opined that the Roadmap would also lead to wealth generation, value creation, food security, the industrialisation of the agricultural sector and the entrenchment of inclusive socio-economic development of the state.

He said that the roadmap essentially focuses on 3 pillars, which are: growth of the upstream sector, growth of the midstream and downstream sectors as well as improvement of private sector participation.

What the Lagos State Governor is saying

Sanwo-Olu, in his words, said, “Our strategies for sustainable Agricultural Development shall focus on three pillars. First, we will grow the upstream sector through interventions by leveraging technologies that are capable of lowering the cost of production of value chains; Focus on growing the midstream and downstream sectors that are of value and lastly, we will improve on private sector participation by developing and initiating policies that will encourage more private investments in agriculture.”

The projection is that the total investment in the Agricultural Sector from the government, private sector, donor agencies and development partners will run into over $10 billion in the next five years. While we expect most of the investment to be private sector-driven, the government will continue to provide the needed infrastructure while the private sector will be encouraged to lead the key projects.’

The governor pointed out that the state had already started the revamping of its Agricultural Land Holding Authority (ALHA) to support investment in agriculture, giving assurance that the coconut belt would also be strengthened with increased private sector involvement.

Sanwo-Olu listed some State’s landmark investments that will aid smooth delivery of the Roadmap to include the Lagos State Aquatic Centre of Excellence (LACE) that would boost fish production from 20% to 80%, the Imota Rice Mill, the Lagos Food Production Centre Avia, Igborosu-Badagry as well as other statewide agriculture-focused initiatives.

He said, “I am greatly encouraged by the interest already generated in the Five-Year Agricultural Roadmap and I hope it will be sustained and backed with concrete action on the part of our development partners and the international community. I assure you that the Lagos State Government is putting in place deliberate incentives to make your investment safe, secure and profitable.’

Sanwo-Olu, therefore, urged potential and established stakeholders in the agricultural sector to partner with the state in order to transform the agricultural sector for food security, wealth generation, poverty eradication, economic diversification, rapid industrialisation and accelerated socio-economic growth.

Bottom line

This is a very laudable initiative from the Lagos State Government especially at a time the country is looking at diversifying its economy. The successful implementation of this programme with the expected benefits from the value chain will contribute significantly to the economic development of the state and the country in general.

The investment in the transformation of agriculture to agribusiness is one way of achieving the dream of attaining self-sufficiency in food production and creating more wealth.

FG set to galvanize food production with 60, 000 tractors

Source: Vanguard

With high prices of food and subsistence farming largely practiced across the country with the least use of machines for food production, the Federal Government, yesterday, expressed readiness to galvanize food production with 60, 000 tractors and other agricultural interventions.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Nanono, while receiving participants of the Senior Executive Course (SEC) NO 43(2021) of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Plateau State, at the headquarters of the Ministry.

According to Nanono, the proposed 60,000 tractors will drive agric mechanization that would revolutionize the sector across various value chains and will attract more investments and personnel in food production, supply, distribution, and access that would lead to availability and affordability.

He also maintained that the government has put in place measures that would accelerate food production and that the current hike in the price of food items across the country is currently being addressed, especially from the security perspective. He maintained that the mechanisation programme of the Federal Government would metamorphose into a paradigm shift from subsistence practice to commercial agro-industrial farming.

He added that the shift will bring about massive food production, procurement of agricultural processing plants, fertilizer production, enhanced value chains, and among others.

Speaking further the Minister asserted that the move on mechanization would enhance local technologies evolution with over 600 Private Sector Driven Services centers, equipped, tractors, farming implements, storage, and IT Facilities.

He said: “This would address the challenge of feeding the nation’s growing population and achieving food sustainability, create jobs for teeming Nigerian youths, and boost the economy.

“The ministry’s plans to increase agricultural extension workers to 75,000 on various value chains for efficient will make the nation attain food production and self-sufficiency status.”

Meanwhile, the leader of the delegation who is Director of Studies, (NIPSS), Prof Olufumilayo Para-Mallam, Director of Studies (NIPSS), expressed delight to be at the ministry for the interactive discourse on agricultural policies of the ministry.

“The theme for the SEC 43, 2021 as approved by Mr. President, is ‘Getting Things Done: Strategies for Policy and Programme Implementation, the ministry is critical to sustainable development and diversification of the economy.

In an address of welcome, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Ernest Umakhihe stressed that policy and programme implementation remain the nucleus of delivering public good because the government rides on them to meet the expectation, yearnings, and aspirations of the people, as they are vital and critical aspects of good governance, especially for a country that has survived the devastation of COVID -19 pandemic, which is needed now.

While giving a review of agricultural policies in Nigeria, the Director, Planning and Policy Coordination in the Ministry, Zubairu Abduallahi, pointed the need for presidential interventions for integrating agricultural financing and inputs into an agricultural value chain development of the Ministry.

However, according to Abdullahi establishing of Food and Agriculture Trust Fund/Agricultural Development Trust Fund to support value-chain development, research will achieve self-sufficiency competitiveness in the sector including recapitalisation of the Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Cooperation and Bank of Agriculture.

FG inaugurates national committee to bridge gender gap in agriculture

Source: pulse.ng

Umakhihe, while inaugurating the committee, said that the initiative would promote and ensure the adoption of gender sensitive responsive approaches, plans and programmes in such a way that men and women would have equal access and control of productive resources.

He said that the availability of the policy document was expected to address the vulnerability of women to biases in the agriculture sector, integrate gender perspectives in national planning; create more jobs for women and financial empowerment.

The ministry is committed to mainstreaming of gender issues in the agriculture sector to achieve food Security, eradicate poverty and hunger in Nigeria,” he said.

Umakhihe said that the National Gender Policy in Agriculture was consistent with the Global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by World Leaders at the UN Summit in New York, U.S. in September, 2015 which underscored the vital role agriculture played in sustainable development.

“Also, it is importance in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of eradicating poverty (SGG-1), ending hunger, achieving food Security,(SDG-2), ensuring healthy lives (SDG-3) and enhancing the empowerment of All Women and Girls (SDG-5); to bridge the gender gap and enhance food Security.

“The agriculture sector has been repositioned as a business through the value chain development and as an alternative to crude oil, therefore efforts should be geared toward the implementation of policies and programmes for the realisation of this government’s initiatives and programmes,” he said.

He called on the committee members to accomplish the onerous responsibility assigned to them to ensure full implementation of the 11 elective objectives of this policy document for positive outcome.

The Director, Special Duties in the Ministry, Mrs Fausat Lawal, said that the policy document was a developmental strategy for poverty reduction and it was expected to empower small scale holder farmers who were predominantly women.

“Women small scale holder farmers constitute about 70 to 80 per cent of the agriculture labour force and they produced the bulk of food for domestic consumption,” she said.

The Country Director, ActionAid, Mrs Ene Obi, lauded the ministry for deeming it fit to inaugurate the National Gender Steering Committee and ensuring that relevant stakeholders were members of the committee.

Obi said that the implementation of a gender policy had been an issue with government policies and therefore commended the ministry’s efforts in identifying the gender gaps in agriculture through the document.

She solicited for the inclusion of executives of the smallholder farmers into the committee and pledged continuous support of ActionAid toward implementation of the policy.

The Chairman of the Committee, Mr Azubuike Nwokoye, thanked the management of the ministry for giving them the opportunity to serve and promised that the committee would deliver on its mandate.

Lagos State seeks investors in aquatic and livestock agriculture value chain

Source: Nairametrics

The Lagos State Government announced it is seeking private sector collaboration for Agriculture sector value chain development in livestock feed mills, fisheries and red meat.

This was disclosed by the State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, in a statement on Sunday in Lagos.

The Commissioner revealed that the scheme was in line with the State’s five-year strategic agriculture roadmap, as the State identified the 3 main sectors for value chain disruption.

She also added that investment in the sectors would also develop jobs for the industry and boost the State’s GDP growth, through Private Sector collaboration as Lagos residents consume over N5 trillion worth of food annually.

“The objective is to stimulate and encourage more public-private partnerships in the three value chains,” she said.

“When you consider this pool of transactions happening in Lagos, it shows that we are the market. For instance, we demand over 400,000 metric tons of fish on an annual basis.

“But our fishermen and our aquaculture farmers are only able to produce just about 174,000 metric tons with deficit of 200,000 metric tons,” she added.

READ: CBN invests over N120 billion on 320,000 farmers across CTG within four years

She also disclosed that the state has 9,000 artisanal fishermen, and bringing more youths into the space will increase the level of fish and seafood being harnessed from our water bodies. Looking at the transactional value on an annual basis, the fisheries sector is worth well over N120billion according to her.

In case you missed it: Nigeria exported agricultural products worth N321.5 billion in 2020, representing a 19.16% increase when compared to N269.8 billion recorded in 2019 and a 6.27% increase compared to N302.28 billion recorded in 2018.

ECOWAS: Nigeria Leads West Africa In Organic Agriculture Promotion

Source: Leadership

The Head of Agriculture Division, ECOWAS Commission, Abuja, Mr Ernest Aubee, has said that Nigeria was leading in the promotion of Organic Agriculture in the West Africa region.

Aubee said this in his closing remarks at the cocktail event on `Reporting Back Achievements of Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) Initiative’ activities in Nigeria for the years 2014-2020 and Award presentation, in Abuja.

He said  Nigeria’s efforts in organic agriculture were commendable and timely, as it was coming at a time when people paid  attention to what they eat.

“What Nigeria is doing will benefit not only Nigeria, as a country, but also the other 14 ECOWAS member states, and we hope member states will take a cue from your strides so far,” he said.

Aubee, also Chairman, Regional Steering Committee of EOA in West Africa, said EOA had been given a pride of place in the ECOWAS Commission, such that it was driving the organic agriculture initiative for the benefit of the region.

“We must look at how best to mainstream organic agriculture into every sector of the economy, to encourage and promote its sustainability in the region,” he said.

Aubee urged other ECOWAS member states to start work immediately on how best to ensure the mainstreaming of organic agriculture in their lives.

The event had in attendance representatives from the Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Trade, Industry and Investments.

Also present were the Agriculture Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), National Universities Commission (NUC), National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), NAFDAC and partners of the EOA Initiative in Nigeria.

Earlier, Dr Olugbenga AdeOluwa, the Nigeria Country Coordinator of EOA , reported that the Initiative had the support of the African Heads of States’ 2020 decision EX.CL/Dec.621 (XVII) on Organic Farming, and that  Nigeria had been part of EOA processes since 2011.

Mr Oyewole Gbadamosi, the Project Manager, while reporting back on EOA’s achievements, said the goal was to mainstream EOA into national agricultural production systems by 2025, with a view to improving the quality of life of African citizens.

“A database of organic agriculture research on crop and livestock was produced and distributed in strategic institutional libraries in Nigeria; in bridging organic research gaps in the country.

“It also supported the production of the current revised version of Organic Agriculture Standards in Nigeria.

“The initiative has successfully supported one PhD degree programme, while the support of another one is ongoing.

“We also supported eight Masters studies and publication of seven research articles in an international journal.

“The curriculum for a full programme on Organic Agriculture Technology (OAT) in the Colleges of Agriculture has been produced.

”The material is ready to be subjected to pre-critic and national validation workshops, before absorption by the colleges, after approval by the National Board for Technical Education,” he said.

The Project Manager also noted that intensive sensitisation on the benefits of organic agriculture was being promoted by the Initiative.

“We have done a lot of intensive sensitisation on the benefits of organic agriculture with the production of a lot of information and educational materials on organic agriculture in English and different indigenous languages of the country.

”We have over 27 print publications addressing different aspects of organic agriculture.

Bauchi Releases N300m for Fertilizer Revolving Scheme

Source: This Day

As part of efforts towards enhancing agricultural production, the Bauchi State government has released the sum of N300 million to the State Agricultural Supply Company (BASAC) as a revolving scheme for fertiliser blending and distribution to farmers in the state.

The state Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development, Samaila Adamu Burga disclosed this while declaring open a 5- day training workshop for staff of the BASAC organised in collaboration with Namus Agro – Consult Nigeria Limited, held in Bauchi.

Burga, who emphasised the present administration’s determination towards developing the agricultural sector boost its economy said the scheme was aimed at eliminating all hindrances to availability of the commodity to peasant farmers across the state.

The commissioner said the Company (BASAC) was established in 1981 by government in order to provide succor to the plight of farmers every year.

According to him, “The company is to ensure that the farmers got quality farm inputs in order to boost production. Over the years, the company has done well as can be seen in the produce of our farmers yearly.”

He added that, “in order to ensure that the farmers got fertilizer without hitches, the government has released the sum of N300 million to BASAC as a revolving scheme to procure the commodity from the blending company, sell it to the farmers and go for another round of supply, with that, there will be no break in supply of the commodity.”

He, then urged participants to pay attention to the training in order to be able to serve the people better. According to him, effective service delivery will attract patronage from the farmers.

Earlier, the General Manager, BASAC, Engr. Ibrahim Yushau Isah Duguri, said the company was involved in ensuring farmers in the state got quality service in order to boost produce production.

He also said for effective service delivery, the company has three zonal offices and sales outlets across the state where its services can be accessed by the farmers especially the peasants who do not have the financial backing to make purchases.

The BASAC GM commended the state government for supporting the company in its determination to improve on the agricultural production in the state saying that people of the state are collaborating with the company to boost their businesses.

Nigeria generating huge revenue from coconut oil export

Source: CGTN Africa

The export of coconut oil and its derivatives have continued to generate huge revenue for Nigeria, as the country recorded at least $150 million in 2020 alone, an official said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: A man sells coconut in Lagos, Nigeria. (Photo by Adekunle Ajayi/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Sabo Nanono said in a statement seen by Xinhua that coconut has so far proved to be a major non-oil export foreign exchange earner for Nigeria.

Coconut, Nanono said, currently accounts for 10 percent of Nigeria’s agricultural exports, and by the end of this year, it is expected to generate more than 250 million dollars.

It is also the means of livelihood for more than 500,000 households, as well as women and youths, in the country, he said.

The West African country has now increased the volume of production of coconut to an average of 250,000 metric tons per annum, the minister explained.

“In 2016, Nigeria produced 283,774 metric tons and the demands for the crop have been on the increase, growing upwards to more than 500 percent in the last decade,” he added.

Coconut is grown in 22 out of Nigeria’s 36 states, with Lagos being the largest producer, according to official data.

Pantami: Digitising Agriculture Will Create Business Opportunities

Source: This Day

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami has stressed the need for Nigeria to digitalise its agricultural sector in order to foster innovation and create new business opportunities.

Pantami who made the call at a recent webinar on smart agriculture, organised by the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), said some countries like USA, Netherlands, Germany, Israel and Brazil, were already feeding the world because they have digitalised their agricultural sector.

Citing Netherlands, which has a land area of 41,865 square kilometers and rated as the world’s second-largest exporter of food and agricultural produce, Pantami who was represented at the virtual conference by his Special Assistant, Dr. Femi Adeluyi, said seven states in Nigeria, like Niger, Borno, Taraba, Kaduna, Bauchi, Yobe and Zamfara, have land masses either greater than or comparable to that of the Netherlands.

He added that if Nigeria should embrace smart agriculture and digitalise her agricultural sector, the country could become exporter of agricultural products, outside of oil.

According to Pantami, “To adequately utilise digital technology as a platform for stimulating growth in all sectors of the economy through the development of a digital economy for the country, the Nigerian government through the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, developed the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) anchored on eight pillars.”

He said the target was to adopt farmers in all 36 States and 774 LGAs in the country, support and equip them with skills and resources that will make Nigeria one of the leading nations in food sufficiency, security and exportation.

He, however, said it was important for the private sector, academia, development partners and state governments to partner with federal government in the areas of capacity building, smart solutions and services, research and development, finance, among others, in order to develop smart agriculture.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Alhaji Sabo Nanono, who was the special guest, but represented by Mr. Bejide Stephen, from the Federal Minster of Agriculture, said smart agriculture would require heavy initial investments, recurring maintenance cost, strong internet connectivity, as well as high cost of technology devices such as precision sensors, drones, gateways, bots, among others.

President of NCS, Prof. Adesina Sodiya, called on the federal government to provide necessary supports to small and medium scale farmers for efficient transformation to smart farming in Nigeria.

“Smart agriculture has been considered as an innovative technological-based solution for promoting large scale and economical agricultural production.

“It adopts precision agriculture techniques and technologies that aim at improving the efficiency of agriculture to maximise food production, minimise environmental impact and reduce cost,” Sodiya said.
The Director- General, Nigeria Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT), Dr. Abimbola Alale, assured Nigerians, that with the satellite, all the smart agriculture technologies could be implemented even in the rural areas. “NIGCOMSAT and its channel partners can provide broadband connectivity through VSATs and TV White Spaces (TVWS) for individual farmers or farmers cooperatives in rural areas,” Alale said.

Participants at the conference, recommended that relevant stakeholders within the smart agriculture industry should adopt IoT based technologies like Sigfox, Agrikoin, among others and collaborate with the indigenous Nigerian Companies championing them. They further called on organisations like Microsoft and others with products in the IoT, Smart Agriculture and Data Analytics domain, for flexible price regime that are region specific to support countries like Nigeria with several smaller holder farmers.

They advised government to set up a model smart farms in all the six geopolitical regions of the country, and called on the National

Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), to consider it as part of its innovation programme for this year and work with universities and agricultural research institutes to achieve it.