Nigeria could lead Africa to innovative future in agriculture by approving GMO cowpea

Nigeria has commenced a historic process of leading other African nations on smart and innovative agriculture with the recent application seeking commercial release of the genetically modified insect-resistant cowpea.

If approved, the pod borer-resistant (PBR) cowpea will become the nation’s first genetically modified food crop….At a recent public dialogue on PBR cowpea organized by the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) in Abuja, Prof. Muhammad Ishiyaku, principal investigator and lead scientist of the cowpea research team, told participants  that this new variety of seed has the potential to reduce pesticide use [and] increase production by 20 percent.

The pod-borer insect (maruca) [forces] farmers to spray pesticides about six to seven times within a planting season. Farmers often cannot afford to buy these expensive pesticides, which are harmful to human health and sustainable environmental practices. But they stand to lose over 80 percent of their crop unless the insect is controlled.

Some environmental activists totally disagree with this perspective….[T]he anti-GMO campaigners have [tried] to stop release of the crop into the environment and accused the NBMA of lacking neutrality.

It is true that every new technology is bound to face suspicion and concerns, but Nigeria must be brave and overcome fear, especially when there is substantial scientific proof of safety measures in place.

New Technologies key to reforming Africa’s agriculture sector


Can drones save sub-Saharan Africa from starvation?

That’s the question being asked by scientists, engineers, climatologists, and politicians as climate change radically alters weather patterns and temperatures on the African continent, posing new challenges to a sector that is being asked to feed a rapidly growing population while simultaneously adapting to more difficult conditions.

To meet the challenge, farmers are turning to precision agriculture and cutting-edge technology that is being pioneered in both developed and developing economies to maximize yields and minimize environmental impact. Much of this emerging technology focuses on the use of drones to help build sustainable farming.

Indeed, a recent report from the African Union on transforming African agriculture entitled Drones on the horizon: Transforming Africa’s Agriculture focused almost exclusively on the use of drones. The potential benefits of drones and other technology-based tools are considerable, but the regulatory frameworks are not yet in place to facilitate their widespread use for the benefit of hungry populations.

This is a long-running and urgent problem. Africa’s farming sector, which, according to the African Union report, “accounts for more than 30% of the continent’s gross domestic product and employs more than 60% of its working population,” is already struggling with the impact of deforestation, water scarcity and severe weather changes brought on by climate change.

Outdated tools such as hoes and cutlasses and ancient agricultural practices such as planting according to phases of the moon are further holding back productivity while 60 million children remain undernourished. Most African farms are also in areas with limited Internet connectivity, making full use of technology a major challenge.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization projects that the global population will reach 9.1 billion by 2050. Feeding that many people are going to require that global food production grows by 70%. In Africa, which these estimates project will be home to about two billion people in three decades’ time, agricultural productivity will need to accelerate at an even faster rate to avoid food shortages.

Clearly, systematic reform and technological progress is needed to unlock Africa’s agriculture potential and produce enough food to feed the continent’s population. More advanced farming techniques and technologies such as satellite positioning data, remote sensing, and proximal data gathering can help to significantly reduce environmental impacts and boost the agriculture sector. This is critically important because Africa will suffer some of the worst effects of future climate change if greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current pace.

Yet uptake of new technologies, especially drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), has been slow throughout the continent. According to the Drone Regulation Database, only 26% of African countries currently have regulations pertaining to drones. While drones are used sporadically to support small-scale farmers in Mozambique and Tanzania, as well as agribusinesses in Morocco, the majority of drones deployed in Africa are used for wildlife monitoring.

Observers suggest that increasing regulations pertaining to drones and UAVs is key to advancing Africa’s agriculture sector. In June, the European Union moved to harmonize drone regulations across all member states, and the African Union would be well advised to do the same. Harmonized regulations would help increase the use of drones where needed most.

And there is substantial evidence that drones can make a positive difference for African farmers. In Uganda, for example, a collective of some 7,000 smallholder farmers are using drones to map the location, size, and productivity of their farms. This allows farmers to quickly spot problem areas and target them with the right amount of fertilizer or pesticides. Drones also provide farmers with real-time information about their land, crops, and livestock that is not detectable on the ground.

Yet African nations have a long road ahead if they are to benefit from drones. Compounding current problems, many of the drone regulations currently in place in Africa are restrictive rather than enabling. They ban civilian use of drones and lack certification standards.

With climate change worsening worldwide and, in particular, on the African continent, the time to act is now. By 2030, 90 percent of the world’s major crops, including maize, rice, and wheat, will experience reduced or stagnant growth rates. Widespread use of drones, satellite services, apps, and open data could help farming communities in developing countries execute tasks with better precision and increase their productivity.

Improving access to new technologies and drones will be vitally important. Public-private partnerships should be strengthened and the expertise of international drone manufacturers should be leveraged. Governments can address prohibitive costs and technical barriers through licensing, registration, subsidies and cooperatives.

African governments also need to pursue collaborations with international institutions. For example, the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration has shown interest in working with African governments. The organization has expertise in managing drought and land degradation and could be a beneficial resource. Established institutions in Africa such as the Water Research Commission and the Agricultural Research Council should be strengthened and greater knowledge sharing should be encouraged.

Investing now in the right innovations and technologies, notably drones and UAVs, will strengthen the resilience of Africa’s farmers and help the continent stave off mass starvation.

Support African Agriculture as Business- Adesina to the US


I do not seek aid for Africa. I seek investments in Africa

These were the words of Akinwunmi Adesina. Adesina was the Distinguished Guest Speaker at the USDA’s 94th Agriculture Outlook Forum in Virginia. The theme of the event was “The Roots of Prosperity”.

Akinwumi Adesina has made a strong case for increased American and global investment in the African Agricultural sector.

According to Adesina, “For too long, Agriculture has been associated with what I call the three Ps- Pain, Penury, and Poverty. The fact though is that agriculture is a huge wealth-creating sector that is primed to unleash new economic opportunities that will lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.”

A statement from AFDB quoted Adesina as appealing to the U.S. private sector to fundamentally change the way it views African Agriculture.

“Think about it, the size of the food and agriculture market in Africa will rise to $1trillion by 2030. This is the time for U.S. agri-businesses to invest in Africa,” Adesina said.

“And for good reason: Think of a continent where McKinsey projects household consumption is expected to reach nearly $2.1trillion, and business-to-business expenditure will reach $3.5trillion by 2025. Think of a continent brimming with 840 million youth, the youngest population in the world, by 2050.

“As the nation that first inspired me and then welcomed me with open arms, permits me to say that I am here to seek a partnership with America; a genuine partnership to help transform agriculture in Africa. And by so doing, unlock the full potential of agriculture in Africa, unleash the creation of wealth that will lift millions out of poverty in Africa, while creating wealth and jobs back home right here in America,” the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate told the Forum.


FG to provide more funds to Agriculture- Buhari

President Buhari over the weekend said that the FG which has created measures to diversify the economy will sustain these measures by providing more funds to agriculture in the 2017 budget.

While speaking to reporters in Nairobi, Kenya over the weekend on the margins of the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI), He said African nations had a lot to learn from Japan on the development of the agricultural sector.

According to him, the FG intends to put in more resources in 2017 budget, with focus on the procurement of machinery for land clearing, fertilizers, pesticides and training of less-educated farmers, as farm extension instructors.

He went to say that some success has already been recorded this year in a number of states, as the government identified 13 states that will be self-sufficient in the production of rice, grains, and wheat before the end of 2018.

“We are positive that soon we will be able to export those food products. We are also lucky that the farming season in the northern part of the country has been very good and we are expecting a bumper harvest this year,” the president said.

The president said that African countries should take a cue from Japan in the area of rapid economic growth, hard work and advanced technology and that these factors should encourage Africans to work harder and solve its development challenges.

The President also requested for Japan to increase participation in the Nigerian economy.

Going into the palm Kernel oil business









Crude Palm Kernel Oil (CPKO) which is the by-product of Palm Kernel NUT (PKN) is grown in the tropics. it produces high-quality oil primarily for cooking in developing economies. Aside from being used as an ingredient for cooking it is also used in food products, detergents, cosmetics and to a little extent, biofuel. Unlike the developing countries, the use of palm oil as an ingredient for cooking in the US is small when compared, but other US products like lipstick, soaps, detergent and even ice cream contain the agricultural product.

Palm Kernel Oil is a very productive crop as it offers a higher yield at a lower cost of production than other vegetable oil. The palm oil plantations are spreading across Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

According to a report by index Mundi last year, the production of palm oil was as follows,

Rank Country Production (1000MT)
1 Indonesia                        3,980.00
2 Malaysia                        2,370.00
3 Nigeria                            330.00
4 Thailand                            300.00
5 Colombia                            123.00
6 Papua New Guinea                              60.00
7 Ecuador                              55.00
8 Honduras                              51.00
9 Cameroon                              50.00
10 Guatemala                              45.00

As at April 2017, the price of global price of palm oil (palm kernel oil) was $1,029.00 per Metric Ton.

In Nigeria, the palm kernel oil is indigenous to the riverine/ coastal areas. During the 1960s, Nigeria’s palm oil production accounted for 43% of the world’s production, the reverse is the case today as it only accounts for 7% of total production worldwide. Indonesia and Malaysia have overtaken the world’s production.


Local Demand

There is a high demand for the palm oil all year round and the demand is always on the rise. Based on the high demand, the buyers sometimes book in advance while some will pay in advance to secure the order.

Export Market

The demand in the international market is very big with Indonesia and Malaysia being the major export countries. One can still export Palm oil and make huge profits. To be able to export palm oil, you should have made the right network of clients who are interested in palm kernel oil. Also, you will need a lot of capital to export.

Machines Needed For Palm Oil Extraction

  1. Fryer/ Dryer: This will fry and roast the crushed nuts.
  2. Nut Crusher:  Crushes the Palm Kernel nuts and reduces it to smaller sizes so as to ease the oil extraction process.
  3. Oil Press: Presses the heated nuts and expels the oil content of the nuts through the oil exit chamber.

If you need more information about how to get into the Palm Kernel Oil business or you need to get your palm kernel oil produce to the market (whether locally or internationally), contact us at tinker and bell and we will be happy to render our services to you.