Blogs

New varieties of rice to be introduced to farmers soon

By James Kariuki August 29, 2017
Rice farmers prepare land for planting in Nyando, Kisumu County. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kenya is looking at introducing 15 high-yielding, locally developed rice varieties that, once commercialised, could drastically reduce the country’s import requirements.

How cassava mechanisation is sparking industrial revolution in Ogun State, Nigeria


By Collins Nnabuife August 29, 2017
Ongoing ploughing operations in Isenyi, Oyo State - Nigeria done by CAMAP project.

 

Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava in the world with the production capacity of approximately 45 million tonnes which is almost 19 per cent of the total cassava production in the world. 

Cassava, which is raw materials for countless products, has served as food for families especially in the rural areas as the popular garri is produced from cassava, and other products which form the basic daily food of Nigerians. Being the largest producer of cassava in the world, Nigeria is yet to add more value to cassava production, as the majority of cassava produced in the country is basically used as food item domestically. It is as a result of this that successive governments have tried to add value to cassava production through the introduction of cassava flour in bread baking and other confectionery. This cassava flour adoption is being implemented a cross the country, but the demand of cassava for this initiative is still very poor as farmers still have their products decaying in the soil without patronage.

Building Nigeria’s agribusiness through smallholder farmers: The AATF initiative

By Abdallah el-Kurebe August 29, 2017 “By 2030, the size of the food and agribusiness in Africa will reach $1 trillion. So, if you are thinking of how to make money, that’s the sector to be in.” – Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank. “Cassava is an industrial crop of the future in Africa, with the potential to generate income for poor farmers and a huge number of jobs.” – Claude Fauquet, Director, Global Cassava Partnership for the 21 Century.

Cassava farmers supported by CAMAP project. Photo by Daniel Essiet/www.thenationonlineng.net

 

Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava in the world with an annual output of 34 million tonnes of tuberous roots. It is produced mostly by smallholder farmers by use of ‘traditional instruments’ with an average landholding of less than two hectares per smallholder farmer. But the low productivity of cassava, according to the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), is as a result of limited market opportunities due to low utilisation of mechanisation and production or processing tools. “It takes a farmer in Africa 10 days to uproot or harvest their fields while a farmer in India requires only six hours.” Therefore, in order to encourage commercial production of cassava by smallholder farmers, AATF, through funding by the United Kingdom Agency for International Development (UKAID) has rolled up a Cassava Mechanization and Agro-processing Project (CAMAP) currently in Kwara, Kogi, Ogun, Oyo and Delta states.

Burkina Faso farmers still yearn for Bt Cotton

By Suleiman Okoth August 28, 2017

Mr Francois Traore (Centre) former president of Union of Cotton Producers (UNPC) in Burkina Faso with Dr Edgar Traore (Left), OFAB Burkina Faso - coordinator and Daniel Otunge (Right), Program Manager – OFAB Africa.

 

In my journey to understand the intricacies of Bt Cotton in Burkina Faso, I had the rare opportunity to interview Mr Francois Traore through a translator in his modest residence about 10 kilometres from Burkina Faso capital, Ougoudougou. Francois Traore, a towering man in his mid-60s, former president of Africa Cotton Producers Association (APROCA) and first president of Union of Cotton Producers (UNPC) in Burkina Faso, is not your typical farmer. As a cotton farmers’ representative in Africa, he has brushed shoulders with prominent world leaders. His admiration for Ernesto “Che” Guevera -- the Argentine revolutionary leader who had a desire to change the lives of South Americans is unmistakable if you have an opportunity to visit him at his home -- a portrait of Che Guevera is prominently placed in his sitting room alongside a photo of him with former president of France Jacques Chirac, Barack Obama, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela among others. I was curious to know what attracts him to Che Guevera and how it is related to farming and his journey as a cotton farmer, of which he replied: “I admire the work of Che Guevera especially in improving lives of poor farmers in South America. I hope to emulate him as I represent farmers and ensure that they gain from their sweat and improve their lives.”

Drought-tolerant, pest resistant maize variety promises higher yields

August 27, 2017
Drought-tolerant (DT) and insect resistant (Bt) maize at Kiboko Controlled Field Trial site in Kenya.

 

Scientists have unveiled a new drought-tolerant and pest- resistant maize variety, raising prospects for higher yields. The Mon 87460/Mon 810 variety, which has been undergoing tests in confined fields, can withstand harsh climatic conditions and invasion by pests, the two top challenges farmers face.

The new variety comes against a 25 per cent projected decline in maize production this year due to erratic rains and armyworm invasion.
“The second season of these trials has proved to be drought tolerant and pest resistant in what marks a major step in the fight against insects which have caused farmers losses for long,” said Dr Murenga Mwimali, the lead scientist of the project.
The trials are a Water Efficient Maize for Africa (Wema) project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The project, conducted at Kenya Livestock Agricultural Research Organisation (Kalro) centres, seeks to develop smart technology for African farmers. Dr Mwimali urged the government to release the environmental report on the variety urgently to pave way for commercialization.

 

Maize production is forecast to drop from 37 million bags last year to 28 million this year.
The armyworm invasion, which attacked major growing zones in the country, is expected to cut production by five per cent with erratic weather contributed 20 per cent of the yield losses.


Enhancing commercial cassava production

 

By Daniel Essiet

August 25, 2017

 

Cassava farmers supported by CAMAP project. Photo by Daniel Essiet/www.thenationonlineng.net

 

Cassava is used for many things: Food, feed, ethanol and other industrial uses. Besides, it has a lot of derivatives.

It is, particularly, valuable for rural small-holder farmers, breweries, pharmaceuticals, distilleries and ethanol-producing companies, which use  cassava flour and starch as raw materials. In most cases, these firms rely on imports for their raw materials.

Initiative

It is for this reason that a non-governmental organisation (NGO), African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), has taken the initiative to make cassava business attractive in Nigeria. It is working through Cassava Mechanisation and Agro-processing Project (CAMAP).

CAMAP, funded  by United Kingdom Agency for International Development( UKAid), seeks  to  transform  the  cassava  sector  in  sub-Saharan Africa by enhancing  commercial  production,  processing and market linkages based on business models that engender sustainability.

It also aims to address key constraints to cassava production,  improved varieties, poor agronomy, and lack of mechanisation and processing.

Nigeria: Cassava Farming Declining in Katsina

By Aliyu Kwaifa

August 25, 2017

Mr David Ayodele, CAMAP coordinator, explaining the project to the youths on their field in Oyo State - Nigeria.

 

Cassava famers in Katsina State is on the decline, Daily Trust's investigation has revealed.

This is coming just as the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) has said although Nigeria is the highest grower of cassava in the world, it has a zero value chain for the produce.

The AATF's Communications and Partnerships Officer for West Africa, Mr. Abu Umar, stated this at a stakeholders' meeting on cassava in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

He said the government should find solution to the lack of value chain for cassava otherwise the country's agricultural sector would not develop fast.

For decades in Katsina State, rural farmers have been into cassava production essentially for local consumption.

However, the gradual change in the agricultural trend across the country is causing a decline in the production of cassava in the state.

This reporter visited some communities in the state and discovered that most of the farmers concentrate more on maize, sorghum and soya beans farming.

Local farmers in the state told Daily Trust that their lands were fertile for growing cassava but that their interest in its cultivation is generally declining.

Nigeria spends N160 billion annually on ethanol importation, industrialist

By Charles Coffie Gyamfi, Abeokuta August 22, 2017

The Director of Allied Atlantic Distilleries Limited (AADL), Igbesa, Ogun State, the largest cassava based ethanol producing company in Africa, Mr. Rajavelu Rajasekar yesterday disclosed that Nigeria spends N160billion annually to import ethanol for industrial use. He explained that the country imports close to 400million litres of ethanol annually to meet its industrial consumption, adding that a litre of ethanol is sold for N400. Rajasekar who spoke to journalists at the premises of his cassava based ethanol producing factory, insisted that to reverse the negative situation, the various governments must encourage investors to engage in mass cassava production.
Ethanol plant. Photo by www.guardian.ng

 

He argued that the days of cassava being perceived as a poor man’s crop in Nigeria was long gone, saying cassava is now an industrial crop which is capable of reviving the economy of the country. In his view, Nigeria as the world largest producer of cassava was still not producing enough cassava to meet its local consumption. While stressing that his factory was not getting enough cassava to meet its requirement, Rajasekar, stressed, “The demand for cassava is now higher than ever and Nigeria needs to plant more cassava to meet its demand.” Rajasekar said, his company as the first cassava based ethanol producing factory in Nigeria only produced nine million litres of ethanol per year which is three to four percent the country’s requirement, saying the remaining 96 to 97 percent deficit is still been imported from Brazil and India among other countries. Rajasekar disclosed, “The truth is that we are still not getting enough supply from the market. Since we started producing in 2013, there no year that we have gotten full supply of cassava”.

Nigeria: Oyo, Ogun cassava farmers adopt mechanisation through CAMAP project

By Nigerian Tribune August 22, 2017

Farmers in Oyo demonstrating the use of machine to plant cassava, facilitated by AATF through CAMAP. Photo by Nigerian Tribune.

 

Farm mechanisation is one aspect of agriculture which has made agriculture easy, profitable and attractive to Nigerian farmers, especially the youths. The conventional ways of farming which are manual, have not yielded much result as people especially youths have dumped  their hoes and cutlasses to seek white collar jobs, thereby leaving agriculture solely for the aged in the rural areas. It is at this backdrop that the African Agriculture Technology Foundation (AATF), through one of its intervention schemes, Cassava Mechanisation and Agroprocessing Project (CAMAP) with the support of United Kingdom Agency for Technology Development (UKAID), deployed machines to assist farmers in the cassava value chain. These machines will assist cassava farmers in harrowing, ploughing, planting and harvesting of cassava with ease. During a field visit to Oyo State which is part of the states this project is being implemented, the Communication Office of AATF, Mr Umaru Abu revealed that the Foundation traveled across the world to look for machines that will ease the stress of cultivating cassava in Nigeria.

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