Tuesday, 31 December 2013


AFREECANIMAGE: PICTURES FROM CORPORATE FARMERS TV REALITY SHOW PR...:             TO KNOW MORE ON AGRICULTURE VISIT:  http://corporatefarmers.blogspot.com/ This a new evolution in the Agricultural Ind...

Dbanj joins the legue of Corporate Farmers in todays Agrotainment industry

Dbanj has jumped into Agriculture. Yes it looks like Dbanj might be going into the farming business. Kokofarms coming soon? Who knows? We’ll have to wait and see.
Word is he’s also partnering up with International Artist and Activist BONO as well. We also looking at him collaborating with the next Big Agrotainment Tv Reality Show for 2014.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Akinwumi Adesina, Minister Of Agriculture And Rural Development Emerge Forbes Africa's Person Of The Year 2013

Nigerian Minister of Agriculture Mr. Akinwumi Adesina has emerged Forbes Africa Person Of The Year 2013 beating 5 others  including business mogul and Africa’s richest man, Dangote to clinch the award.

Akinwumi was nominated for his vision in making Nigeria a self-sustaining, food-producing nation, which hopes to register over 20 million farmers by 2015.
The shortlisted names were; Jim Ovia, Chairman of the Zenith Bank Group;  Africa’s richest man and President of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote; South African mining magnate, Patrice Motsepe, Zimbabwean, Strive Masiyiwa, who is the founder of global telecoms group, Econet Wireless; and Mr. Akinwumi Adesina

Last year, the award was won by James Mwangi, the CEO of Equity Bank, Kenya.

Adesina’s initiatives have empowered more than six million farmers across Nigeria to embrace agriculture as a business.

He has been described as a passionate defender of African farmers, relentless in unlocking opportunities for farmers and changing Africa’s narrative on agriculture to wealth creation, away from poverty reduction.

“I am truly honoured and humbled by this prestigious award, which I dedicate to Africa’s farmers and the new cadre of young business entrepreneurs who have discovered the hidden gem for sustainable wealth creation on our continent – Agriculture,” Adesina said reciving the award.

The Nigerian minister had made commendable impact in the Agriculture sector within two years of his taking office.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Bio-fuel production threatens Ghana’s agriculture

Mr Cyril T. Quist, Brong Ahafo Regional Director of  Agriculture,  has said mining and biofuel  production in the country posed a threat to agriculture.
He said efforts at promoting sustainable food systems were in danger if current practices where vast tracks of land were sold or leased for mining and production of biofuel were not stopped.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark World Food Day at Nsawkaw, he said this could pose a potential risk to food security thus exacerbating hunger and poverty because the practice only destroyed the ability of the soil to support crop production.
It also contributed to the destruction of water bodies vital for agricultural production and eventually affect food security and lead to hunger and poverty.
Mr Quist said because of weak food systems, land productivity had increased more than labour productivity in agriculture and this was inimical to growth in incomes.
However, he said, sustainable food systems would allow more attention to be given to market access and improving standards in local markets for food safety.
Mr Quist said improving food security would enable the poor to earn money and become more resilient which in turn would enable them to participate in economic activities and contribute to social development and needs, including health and education.
He said improving food security by investing in agricultural productivity, infrastructure, social protection and the opening of markets were vital to sustainable development.
On food production in the Region, Mr Quist said to promote sustainable food systems MoFA had promoted the development of commodity value chains, to increase incomes of farmers to reduce the level of poverty among cassava farmers.
Farmers under the Root and Tuber Improvement and Marketing Programme (RTIMP) are being supported with improved cassava planting materials and extension advice to increase cassava production.
Processing centres have been upgraded into Good Practice Centres (GPC) where issues of hygiene have been improved to result in quality output, while linkages have been established between producers and processors to create dedicated market for cassava producers.
Ms Christina Amarchey, Programme Manager of ActionAid Ghana (Brong Ahafo Region), expressed concern that more than three million children across the world died each year from not getting enough of the right food to eat, while many  more children suffer from undernourishment, which affect their mental and physical developments.
She called on Women in Agricultural Development (WIAD) of MoFA to intensify their education on the importance of healthy balanced diets, and promote the production of more animal source foods.
Source: GNA

Agriculture in UGANDA

Agriculture in Uganda Agriculture is still the main stay of the Ugandan economy although the contribution of agriculture has been declining over the years; the sector has continued to dominate the Ugandan economy. It contributed about 23.9 pct. of the total GDP in 2013. Agriculture also provides approximately 82 pct. of the employment and most industries and services in the country are dependent on this sector.

The recent history of Danida’s agriculture support The Agricultural Sector Programme Support phase 2 (ASPS II) was implemented in the period 2005-2010 with a budget of DKK 294 Million. The main objectives of ASPS II were to increase incomes, improve household food security and improve the quality of life for economically active low income small farmers. The programme support focused on research and technological development, provision of advisory services, agricultural education, business support to micro, small and medium enterprises, access to rural financial services through micro-lease and co-guarantee arrangements, natural resources use and management, agro-processing and marketing, deepening decentralisation, gender mainstreaming and HIV/AIDS issues in agriculture as cross cutting themes and restoration of farming livelihoods in post conflict environments in Northern Uganda.

The Public Sector Agricultural Support (PSAS) component of the U-Growth Programme
The current Danida programme supporting public sector agriculture in Uganda is the Public Sector Agricultural Support (PSAS), which is a component of the U-Growth programme. The main objective of the PSAS is to support the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries (MAAIF) in its preparations to receive sector budget support and subsequently to support implementation of the agriculture Development Strategy and Investment Plan (DSIP) of the Ugandan government. The PSAS objective is aligned with the DSIP’s objective to support the public sector to carry out its agreed mandate and to pursue its vision of a competitive, profitable and sustainable agricultural sector that accommodates all farmer categories in different production zones. The PSAS will be implemented in the period 2010-2013 and has a budget of DKK 5 million, with additional DKK 41 million that remains to be allocated for supporting public sector functions in the agricultural sector.

The PSAS consists of three different types of technical assistance, namely;

1. A long-term international advisor in MAAIF's Agriculture Planning Department with the objective to improve the planning in the sector towards a joint budget support.

2. Short term consultancies to formulate bankable programmes to insure that the core priorities in the DSIP receive funding.

3. Short-term technical assistance to assist MAAIF in building capacity in strategic areas such as financial management, budget process, better functioning Sector Working Group and finalisation of agriculture DSIP.

Partners The main partner of the PSAS is the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries. The programme is implemented in close cooperation with other donors in the sector, namely;
• World Bank (WB)
• Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
• European Union (EU)
• International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
• African Development Bank (AfDB)
• United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
• Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

Thursday, 22 August 2013


For your SPICED GRILLED SNAIL that is handly available for your meal please call
Akin on : 2348029110482

Friday, 26 July 2013

Nigerian young Farmers Take On Tv Reality show

Corporate Farmers International take on Tv Reality show: Young Farmers Take On Tv
Reality Show« CBS Pittsburgh

Nigeria to meet 68% Wheat needs by 2015, Saving N431billion on Import

In line with its efforts to encourage production of wheat, the Federal Government has scaled up activities to stop the importation of wheat into the country soon and create markets for farmers.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina made this known during the inaugural meeting of the Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NAG) at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel at the weekend.

He said the efforts of government towards encouraging the substitution of wheat with high quality cassava flour is already yielding positive results as the wheat imports to Nigeria declined from an all-time high of 4,051,000 MT in 2010 to 3,700,000 MT in 2012.

“As we implement accelerated cassava flour production, with the installation of the industrial scale cassava flour plants, expand cassava production and deploy hundreds of compact modular milling systems, Nigeria’s dependency on imported wheat will decline even further”.

Dr. Adesina said the government is looking into the local production of wheat in the Northern part of Nigeria as he informed members of the group that the Lake Chad Research Institute of Nigeria has released new high yielding tropical and heat tolerant wheat varieties that can yield up to 6 tons per hectare. This, according to him, is about four times the yield of temperate wheat varieties used in Nigeria during the effort to produce wheat in the 1980s.
He further explained that with the tropical wheat varieties that are presently available in the country and at the high yields being obtained, he held that it is profitable and economically-viable to produce wheat in Nigeria.

The Minister explained that 21,000 MT was harvested in 2012, from the new varieties, which according to him, would be used as seeds. The target, he said, is to plant 212,000 ha of wheat by 2014, with expected production of over 1 million MT and a projection to expand the cultivated area to 215,000 ha by 2015, with an anticipated production of 1.2 million MT. “So, in two years, if we accelerate investment, we should be able to produce 2.2 million MT of wheat. This would meet 68% of our domestic wheat requirements and save Nigeria N 431 Billion in wheat imports annually.”

He thereafter encouraged members to seriously consider investing in commercial wheat production to take advantage of the new opportunities.
On the 20% inclusion of cassava flour in bread, he said, “We have started training of the master bakers across the country. We are facilitating the private sector to secure low interest financing of over $200 million to import 18 large scale industrial cassava flour processing plants. The mills will process 3.1 million MT of high quality cassava flour, annually, and make Nigeria the largest processor of cassava flour in the world. The first set of mills will hit the ground this year”.
The Minister also briefed members on the establishment of Staple Crop Processing Zones (SCPZ) with tax and infrastructure incentives, to attract private sector companies to set up food processing plants in areas of high production, for import substitution.

This according to him, is to reduce the cost of doing business within these zones, with government upgrading infrastructure, especially the provision of power, water and roads.

The newly inaugurated Nigeria Agribusiness Group which is composed of leading CEOs and Chairpersons of major agribusiness firms in Nigeria is to have its own corporate persona and become the core group for driving agribusiness investments. The group is also expected to help identify the challenges to greater agribusiness investments and propose ways for resolving them.
Idowu Jokpeyibo (Mrs.)
For: Director Press/PR

Agriculture in Edo State

Edo State Government recently organised a one-day agricultural summit where stakeholders brainstormed on ways of turning the state into an agro-industrial hub aimed at boosting food production and employment generation.

The importance of agriculture in nation building cannot be over-emphasized. This is because of its essence in the provision of food and source of raw materials for industries.
In recognition of this fact, Governor Adams Oshiomhole decided to gather experts in the field of farming to brainstorm on the possible ways of increasing food supply and at the same time use it to create employment opportunities for the teeming unemployed youth.
Welcoming participants, Edo State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Hon Abdul Oroh, said the state government was determined to fight poverty through agriculture. Oroh, who noted that Edo State future depends on agriculture, said the state government has assessed the challenges of agriculture from different perspectives in order to achieve its big dream.
According to the commissioner, “Edo government had invited expects and other service providers to detect areas to where the farmers are lacking and to make necessary improvement. Edo government is putting all machineries to ensure agriculture has come to stay as real business”
Costly Importation
Delivering a keynote address, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, said it was regrettable that Nigeria spent N1.3trillion on the importation of rice, wheat sugar and fish.
He disclosed that Nigeria consumes five million metric tonnes of rice annually and warned that the country’s continuous dependence on imported rice for consumption may cost her about $150bn by 2050 if steps were not taken to raise rice production.
Adesina, who promised to make a difference from his predecessors, noted that his job is not to be a minister for importation of food but unlocking the country’s potentials. He pointed out that no nation can claim to be independent unless it can feed itself.
As according to him, “the rise in population is a corresponding demand for food. Because we are committed to repositioning agriculture to drive the economy, the ministry will distribute the new cocoa hybrid free of charge to all the cocoa producing state across the country.
“We want to restore the lost glory in the world trade of cocoa by making sure that these new cocoa hybrid are distributed to all cocoa producing states to replace the old varieties.” He said.
Akinwunmi noted that the summit was in tandem with the FG plan to reposition agriculture to drive the economy, and lauded Edo State for being the second largest producer of palm oil, and the sixth producer of cassava and cocoa in the country.
To this end, he disclosed that plans were underway to build a large-scale cassava processing plant capable of producing 240 metric tonnes per day and explained that local production of cassava floor would save the country N248 billion spent on the importation of the item.
Policy Inconsistency
Declaring the summit open, Governor Adams Oshiomhole said unless there was a complete shift on FG’s inconsistency policy on agriculture, all that is said will amount to mere rhetoric.
He said for his administration to accomplish the goal it set for itself as regards agriculture, farmers in the state and other genuine investor in agriculture would be offered free land in the state as well as provide basic infrastructure.
Oshiomhole called for continued subsidy on agriculture as a means of protecting farmers in the country, and added that there must be an interventionist policy for the country to meet its agriculture plans in the areas of job creation, food sufficiency and serve as alternatives to oil.
According to him, it is too early to applaud FG agriculture policies because previous good agric policies ended without food on the table. He therefore called for a nationwide protest if need be, to stop the federal government from granting waivers for the importation of vegetable oil, rice importation and other food that could be produced locally.
He told participants that his administration placed emphasis on agriculture as an alternative to oil, for job creation and the need to be the country’s largest food producer, adding that areas of crop concentration for his administration included rubber, rice, cassava, palm produce and cocoa.
“The reason why foreign and local investors hesitate to invest in the country is because of the inconsistencies in policies. How do we sustain this beautiful vision that tomorrow it is not turned-over? We must begin to interrogate our leaders and hold them to the policies they enumerate.
“If we can prohibit the importation of chocolate and with this, we will pass a strong message to the manufacturers if they want Nigerians to eat chocolate, they must set up the company here”, the governor declared.
Oshiomhole while appreciate the minister for all that he has plan to do for Edo State promised to complement the efforts, said “We have opened up a number of rural communities so that our farmers can get their produce to the city centres”.

Power Conundrum
Another matter that arose as far as adequate food production in Nigeria was concerned was the issue of power generation. In his presentation, chairman of Dansa Foods, Alhaji Sanni Dangote, urged the FG to provide adequate power if its slogan on paradigm shift must work. He said there were local investors who have the capacity to turn things around in agriculture, but they were being hindered by lack of power.
He advocated that government should tighten its noose on the ban importation of chickens and raised the alarm that foreign farmers are lobbying for a lift in the ban on chicken importation because they have good storage facilities due to steady power supply. “It is very important that we keep the ban on chicken importation strong”, he stressed.
Adequate funding of the sector was another critical issue raised by Dangote. He however assured that farmers in Nigeria were ready to find the money to operate so long as government was willing to provide the infrastructure and a level playing field for them to operate in
“I just pray to God to help all of us because it is an issue everybody has been talking about for the last 15 years and nobody has been able to act either federal of state. I hope this time there will be a change and there will be a positive result. What we need is action, not talk or summit.”
Nevertheless, he disclosed that his company is partnering with the Edo State Government in apple, pineapple and rice production adding that between N5 billion to N8 billion is expected to be invested in the sector.
Agro-industrialisation Agenda
UNIDO Representative and Director Regional offices, Dr. Patrick Kormawa, who spoke on ‘Agribusiness option for Edo State’ said Agro-industrialisation must be the centre of any transformation agenda for the agriculture sector in order to achieve meaningful impact on jobs and food security in the country. 
He said UNIDO believe that agro-industry and agro-business will play a key role in the prosperity of Nigeria, pointing out that it cannot happen by chance but through investment and sustained political will over the years.
His words: “We need to invest in productivity enhancing technology. States must have strategic commodity to invest in. We need to link agriculture to industry if we want to transform the industry.
“Banks need to increase their knowledge in the agribusiness sector and investment opportunity in the agribusiness. Government must provide necessary infrastructure and conducive environment. Specifically government should create proper infrastructure as well as develop research and development facility that are linked to industry”, he added.
Agric Hub
Managing Director Notore Chemical Industries, Mr. Onajite Okoloko, said Nigeria faced a major catastrophe if it cannot create an agricultural hub in Edo State. He said the country should take advantage of the opportunity offered by the Edo State Government if it wants to feed the country.
According to him, “There are six million hectares of arable land, three vegetation belts and 1500 to 3000 millimetres of rainfall. Edo seats on a strategic location of the country where it is a gateway to the East, West and the North. Abundant natural gas for making fertilisers exists here.
“There is access to waterways for exportation of finish product. If we can’t create an agricultural hub in Edo State to begin to contribute to feeding the nation and exporting food products then we are actually at the beginning of a major catastrophe,” he added.
Highlight of the event was the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on access to fertiliser, cassava transformation between Edo State Government and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
Speaking at the ceremony, Governor Oshiomhole, who signed on behalf of Edo State, expressed delight on the vision of the FG for the agricultural sector. The governor said, “I want to appreciate all that you plan to do for Edo State and we are going to complement your efforts. We are ready to provide land free of charge if it is based on agriculture.
Also speaking, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwurini Adesina, who signed on behalf of the FG, said the central government was poised to use agriculture to drive the economy.
“Nigeria has 8 million hectares of land with only 10 per cent cultivated optimally. About 110 million youths will be in the labour market by 2020,” he said, adding that “we have human capital to turn around the agric sector significantly”.
The minister assured listeners when he said “We must change a lot of things. We must realise that agric is big business and we must professionalise it. The federal government will no longer engage in the procurement and distribution of fertiliser”.
He announced that two integrated industrial rice mills have been approved for Edo State, adding that new fiscal intervention have been put in place by the FG to protect the farmers.
READ MORE:  http://news.naij.com/579.html

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

The Fertilizer Suppliers Association of Nigeria ((FEPSAN)

The Fertilizer Suppliers Association of Nigeria ((FEPSAN) is a national trade association of fertilizer manufacturers, importers, blending plants and major distributors and dealers in Nigeria. The association was set up to represent the needs and interests of fertilizer manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and dealers in Nigeria. The Association was launched in Abuja in February 2004. Its membership is open to all registered companies under the Nigerian laws dealing with manufacturing, importation, blending, and distribution of good quality fertilizers. Other related bodies/organizations or individuals may be considered as affiliate members

The Agricultural Society of Nigeria (ASN)

The Agricultural Society of Nigeria (ASN) is one of the oldest agriculturally based Societies established in 1962 by the pioneer staff of the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ibadan, Nigeria. The objects of the Society among others are to foster the pursuit and understanding of both basic and applied agricultural science in Nigeria, to disseminate agricultural knowledge by various publications.
This includes a Journal of Agriculture, and the organization of agricultural shows, symposia, seminars, lectures, conferences, etc; to promote the interest of agricultural scientists, farmers and all those connected with the agriculture industry, and to be in close collaboration with societies having related objects both in Nigeria and other parts of the world. Membership is drawn from all agricultural professionals from Faculty of Agriculture in the Universities, Colleges of Agriculture, Research Institutes, Federal Department of Agriculture, state Ministries of Agriculture and Agricultural Development Programmes. The Society holds annual conference on rotatory basis which provides opportunity for peer review of oral paper/poster presentation and interaction on current trends in agriculture among major stake holders. Regular publications of the Society include Annual Conference proceeding, Nigerian Agricultural Journal and Newsletter . The Society is governed by the National Executive Council with the President as the Chairman.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Farm Kings: a reality series in the making!

It shouldn’t surprise our readers that as a reporter, we gain some pretty cool experiences.

Yesterday was no different. It was one of those cool experiences.
I actually got to see the filming of a reality series. The best part is, the stars of the show are actually faithful Farm and Dairy readers! The next best thing was that I didn’t have to travel far for the taping.
The show is called, Farm Kings and it will air on the channel, GAC.
Farm Kings is about a family with 10 children, ranging in age from 29-11, determined to make a living farming with their mom.
They are vegetable growers, and have even built a bakery in recent years to sell baked items at their farmers markets.
Dan, 22, wants to built a cattle operation and intertwine that into the farm operation. That’s the reason they were filming at the Mercer Livestock Auction.
The farm is located between Valencia and Butler, Pa. near state Route 8.
I just think it is so cool — with all the drama in the reality series we view on television — a network thought a series about nine brothers trying to make a living farming would be entertaining.
I talked to the mother of the 10 children, Lisa King. She said the series is about the challenges facing young people in the farming industry and how they keep moving forward.
She said the family wants viewers to take away this from the series: Support your local farmers!
What a great way to get the message through to those who don’t farm. Maybe if those who are disconnected see the trying times and challnges farmers are facing, they will decide to support farmers.
I know from the stories I write and what I hear talking to others, there are enough challenges to fill at least 30 minutes a week!
The series premiere will air 9 p.m. June 14 and then 10 episodes will air beginning in September.
I say we should plan a viewing party just so we can say, how cool it is to have real working farmers on television doing what they do best!
Kristy Foster Seachrist lives in Columbiana County raising sheep and horses with her husband, Kurt. She earned her degree from Youngstown State University and has worked in both print and broadcast journalism

Local Farmers Take On Reality TV

Local Farmers Take On Reality TV « CBS Pittsburgh

Monday, 24 June 2013



Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The Farmers Club

Welcome to The Farmers Club, a unique club for those involved with agriculture, primarily, but not exclusively, in the United Kingdom. Over half of our members are directly involved in farming, with the rest being mostly associated with the agricultural industry. We also have a very active Under 30's section, vital seed corn for the future of the Club.
The Club reaches out to its members all over the UK and overseas in a number of ways. It attends many of the major agricultural shows along with other regional events throughout the year. We also regularly hold seminars on the key issues of the day frequently attracting internationally renowned experts. The Farmers Club also keeps in touch with every member via an excellent and informative bimonthly journal, and of course, this ever evolving webpage. The Club is run, through the secretariat, by a committee of members, drawn from all parts of the industry.
Whitehall Court is the heart of the club offering a very comfortable, 'home from home' atmosphere, excellent value bedrooms and an excellent restaurant committed to selling British produce. It also has a number of function rooms which can be used for meetings or private parties as well as a modern business suite. Above all though, The Farmers Club is renowned for its staff whose friendliness and efficiency are its hallmark.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Fighting poverty among female farmers with mobile phones

The mobile phone is a device that can turn  the lives of rural female farmers around, Dayo Oketola writes
 Mrs. Alice Balogun, a smallholder female farmer who lives around Ajilete community in Ogun State, plants vegetables, maize and cassava. She relies on the vegetable for short-term income, maize for seasonal or mid-term income and cassava for yearly-kind-of income. She sells her farm produce herself and often results to self help in processing her cassava tubers to Garri before selling. In all of these, Balogun decries poor returns.
Her story is not different from that of Mrs. Ganiyat Audu, a female farmer in one of the farm settlements scattered in the outskirt of Ibadan, specifically the Ibadan end of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. She often results to selling her farm produce to travellers on the expressway because of their perishable nature. This, she says often lower returns while failing to complement the time and labour put into nurturing and harvesting the produce.
Experts say Balogun and Audu are mere archetypes of the Nigerian women farmers, who constitute 70 per cent of the country’s agricultural workforce and produce 80 per cent of the country’s food, yet most of them lack access to almost everything that could make farming worthwhile and gainful. With hoes and cutlasses, most of the women farmers still engage in farming practices that are already outdated.
They are not only susceptible to the whims and caprices of weather; they also face challenges such as lack of funds, inadequate agriculture information, inability to preserve farm produce, and poor access to the market. Others are lack of information about crop production, pest control, treatment of animals, economic and health information, among others.
Relying on the National Poverty Eradication Programme that says 75 million Nigerians, representing 50 per cent of the population, still live in poverty, experts say the country’s women farmers are largely poor.
Therefore, to take them out of poverty and stimulate socio-economic development, experts say it is imperative for the female farmers to have access to adequate information in order to boost agricultural and rural development.
A number of women farmers’ advocacy groups have developed self -help initiatives to enlighten the poor female farmers. The Executive Director, Women Farmers’ Advancement Network, a rural farmers’advocacy group in the Northern part of the country, Dr. Salamatu Garba, says the group relies on radio programmes to create the necessary awareness among its members. How impactful this will be, according to analysts, has yet to be ascertained in a country where power supply is poor and many of the farmers may not even have transistor radios to benefit from such programme. They may as well be in the farm when the programme is being aired or busy with domestic chores if the programme is aired at night. The reality is that female farmers have been neglected and yet to be considered in the forefront of agricultural empowerment in Nigeria.
Experts say their situation is one of the many indices of the country’s fortune-dwindling agricultural sector that has seen the groundnut pyramids in the North, the robust cocoa economy in the West, and the palm tree plantations in the East disappeared and only exist in the Nigerian history books.
In view of the bleak circumstances engulfing the Nigerian female farming community, experts largely believe that Information and Communications Technology, among other critical measures, can take the farmers out of the woods.
The mobile phone, which is both an engine of opportunity and convenience, according to experts, will play a critical role in the entire equation.
Recognising that ICT holds great potential for rural dwellers, particularly female farmers, President Goodluck Jonathan, in his 2013 budget presentation to a joint session of the National Assembly, says his administration will give five million mobile phones to women farmers in 2013.
Jonathan, who describes this as part of efforts to prove the gender friendliness of his administration, says “To further integrate women in the various sectors, we have developed an innovative approach to mainstreaming gender issues starting with five pilot ministries – agriculture, health, communication technology, water resources and works. These ministries are signing MOUs with the Ministry of Women Affairs to deliver on specific services for women.
“The Ministry of Agriculture, for example, will work with its ICT counterpart to ensure that five million women farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs receive mobile phones to be able to access information on agro-inputs through an e-wallet scheme,” Goodluck says.
The president says N3bn has been set aside to be disbursed to participating MDAs as incentives for them to deliver on these targets.
Prior to that time, however, the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Akinwunmi Adesina, had announced government’s plan to distribute 10 million mobile phones to smallholder farmers in 2013. The minister had said that the phones would carry features such as information on climatic conditions, market prices of farm produce, extension workers and how farmers can access agricultural funds. He explained that the initiative was aimed at subsidising the cost of major agricultural inputs, such as fertiliser and seeds. “By that the farmers can get information on planting seasons. We cannot do that by newspapers, we need to have something they can relate with in local languages,” he had said.
From 400,000 lines in 2001 to over 109 million in 2012, telecommunications has single-handedly driven mobile phone penetration in Nigeria and the mobile phone has become one of the greatest socio-economic tools in the hands of Nigerians. As an enabler, the mobile technology is driving the growth of m-Commerce, mobile money, and m-Banking, among others, in the country and rural women/female farmers can have access to a personal communication tool that has the power to transform their prospects. But unfortunately, most ICT investments in the country have focused mainly on the urban areas while rural female farmers lack access to telecommunications gadgets such as mobile phone.
An MTN survey in 2010 had confirmed that over 800 rural communities in the country had yet to have access to telecommunications and these are localities where majority of the farmers live.
Goodluck’s promise, according to experts, represents the light at the end of the tunnel for the ICT-deprived farmers in the country. As such, the Chairperson, Women in Technology in Nigeria, Mrs. Martha Omoekpen Alade, who welcomes the gesture, says, “It is an excellent initiative. Rural women need such to keep abreast of technology. This will to a great extent bridge the digital divide. Rural women are important to economic stability. It is a good thing the Federal Government is positively gender sensitive.”
She reveals that WITIN has developed a mobile app for illiterate rural women, adding that the app currently runs on affordable mobile phones.
Former President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, Mr. Titi-Omo-Ettu and the Programme Director, One Network, Mr. Sola Bickersteth, observe that the Federal Government proposed phone gift to the women farmers, if it ever see the light of day, is a fantastic move and in line with global trends.
eTransform Africa: The Transformational Use of Information and Communication Technologies in Africa, which was recently jointly published by the World Bank and African Development Bank, with support from the African Union, also backed the move by the government.
The Lead ICT Policy Specialist, World Bank and the author of the report, Mr. Tim Kelly, said, “Africa is rapidly becoming an ICT leader. Innovations that began in Africa – like dual SIM card mobile phones or using mobile phones for remittance payments – are now spreading across the continent and beyond. The challenge going forward is to ensure that ICT innovations benefit all Africans, including the poor and vulnerable, and those living in remote areas.”
Leading mobile phone manufacturer, Nokia, who welcomes FG’s initiative as rightly directed, says it’s Nokia Life Tools, recently introduced into Nigeria, is already offering a wide range of information through the services (through the mobile phone) covering health care, agriculture, education and entertainment which address the needs of rural consumers and improves their economic prosperity and quality of life.
Nokia’s General Manager for West Africa, Mr. James Rutherfoord, says the Nokia Life Tools is a key part of Nokia’s overall strategy to connect the next billion people by providing access to locally relevant services and information on affordable devices.
“Farmers will be able to check market prices without travelling long distances, people will be able to find important health care information without having to travel miles to see a doctor, and students will be able to learn English. All the services are available on easy-to-use and affordable mobile phones,” he adds.
Beyond providing agriculture information such as market prices, weather, news and advice to the female farmers, experts say five million mobile phones in the hands of women farmers will create a platform for multiple services with the overall aim of improving the economic standing of the poor farmers. The private sector, according to them, has a lot to benefit.
According to Access to Financial Services in Nigeria 2010 Survey conducted by Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access, only 30.0 per cent of the country’s adult population currently has a bank account, which is equivalent to 25.4 million people. 67.2 per cent of the adult population has never been banked, which is equivalent to 56.9 million people. While 63.5 per cent of adult males are unbanked, a whopping 76.8 per cent of adult females are unbanked. These unbanked female Nigerians form part of the 78.8 per cent of the rural population which remains unbanked till today. As such, experts say it can be easily taken for granted that most of the rural female farmers do not have bank accounts.
The Central Bank of Nigeria, in response to the forgoing statistics and also in recognition of the potential of the mobile phone in driving financial inclusion in the country, licensed over 20 companies to roll out mobile money services in the country. So far, little success has been recorded in mobile money penetration due to  lack of adequate agency network, among other challenges. For instance, a survey by Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access reveals that only 400,000 people out of 28.6 million adults operating bank accounts in Nigeria have mobile money accounts. The figure represents 1.4 per cent of the bank account holders. The survey also shows that 0.45 per cent of the total adult population (given as 87.9 million people) in Nigeria use the mobile money facility. It stated that mobile money was mostly used to buy airtime, with 32.9 per cent of registered mobile money users buying airtime on the platform; while 28 per cent use mobile money to send money to people.
The Principal Associate, Mobile Money Africa, Mr. Emmanuel Okoegwale, who analyses the result of the survey, concludes that the few people who have adopted mobile money are those who already have bank accounts, saying this is contrary to the real reason behind the introduction of mobile money in Nigeria, saying it is primarily targeted at the  unbanked population of the country.
With five million phones in the hands of female farmers, Okoegwale reckons that huge opportunities will be available for mobile money companies to benefit from.
With a system called M-PESA (Swahili for mobile money), operated by Kenya’s largest cell phone service provider, Safaricom, Kenyans use their cell phones to send and receive money. Some use it for all their shopping. Kenya currently has 10 million households and 14 million M-PESA accounts.
Okoegwale says with five million phones scattered across the country, mobile money operators have five million potential customers, majority of who have never been banked.
MTN, Globacom, Airtel and Etisalat, all GSM Operators, have already introduced mobile money services in Nigeria. With five million female farmers with mobile phones, the Mobile Money Africa boss, says operators should know where to search for the real unbanked Nigerians.
The fact that only 1.0 per cent (0.8 million) of the adult population in Nigeria has insurance, according to experts, clearly demonstrates the potential for using mobile phones as a distribution channel for providing financial services to the unbanked especially against the background of the country’s 109 million mobile lines.
Deepening insurance market especially through retail insurance has been tied to effective use of mobile telephone on insurance product distribution.
Microensure, a recent winner of a Financial Times/IFC award in financial service innovation for the bottom of the pyramid, has introduced a variety of micro-insurance solutions via mobile phones. Its product line includes life insurance in Ghana, farmers’ crop insurance in Tanzania, and health insurance in India.
The General Manager, Microensure Ghana, Mr. Peter Gross, who emphasised the potential of the mobile phone in insurance penetration in Nigeria, said, “Providing micro insurance through the ubiquitous mobile telecommunications platform is the only available means of developing products to insure the critical mass that form the informal sector in Nigeria and allow the insurance industry to increase the level of insurance penetration.”
Tina Rosenberg in a piece titled, ‘Doing More Than Praying for Rain’ said,  “In the United States, insurance against extreme weather is seen as so important that Washington subsidises it highly and requires it for farmers who want other government benefits. If American farmers need weather insurance, African peasant farmers need it even more. But the vast majority of African peasant farmers have no opportunity to insure their crops.
“Small farmers around the world need many different things to help them survive climate change: seeds resistant to extreme weather and pests, cheap irrigation systems, and better agricultural infrastructure, such as more feeder roads. But one thing that can help small farmers now is insurance.”
Rosenberg and other experts agree that what will make this low-income earners and base-of-the-pyramid insurance product work is technology, particularly the mobile phone.
As such, five million female Nigerian farmers can also be exposed to cheap insurance solutions via their mobile phones.This, experts say, is a virgin land for the Nigerian insurance industry.
For instance, Kilimo Salama, a project of the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, which does research on improving harvests on small farms, has been introduced since 2009.
The non-profit foundation is financed by the Swiss agri-giant Syngenta. Kilimo Salama also gets money from the International Finance Corporation, a sister organisation of the World Bank.
The project, which is situated in Kenya’s southwest, currently insured 22,000 farmers and the tool being used to sign up farmers and pay out claims, is the mobile phone.
Generally, the mobile has become one of the passive channels making tremendous impact on insurance penetration in the emerging market.
According to the Munich Re Foundation in Making Finance Work in Africa, “Nine countries in Africa contain more than one million lives and properties insured: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Every one of those countries, with the exception of Nigeria, achieved that coverage with the help of a simple mobile phone linked life product.”
From agriculture information to mobile money, m-Insurance to m-Health, experts say the proposed five million mobile phones to be distributed to five million women farmers will unlock huge opportunities for them and urged the Federal Government not to rescind on the promise.

Poverty Eradication in Nigeria through Agriculture and Enterprise Revolution

By Peter Osalor
The intricacy of issues involved here is reflected in the fact that the National Poverty Eradication Programme of 2001 identifies agriculture and rural development as its primary area of interest.
The fact that all development has to begin from the bottom_up cannot be overemphasised in the context of Nigeria, where a farming boom can ensure not just food supply and exports but also provide industrial raw materials and a market for products.
Agricultural expansion is critical to economic prosperity across Western Africa, considering the region’s crippling poverty levels. A 2003 conference organised by NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development) in South Africa strongly urged the promotion of cassava cultivation as a poverty eradication tool across the continent.
The recommendation is based on a strategy that focuses on markets, private sector participation and research to drive a pan_African cassava initiative. What was once a rural staple and famine_reserve food has become a lucrative cash crop!
The NEPAD initiative has strong relevance for Nigeria, the world’s largest cassava producer. With its large rural population and extensive farmlands, the country boasts unrivalled opportunities of transforming the humble cassava to an industrial raw material for both domestic and international markets.
There is a growing and well_justified belief that the crop can transform rural economies, spur rapid economic and industrial growth and assist disadvantaged communities. While production grew steadily between 1980 and 2002 from 10,000 MT to over 35,000 MT, there is scope for significant further increase by bringing more land under cassava cultivation.
Nigeria must take the lead not only in developing better production, harvesting and processing technologies, but also in finding new uses and markets for what is undoubtedly a wonder crop. Nigeria stands to make giant strides towards inclusive and sustainable development simply through the intelligent and judicious promotion of cassava farming.
The following are some of the most urgent requirements for a successful revolution in Nigerian agriculture:
“Active promotion and establishment of agro_based industries that generate employment, sustain local food requirements and encourage exports. “Effective steps to modernise and diversify the agricultural economy as a means of buttressing entrepreneurial growth in ancillary sectors.
“Institution of a tariff system that promotes local produce against cheaper imports, together with the removal of institutional barriers against agricultural profitability.
“Subsidies on technologically advanced farm equipment and practices that help boost productivity without any adverse ecological side effects.
“An umbrella poverty alleviation programme designed specifically to promote agrarian reforms while simultaneously improving the quality of life in rural communities.
“Enhanced access to agricultural enterprise loans through a network of regulated lending institutions sympathetic to farming realities.
“Adult education programmes designed to help Nigerian farmers upgrade to locally relevant but modern methods of cultivation, marketing and distribution.
“Encouragement of both public and private sector agricultural research aimed at correcting technological constraints faced by local farming communities.
If Nigeria’s agricultural potential is enormous, it is partly because more than 90% of its 91 million hectares of total land area is arable. While soil fertility is generally estimated on the lower side, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) predicts medium to high yields across the country with optimal utilisation of resources.
Combined with Nigeria’s substantial rural population traditionally involved in agriculture, this projection translates to gigantic prospects in terms of agricultural productivity and, by extension, economic resurgence.
For a nation emerging out of a troubled past and struggling to attain social, political and economic stability, the ideals of agricultural and entrepreneurial revolution hold vitally important. Because they are also inextricably linked in the Nigerian context, the country’s future position on the world economic stage depends literally on the bounty of its harvest.

Friday, 24 May 2013


LAGOS: FARMING IN A MEGA CITY: Knowing that farming is a lucrative business in Lagos can be shocking information to many residence and visitors, who are full o...

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Kid Farmers story..

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Fort Scott, Kan. - Waking up every morning at 5 am to feed her bucket calf before school is just a normal part of Katie Brown's day. While most 11-year-olds are still sleeping, Katie wakes up, puts on her boots and tends to her infant calf to feed it its first bottle of milk for the day.

"I love animals and I love raising them," she said. "I have been helping my parents with their cows for as long as I can remember and they are fun and fascinating to me."

Katie is part of a three-generation cattle-breeding family and hopes to continue the family legacy. She and her family operate 700 acres near Fort Scott, Kan., raising primarily limousin cattle for beef. She received her first calf from her grandfather, Shorty Brown, when she was only seven years old and has since successfully raised 12 on her own. When they are mature enough, she takes them to auction, using the profit to pay down her USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Rural Youth Loan and invests the remainder in her college savings account.

Katie was approved for her Rural Youth Loan with funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Katie applied for and was approved for $2700 to purchase two cow and calf pairs. This was her second Rural Youth Loan, the first totaled $4500, which she used to purchase three cow and calf pairs, and feed. Having successfully made on-time payments, she was eligible for this second loan amount. Allocation of the funds from ARRA helped expedite her loan request and she was able to quickly purchase her animals for raising and eventual breeding.

Katie receives education and guidance on breeding and raising calves from multiple sources, including her parents and her 4-H counselor. She has been a member of the Pawnee Chapter of the 4-H Club for over five years. Katie takes her role in 4-H very seriously and invests countless hours building her experience and knowledge to hopefully one day become a veterinarian.

"I intend to keep raising cows and learning everything there is to know about this business for years to come," added Katie.

Katie's hard work and early mornings have paid off, having been awarded five different county fair prizes for her calves - three of which were "Best of" ribbons. She is also an avid sportsman, competing in air rifle competitions, and hunts doves and wild turkey with her father and stepbrother.