Monday, 27 August 2012

FG Partners NGO On Agric Extension Services

The Federal Government has expressed its readiness to partner with an international non-governmental organisation (NGO), the Sasakawa African Association (SAA) on extension services to further boost the country’s agricultural sector.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina disclosed this when the chairperson of SAA Board, Prof. Ruth Oniago led a delegation of the association to his office in Abuja recently.
The minister who noted that the partnership would help the country in the demonstration of its extension programmes said it would also go a long way to help create jobs for the unemployed youths in the country.
“Sasakawa Global 2000 is a strategic partnership in our quest to transform the country. It is well known for maize and has demonstrations in over 200 countries.
“Many women farmers were able to know about hybrid seeds, especially in Kenya, Mali and even Nigeria due to the efforts of Sasakawa”, he said.
The minister who commended the association for helping to avert food crisis in Ethiopia and Uganda assured that Nigeria would continue to work with it to improve farming methods in the country.
He revealed that the federal government has set aside the sum of N37 billion to create jobs for the youths through the Agriculture Transformation Agenda (ATA) adding that the present administration did not take agriculture as a development programme but as a business in order to develop the sector.
He said to achieve this, the government has been involving the organised private sector in all its reforms so as to grow the sector. “We have liberalised the process of seeds and fertilizers for the farmers to get imputs at the right time and at affordable prices”, he said.
According to him, SAA administers and manages Sasakawa Global 2000, a programme aimed at ensure food security in sub-saharan Africa and educating small-sale farmers on modern farming methods including the use of quality seeds and small amounts of fertilizer to increase yield.
Earlier, Oniag’o assured the minister that the association with the strategic ATA action plan of the federal government especially in the area of training experts on agriculture extension services.
“We are to produce expertise that would train extension workers for Nigeria “We will also like to create jobs for women in Nigeria, because women are the ones who are involved in post harvest in agriculture”, he said.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Andrew Youn | Echoing Green

Andrew Youn | Echoing Green

Putting Farmers First at One Acre Fund HQ

When One Acre Fund started in Bungoma in 2006, we had 38 farmers and just a few staff. Those staff worked directly in the field with farmers—they didn’t need an office. Eventually, though, we needed a place for “headquarters” functions like logistics and finance. Instead of building an office, we rented two small rooms in a building near town. By 2010, those two rooms were crammed with fifteen staff, and there was no room for holding meetings or trainings.
As our operations continued to grow, we needed IT, marketing, human resources, and internal audit staffers. In late 2010, we moved into our first One Acre Fund headquarters building in Bungoma. It was designed to accommodate about thirty-five staff. When we moved into the building, Mary Ngatia, the operations manager at HQ, hung up a framed chart.
“Every thing you do can help our farmers,” it proclaimed. “What will you do today?”

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Agriculture Department confirms new fru...

Agro News: Minnesota: Agriculture Department confirms new fru...: The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has confirmed a new fruit pest in the state. It's the spotted wing drosophila, or SWD. ...

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

& the 9ija youths

lets embrace AGRICULTURE...

Airwave agriculturist:

As a 10-year-old, Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu hated working on his parents' farm. He could not play with other children and he disliked getting dirty. But he loved listening to the radio, the only means of communication with the outside world.
In an ironic twist of fate, Ikegwuonu is now not only a smallholder farmer in Imo state in Nigeria, but also lead broadcaster at a radio station that disseminates information about best farming practices to other small farmers, who make up 70% of Nigeria's agricultural sector.
The powerfully built Ikegwuonu, 29, raises poultry, rabbits and grasscutters – a rodent that looks like a giant rat – and grows yam and cassava on his one-acre farm. But his main occupation is running the Smallholders Foundation and its radio station, Smallholders Farmers Rural Radio. The station broadcasts 10 hours a day, with input from listeners via sms, letters and phone calls. The operation sustains itself by selling airtime to local government, churches and village organisations.
Last year, Ikegwuonu won the Rolex award for enterprise, worth $50,000, and he was in London this week for the 35th anniversary of the awards.
Over tea at the Kensington hotel, Ikegwuonu – who is not wearing the Rolex watch he won because it is being kept in a safe in Nigeria – explained the rationale behind his venture, which may be likened to Farming Today, the BBC Radio 4 programme for farmers and insomniacs in the UK.
"When I left school and worked for an NGO that dealt with farmers and HIV, I ended up fascinated by farmers' problems and they also brought back childhood memories," he said. "My boss advised me to do something in agriculture and I started a non-profit at 21 that combined my passion for agriculture and my ambitions in journalism. I soon discovered that information doesn't get to rural people. They have no TV and their battery-powered radio is their library into the world, their only means of getting any information."
The station in Obitti village – an hour's flight from Lagos – in the local government area of Ohaji/Egbema in Imo state, reaches about 250,000 listeners every day. Last year's prize money went towards a bigger transmitter and a higher radio mast. Ikegwuonu is the lead broadcaster at the station, which has four other broadcasters and five full-time staff.
"The radio is built on interactivity, the listener has knowledge," he said. "We send out information and it comes back to refresh knowledge for everybody."
There are also drama segments, which sound like episodes from another BBC radio programme, The Archers, an episode of which Ikegwuonu listened to while in London. His station, however, uses drama to illustrate issues such as climate change and how it affects local women, many of whom now have to walk further to fetch water because nearby streams have dried up.
The programmes discuss such topics as the virtues of crop rotation (growing cassava one year, maize the next to combat disease) and how to retain rainwater, simple techniques that can boost productivity. One particular programme led to the development of a lengthier hoe.
"We had a programme on the health of farmers, and 70% of the responses were about body pain," said Ikegwuonu. "Listeners complained about the short hoe that caused waist pain and they asked if we could do something. They said they needed farming implements that reduced pain as they were spending money on pain relievers."
The answer was simple: a longer hoe so that farmers did not have to bend over. Next year, Ikegwuonu is introducing a long hoe, developed with a local carpenter, that costs less than $8 for farmers' groups.
"The most simple ideas can solve the greatest challenges," said Ikegwuonu, who also believes in locally applicable solutions. One such solution is seed sharing, whereby, for instance, one farmer might exchange his white maize seeds for another's yellow maize seeds, obviating the need for a more science-driven approach.
Now a champion for smallholder farmers, Ikegwuonu says the country has neglected agriculture for the past 20 years because of oil, which has brought riches for some but misery for those whose lands have been polluted.
"Over the years, the agricultural sector has been abandoned because of the advent of crude oil," he said. "Agriculture is slow money, while oil is fast money. There has been no major government investment in agriculture, especially in agricultural extension services, which is critical. Just as lawyers and doctors need to read legal and medical reviews to keep up their knowledge, farmers need information that comes from agricultural extension workers. There are no four-wheel drives for agricultural extension workers, no demonstrations for farmers. Without an effective agriculture extension service, there is no way knowhow will improve."
There is a lot of talk within the government about the need to do something, especially from the new president, Goodluck Jonathan, he added. But after 20 years of neglect, it will take more than a few years to recover – and a lot of will.
Ikegwuonu also raised the vexed issue of land rights. Nigerian farmers, like many farmers in Africa, have no title to their land. This has implications when farmers try to borrow money from the bank, as lenders often do not recognise certificates of occupancy as collateral for loans. The lack of land rights also puts farmers at a disadvantage when it comes to disputes.

Notore: Ensuring effective distribution of fertilizer

Notore: Ensuring effective distribution of fertilizer

New Farmer Films..

New Farmer Films Help Spread the Word About Weeds

the Gates foundation...

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

NAERLS is funded by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resource (FMA & WR), while it is administered by the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. The symbiotic relationship between NAERLS and these two mother Institutions is such that while FMA&WR bears the financial responsibility of NAERLS and all its activities geared towards achieving its national mandate, the University is responsible for the recruitment, promotion and discipline of its staff as well as providing the necessary technical and material support, especially with regard to accommodating the Institute and its members of staff.