Unlocking Africa’s Green Gold: A Vision for Agricultural Evolution

On the inaugural day of the B20 forum, Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chair of B20 India Action Council on African Economic Integration and the head honcho of Bharti Enterprises, highlighted Africa’s untapped agricultural potential. Labeling Africa as a “continent of hope,” Mittal emphasized the game-changing potential of exploiting 60% of Africa’s untouched farmland.

Under Mittal’s leadership, the council underscored the pressing need to revolutionize Africa’s agricultural landscape. The objectives? To bolster productivity sustainably, guarantee food security, and elevate nutritional standards. More than just farming, the vision also encapsulates boosting human capital across the spectrum, from health and education to skill-building.

A pivotal theme echoed the necessity for structural transformation. The formula? Infusing private investments, integrating cutting-edge technology, and championing the cause of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Moreover, Mittal and the council are batting for a smoother trade framework. Their ambition is to seamlessly weave Africa into regional and global value chains, unlocking further economic potential.

But the roadmap doesn’t stop at trade and agriculture. Bridging the continent’s physical and digital divide is paramount. Investing in infrastructure, especially in digital realms, stands out as a cardinal objective. Such advancements promise to catalyze other development priorities.

As B20 India zeroes in on the global business challenges, they’ve inaugurated seven specialized task forces under India’s G20 Presidency. These teams will delve into areas like Global Value Chains, Digital Transformation, Global Economic Recovery Financing, Climate Change, and Financial Inclusion, among others.

Nigeria’s Food Crisis: Cutting-Edge Research Proposes Key Agricultural Solutions

As Nigeria grapples with a soaring food inflation, now at 26.98%, an enlightening study in the Ecological Economics journal provides a way out. Titled “Climate Change, Income Sources, Crop Mix, and Input Use Decisions: Evidence from Nigeria,” the research by Amare and Balana from IFPRI unveils policy recommendations rooted in concrete findings about climatic impacts on agriculture.

Background: Nigeria’s economic troubles, aggravated by climate change, security issues, and forex challenges, have been further inflamed by President Bola Tinubu’s decision to abolish petroleum subsidies. In response, the President promised 500,000 hectares for farming, but the promise remains unfulfilled. Recent appointments, including Abubakar Kyari as Agriculture Minister, show the administration’s pivot towards addressing the crisis.

Findings: The study highlights the devastating impact of climate events, like flooding and drought, on Nigeria’s already vulnerable agricultural productivity. With yields of key crops like rice and maize way below global averages, and a significant chunk of the populace living under the poverty line, the nation’s agricultural sector is underperforming.


  1. Water Management: Invest in climate-resilient practices like water-storage and small-scale irrigation aligned with Nigeria’s National Agricultural Resilience Framework.
  2. Diversified Agriculture: Promote the adaptation of different crops and facilitate farmers’ access to climate-resistant varieties and advanced agricultural inputs.
  3. Livestock & Small Enterprises: Given their resilience during climate shocks, emphasis should be on enhancing livestock sectors and micro/small enterprises.
  4. Targeted Assistance for the Disadvantaged: Recognizing the differential impact of climate change on varying income groups, low-cost financial aid for innovative agricultural tech and improved asset access for the poorest is crucial.

Nigeria’s food security saga calls for urgent, well-researched interventions, and this study is a beacon of hope for a nation eager to reverse its dire food inflation trends.

Seeds of Opportunity: Dublin Hosts Nigeria-Ireland Agriculture & Investment Conference

Dublin is poised to become the epicenter of a game-changing three-day partnership investment conference from 27th to 29th October 2023. The initiative, spearheaded by an ensemble of professionals and policymakers from Nigeria and Ireland, seeks to fortify bilateral trade ties between the two nations.

Mrs. Edizemi Onilenla (popularly known as Mamashee), the CEO of Mansions Foods and Executive Convener INGA, unveiled the conference’s intent, outlining its expansive focus on domains like aviation, agriculture, tech, education, health, and infrastructure. According to her, the event aims to reignite historical connections, foster business dialogues, and spark new collaborations.

The conference is especially crucial in addressing challenges like the absence of direct flights between Nigeria and Ireland. Edizemi emphasized the event’s role in exploring how diasporas can facilitate resilient trade connections between the nations.

She pointed out, “Nigeria, Africa’s economic giant, is becoming increasingly appealing to Irish investors. While Nigerians have traditionally sought partnerships in the UK, France, Asia, and North America, it’s high time we harness the vast opportunities awaiting in Ireland.”

Highlighting past collaborations, Edizemi reminisced about Irish investments in Nigeria, notably the iconic Guinness brand’s legacy. The conference aims to rekindle such relations and capitalize on the burgeoning Nigerian diaspora in Ireland.

Edizemi, a notable Nigerian entrepreneur flourishing in Ireland, is hopeful about the conference’s potential impact. She envisions the event facilitating cultural exchanges, unveiling the rich tapestries of both nations, and paving the path for unparalleled economic cooperation.

Drawing from her experiences in both countries, she confidently remarked, “This conference will not only open new avenues but will also fortify the bonds that have stood the test of time.”


Agritech Revolution: Boosting Agriculture and Empowering Farmers in Nigeria

In Nigeria, an unobserved yet remarkable revolution is taking place that is reshaping the agricultural sector. This revolution hinges on the innovative use of technology, enabling farmers to overcome traditional farming limitations and achieve greater success.

Nigeria’s economy leans heavily on agriculture, which employs millions and contributes significantly to the GDP. With a population of over 200 million people, the country’s traditional farming methods are hard-pressed to meet escalating food demands. Here, agritech comes into play.

Mobile applications offer farmers crucial data including weather forecasts, crop management advice, market prices, and financial services. These user-friendly tools empower farmers to make informed decisions, optimally use resources, and enhance productivity.

Technologies like the Internet of Things and sensors transform farming by providing real-time insights into moisture levels, nutrient content, and pest infestations, leading to precision agriculture. This practice reduces waste and boosts yield by using resources efficiently.

Drones with cameras and remote sensing technologies enable quick surveys of large farmlands. They capture high-resolution images that assist in detecting crop diseases, assessing plant health, and determining irrigation needs.

Greenhouse farming has also made a significant impact, enabling year-round cultivation by offering plants a consistent and optimal climate. These structures protect crops from harsh weather, seasonal fluctuations, and extreme temperatures.

Innovations in cooling systems can curtail post-harvest losses, prolong product shelf life, aid market diversification, and improve food safety. They can potentially bring about an agricultural revolution, especially in underdeveloped nations.

With agritech, farmers have easy access to useful information through mobile apps, SMS services, and online platforms, helping them to make informed decisions. Digital payment systems and mobile banking services increase financial inclusion by offering farmers access to loans, insurance, and savings products.

Furthermore, agritech platforms have facilitated farmers’ connection to markets by eliminating intermediaries and providing real-time market prices, thus enhancing farmers’ livelihoods. In sum, the agritech revolution in Nigeria is empowering farmers, bolstering agriculture, and reshaping the nation’s economy.

Cocoa Prices Rebound Amid Supply Concerns and Global Demand Surge

Cocoa prices witnessed a recovery from one-week lows as a weakened dollar sparked short covering in cocoa futures. The market’s outlook for tighter future cocoa supplies led to fund buying, supporting the recent rally in prices to a 12-year high. However, the surge in funds’ long positions could also bring potential long liquidation pressures.

Tightness in supplies contributed to the bullish trend, with Ivory Coast’s forward cocoa sales falling significantly compared to the previous year. The spread of black pod disease in West Africa due to heavy rain raised concerns about lower cocoa crop quality and production, potentially pushing the global cocoa market into a third year of deficit.

Reduced cocoa supplies from Ivory Coast, the world’s largest cocoa producer, added to price support, as did dwindling cocoa inventories held in U.S. ports. Moreover, fears of an El Nino weather event impacting global cocoa production further contributed to cocoa prices’ upward trajectory.

Smaller cocoa supplies from Nigeria and signs of robust global chocolate cocoa demand also played a role in bolstering prices. Swiss chocolate maker Lindt & Spruengli AG reported strong chocolate demand, signaling an uptick in consumption following the reopening of the global economy.

However, the recent surge in cocoa prices started to affect demand, with cocoa processing falling in North America, Asia, and Europe. Even the world’s biggest chocolate maker, Barry Callebaut, reported a decline in sales volume due to higher prices impacting consumer demand.

Despite the optimistic outlook for cocoa demand, the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) foresees a global cocoa deficit for 2022/23, driven in part by weather variations in West Africa. The combination of supply concerns and increased demand poses both challenges and opportunities for the cocoa market in the coming months.

Safeguarding Africa’s Crops: IITA Unleashes Aflasafe against Toxic Aflatoxins

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), in line with an African Union initiative, has rolled out Aflasafe, a bioprotectant that shields crops from dangerous aflatoxins. This natural product has been made accessible to Nigerian farmers, aiming to safeguard their yields from these harmful compounds, which are known carcinogens linked to liver cancer.

The Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) indicates that Aflasafe holds an efficacy of 80-100% in combating pre-harvest crop aflatoxin contamination. “Aflatoxins are implicated in 5% to 30% of global liver cancer cases, with the incidence in Africa reaching 40%,” PACA reported.

IITA elaborated that Aflasafe, a non-chemical agricultural product, isn’t a food for direct human consumption, but a beneficial bioprotectant. It was created through rigorous testing by IITA and numerous partners to combat aflatoxins. The product has passed the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control’s safety requirements, proving its non-toxicity and ecological safety.

According to Dr. Abdullahi Ndarubu of Harvestfield Industries Limited, the manufacturer and distributor of Aflasafe, the product is endorsed by federal agricultural and export promotion programs. “These initiatives are propelling Aflasafe’s usage for safer maize and groundnut production for both domestic and international markets,” Ndarubu stated.

Aflasafe, composed of non-toxic strains of the fungus Aspergillus flavus native to Nigeria, has been safely used by Nigerian farmers for almost a decade. Aflasafe is distinguished by its blue color, achieved via a food-grade dye, to differentiate it from regular food. It is not used as food but as a bioprotectant to control aflatoxins in crops.

Dr. Titilayo Falade of IITA acknowledged the extensive support for Aflasafe, stating, “Various organizations, crop production groups, and stakeholders promote Aflasafe because of its benefits.”

Presently, Aflasafe is utilized in multiple African nations, with several more developing their specific strains.

Exploring the Dynamics and Potential of Nigeria’s Agro Trade Export Industry

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and its largest economy, has a vibrant and significant agro trade export industry, which plays a key role in the nation’s GDP and offers numerous opportunities for economic growth and development.

Nigeria’s primary agricultural exports included cocoa, sesame, cashew nuts, yams, kola nuts, rubber, and palm kernels, among others. The nation is also well-known for its vast production of cassava, maize, rice, sorghum, and millet, although much of these commodities are consumed domestically. The livestock and poultry sectors have also begun to gain momentum, with processed products making their way to international markets.

The cocoa industry is one of the country’s most valuable agricultural exports. Nigeria is the world’s fourth-largest exporter of cocoa, which is primarily grown in the southwestern part of the country. Despite the challenges faced by cocoa farmers, the Nigerian government has initiated several programs and policies to boost cocoa production and improve its quality to compete favorably in the international market.

Sesame seed and cashew nuts are also major agricultural export commodities. Nigeria ranks amongst the top sesame seed producing countries globally and has a competitive advantage due to its favorable climate and suitable soil types. Cashew nuts, grown in several states, are primarily exported raw, offering potential for further growth through value-added processing within the country.

However, the agro trade export industry in Nigeria faces several challenges, including infrastructural deficits, lack of modern farming equipment, inconsistent governmental policies, insufficient funding, and the impact of climate change. Post-harvest losses due to poor storage and processing facilities also pose a significant challenge.

Despite these challenges, there’s a push towards diversification of the Nigerian economy, moving away from a heavy reliance on oil. The agriculture sector, therefore, is expected to play an increasingly crucial role in this process. Investment in agriculture is being encouraged, both at the level of small-scale rural farmers and larger commercial operations. The government, through its Agricultural Transformation Agenda, is providing incentives and support to farmers and agro-based businesses.

As Nigeria pushes to increase its agro-export potentials, the future looks promising, given the substantial arable land available, the burgeoning youthful population, and vast market opportunities both within Africa, through the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and beyond. However, achieving these potentials will require concerted efforts in addressing the aforementioned challenges and putting in place a sustainable framework for growth.

Nigeria Ushers in Agritourism Era with Inauguration of Revolutionary Village Project

In a remarkable development, Nigeria has inaugurated its first Agro-tourism Village in Oyo State, marking a significant step forward in the country’s Agritourism sector. The initiative is a collaboration between the World Agro Tourism Organization, the Catholic Archdiocese of Ibadan, and the Offer Center Institute of Agriculture, aiming to empower 2 million Nigerian youths through agritourism villages across Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones.

The President of the World Agro Tourism Organization, Trust Henry-Ogboi, elucidates that the project will combine agriculture and tourism, creating an all-inclusive reform in these sectors. Once operational, the village will serve as an agro-business and agro-technology hub for young Nigerians. It will not only be a planting center but also an industrial zone, focusing on maximizing returns on farmers’ investments.

Rev. Fr. Bernard Azeez, Director of Lanlate Youth Initiative, emphasized the significance of the event, noting that the Catholic Archdiocese of Ibadan’s 500-hectare land donation aims to involve young minds in agriculture and support Nigeria’s economic diversification efforts.

Addressing the agricultural challenges, Azeez underlined the need to shift the nation’s focus from oil to agriculture and convince the youth about the profitability of agribusiness. Mrs. Florence Akulo, from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, further added that this initiative aligns with the broader goal of restructuring and securing a sustainable agritourism sector for overall food security.

Local community leaders expressed excitement for the project and requested swift actions to benefit the local population. The event also involved cashew seedlings planting, symbolizing the project’s commencement, and awarding various military and paramilitary agencies for their contributions. The new agritourism village promises to revolutionize Nigeria’s agritourism sector and provide immense opportunities for the local youth.

Developing Agribusiness: Innovation and Global Best Practices

In an effort to bridge knowledge gaps and facilitate agribusiness growth, the French government and JR Farms, a Nigerian firm, have partnered to conduct an intensive eight-week training program for African and Nigerian farmers. This groundbreaking initiative, set to kick off in February 2024, underscores France’s commitment to bolstering African agribusiness through innovation, world-class farming techniques, and stakeholder engagement.

Training will be delivered at three esteemed institutes in France, culminating in the issuance of certificates to the participants. According to Dr. Sonia Darracq, the Senior Agriculture Counsellor of the French Embassy Nigeria/West Africa, this partnership exemplifies France’s dedication to modernizing agricultural education in Nigeria, supported by funds from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the French Development Agency (AFD).

The program aims not only to provide technical knowledge, but also to foster networking opportunities and strengthen diplomatic ties between France and Nigeria. “We believe this pioneering initiative will spur significant growth in Nigeria’s and Africa’s agribusiness sectors,” stated Darracq.

Echoing this sentiment, Olawale Rotimi Opeyemi, CEO of JR Farms Global Operations, highlighted the importance of this initiative. He identified the vast potential of African agribusiness and expressed confidence that this training would help combat the knowledge deficiency hindering its development.

IsDB’s Boost to Nigeria’s Agri-Industry: A Tale of Innovation and Collaboration

H.E. Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, President of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), pledged unwavering support for Nigeria’s future growth and development ambitions during a high-profile event, “Nigeria’s Innovative Agro-Industrial Transformation.” The event was a key part of the UN Food Systems Summit+2 held in Rome on 24 July 2023.

The discussion revolved around inventive financing for Nigeria’s food systems transformation and featured esteemed panelists including Nigeria’s Vice President, the Executive Governor of Benue State, and the Presidents of IFAD and AfDB, among others.

Al Jasser praised Nigeria’s innovative efforts for food systems transformation and lauded the African Development Bank for pioneering the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) program. This, he noted, supports not only Nigeria but also other regional IsDB member nations in harmony with IsDB’s updated strategic priority and Nigeria’s National Development Plan (2021-2025).

Emphasizing the Bank’s concerns over conflict-impacted food security, Al Jasser revealed IsDB’s July 2022-launched Food Security Response Program (FSRP) worth $10.50 billion. He affirmed that Nigeria will be among the initial beneficiaries, with an estimated $30 million soon to be approved under the program, and further support in the pipeline.

He championed SAPZ as a program with great potential to stimulate food production, curb food price inflation, transform agriculture, guarantee food security, and generate employment.

With agriculture being a primary growth engine and employment generator in IsDB member countries, the Bank’s engagement in Nigeria spans across multiple sectors. Ongoing consultations are currently taking place with Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning for future collaborative strategies.