Category archives for: Agriculture

Nigeria: Ayade to Youths – One Hectare of Cocoa Farm Is Your Oil Well

Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade, has promised to turn the youths in the state into green millionaires through the revolutionary cocoa policy of his administration.

The governor made the pledge in Ikom while inspecting the construction of an ultra-modern cocoa processing plant being undertaken by his government.

Ayade was accompanied by his deputy, Professor Ivara Esu,” the Executive Director of Nigeria Export and Import Bank, Hon. Stella Okotete, and key state government functionaries.

Excited at the progress of work at the 30,000 metric tons processing factory, Ayade unveiled his administration policy that would make every willing young Cross Riverian a millionaire.

“The commitment the government and people of Cross River State are making to Nigeria and indeed Africa is that we will ramp up production of cocoa to 350,000 metric tonnes per annum. With immediacy, we are going to create 100,000 hectres of cocoa estate and make them available to young men and women to cultivate.

“Today, Cross River State is offering her young men and women their own oil wells right at their backyard because every part of state is rich enough to grow cocoa.

“So, I am saying that right at your backyard you are seeing your oil wells by just going into cocoa farming. We are ready to give you fund and if you grow beyond your carrying capacity, we have a partner in NEXIM Bank that has come in to fully support us,” he said.

Speaking after the inspection, Okoete lauded the state government’s initiative, which she said is in line with the economic policy of President Muhammadu Buhari.

She said: “It is a laudable project because it is in line with Mr. President’s economic recovery and growth plans and I believe that this project is coming at the right time when we are looking outside the oil and more on export to generate foreign exchange not just for Nigeria but also for the good people of Cross River State.”

She disclosed that her Bank, which is offering advisory services to the state on the project, will give the state all the support it needs to make the project a success.

According to her, “We (NEXIM) are going to be providing financial advisory services and funding indications for the people of the state. We are giving Cross River State a hundred percent support and if they need above that we are ready to give them more. I commend Governor Ben Ayade because he is a man who sees tomorrow.

Also speaking, the National President, Cocoa Association of Nigeria, Sayina Riman, described the project as wonderful and monumental which will further showcase Cross River as a leading state in cocoa production.

Riman, who is also the Vice President, World Cocoa producing Organisation said: “In 2017, we are seeing a transformation that has never been seen before in South- South, South-east of the Niger. This is the first ever cocoa producing factory in this country and this will not only complement employment but will add value to what we have.”

Tanzania: Agriculture Minister Inaugurates Fish Farm in Ruvu

By Gadiosa Lamtey

Kibaha — Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Dr Charles Tizeba on Wednesday, September 20, inaugurated the Ruvu fish farm located at Miswe village in Coast Region.

Current the fish farm has capacity of produce seven tonnes of tilapia per month and has established hatchery with a capacity to produce 500,000 fingerlings per annum.

The official inauguration was also attended by minister of Finance and Planning, Dr Phillip Mpango, Denmark ambassador to Tanzania, Einar Jensen and government representatives from Kibaha District and Coast Region.

Dr Tizeba said the project as timely because currently the country faces huge shortage of fish that forced businessmen to import fish from as far as China and other part of Asian countries.

“This fish farm has come at the right time when the government is planning to increase fish production capacity. Also villagers around the project will benefit,” he said.

For his part, the Director of Ruvu Fish Farm, Mr Poul Hansen said the project was established in 2015 and funded by Danida Business Partnerships Program at a cost of Sh2 billion.

He said they have partnered with a Tanzania company, BMAC and Walker as well as a Danish Company, Scanfi ApS.

“Our core area of business is producing and selling high quality Tilapia, supplying high quality fingerlings, fish feed and aquaculture equipment. We are also engaged in providing consultancy service in fish farming,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Jensen highlighted that Tanzania is one of the countries that have rich marine and inland waters resources as well as perfect all-year weather that can support a wide range of living aquatic resources that can be a steady guarantee of food security, revenue and overall economic development.

He said Ruvu fish farm is one if the projects under B2B initiated by the Danish embassy in Dar es Salaam.


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South Africa: Police Minister Met With Agri SA Leadership to Discuss the National Rural Safety Strategy

press release

Pretoria — Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula met the leadership of AgriSA, which represent 28 000 farmers and 1000 farmer associations. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss The National Rural Safety Strategy which includes commercial farming communities.

The meeting discussed areas of convergence where farmers and farm workers can work with the police to resolve farm killings and worker abuse, also emphasized the importance of Agriculture in food security and overall contribution in our economy. Minister Mbalula raised the importance of commercial farmers employing documented foreign immigrant workers as it is difficult to trace crime committed by undocumented immigrants.

“Agriculture is critical and important for our country, it is our duty as Police to protect our people and instil the rule of law. Majority of farmers are hard workers who ensure food security for our country. There are few rotten potatoes who may be racist, not all farmers are racist, good farmers contribute positively in the economic growth of our country. Racist must be identified, isolated and the rule of law must deal with them.” Mbalula said.

The meeting further agreed that within two weeks a plan of action must be developed and a task team must be set to implement the agreed plan. This plan must include an increase in the police visibility, and an accessibility of police for both farmers and farm workers. SAPS further committed to sharpen the approach, with regard to rural safety and farmers should form part of that approach.

“As Police, we have enrolled 1181 police reservist, who must undergo training and be deployed across the rural areas. Reservist are a force multiplier in our strategy. Part of the implementation we agree on is cooperative agreement with AgricSA, capacitation of rural safety strategy, working together on NatJoint, ProvJoint and ClusterJoint.” Lt. General Masiya said.

Minister Mbalula stressed that WE DON’T HAVE TIME TO WASTE TIME.

“We need a plan of action. Next time we meet we must have clear targets, we don’t have time to meet and just talk, and we need a plan followed by an action. We must go beyond words” Minister Mbalula told the meeting.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will be signed to concretise the action plan. This will be a guard on how this partnership will work.

The CEO of AgricSA, Mr Van Zyl, further emphasized the importance of the memorandum and the partnership with the police.

“We were encouraged by Minister’s commitment to fight rural crime. Our job as farmers is to produce food, and contribute to economic prosperity, we therefore need a conducive environment to reinvest in the economy. We need a safer South Africa for all.” Mr Van Zyl said

Minister Fikile Mbalula will next meet with African farmers Association of South Africa (AFASA), to further strengthen the fight against crime in farms and rural areas. The Minister emphasized the importance of working with all the stakeholders to resolve the scourge of crime in rural areas.

“We must meet everybody who has a solution to fight crime, I will be meeting with all the stakeholders, and we need to hold each other’s hand to fight crime in farms and rural areas.” Mbalula added.

South Africa: Majority of Farmers Are Not Racists – Police Minister

The majority of farmers in South Africa are not racist and should continue to do their work without fear, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Wednesday.

“It is our programme of action, from the minister’s point of view, to ensure there is safety in rural areas and we protect our farmers,” Mbalula said.

Mbalula was addressing the media at the South African Police Service (SAPS) head office in Pretoria, following a meeting with AgriSA to discuss the national rural safety programme.

Mbalula annouced that SAPS has partnered with AgriSA in an effort to end farm attacks in rural areas.

“There will be, from time to time, episodes that play themselves out in terms of racist attacks… but we must understand that the majority of our farmers are not racists.

“There are rotten potatoes, where from time to time they play themselves out in different episodes, which we agree, and we condemn, but that is not the total reflection to say the community of farmers in the republic of SA is a bunch of racists. They are not and we need to be clear about that.”

He said the community of farmers should “flourish and continue to do their work, without any fear of criminality”.

Mbalula also said that the police and AgriSA would sign a memorandum in order to highlight plans for safety on farms and in rural areas.

AgriSA CEO Omri Van Zyl said Mbalula’s commitment and “no nonsense” attitude was encouraging.

“One life lost in agriculture or in South Africa is one too many,” he said.


South Africa

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Rwanda: Rwanda to Benefit From Agra’s U.S.$280 Million Fund

By Eugene Kwibuka

Rwanda is among 11 African countries selected to benefit from a $280-million fund to support agriculture on the continent under the management of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), an organisation that works to improve agricultural output on the continent.

The fund, to be provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the US Agency for International Development (USAID), will be used to spur agricultural transformation in the selected countries.

The beneficiary countries include Rwanda, Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique.

The funding was announced at the 2017 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, earlier this month as a multi-million dollar Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (PIATA).

AGRA’s president Agnes Kalibata said the initiative will contribute greatly toward accelerating Africa’s prosperity by promoting inclusive economies and jobs through agriculture.

“We have witnessed significant progress in our agricultural transformation over the past decade, with countries that have prioritised the sector recording notable drops in poverty levels, improved food security and inclusive economic growth,” Kalibata, a former Rwandan minister for agriculture, said at the launch of the fund.

“PIATA will be critical in bringing key players together to support governments in their push to fully unlock the potential of Africa’s smallholder farming and agribusiness as the surest drivers of job creation and the continent’s inclusive economic transformation.”

AGRA officials and the body’s partners have said that PIATA will allow partners to align and complement existing efforts in the agricultural sector, especially by making new investments in developing better systems to deliver seeds and fertilisers to farmers, add value to their produce, and provide policy advice to governments.

The initiative is likely to be relevant to farmers in Rwanda if well implemented because the issues it seeks to address are their everyday challenges, some of the farmers’ representatives told The New Times on Tuesday.

Vincent Havugimana, president of Rwanda Irish Potato Farmers’ Cooperatives Federation, said it’s always good news when stakeholders in the agriculture sector seeks to improve access to seeds and proper markets for their produce.

“The most pressing challenge for potato farmers right now is getting the right kind of seeds that are appropriate for our land. It’s also important to work towards improving the market for Irish potatoes and supporting farmers’ cooperatives so they can have decent distribution centres for their produce,” he said.

Havugimana added that “whoever partner comes in the sector should work closely with farmers right from the seeds planting level, harvest, commercialisation, and adding value to the produce”.

“It’s very important for farmers to also make money like any other entrepreneurs,” Havugimana said.

Founded in 2006, AGRA works to build systems, tools, and knowledge required for an inclusive agricultural transformation. It partners with governments and other stakeholders across the world to scale up support to countries’ agricultural transformation plans.

Uganda: Coffee Authority Asks Farmers to Add Value to Yields

By Justus Lyatuu

Coffee farmers must invest in technologies that will add value to their coffee if they are to earn more money from the cash crop.

According to the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) executive director, Dr Emmanuel Lyamulemye, most Ugandans are selling raw berries which fetch lower price than when a little value was added to the crop.

Lyamulemye was speaking last week at the annual Coffee and Technology expo organized by Brazafric and Africa Coffee Academy supported by UCDA. The expo was held at the Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) grounds.

“Using quality machinery is one of the ways through which we shall increase quality coffee production for export so as to meet the target of 20 million bags in coffee export, by 2025,” he said.

Minister of state for Agriculture Christopher Kibanzanga called on exhibitors to teach farmers how best the technologies on display can work for them.

“Using machinery will increase value addition of our coffee. It is important for farmers to learn how these technologies work,” he said.

Robert Waggwa Nsibirwa from Africa Coffee Academy revealed that UCDA is working out an arrangement with the Uganda Development Bank (UDB) to help farmers acquire financing to buy the machines. He advised farmers to form groups to make it easy for financial institutions like UDB to lend them money.

The three-day exhibition was aimed at showing farmers machinery and technologies for processing, storage, harvesting and water saving in coffee growing.


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Namibia: Vets Struggle to Diagnose Disease Killing Chickens

By Nuusita Ashipala

Ongwediva — The state veterinary office in Omusati Region is investigating the cause of death of a number of chickens in Oshikuku and Otamanzi constituencies, where chickens have been dying since August.

The state vet in Omusati Region Josephat Peter said it was initially suspected to be an outbreak of Newcastle disease – however the fowls tested negative for Newcastle as well as for Marek disease.

Although the situation is said to have improved in Otamanzi, chickens in Oshikuku continue to die, with many households now left without chickens.

The state vet said the matter is quite delicate because people whose chickens are dying do not leave contact details at the constituency offices to enable officials to visit their homes and make an informed diagnosis.

“We are keenly interested to know what is causing the death of the chickens and we are appealing to people to visit our offices in the constituencies,” said Peter.

He acknowledged that there is a need for further tests to determine the cause of death, but the challenge shall remain if the symptoms are communicated through a third person. He said that currently the deaths are more prevalent in young chickens.

Oshikuku Constituency Councillor and Chairperson of the Regional Council, Modestus Amutse, is appealing to the government to accelerate the process of diagnosing whatever is killing chickens in the region.

Amutse said determining the affliction would help the community to purchase the correct medication.

“People are now just buying whatever medication, but they do not have a proper diagnosis,” said Amutse. When the deaths were first reported in August the regional council was ready to fork out funds to buy medicine for the 38 villages in Otamanzi and 25 others in Oshikuku – however the process was halted after the chickens tested negative for Newcastle.

Petrina Shikomba from Oniingilamo village in Oshikuku said the situation is a big blow to farmers, adding that she only has six chickens left.

“At least I have six left, about seven [of my] neighbours have nothing left,” said Shikomba.

She said the chickens’ symptoms range from lack of appetite to having lice, amongst others.


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Kenya: Income From Coffee Rises 10% on High Price

By Gerald Andae

Coffee earnings in the year to August rose by 10 per cent on strong pricing, helped by a scramble for the smaller volume available at the weekly auction.

A prolonged drought into the first-half of the year affected production in key growing areas, lifting demand of the commodity.

Data from Nairobi Coffee Exchange (NCE) showed the country earned Sh15.3 billion in the period under review compared with Sh13.9 billion realised in a corresponding time last year, representing a 10 per cent growth.

The volume of coffee offered for sale at the auction was however lower at 31 million kg as at August, down from 35 million sold over a similar window last year.

“Better prices were realised in July this year resulting from high competition as traders competed for the little volumes of coffee available at the auction,” says NCE in a statement.

NCE attributes the decline in quantities on drought mainly in the main growing regions of Mount Kenya.

The exchange is suffering low volumes of coffee to trade, a move that saw the auction suspended last month after it had resumed from a one-month break.

According to NCE, there is a significant drop of coffee from farmers in the eastern part of the country which is supposed to be supplying beans now.

The auction took a break on May 23 as the main crop from Central Kenya came to an end, which saw a sharp decline in the quality of coffee at the auction.

About 85 per cent of the Kenyan coffee is sold through the auction with the remaining percentage sold direct to buyers in overseas.

The government has been pushing for direct sales to enable growers earn much from their crop by eliminating the middlemen who exploit farmers when their crop goes through the auction.


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Botswana: Nata/Gweta FMD Free Zone

By Goitsemodimo Williams

Xwuxwakham — Zone 3B in areas of Nata/Gweta constituency has been declared free of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).

The announcement was made by Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security Mr Patrick Ralotsia at a field day recently for Nata/Gweta Block Beef Producers Association in Xwuxwakham.

Minister Ralotsia explained that in May this year, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) granted Zone 3B, FMD free status without vaccination. This, he said was a welcome development to both farmers and government. He appealed to farmers to ensure that the status was maintain.

“I urge you to jealously guard and maintain this status,” he emphasised.

He implored them to report any damages to the cordon fences and any incursion of buffalos or vaccinated cattle to the department of veterinary services (DVS) for quick response. The minister further said that now that their zone was recognised as FMD free without vaccination, it therefore meant that their area was eligible to export to more lucrative markets.

Minister said his ministry through Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) would negotiate with various trading partners to facilitate market for their beef to more lucrative markets including the European Union.

He thus implored them to improve management practices in their farms with good record keeping, individual animal identification and control of measles which he said was a threat to the beef industry. Minister Ralotsia further said according to BMC reports of all the cattle they slaughter, over 10 per cent had measles.

Minister Ralotsia said the commission spend in excess of P30 million annually to sustain the plant adding that the Francistown plant needed 380 cattle per day and to date the highest record had been 116 while most of the days the abattoir kill less than 100.

He therefore said with their Zone having been upgraded he urged them to take their cattle to BMC to sustain the plant.

Appreciating the announcement, the Member of Parliament for Nata/Gweta Mr Polson Majaga appealed to farmers to protect the status and ensure that the cordon fences were well maintained. He urged farmers to take their cattle to BMC and help in sustaining it.

Source : BOPA


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Botswana: Botswana Ready to Tackle Avian Influenza

By Esther Mmolai

Maun — Botswana has come up with some strategic measures in an effort to prepare for the outbreak of Avian Influenza.

The highly contagious viral disease affects several poultry species including chickens, turkeys, quails, guinea fowl, pet birds and wild birds.

The strategies in place include the Regional SADC AI preparedness plan, the National AI preparedness plan, laboratory contingency plan and National communication strategy.

The principal veterinary officer, Dr Odireleng Thololwane informed poultry producers during a workshop aimed to sensitise them about the danger of the disease and what had been put in place as a preparedness measure.

The disease was reported to have been diagnosed in some neighbouring countries such as South Africa and Zimbabwe.

He said in Zimbabwe, the disease was detected in May at a farm near a dam and 3 045 out of 83 000 birds died in a week, while in South Africa the outbreak was identified in a commercial broiler farm at Mpumalanga Province in June.

Following the reports in such countries, Dr Thololwane said they found it fit to come up with a response plans to ensure prevention of the disease.

He noted that the disease spread so quickly that it could result in high mortality rates of up to 100 per cent within 48 hours.

Avian influenza virus, he said, was closely related to other influenza A viruses, which affects humans, horses, pigs and dogs.

In wild birds, he said Influenza virus shed in feaces, saliva, nasal secretions, Fecal-oral mentioning other possible modes of transmission such as fecal-cloacal and respiratory.

In poultry, it was reported that in an infected flock, virus could spread in multiple ways such as fecal-oral, aerosol, fomites and mechanical vectors while in mammals, it could be spread through close contact with dead or sick birds; indirect exposure; contact with feces; swimming in contaminated water and ingestion.

To prevent the disease, the public, especially people working with infected poultry are encouraged to follow good hygiene practices, wear protective clothing such as gloves and masks, consider antiviral prophylaxis and be vaccinated against human influenza.

However, Dr Thololwane explained that efforts were also made through press releases, stakeholder consultation to share information on the risks of the disease and check the preparedness for this threat and map a way forward.

The National Communication Strategy, he said would also help as it allows for a defined communication pathway, thus reducing the chances of miscommunication between key stakeholders.

It also ensures sensitive information is available to the relevant individuals only and in the correct order.

For his part, deputy director of veterinary services, Dr Letsogile Oarabile explained that they were monitoring the situation, adding that continuous efforts were being made to sensitise the public on what they should do to prevent the disease.

“We want to allay fear amongst the public, hence we encourage them to bring samples to the laboratories for tests and report to relevant authorities if they have suspicions,” he added.

Furthermore, he urged the public to work together with his department to monitor the situation.

He said they should understand when government bans export of some poultry products to protect the local species from infection.

Source : BOPA

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