General Archives - Agfrica
Corn farmers in 5 states reap benefits from farm interventions: Corteva
Category: General Author: Africanfarmer Date: 4 months ago Comments: 0
In addition to farm mechanisation, Corteva has also focused on empowering 12,000 tribal women corn farmers. This included training on agricultural methods, providing smart crop production technology and establishing an ecosystem of 'farmer produce...

In addition to farm mechanisation, Corteva has also focused on empowering 12,000 tribal women corn farmers. This included training on agricultural methods, providing smart crop production technology and establishing an ecosystem of ‘farmer produce…

New Delhi: Corteva Agriscience on Tuesday claimed that its farm intervention in five states, like Maharashtra and Karnataka, helped smallholding farmers growing corn reap benefits. Training on new agri-methods and adoption of farm mechanisation among other interventions has led to “much-needed increase in income” of small farmers, it said.

“…we have been working to empower smallholder farmers across five large Indian regions by enabling them to mechanize their corn crop production and providing training on new agricultural methods that increase plant population, crop productivity and profitability for farmers,” Corteva Agriscience South Asia Marketing Director Aruna Rachakonda said in a statement.

In Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Karnataka, and Rajasthan, Corteva said it has distributed corn seed planters to select farmers at subsidised prices and given them access to high-yield potential/low-cost maize hybrids suitable for the agro-climate.

This provides greater control over maize seed production than the traditional regional practice of using high-yield/high-cost hybrids for limited areas and low-cost seeds for the remainder, which reduced productivity, it added.

The company also trained these farmers on agronomic practices and usage of seed planters, held demonstrations of seed and fertiliser machines to enable best practices, introduced accurate drying practices and established cold storage units as well as sorting, grading and packing units.

In addition to farm mechanisation, Corteva has also focused on empowering 12,000 tribal women corn farmers. This included training on agricultural methods, providing smart crop production technology and establishing an ecosystem of ‘farmer producer companies’ (FPC) to create market linkages and an end-to-end value chain.

“As a result of these efforts, the farmers in these five regions were able to optimally use the brief window available for Kharif maize sowing with lower environmental impact than in the past and a much-needed increase in income,” the company said.


Tanzania: Enabling Environment Attracts More Agriculture Sector Investment
Category: General Author: Africanfarmer Date: 4 months ago Comments: 0

THE government is making significant strides to create enabling environment geared at commercialising agriculture sector in order to enhance its contribution to economic growth.

The government bold move taken in the past five years was the slashing of some fees and charges in agriculture which have been impeding the sector’s growth and role in poverty reduction.

For example, the Agriculture Minister Japhet Hasunga said while tabling the 2020/21 budget in Dodoma recently that in 2015/16, the government scratched 105 charges and fees on crops, farm inputs and cooperatives societies.

He said all these efforts attracted more financing with the private investing 3.7tri/- into the agriculture value chain particularly in tea, coffee, sisal, barley, and rice.

The number of jobs created due to the increase of investment flow into the agriculture sector value chain rose to 5,204,607 in 2018/19 compared to 3,880,262 in 2015/16.

The increased financing to agriculture is one of the positive results of the government efforts to make the sector, once considered by most lenders as risky business, attractive to investors.

Although the financial institutions are major contributors to the development of agricultural, livestock and fisheries sectors, there is still a need for lenders to increase their loans’ issuance to agricultural stakeholders, as currently only 9 per cent of loans released by the institutions go to the agricultural sector.

Most of the financial institutions are reluctant to accept the risks prevalent in the agricultural sector, such as droughts, floods, pests and diseases, or the transaction costs of covering large geographical distances.

Minister Hasunga said that his ministry has introduced a new farmers’ registration programme that would enable the government to have data on all important information about farmers, including types of crops they produce, rate of their production and kind of support they need from the State.

The global agri-business has reached 1 trillion US dollars with 50 per cent of the food supply is expected to come from Africa. This is huge opportunity for the private sector to increase investment and take advantage of the growing global demand.

Operating in an economy where 70 per cent of the people engage in agriculture activities, it shows also how important the sector is to the banking industry.

While some of the financial lenders are considering agriculture sector as the most risky business to lend, NMB bank has been capitalising on this as an opportunity to expand its business banking.

The NMB bank Eastern Zone Acting Manager, Harold Haule Lambileki said recently that his financial institution is always working hand in hand with the government to support the growth of agriculture sector in general.

For example, he said since 2016 to current, NMB bank has released over 800bn/- to assist farmers countrywide in the agricultural value chain, which in turn has been timely in helping their farm activities.

The Manager noted that the amount has been helping them right from clearing farms, fertilizers inputs, harvesting and storage as well as transportation to the markets, adding that those are the major areas, where they require support.

“The implication is that in every region, and every district farmers have got our assistance especially in Morogoro and Eastern Zone, where for example they grow sugarcane, sisal and those who engage in fish farms. The list also includes poultry keepers in Coast Region among others,” said Mr Lambileki.

NMB bank has also set aside over 1.9bn/- to fund a local granary that would help mostly those in groups and Corporative Societies including AMCOS as well as individual peasants.

The NMB agri-loans are designed for normally short, medium and long term investment in agriculture production, agriculture mechanization equipment purchase and storage facilities construction.

Also for irrigation systems, processing units and other agribusiness related investments. The lender said the benefit of the loan is its tenure and provides flexibility for farmers to plan and develop their farming enterprise.

Other benefits it provides ample possibilities for farmers to graduate from smallholder level to emerging, commercial and large scale farmer.

NMB despite providing agri-loans also has food and agribusiness research and advisory services.

The food manufacturing market is likely to witness a stable growth rate driven by growing demand from emerging markets.

There is an ever increasing need to invest in agriculture due to a drastic rise in global population and changing dietary preferences of the growing middle class in emerging markets towards higher value agricultural products.

In addition, climate risks increase the need for investments to make agriculture more resilient to such risks. Estimates suggest that demand for food will increase by 70 per cent by 2050 and at least 80 billion US dollars annual investments will be needed to meet this demand, most of which needs to come from the private sector.

Financial sector institutions in developing countries lend a disproportionately lower share of their loan portfolios to agriculture compared to the agriculture sector’s share of GDP.

Access to finance is critical for the growth of the agriculture sector. The shift from subsistence to commercial agricultural production requires funds.

In developing countries, where agriculture is a source of livelihood for 86 per cent of rural people, thus investment in agriculture is critical particularly for large investors.


Three smart ways innovation is helping reduce food loss and waste
Category: General Author: Africanfarmer Date: 4 months ago Comments: 0

Tomatoes rotting on vines because there is no one to pick them. Milk curdling in jars because there are no markets to bring it to. Fruits decaying on shelves because customers don’t have access to produce like before. Lost resources, wasted food. The restrictions in movement and quarantine measures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have increased the levels of food loss and waste the world over.

As the pandemic continues to put people’s food security and nutrition at risk in many countries and hurt the livelihoods of small producers, we are called to re-evaluate our food systems.

One thing is clear: in this time of crisis, there is no room for food loss and waste!

Fortunately, new and innovative technology is being developed every day to improve the way our food is produced, distributed and consumed, transforming our food systems for the better. Here are just a few examples:

1)    Apps to maximise the sale or donation of food

Smartphones are increasingly widespread, and apps are a simple and easy way to reach large portions of the global population. During the pandemic, the popularity of apps to solve food loss and waste has increased. Several countries also began to develop apps to facilitate the logistics, transport and e-commerce of perishable foods.

Too Good to Go is one app that gives shops and restaurants in many cities a platform to sell their surplus food at reduced prices at the end of the day. For example, in Rome, app users can find food offered at discounted prices by a neighbourhood market, a large supermarket chain and popular city eateries.

The Feeding India app, instead, focuses on donations of food for those in need. Restaurants and individuals can sign up on the app to donate food, which is then collected and distributed by this non-profit’s network of more than 4 500 volunteers. These regular feeding programmes run in more than 45 Indian cities and have served over 4.8 million meals so far.

In Kenya, the Twiga Foods platform connects 3 000 food outlets a day with fresh produce through a network of 17 000 farmers and 8 000 vendors, allowing restaurants to buy only what they need and farmers to deliver more efficiently. The company has reduced typical post-harvest losses in Kenya from 30 percent to 4 percent for produce brought to markets on the Twiga network.

2)    New technology through 3D product design

FAO has worked on a number of innovative technologies to increase the efficiency of post-harvest handling and food processing. One of these new solutions harnesses 3D printing technology.  FAO offers online, open-source 3D designs of innovative equipment (equipment that the Organization itself uses in country projects) for download and use.

One of FAO’s most popular downloads is a multipurpose wooden crate for the transport, handling, storage and retail display of produce, reducing the need for the produce to be transferred from one box to another. The innovative design uses basic wooden materials, but as a result much less food is ruined along the value chain. This design has had 13 000 downloads in under two years and is used widely in Sudan and Thailand.

3)    Simple equipment in an innovative way

Being innovative is not all about new technology – it can also mean using simple techniques in a new way. Many FAO projects reduce food losses at the harvesting stage just by challenging traditional techniques and introducing new methods.

For example, in many Asian countries a large proportion of produce is lost during transportation. One FAO project in three South Asian countries found that post-harvest losses ranged between 20 and 50 percent for fruits and vegetables. Much of this is due to packaging that fails to protect the produce.

In Bangladesh, tomatoes are traditionally transported from farm to market in large mesh sacks. Many of the tomatoes are bruised or damaged when they arrive. An FAO project in the region proposed using large crates instead, which substantially reduced losses and allowed farmers to sell a larger proportion of their produce. FAO provided groups of smallholder farmers with crates to get them started and trained them on food-handling best practices, including in transport. The difference in the quality and shelf-life of the produce was so noticeable that in Sri Lanka, one supermarket now provides crates to farmers to guarantee the quality of their produce.

Simple but effective changes like this can dramatically improve handling in the supply chain and have a huge impact on the income and food security of local farmers. They also contribute to improving the quality and shelf life food for consumers.

During COVID-19, many perishable foods like fruits and vegetables went to waste as both farmers and consumers couldn’t access markets. ©FAO/Nozim Kalandarov

This 29 September 2020 will mark the first International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, and FAO is calling on individuals, businesses and governments to act. This international day comes in the middle of a global pandemic, one which has served to highlight the fragility of our current food systems and the importance of access and availability to food.

For many people on the planet, food is a given. But for the millions of people who are chronically hungry, food is not a guarantee. Reducing loss and waste means respecting food and the natural resources, effort and investment that has gone into it. When we think about food’s backstory, it is easier to see what our food really represents and how precious it really is.


Unlocking the Potential of Agriculture for Afghanistan’s Growth
Category: General Author: Africanfarmer Date: 4 months ago Comments: 0

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Agriculture has traditionally dominated Afghanistan’s economy and contributed for a large part to its growth. About 70 percent of Afghans live and work in rural areas, mostly on farms, and 61 percent of all households derive income from agriculture.
  • Despite a decline in its share of Afghanistan’s overall economy, the sector still employs 40 percent of the total work force, and more than half of Afghans living in rural areas contribute to agriculture.
  • With the right mix of policies and investments, the agriculture sector can drive down poverty and boost sustained growth in Afghanistan through jobs, better productivity, and inclusiveness.

A joint report by the Government of Afghanistan and the World Bank Group, Jobs from Agriculture in Afghanistan, explores the agriculture sector’s role in explaining the dynamics of rural employment. The report analyzes three dimensions:

  1. the current jobs structure in rural areas;
  2. the inclusive nature of agricultural jobs for vulnerable groups, such as women, youth, and the landless; and,
  3. the role of public-private sector interventions in supporting job creation in agriculture.

KEY FINDINGS

  • Afghanistan’s rural economy is experiencing an influx of youth workers into the labor force, increasing the competition for every new job. The rural economy, however, is not yet equipped to absorb all workers into the labor market. As a result, more than 50 percent of rural youth workers are involved in agriculture and livestock, mostly as unpaid family workers.
  • The female labor force participation rate (women that work for paid income) in rural areas continues to be low at 29 percent, with 60 percent of employed women working in the livestock sector. Four out of five female rural workers are unpaid family workers, compared with only one out of five male workers.
  • The low share of agricultural income, despite high employment share, is mainly due to limited market participation and the high number of unpaid family workers. Few rural households that own garden plots or raise livestock sell at the market and to earn income. Youth and women constitute a large portion of this unpaid workforce.
  • The crop agriculture subsector is not diversified and overly concentrated on wheat. The lack of crop variety has made farm households vulnerable to stagnant or declining wheat prices in local markets. While farmers continue to produce wheat and other food crops for subsistence to ensure food security, the lack of profitability in wheat production may prompt them to cultivate poppy on irrigated land.
  • The production of fruits, vegetables, flowers, and livestock have great potential to create more, sustainable, and inclusive jobs if farmers are provided with technical knowledge, financial support, and greater access to market facilities. Commercial production of fruits and nuts, as well as livestock products would increase income and employment, including helping to create new jobs for young workers in related areas. By improving the horticulture and livestock economy, the government could also increase the employment share in food processing.

“I cultivate vegetables and sell them and also use them as food in my home. I previously had no job, but after receiving support from the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock’s National Horticulture and Livestock Project, I set up an off-season micro-greenhouse and received technical assistance on vegetable production. ”

POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Diversification toward high-value agriculture and livestock. While policies to improve crop productivity, such as rice, should be in place, policies to diversify agriculture toward high-value agriculture including fruits, vegetables and livestock should be prioritized. Expansion of irrigation facilities and improved seeds availability can support productivity growth.
  • Linking farmers to markets through continued investment in connectivity and infrastructure – the development of agricultural value chains is key to raising productivity and supporting job creation.Continued investments in rural roads and local infrastructure, information and communication technology, and reliable and affordable access to energy are key to enable local producers to access markets and increase agricultural productivity. It is also important to improve women’s access to markets to catalyze the livestock and horticulture subsectors, and manufacturing and processing sectors, where female workers are predominantly employed.
  • A balanced development strategy for an enabling environment for farm and nonfarm sectors. Increased agricultural productivity can boost demand for nonfarm services and products, and a vibrant nonfarm sector can increase demand for high-value agricultural products. Operations in the agriculture sector can be developed to strengthen forward, backward and consumption linkages, providing opportunities to establish value chains that, if exploited adequately, can support economic growth in the farm and nonfarm economies.
  • Access to finance and providing skills development training for job creation. While the report shows that literacy supports women to join the workforce, evidence from agricultural/rural development interventions shows that women who have access to finance and linkages to markets are successfully engaging in nonfarm activities. Policies and interventions that ease financial constraints and improve the skills of the rural workforce, mainly for the most vulnerable groups, should be promoted.
  • Strengthening the private sector presence in agriculture and its linkage with the public sector by means of promoting agribusiness. Private sector efforts in the sector should be underpinned by a conducive institutional, regulatory and business environment to realize the potential of agriculture. The report shows that two policy levers can enhance the growth potential of jobs in the agro-processing sector: (i) enhanced investments and advisory services to promising agro-processing firms to stimulate rapid job creation in local and regional economies; and, (ii) government policy must support the increased use of vertical integration (or at least coordinated linkages) to mitigate risks in the supply chain.

A Farmer’s Tale
Category: General Author: Africanfarmer Date: 4 months ago Comments: 0

This is the only business I know how to do well. This is what am really good at I don’t think I can compete with all these boys wearing blazers suits in high-rise offices. After all my father was successful doing this business and my grandfather had many wives.

I need to expand this Onion cultivation Business,,,, I think I should go back to my village and utilize the 5 plots I have and see how it goes from there. It will make a lot of sense saving up by not paying rent in the city. I need to act fast as that is the next line of business that will hit a major boom.

Beautiful strategy………….2 Months down the line………Why are my onions looking yellow? What did I miss? Who did I offend? How do I manage investors coming for the loan they gave me? Am I cursed?

A spiral of questions follow with not enough answers to match. Questions that could have been asked before the venture was embarked on and yadi yada yaa. Here some few tips for you to consider before acting on that brilliant business idea you have crafted up.

  1. ASK QUESTIONS

As simple and as mundane as this sounds. This is the first step to implementing a new venture you have not gone into before. A popular African proverb says “A person who asks questions never loses his way”.

Don’t toe the line of Abu the Onion guru and find your fingers burnt in the short term, I call it the I.T.K spirit (I too know). There are people who have done what you intend to do before or something close. They have made some mistakes so you don’t have to. Asking won’t hurt, they won’t steal your idea just from the mere mention of it in some people’s opinion. If your idea is truly unique, even if someone copies it, it cannot be implemented in the way only you can.

So please ask, it will save you a whole world of hurt.

  1. DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH

It is one thing to hear someone’s experience, it’s entirely another to compare it with facts that exist. For example in Agribusiness that someone says cauliflower is the next big thing, doesn’t mean one should dash headlong into it. Is it good to grow in the region where I am, how can it grow in a tropical region for example, what are the other uses for it in case I can sell what I produce? These are some salient points to research on.

Useful resources exist online, like Nimet, researchgate, F.A.O stats e.t.c

Another example is in the world of fashion, that someone says stripes are in vogue as a designer doesn’t mean you should recommend for all your clients. Research will tell you vertical stripes make you seem taller and horizontal stripes make you look wider, this should be a No No for your plus sized clients.

Google is still your friend…..

  1. AVOID SOLO MINDSET

Don’t do it all by yourself, seek help and counsel per time as you go on in your new journey. Never work with the “sweat alone and dine alone” mindset, you may expose your venture to major avoidable pitfalls.

Think in terms of partnership and making your community a better place while making an income out of it, you’ll be amazed at the results you would achieve.

Give value for the exchange of value, our forefathers who had the trade by batter concept knew that there is always something you need that someone else has….think collaboration, our lives and businesses are interconnected.

  1. BE AWARE OF THE CHALLENGES

Whatever you decide on venturing into, walk into with your eyes wide open. “Knowledge is key “as popularly quoted.

In Agribusiness for example let’s mention a few;

Access to timely information

Access to market

Distribution network burecracies

Lack of quality input

Transportation and logistics

Government policies and their impact

There are a whole lot of them out there for any industry you choose to venture into. You just need to identify them and chose which ones you can mitigate in your business, or completely have an alternative for to be sustainable.

  1. DEAL WITH WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL

For everything you want to do there will certainly be areas that have unexpected outcome which you cannot control irrespective of the amount of planning you had in place

However there are some areas that are fixed or within your control to an extent . For example the dry season no matter the climate changes so far has always had late December as part of it. If you are considering a cooling venture for your partners around that time of the year.

Diversify your portfolio around those controllable factors..

Enough said we would like to share in your experiences along your journey of Business that people can learn from. Please drop them in the comments section looking forward to hearing form you…….