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Niger Rice Cuts Imports, Says FADAMA

Niger Rice Cuts Imports, Says FADAMA, Niger State has contributed to the reduction of rice imports, the National Fadama Co-ordination Office has said.

Nigeria has been listed among the 16 top producers of rice with its local production valued at N684 billion ($1.9 billion).

Niger State produced 545,700 metric tonnes (MT) of rice to top the national production output for last year’s wet season.

The leader of the Technical Assistance Mission to the state, Dr. Samuel Alabi, who spoke during a visit to the Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development, Haruna Nuhu Dukku, in Minna, said the quantity of rice produced in the state with the contribution of the state Fadama Co-ordination Office during the wet and dry seasons had greatly increased.

Alabi praised the state Fadama Co-ordination Office, saying the state added value to what Fadama is achieving nationally as the office have become a focus laboratory where experience meet with result delivery.

“Niger State Coordination Office has become a learning centre where opportunity meets experience and experience meets with result delivery. The state has become Fadama learning centre. We are indebted to Niger State for adding colour to the performance of the national office,’’Alabi said.

Dukku assured Fadama of the state support of its programme as it has proved to be of immense benefit to the people, especially in the rural areas.

FADAMA Coordinator In Anambra Urges Youths To Engage In Agriculture

Anambra FADAMA Coordinator, Mr Chukwuka Egbueh, has called on the youth to engage in farming so as to support the government’s efforts to develop the agricultural sector.

Egbueh made the call on Monday in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka.

He stressed that government had made a lot of investments to overhaul and develop the agricultural sector.

“Nigeria did well in agriculture in the First Republic but I can tell you that at no time has the sector received more financial support from government than now.

Anambra FADAMA Coordinator
Anambra FADAMA Coordinator

“However, more efforts should be made to educate and mobilise our youths to develop a positive mindset towards agriculture. The youths should also be sensitised to fully appreciate the dignity of labour,’’ he said.

Egbueh noted that a major challenge facing efforts to develop the agricultural sector was the growing population of ageing farmers.

He, therefore, said that pragmatic efforts should be made to encourage the youth to take up farming as their profession.

“Youths should be encouraged to fill the gaps being created by our ageing farmers.

“Farming is a rewarding and lucrative profession; that is why the youth should be encouraged to engage in crop growing.

“However, there are lots of incentives by governments, in form of grants and loans, to encourage serious youths to go into farming,’’ he added.

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Nigeria To Face Unprecedented Pressure In Livestock Production – FAO
April 27, 2018
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Grazing

The Food and Agricultural Organisation says Nigeria in the next 30 to 40 years will face unprecedented pressure in its livestock production.

Suffyan Koroma, the FAO Country Representative in Nigeria, made the prediction in Abuja on Tuesday at the onset of the dialogue on in Abuja “Lunch of Africa Sustainable Livestock’’ (ASL 2050) project.

He said that the forecast was built on the evidence that the demand for livestock-based foods would grow rapidly due to increased human population and resultant rise in consumer purchasing power and urbanisation.

Koroma said: “Data from FAO shows that by 2050, beef, dairy and poultry consumption are anticipated to grow by 117 per cent, 557 per cent and 253 per cent respectively from the 2010 levels.’’

Koroma said that as a result of this data, policy and institutional reforms should be developed, while long-term projections were made.

He also called for solid data and evidence-based analysis to ensure that the opportunities generated by the growing market for livestock-based foods translated into widespread benefits for the populace, including livestock producers, consumers and others along the value chains.

He stressed that due to the heterogeneity and complexity of the livestock sector and its negative effect on the society, the ASL 2050 project was, therefore, looking beyond the current policies and programmes as well as the required inputs from multiple sectors.
Koroma said that the FAO Country Office, in collaboration with its regional office and headquarters, would give adequate support to Nigeria and expand the support to cover the entire African continent, starting with the West African sub-region.

Dr Bukar Hassan, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that in response to increasing demand for livestock-based foods, producers would make significant investments in livestock farming systems and value chains.

He said that such investments would result in increased supply of livestock-based foods so as to satisfy the consumers’ demand. Hassan said: “The impact of the investments on people’s livelihoods, public health and environments will be very significant and the majority of the rural populace depends on it.

“It is also estimated that livestock contributes over 15.5 per cent to all human-induced greenhouse gas emissions.’’

Besides, Hassan said that through the ASL2050, the government and the supporting agencies would be able to dialogue, share knowledge and consult with the stakeholders in order to identify opportunities and threats associated with long-term livestock development plans.

He said that the institutions would also be able to agree on priority reforms and investments to create the capacity that were needed to ensure sustainable development of the livestock sector in the next three decades.

Hassan described the project as a major opportunity for the livestock community in Africa, adding that Nigeria would lead by example in efforts to build sustainable and healthy livestock systems for the future.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that the recommendations of the three-day dialogue — ASL 2050 – will be implemented by FAO in Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Egypt and Burkina Faso.

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Ghana: National Biosafety Authority Hosts Seminar On GMOs
April 17, 2018
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A seminar on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) which aimed to bring stakeholders together to discuss issues surrounding GMOs has taken place in Accra.

The programme brought together representatives from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Food Sovereignty, Ghana (FSG), Ghana Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU), Civil Society Groups and socio-economists.

It was organized by the National Biosafety Authority (NBA) on the theme: Can GMOs contribute to the socio-economic development of Ghana?

In her remarks, Dr Gloria Naa Dzama Addico, Head of Technical Division, NBA, said it was estimated that the world population would be 9.3 billion by the year 2050– 400 million more than previously estimated which required increased food production to feed and prevent famine in the tropical regions.

However, she said, climatic conditions in the tropics favoured the proliferation of insect pest and disease vectors such as fungal infestations, coupled with the lack of appropriate storage facilities, resulting in higher post-harvest loses.

Insect damage, the majority of which occurred in the developing world, Dr Addico said, was responsible for 15% of the world pre-harvest food losses.

Without modern biotechnology, she said, the only alternative for third world countries to increase food production would be to use more land, fertilizer, insecticides and herbicides which certainly was not beneficial to the farmer and the environment.

Ghana, she said, was, therefore, ready to move and reap the benefits of modern biotechnology, adding that Biosafety systems existed to ensure the safe use of modern biotechnology and to reap the needed benefits.

In her presentation, Prof. (Mrs.) Marian D. Quain, Principal Research Assistant, CSIR, stressed the urgent need to apply emerging technologies, adding that the application of biotechnology tools needed to be enhanced in crop production and that the ultimate aim of the efforts was to alleviate poverty, hunger and malnutrition in the sub-Saharan region.

She said sub-Saharan Africa needed substantial investment in cutting edge technologies and human resource development policies needed to be harnessed to ensure biosafety and sustainability of the deregulated Genetic Engineering (GE) crops.

She underscored the importance of public education, adding that all stakeholders needed to make informed decisions based on information from credible sources.

Prof. Quain called for the Introduction of Biotechnology at the Senior Secondary School Level while NBA Should be well-resourced to educate populace through radio and TV advertisements. She urged Government to devote funds for GE-related research in Ghana.

In a presentation, Dr Richard Ampadu-Ameyaw of the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute, CSIR, indicated that biotechnology had the power to improve human health, environmental sustainability and the well-being of consumers and farming communities; that biotechnologically-developed high-yielding crops could contribute to meeting the estimated 50 per cent increase in food production by 2030; and that biotechnologically-developed highly-nutritious food could contribute to good health and the general welfare of all, including farmers and consumers.

In his contribution, Mr Edwin Kweku Andoh Baffour of the Communications Directorate, FSG, a grass-roots movement dedicated to the promotion of food sovereignty in Ghana, said contrary to what industry fed the media and general public, independent research was showing clear warning signs for GMO.GMOs

Mr Baffour said there was little evidence that GMOs had enabled small scale farmers to improve productivity and adapt to climate change, and that most GMO crops in the world, however, were used as feed for animals in industrial systems.

He said the creeping intrusions of GMOs into Ghana’s economy was likely to increase poverty, rather than diminish it, by increasing the penetration of transnational corporations into Ghana’s agriculture, thus decreasing profit margins for small local farmers, adding that Ghanaian agriculture could not afford an economy designed for the benefit of external interests at the expense of Ghanaians.

He said there was rather an urgent need to save the country’s agriculture, the integrity of its water resources, ecology, and the environment, and that GM foods were impositions to increase dependency on the use of dangerous pesticides and herbicides, adding that GMOs were set to crush the export markets for farmers across Ghana.

READ MORE: Govt To Develop Sustainable Agricultural Sector―President Akufo-Addo

Mr Baffour said the socio-economic ramifications of the imposition of GMOs alone ought to be enough to ban its use in Ghana.

For his part, Mr Edward Karaweh, General Secretary, GAWU, said GMOs undermined the capacity of domestic farmers to produce their own seed; that the long term effects of GMO products were not fully known; that Ghana would be constrained from accessing some of the global market, for example, the European Union (EU) market and that GMOs further undermine Ghana’s independence sovereignty, and national security.

Dr Yaa Difie Osei, a member of the Board of NBA who chaired the occasion, indicated that it was the mandate of the NBA to engage the public on biotechnology and biosafety issues, and to help them better understand and accept biotechnology and GMOs as good technological systems that helped improve crop and plant varieties to ensure food security.

In 2008, L.I. 1887 was passed, based on the CSIR Act, 1996 (Act521) and in 2011, Biosafety Act, 2011 (Act 831) which regulates GMOs, was passed while the NBA was inaugurated in February 2015.

Biosafety is a term used to describe efforts to reduce and eliminate the potential risks resulting from modern biotechnology and its products while a GMO is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans.

Because this involves the transfer of genes, GMOs are also known as “transgenic” organisms. This process may be called either Genetic Engineering or Genetic Modification (GM).

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BOA, SunTrust Bank Seal MoU On Agric Banking

As part of efforts at revitalising agriculture as alternative mainstay of the economy, the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) and SunTrust Bank yesterday in Abuja sealed an e-banking agreement to the development of agricultural sector in Nigeria.

The agreement was signed at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in Abuja. The managing director/CEO of SunTrust Bank Nigeria Limited, Muhammad Jibrin and the chief executive of Bank of Agriculture Kabiru Adamu signed for their respective banks, which they said would aid agric processes as employment generating venture.

Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe described the agreement as landmark and instrumental to the development of agricultural sector in Nigeria.

Managing director/CEO of SunTrust Bank Nigeria Limited, Muhammad Jibrin said the agreement, will among other things, allows the SunTrust Bank to deploy its innovative banking services and other complimentary e-banking services to simplify BOA services to its farmer customers across its 140 branches in Nigeria.

Bank Of Agriculture

The Sun Trust Bank boss said the deal will also allow it to deploy its banking platforms technology like ATM and other infrastructure for the over one million farmers in the kitty of BOA. Jibrin said, “We will also provide training support to the BOA staff and at the end of the day, it will be a m

He said plans are afoot for farmers to own 30 percent shares of the Bank of Agriculture, saying that “30 percent of BOA will be owned by farmers which will eventually makes it to be referred to as Farmers Bank like the one in China.”

Ogbe added that “he looks forward to achieving five percent interest rate for farmers”, describing the current interest rate as unfriendly and disincentive.

utually benefiting agreement to all parties.”

Speaking also, the chief executive officer of the BOA, Kabiru Adamu expressed optimism that the MoU will revolutionise agriculture in the country, saying both banks have agreed to bring together their mutually unique capabilities and experiences to enable BOA serve its customers to facilitate quicker penetration of the unbanked farmers.

He said the SunTrust Bank shall provide electronic payment solutions using its existing platform, including USSD, Mobile Money Service, Merchant and Settlement Accounts for e-transaction. Speaking, Minister of Agriculture Audu Ogbe said the landmark deal will change the face of farming in the country.

Ogbe who regretted that the BOA has been in difficulty of the years, expected that the new agreement and partnership with SunTrust Bank will get it out of the woods. “We have been trying to set up IT services at the BOA but it has been difficult. We hope that with your backing, the services will eventually come to fruition,” the minister said.

 

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How to build, maintain soil fertility
April 12, 2018
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Soil forms the bedrock upon which plants grow, but the effects of climate change and other destructive land practices like deforestation contribute to depletion of soil nutrients which inorganic fertilisers alone cannot substitute, thus significantly resulting to decline in yield of crops.

It is key to maintain a fertile and healthy soil in order to avoid the catastrophic consequences of crop failure.

Farmers to own 30% shares in Bank of Agric – Ogbeh

Farmers to own 30% shares in Bank of Agric – Ogbeh

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has said the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) is restructuring the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) which will allow farmers to own 30 per cent shares of the bank.

The minister stated this during the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between SunTrust Bank and the Bank of Agriculture on Monday in Abuja.

Chief Ogbeh described the partnership between SunTrust and BOA as a welcome development since most commercial banks had been very allergic to lending to farmers, adding that agriculture in the last 30 years had suffered neglect.

Ogbeh noted that the high interest rates of 27 per cent being charged by some commercial banks made farming uninviting to many Nigerians.

He stressed that effort was underway to reduce interest rates of seven per cent, and that the ultimate goal was to reach five per cent, which was below global average of three per cent.

With the partnership, farmers across the country are to start enjoying better financial services through accessing agricultural loans from BOA through SunTrust Bank that will provide farmers with e-wallet and Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards.

The minister recalled that farmers had been enjoying the support of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), while noting that the CBN could not act as a commercial bank for long.

The Managing Director of BOA, Mr. Kabiru Adamu, said the partnership had become necessary because the law restricted them from operating as a commercial bank, adding that they could not issue cheque books and ATM cards in their drive to changing the narrative of farmers who suffered because they did not have access to financial services.

“Farmers should be able to do business without any challenges. This is the era of e-business, so farmers with e-wallets and ATM cards can access our products,” he said.

 

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Ogbeh, Others Urge Creation Of Ranches To End Herders-farmers Clashes
April 12, 2018
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Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, yesterday declared that ranches remained the only panacea if the government was desirous to end the farmers-herders clashes across the country.

Ogbeh, who briefed State House correspondents along with Governor Simon Lalong after a meeting of the Committee on National Food Security at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday ‎said that cattle in the country contributed six percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) hence the need to create an “environment where they have water, grass and security against rustlers.”

The minister lamented that for nearly 40 years the country did not do much about the cattle sub sector which, he said, made it inevitable for the herdsmen to roam around.

“The cheapest way of rearing cattle is by roaming around with them as you see now. If you go into a ranch, it is not cheap and government cannot subsidize cattle rearing like they do in Europe where they subsidize every cow with €6 which is about N2,400. We cannot afford that.

Herdsmen-farmers Clash
Herders Farmers Clashes

“So the thing is, to create those ranches, the herdsmen must be prepared to pay tax to support the programme. If we don’t do it, next year will be worse than this year, I assure you.,” he said.

Fielding questions, the minister said the committee at its meeting yesterday also discussed the price of goods in the market, availability of food and the challenges facing the country during emergencies, among others. He said the panel looked at other security issues, including those that impede on agriculture growth.

Lalong said the committee would come up with recommendations for the setting up of what he called agro-rangers as part of the solutions to the farmers-herdsmen crisis.

“Part of the recommendation we have made and we are working on, is the issue of agro-rangers. We noticed that if you are talking about farmers-herdsmen crisis, you have to train a specialized group of security outfit to handle those issues, it is not to concentrate on conventional security.

“What we are still appealing to Mr. President to do is to hasten the process so that it can help solve some of the problems that we have in various states on the conflicts between farmers and herdsmen.”

Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, who also joined in the briefing, said the committee was poised to resolve the conflict between farmers and herdsmen in parts of the country.

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Rwanda Bans Importation Of Sheep, Goats From Burundi
April 11, 2018
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Rwanda Tuesday announced a ban on importation of sheep, goat and their products from Burundi following reports of a viral disease outbreak.

The agriculture minister, Gerardine Mukeshimana, in a statement said the Peste des Petits Ruminants that primarily affects goats and sheep has been reported in Burundi’s provinces of Gitega, Mwaro, Kirundo and Karuzi.

Mukeshimana said: “Movement of livestock including sheep and goat and their products; meat, hides and fertilizers from Burundi are hereby banned.”

She appealed to livestock farmers, traders, veterinary officers and security agencies in the country and at the border points to be vigilant.

The ministry added that the ban was based on a report about the disease outbreak that was done earlier by Burundian veterinary services and sent to the World Organisation for Animal Health.goat and their products, sheep and goat, disease outbreak

According to the FAO, PPR, also known as sheep and goat plague, is a highly contagious animal disease affecting small ruminants.

Once introduced, the virus can infect up to 90 per cent of an animal heard, and kill between from 30 and 70 per cent of infected animals.The FAO said the virus does not infect humans.

How Ugandans Repurpose Banana Fibre To Make Money

How to make money from Banana Fiber, Uganda is the second largest producer of bananas after India with about 9 million tonnes produced annually. All this production creates tonnes of waste in form of stems and stocks. These are returned back to gardens to be used as fertilisers or mulching materials.

But the stems and stocks can be turned into fiber and used to produce different products which you can export and earn a living.

The banana fiber is a widely used product in making coarse woven fabrics for example sacks, ropes, twigs, sand bags, tents, webbings, canvas and screens, kit bags, tool bags, luggage, gunny bags and covers. Banana fiber can also be blended with wool and cotton to make blankets and carpets.

Here is how you can mint money from adding value to the banana stems and stocks into fiber.

Ideally, the fiber is extracted from the pseudo-stem of banana-establishing a banana fiber making plant to utilise the products of the variety of banana plantations in Uganda.

Start

Ms Victoria Byoma is Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa’s leather expert with vast knowledge in making products out of banana fiber which she sells locally and regionally.

It is a business you can do from the confines of your home with ease and you will be surprised at how it can sustain family needs for years.

Ms Byoma makes ladies’ hand bags out of banana fiber, centre pieces, ornaments, decoration items, table mats, mats, and purses among other products.

“This is the kind of business you can do in your free time. The beauty is the raw materials (banana fibers) are easily accessible-in our backyards, villages and markets,” she shares.

Investment capital

Ideally, this is a low-cost business to start. Many people would worry about starting capital but Ms Byoma says with Shs50, 000 you can start in this kind of business.

“All you need is a pair of cutters, wood glue, straw bond and varnish and you will be good to go,” she shares.

How Ugandans Repurpose Banana Fiber To Make MoneyBut if you want to do it on a large scale according to Uganda Investment Authority’s investment ideas report, this project can cost you $4,325 (Shs15.7 million) to mainly purchase the machine that will help you process the fiber.

This plant which can be imported from either India or China can also be fabricated in Katwe.

Producing massively means one would be processing 46,800 kilograms of fiber per year. In this case, one will be assured of revenue estimates worth $93,600 (Shs341 million), annually indicating a net profit margin of 72 per cent.

After getting the fiber from the machinery, it should be beaten in the stone beds, squeezed and be combed without pith content. It should be 100 per cent dried and packed by air tight polyethene bags.

Then production process starts with the extraction of the fiber from banana pseudo-stem. This process involves splitting the banana pseudo-stem into strips, injection in open vats followed by washing and drying.

By using traditional techniques, the fiber can be converted into various utility items. Production capacity is projected at 150kgs per day.

Production costs assume 312 days per year with daily capacity of 150 Kilogrammes. Depreciation (fixed asset write off) assumes a 4-year life of assets written off at 25 per cent per year for all assets.

Direct costs include: materials, supplies and all other costs incurred to produce the product. A production month is 26 work days.

Incentive

Industrialists’ Associations are allowed in the formulation of government policies on taxes and industries, through Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) representation in budget making.

Market

A wide range of products can be produced which enjoy good market in both rural and urban areas and these include weave bags, mats, wall hangings and sanitary towels.

Ideally, the dried fiber is used to make handbags and purses, sold at between Shs1,500 and Shs5,000 depending on the size, wall hangings at Shs5,000, a set of table mats selling at between Shs3,000 and Shs10,000, large sized floor mats costing Shs20,000 and bed side mats for Shs10,000.

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Match making farm-seekers and retiring farmers with surplus land. It’s e-Farmony!
April 10, 2018
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Raised on a farm and deeply concerned about farmland preservation, Suzanna Denison connects landless, aspiring farmers with landowners through her work as the director of Western North Carolina FarmLink. In addition to this matchmaking, she speaks at conferences across the United States about her work on farmland transition issues, highlighting the need to address the challenges facing both beginning farmers and retiring farmers.

According to a 2014 report by the Oakland Institute, 400 million acres—or close to half of the total farmland—in the U.S. is expected to change ownership over the next 20 years, as an aging generation of farmers retires. While the issue has captured the attention of many in the country’s more agrarian-minded communities, one day it may be on the radar of any American who likes to eat fresh food.

In that light, it seems fitting that I first met Suzanna not in North Carolina, a state we’ve both called home for several years, but in Colorado at a conference organized by the New Hampshire-based nonprofit Land For Good—because if  anything is of national interest, it’s where our food comes from.

Jean Willoughby (JW): In your experience, how do farmlink programs generally work? 

Suzanna Denison (SD): Honestly, my understanding of what the programs are capable of continues to evolve. But in a nutshell, we’re there to help with land access barriers and farmland preservation. We make matches between farm-seekers who are looking for land and either retiring farmers or landowners with surplus land who lack the time or the means to farm it. It’s e-Farmony.

The longer farmland is dormant and not in production, the higher the risk that it ends up in non-agricultural use. I see farmlink programs as effective at using current landowners and farmers to secure land. We’re addressing farmland preservation in the U.S., and part of our strategy is putting farmers back on land to maintain it.

I’ve worked in the farm-linking world for about four years now. Across the country, I’ve seen different goals or expectations for what the programs can attain. Of course, these programs help directly with farmland access. If land prices are too high or if the farmers are in debt, those are barriers. But it’s not just a real estate listing service. We have all kinds land tenure arrangements.

JW: Could you share a few examples?

SD: To start with, a lot of land tenure opportunities that we list don’t entail buying the land outright. That’s just pretty unrealistic in the 21st century, in terms of land prices. We have to think outside the box and look at management, employment, short-term and long-term leases, work trade or barter, and owner financing, as well as standard sale.

JW: Tell us more about your approach and the kinds of assistance you offer to farmers.

SD: The two main support services I offer are initial site visits and contract negotiation. I also give lots of educational workshops on farmland access and drafting effective leases. But the majority of my job is offering support to make the land matches as successful, sustainable, and viable as possible. I’m constantly vetting and making sure it’s a workable relationship. It rarely hinges on the land and what it’s capable of; it’s more about what the people are capable of. The biggest question is, ‘Are they able to communicate effectively?’

JW: What are some promising paths for beginning farmers who are trying to gain access to land?

SD: I think, in America, we over-associate farming with owning land. But with the majority of the farms I work with, just owning land is not the case. Often it’s a combination of land tenure opportunities. There are a lot of different ways to access farmland. For beginning farmers, I highly recommend managing another farmer’s or landowner’s farm to get experience. I also recommend short and long-term leases. There’s no such thing as a typical American farm, and most farmers lease land. So, I try to get people to think beyond standard sale.

JW: What’s the first step for you in helping a typical land seeker?

SD: The first step for any land seeker who I’m working with is to find the land they’re interested in and contact the landowner. I then go with them and act as a third-party with more of an objective view. I can help steer conversation in the hopes that we’ll have a land match. I can help clarify things. At first, it’s just people getting to know each other and establishing trust.

JW: Tell us a little about your upbringing on a farm and how that shapes your outlook.

SD: I grew up on a mid-scale, conventional vegetable farm in Maine, which transitioned to organic in the mid-1990s. So, most definitely, growing up on a farm has shaped my opinions, ideas, and my biases. This is a world I grew up in. What I gained most from my upbringing was this real passion around land. I’m indebted to growing up in a conventional agricultural community and having experienced the transition to organic, and now I’m working in more of a local foods-oriented, small-scale ag world.

JW: Could you give us a story about a match you’ve helped to make?

SD: Lexie Baker is a beginning farmer who contacted me in early 2016. She wanted to find land where she could grow heirloom corn and legume varieties. She’d worked with a seed saver at Berea College and was passionate about it. But she was also practical about finding niche crops to grow profitably in a relatively saturated market. She gave me a business plan, and I could see that she was serious. She had spent a year experimenting and building up her knowledge. We also worked together on financing questions and markets. I connected her with a mill and bakeries interested in sourcing locally grown grain.

Flash forward to this fall: She signed a new lease with the landowner and expanded to a few more acres. That’s a success in itself, not just maintaining but expanding. I also wrote her a letter of support for a grant to help with the expansion this year. The name of her farm is Dreamy Bean Farm. She’s doing amazing things, and her website is excellent! It’s really killer. Check it out. I’m very proud.

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African Development Bank approves a US $50-million Risk Participation Agreement for Commerzbank AG to address Africa’s trade finance market demand

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank has approved a US $50-million unfunded Risk Participation Agreement for Commerzbank AG (Commerzbank). The Risk Participation will leverage Commerzbank support to African issuing banks seeking to expand their trade finance operations.

The facility will help address trade finance market demand in key economic sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing. It will also foster financial sector development, regional integration and boost government revenue generation.

Stefan Nalletamby, the Bank’s Financial Sector Development Director, said, “Commerzbank is a strategic partner for implementing the Bank’s development mandate. This intervention will improve market access by African issuing banks, corporates and SMEs.”

Most African banks are small and struggle to obtain adequate trade finance facilities from international confirming banks to support African importers and exporters. The African Development Bank’s additionality lies in the use of its “AAA” credit rating to provide comfort to Commerzbank to increase its trade finance exposure to local African banks.

The portfolio of trade transactions supported will represent various economic sectors. The facility is thus well aligned with the Bank’s strategic priorities – the “High 5s” that are aimed at transforming Africa.

The Risk Participation Agreement will run for three years as a 50/50 risk sharing arrangement. Counting rollovers, it is expected that the facility will support approximately US $700 million of trade in Africa over the period.

This will be the African Development Bank’s second Risk Participation Agreement with Commerzbank, a major player in the global trade finance market with a significant Africa footprint.

Technical contact: Mohamed Aloui, Senior Investment Officer

La Banque africaine de développement octroie 11,23 millions USD à Madagascar : énergie, agriculture et lutte contre la peste

La Banque africaine de développement octroie 11,23 millions USD à Madagascar : énergie, agriculture et lutte contre la peste

Le gouvernement de Madagascar et le Groupe de la Banque africaine de développement (BAD) ont signé, le 30 mars 2018 à Antananarivo, cinq accords de financement de projets d’un montant d’environ 11,23 millions USD.

Les deux premiers accords ont porté sur le financement du Programme de promotion de l’entreprenariat des jeunes (projet 1), d’un montant de 7,23 millions USD, dont 6,23 millions USD en don et 1 million USD en prêt. Ce projet 1 vise la formation et le financement de 410 jeunes dont 50% de femmes, pour devenir des chefs d’entreprise intégrant les chaînes de valeurs agricoles et agro-industrielles.

Deux autres accords de financement d’environ 3 millions USD ont également été signés au cours de la cérémonie, pour la préparation des projets à financer en 2019. Il s’agit de l’étude du projet de renforcement et d’interconnexion des réseaux de transport d’énergie électrique à Madagascar (PRIRTEM). Cette étude permettra de préparer le grand projet de construction de la ligne de transport Tamatave – Antananarivo associé aux travaux de renforcement du réseau de distribution d’Antananarivo. La deuxième étude porte sur la préparation du Projet de Pôle intégré de croissance agroindustrielle dans le Sud (PICAS).

Le dernier accord concerne un don d’urgence d’un million USD afin de soutenir les efforts du pays dans la lutte contre la résurgence de l’épidémie de la peste à Madagascar. Les ressources de ce don seront administrées par l’OMS et serviront entre autres à l’acquisition d’équipements et d’intrants médicaux et à la mise en place d’un système de surveillance renforcée.

Signant pour le gouvernement malgache, la Ministre des finances et du budget, Vonintsalama Sehenosoa Andriambololona, s’est félicité des bonnes relations entre la BAD et son pays, estimant que les financements dans les secteurs de l’énergie et de l’agriculture contribueront à ’accélérer la transformation des chaines de valeurs agricoles, l’industrialisation et la création d’emplois salariés formels. Ils contribueront également à satisfaire les besoins fondamentaux en matière de santé des populations.  Le développement de compétences et l’accompagnement des petites et moyennes entreprises feront également parties des activités.

Cosignant pour la Banque, le Responsable-Pays, Mohamed Chérif a souligné la pertinence des accords.  «Il s’agit pour la BAD, de concrétiser la mise en œuvre du document de stratégie pays 2017-2021, ayant comme objectif de soutenir les efforts de Madagascar en accordant une plus grande attention à l’élimination des contraintes structurelles qui empêchent le pays de s’engager sur une trajectoire de croissance économique forte et partagée, axée sur la transformation structurelle et la création d’emplois à plus forte valeur ajoutée. »

Le Responsable-pays a rappelé que le Conseil d’administration du Groupe de la BAD a approuvé, le 22 novembre 2017 à Abidjan, en Côte d’Ivoire, le Document de stratégie pays (DSP) de Madagascar, qui vise le développement des infrastructures d’énergie et de transports pour soutenir la croissance inclusive et le soutien à la transformation de l’agriculture et au développement de l’industrie. Ainsi, les cinq (5) accords de financement signés s’inscrivent en droite ligne de cette stratégie d’intervention, convenue avec le Gouvernement de Madagascar, en soutien au Plan national de développement (PND) 2015-2019.

La Banque a commencé ses opérations à Madagascar en 1977, et à la date du 31 décembre 2017, elle a approuvé au total 89 opérations, principalement dans les secteurs des transports, de l’industrie, de finances et de l’agriculture, pour un montant cumulé de 1,3 milliards UC / 1,88 milliards USD. Le portefeuille actuel de la Banque dans le pays comprend quatorze (14) opérations pour un total de 185,14 millions d’UC. Il couvre trois grands secteurs essentiellement (Fig. 1) : l’agriculture (54,71%), les transports (31,44%) et la gouvernance (11,61%).

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ACCF Secretariat and experts meet in Abidjan on second call for proposals assessment

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ACCF team during the assessment session

The African climate change fund(ACCF)’s second call for proposals, which closed in August 2017, received unprecedented numbers of proposals from diverse government and non-governmental entities. Proponents of shortlisted concept notes were invited to submit full proposals, which were received in late January. The objective of this call was to solicit innovative and impactful projects that will support direct access to climate finance and small-scale or pilot adaptation initiatives in sectors aligned with the bank’s high 5 priorities  to build resilience of vulnerable communities in Africa.

The ACCF Secretariat’s team of independent experts convened in Abidjan from February 6-9 to assess and score the proposals against the pre-determined assessment criteria. The team met with various Bank departments, funds and initiatives, including gender and civil society, agriculture, renewable energy and the sustanable fund for Africa  Africa water facility, job for youth in Africa , climate special development fund, and the Africa NDC Hub with the aim of ensuring that the that projects supported by the ACCF are relevant and synergistic with broader Bank initiatives.

The next stage will consist of the approval of a shortlist by the ACCF’s Technical Committee followed by project appraisal and approval of the best proposals. The ACCF has approximately US $5 million available to allocate to approved projects, but is actively engaging with potential donors to mobilize new resources to respond to the significant demand

Reversing Africa’s cocoa paradox: Why Easter celebration signals a call to action

“What’s the brain surgery in making chocolates? The price of cocoa beans always falls, but never the price of chocolates” – Akinwumi Adesina, President, African Development Bank

Around the world, chocolate in all shapes and sizes symbolize Easter and bring joy to millions of kids and adults alike. And the demand for chocolate will most likely continue to increase, according to experts. There is huge opportunity for Africa, the largest producer of cocoa in the world, to rake in economic value that the global market offers.

Africa produces about 75 percent of the world’s cocoa. But the region faces a daunting paradox: though it accounts for a majority of the world’s cocoa production, Africa gets just 5 percent of the US $100 billion annual chocolate market value.

Africa has been unable to extract a larger share of the global chocolate market value because it exports just raw cocoa beans. “Africa is stuck at the bottom of the cocoa value chain, dominated, instead of dominating, despite being the leading producer!” exclaims Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank.

In 2014, looking into the economics of the chocolate industry, CNN anchor Richard Quest visited Côte d’Ivoire. He made a startling revelation into this paradox: most cocoa farmers he talked to had never even tasted chocolate.

Adesina is right when he says: “African farmers sweat, while other eat sweets. While the price of cocoa has hit an all-time low, profits of global manufacturers of chocolate have hit an all-time high. It’s time to process Africa’s cocoa in Africa, and end Africa being at the bottom of global value chains.”

The African Development Bank is leading a call to action on Africa’s agro-industrialization, which is key to transforming the cocoa value chain.

“Africa must not be locked at the bottom…it must rapidly add value to what it leads the world in producing”, says Mr. Adesina, adding that “it is time for Africa to move to the top of the global food value chains, through agro-industrialization and adding value to all of what it produces”.

The African Development Bank has prioritised industrialization in its High 5 agenda. This could create an opportunity for African countries to add value to their raw materials. It is this regard that the Bank’s Annual Meetings for this year has the theme Accelerating Africa’s Industrialization.

This year’s Easter celebration signals a further call to action for African cocoa producers to start producing chocolate to compete with countries like Belgium, Switzerland, U.S. and France. This will not only bring in money, but also afford opportunities for the many cocoa farmers who are yet to taste chocolate in their entire life.

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