Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Four Agricultural Fields With Goods Job Prospects

When you hear the word “agriculture,” images of a farmer atop his tractor may come to mind, but there are a slew of other related professions to pursue, from engineering to economics.

Earlier this year, a study led by Purdue University determined that in the next five years there would be close to 60,000 job openings annually in fields related to agriculture, food, the environment, and renewable natural resources. We spoke to three professors at Purdue—a major research university located in West Lafayette, Indiana, which is consistently ranked as having one of the top agricultural sciences programs in the country (and world for that matter)—on which professions are emerging in this field.
Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Agricultural engineers can focus on machine design, design, and processes of getting food produced at the farm to your plate, or environmental challenges working with soil, water, and air, says Bernard Engel, head of Purdue’s Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. Careers include working for equipment manufactures in the agricultural, forestry, construction, and military industries. On the environmental and natural resources end, there are jobs with various government agencies or consulting firms.

Engel says the all of the programs in his department are in high demand right now. “Many of the advances in agriculture right now are coming in this area. The future looks bright as well, given expectations of even more technology being used in agriculture in the future,” he says in an email.

Biological engineers deal with issues that include food processes, things like making food taste better or making it last longer; and cellular and biomolecular engineering, which concerns “finding better ways to get value from by-products or getting energy from biological materials.” The food industry is a major employer. Engel says there is also a demand in research and development for these graduates, not only in the food and pharmaceutical industries, but also in genetic engineering in plants.

Agricultural Systems Management graduates help make agricultural technology easier to understand and use, says Engel, and students in this area are “highly sought after in careers with machinery, grain handling, and precision technology.”

Soil Science

Students can focus on soil ecology, chemistry, physics, conservation, and soil landscapes—mapping the soil attributes of a certain area—among other fields of study. John Graveel, an agronomy professor and director of the Natural Resources and Environmental Science program at Purdue, says job prospects for soil scientists right now are very strong.

“Soil science students are getting some training in geographical information systems [GIS],” Graveel tells Modern Farmer in a phone interview. (GIS is a computer system that is used for collecting and displaying data as it relates to geographic points on the Earth’s surface.) “It’s hugely in demand right now by consulting firms to have people on staff who know how to do GIS.”

Agricultural Economics

Agricultural economics is the practice of applying economic principles to public and private decisions made in the agricultural sector, explains Kenneth Foster, head of Purdue’s Agricultural Economics Department. The field includes sales and marketing, agribusiness, farm management, policy making, and natural resource and energy economics.

Job prospects are “pretty strong” for graduates in this “heavily data and metric driven” field, Foster says. “We placed 98 percent of our graduates last May by the end of the summer. Well over 100 students got jobs.”

Pro tip: Foster says because we’re entering an era of data-driven decision making, “the students who can position themselves to be strong from an analytical and problem-solving perspective are going to have an edge in the market.”

All three professors agree on what students interested in these fields should be focusing on: math and science. You get a bonus for taking part in extracurricular activities that help build leadership, communication, and organizational skills.


Finally, let’s not forget the entrepreneurs out there who are tech savvy and like to go it alone. Agricultural technology startups are blooming right now. Last year the industry grew by 170 percent and had more than $2.36 billion in investment, according to the website TechCrunch.

“I think the agricultural tech industry is doing well because it’s been overlooked for awhile. I think that’s really going to change and it’s going to continue to grow,” says Jason Aramburu, founder and CEO of Edyn, a startup that makes a smart watering sensor for crops.

By Andrew Amelinckx for Modern Farmer

Sunday, 24 April 2016

University of Ibadan Alumni's Seek Policies That Would Promote Agricultural Research

THE alumni of the department of Agricultural Extension, University of Ibadan have called for innovation in developing and implementing agricultural policies in the country.

Deliberating on agricultural production and its effects on Nigeria’s economy, as part of the line-up of events to mark the 40th anniversary and homecoming ceremony of the department, the alumni, in their various presentations noted that agricultural policies had to be well thought through if the nation was to be self sufficient.

Director General of Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), Dr Yemi Akinbamijo, who was guest speaker at the event held on Saturday, emphasised the importance of innovative policies in agriculture to bring about wealth creation, food security and youth employment.

“If we must exploit the potentials in this country, science and technology and innovation must be fully utilised. This will boost agricultural productivity in Nigeria and aid the emergence of Nigeria as a food self-sufficient nation,” he said.

On the importance of innovation in agriculture, Akinbamijo added, “innovation is not the end. It is a means to an end. We are not short of science and technologies, and farmers. All we have to do is make these things gel. We have to translate these innovations into wealth creation, food security and youth employment.”

He also called for the joint efforts of the private and public sector so as the drive the policies.

Director General, Office of Economic Development and Partnerships (OEDP), Dr Charles Akinola, called for innovation in developing and implementing agricultural policies in the country.

Akinola, in his address, on agricultural policy and its implementation, harped on the need for stakeholders and concerned Nigerians to critique existing policies with a view to coming up with strategies and policies that meet today’s demands of agriculture.

“Concerning agricultural policies and implementation, we need to reengage and restrategise. For change to occur in Nigeria’s agricultural sector, innovation and technology should be introduced. With this, we will have great opportunities working with youths. Young people should be encouraged to embrace agriculture as this will boost agricultural production in Nigeria,” Akinola said.

The Head of Department of Agricultural Extension, Professor A.E Adekoya, appreciated the alumni for honouring the call and contributing in building and sustaining the department.

Other alumni at the event included, Professors Janice Olawoye, Terry Olowu, Idowu Oladele, Muhammed Yahya, Yomi Alfred, Dr, Idris Badiru, Dr Tola Oyedele of NIHORT and Mr Hamzat of IART.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Waste, Storage Facilities and Food Prices

The next food revolution is here: stemming the tide of food waste. Roughly 70 percent of the food produced in Nigeria never reach our plates. This is in contrast to the high amount of malnourishment and hunger amongst vulnerable sections of the population.

The shopping, cooking, and eating habits of every day consumers are responsible for the bulk of wasted food, which is actually good news—it means we have the power to make a significant and immediate change in the food waste equation.
Of course there are also big structural issues at play—from regulations that encourage grocery stores, market sellers and transporters to discard food prematurely due to quality issues, storage challenges or aesthetics reasons.

Recently traders at the boundary market between Kogi and Benue states have called on the states and federal government to enhance storage facilities for their food produce. A substantial amount of their products are lost as post harvest losses due to this problem. They travel several kilometers from the hinterland to the market with their farm products, and on a good day the market for yam, garri, cassava flour and tomatoes go well and they smile home, but on other not so good days, when the market go sour, the products, especially garri and tomatoes, are wasted for lack of storage facilities.

The traders who made their position known to the government when speaking to LEADERSHIP in Lokoja, yesterday, noted that for sometime now even at the expense of sacrificing other things to engage in farming, there is no encouragement from the government both at the local or national level.

The leader of the market women, Alhaja Junai Shaibu, who narrated the harrowing experience of what the traders go through every market day pointed out that the quick intervention of the governments for the traders will be the provision of storage facilities for their unsold products.

It is time we started reducing our food waste by adopting new ways e.g. purchasing directly from farmers, preservation by partially cooking, sun drying and other affordable ways we could use in reducing food waste footprint in our homes, lives and economy. This alone cannot solve the problem as storage still needs to be addressed by the government and investors in agriculture.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Obasanjo and AGRA Cohorts Launch Africa Food Prize

Participants at the just concluded 12th Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program Partnership Platform (CAADP PP) in Accra, Ghana have called on the private sector to translate Malabo commitment into bankable business plans that can attract required resources necessary for accelerated implementation.

Former Nigeria President, Olusegun Obasanjo with Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) President , Dr. Agnes Kalibata, at the launch of the Africa Food Prize at the just concluded 12th Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program Partnership Platform (CAADP PP) in Accra, GhanaFormer Nigeria President, Olusegun Obasanjo with Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) President , Dr. Agnes Kalibata, at the launch of the Africa Food Prize at the just concluded 12th Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program Partnership Platform (CAADP PP) in Accra, Ghana The call formed part of the recommendations made at the end of the CAADP PP meeting which focused on, “Innovative financing and Renewed Partnerships to Accelerate the Implementation of CAADP.”

The CAADP PP, brought together over 400 African and global leaders from international organisations, African Governments, including parliamentarians from AU Member States, private agribusiness firms, farmers, NGOs and civil society organizations. The 12th CAADP PP was designed to deliver on the AU Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Africa Agricultural Growth and Transformation and the AU Agenda 2063, through speeding up CAADP implementation as a result of financial innovation and partnerships. Delegates at the meeting underscored the need to innovate so as to address the gaps in the financial products and delivery of financial services. The meeting also highlighted the need to implement the Malabo Declaration with greater coordination across sectors on the continent and within regions. The participants added that development finance policies and efforts exist but the delivery of the development finance services is clearly the weakness. On innovative delivery financial services, participants asked the stakeholders to consider how the digital revolution in financial services could be used to collect the much needed data for planning and risk management.

Participants also called on stakeholders to educate the smallholder farmers and the small and medium enterprises on how to conduct business and improve business skills. On agriculture and food insecurity risk management, it was agreed that stakeholders shall address the quality of data requirement collectively together with the national planning data and financial services to reduce the unit cost of investment, but to also create the opportunity for this investment to be considered as a public good. “Member states shall continue to out in place the necessary infrastructure, building capacity and creating a good environment for the risk management markets to make it more attractive.” One of the key messages from the meeting is the call for a coherent linkage across regional markets that ensure coordination but also address the multi- sectoral dimensions of agriculture and rural development. It was noted that the public sector needs to do the heavy lifting so as to create an attractive environment for the private sector. The meeting also reaffirmed the vital role for agriculture in leading African development and serving as a catalyst for the needs of the youth and women. Speaking during the opening session, African Union Commission (AUC) Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, reiterated that the only way to sustainably deliver on the Heads of State Commitments on Malabo was to, “mobilize our own continental human and financial resources and build strong partnerships for an accountable and efficient implementation of the CAADP Agenda.” She informed the gathering that the Malabo Declaration, in line with Africa’s Agenda 2063, reiterates a call for action and delivery of results and impact and an expedient process of translating the commitments into results. “We have made a tremendous effort to align the global indicators set in the SDGs with those of the 10-year Plan of Agenda 2063 stipulated in the Malabo Declaration and translated into the CAADP Result Framework and Implementation Roadmap. “This will facilitate our Member States to customize both the SDGs and the CAADP-Malabo targets,’’ she said. “Agriculture is proven to reduce poverty 11 times compared to other sectors. Hence my plea to all Member States is to follow through on their 2003 Maputo commitment reiterated in their 2014 Malabo Declaration to invest at least 10 % of their public budget in agriculture.” Tumusiime said renewed partnerships built on mutual accountability would help Governments, the Private Sector, Farmers and Farmers organizations as well as development partners to deliver on results and Impact for a transformed Agriculture and reach the targets set by the CAADP, Malabo Declaration and the SDGs.

Ghanian Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan, said the agricultural sector was of critical importance to stimulate broad economic growth as he called for more enhanced investments from the private sector into agriculture. Speaking during the opening ceremony, the CEO of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, said that agriculture still remains the best sector that offers the continent escape from poverty. He said of all the challenges that Africa faces, agriculture is one that transcends and embraces all the other. “Agriculture, which employs or provides livelihoods to 60% of the population while contributing 20-30% to Africa’s GDP, is the sector that could by itself enable to save the greatest number of Africans from extreme poverty while giving them their dignity back.” Speaking yesterday at the opening of the 12th CAADP PP taking place in Accra, he said regrettably, agriculture attracts less than 5% of lending from financial institutions on the continent, leaving farmers and agricultural enterprises starved of the capital they need to operate and grow their businesses. “Our continent today runs the risk of missing a unique opportunity to develop and offer its youth the jobs it has the obligation to provide if it wants to avoid social implosion. Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki said “Africa can only make it happen if we collectively innovate and collectively agree to account for the resources injected and results and impact that ensue. Indeed, as a continent, with a community of destiny, we cannot afford to invest into our agriculture the same way we have been doing thus far.’’ Dr. Mayaki urged Africa to demonstrate how proactive it is in injecting its own resources into agriculture and to have a more inward looking approach into self-reliance on domestic resources. During the opening ceremony also, Tumusiime chaired a session that saw President. Obasanjo, President Kufour and Dr. Agnes Kalibata, launch the Africa Food Prize.

The Africa Food Prize is a transition from the Yara Prize, Africa’s most prestigious award recognizing outstanding contributions to reducing hunger and poverty. It is also a response to the recommendation by AU Heads of State and Government in their Malabo Declaration to institutionalize a system for peer review that encourages good performance on achievement of progress made in implementing the provisions of the Declaration and to recognize biennially, exemplary performance through awards. Agnes Kalibata, AGRA President disclosed that the US $100,000 accolade will recognize outstanding individuals and institutions that are changing the reality of farming in Africa from a struggle to survive to a business that thrives. “Winners will be selected by a panel of independent and distinguished leaders in African agriculture chaired by President H.E Obasanjo. “The Africa Food Prize will shine a bright spotlight on bold initiatives and technical innovations that can be replicated across the continent to help millions of smallholder farmers deliver a new era of sustainable food security and economic opportunity. “We encourage you to embrace this opportunity to honour the best and brightest in African agriculture by nominating candidates for the Africa Food Prize who are dedicated to putting smallholder farmers at the centre of Africans growing economies.”

By Babatunde Jimoh

AfDB Invest $300 Million In Agriculture

The African Development Bank (AfDB) in its continued efforts at providing fund for youths involved in agriculture would be investing about $300 million as part of innovative funding mechanism for youths in agric-led employment initiative. The funding as revealed by the Minister of State for Agriculture, Heineken Lokpobori would help develop the country and encourage youth in aghriculture.

This is news we can only hope the usual challenges of engaging the youth is overcome with this extra push coming into this critical sector of the economy. I would advice serious agro entrepreneurs to keep an eye out for some grant opportunities and loans from AfDB soon as they seek to achieve the mandate laid down with this kind of investment. Anyone with innovative social enterprise projects they wish to develop and possibly gain funding for, they should click here to get help incubating and accelerating such projects.

Have a productive day.


Thursday, 21 April 2016

Renewable Energy Conferences and Farm Sales

Good morning people, it has been a little while. I hope everything has been going on well with your daily endeavors. A lot has been happening. There is a conference on Solar & Off-Grid Renewables West Africa 2016 been held in Accra Ghana. We are patitently waiting to hear all about the latest development from our delegate at the event. You can follow the conversation on twitter using the #SORWA16 and #AfricaPV hashtags. You can read more about the conference here

Meanwhile I came across this video of a Fish farm for sale along Ibadan express way. I am going to contact the uploader of the video to get more information. I cant help but think of the employment this site can generate, you guys could all tell me what you think.

Monday, 18 April 2016

N12bn Worth of ‘Strange Projects’ Discovered in Agriculture Ministry’s Budget

Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh and his team have reportedly found 386 strange additions worth N12.6 billion in the ministry’s budget proposals – which were believed to have been inserted by the National Assembly.

The said projects were allegedly fixed into the budget after the N40.918 billion earlier proposed had been reduced to N31.618 billion.

A source told the Nation Newspapers that Ogbeh and his team were shocked at the strange inclusion found in the budget after they discovered about 3 projects that aren’t linked with agriculture in the budget.

Some of the projects are erosion control in Federal University, Kashere, Kwadon and Garin Alhaji at N200 million, N100 million and N45 million.

A source reportedly told the news outfit that: “In the Agric sector, 386 projects were inserted, which totalled about N12.6 billion.”

“While N5.3 billion of the main ministry’s budget is taken away, about N7.2 billion is infused into almost 40 agencies and parastatals of the agric ministry.”

Also, 58 boreholes for 29 rural communities worth N175 million as well as another 50 boreholes for 50 communities worth N150.4 million were also added to the budget.

According to the source “curiously, the communities are not named.”

“Similarly, of the N90 million allocated to the Cocoa Research Institute in Ibadan, various sums are allotted the following ýof the seven sub-heads: provision of rubber seeds and seedling in Igbotako, Okitipupa, (N5m), training and empowerment of youths in poultry farming in Oluyole, Ibadan(N20m) and provision of cassava processing plant in Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State(N10m).”

“Of the four sub-heads under the Rubber Research Institute, Benin, two areas are equally outside the focus of rubber. These are training and empowerment of youth and women in fish farming in Ndokwa, Delta State as well as fabrication and installation of cassava processing machines in Owan West Local Government Area of Edo State at N10m and N20m.”

“Also, N1 billion was allocated to two projects in Kwara South Senatorial District, including the construction of rural roads for N700 million as well as empowerment of women and youths in agricultural products for N300 million.”

Meanwhile, a member of the House of Representatives Appropriation Committee has revealed that the projects were fixed into the budget without the knowledge of the committee’s members.
“We are happy that the Speaker hinted that the issue of the budget will be revisited this week. But what some of us want is the understanding of Nigerians on this matter.”

“The issue of this controversial budget has to be carefully done this time around because some persons who think they were smarter had already led the entire parliament into collision with the executive and indeed Nigerians.”

“They have done this by inserting projects without the knowledge of others either in the appropriation or relevant sectoral committees and presenting same as the collective decision of the house or the entire parliament.”

“To the best of my knowledge, as a member of both the appropriation and agriculture committees in the House of Representatives, I did know that we reduced the ministry’s N40.9 billion proposal by about N9.3 billion.”

“But the surprise here is that while a decision was not taken where to infuse the reduced sum, some of us were surprised to see that so many projects were passed on to the President for assent, which he declined.”

“The implication is that if the President did not insist on details, most National Assembly members would not have had the opportunity to know what went behind them.”

The Budget Minister, Udoma Udoma is expected to meet with the president on Monday, April 18 to brief him on the impasse.

Article by

Adebayo Emuleomo for

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Poultry In Motion – The Inner Workings of Our Favourite Bird

Chickens are the most popular livestock in the world. We all love them; fried, grilled, sautéed, peppersouped, suya-ed, skewered, shredded, marinated, with fgarlic, with cumin, with maggi, with rosemary, in soup. Okay you get my drift. The list goes on but it’s always tasty. But have you ever thought of them as more than just meat or a source of fresh eggs? In 2004, chickens became the first bird to have their full genome sequenced, uncorking a deluge of scientific inquiry into their physiology, as well as their social behaviors and even their psychological dimensions. Some people believe that are smarter than your toddler and exhibit learning and communication behaviors on par with primates. Now that’s a food for thought.
Based on my religious inclination, I believe everything has a soul but yet I am not able to answer why the chicken crossed the road. But here are some curious facts
1. Communication - All that clucking is not random—chickens have a language of their own. Scientists claim that in addition to saying “cluck,” chickens “pok,” “brawk,” and “squawk.” And from these basic syllables, chickens are capable of at least 30 different calls. Imagine what your chicken is announcing “INTRUDER ! INTRUDER!!” Every time you go to pick an egg

2. Do Chickens Have Feelings- Yes, says British researcher Jo Edgar, who determined that hens, at least, experience empathy. He designed an experiment that simulated chick stress and found that the mother hens behaved as if they themselves were experiencing the pain—a classic sign of empathy. Chickens are also known to display mourning behavior when another chicken in the flock dies, and they will show signs of depression if they are removed from the flock and placed in solitary quarters.

3. A surprising number of people suffer from fear of chickens, a condition known as alektorophobia, which may not be as unreasonable as it sounds given what scientists have been discovering about them. Recent research has shown that chickens can distinguish between more than 100 faces of their own species and of humans, so they know who you are and will remember you if you treat them badly. They’ve demonstrated complex problem-solving skills and have super-sensory powers, such as telescopic eyesight (like birds of prey) and nearly 360-degree vision (like owls). Chickens are the closest living relatives of the Tyrannosaurus rex (researchers determined this in 2007 by testing proteins from a particularly well-preserved T-rex leg bone), and they outnumber human beings on the planet 3 to 1. There hasn’t yet been an Orwellian uprising of chickens revolting against farmers due to poor coop conditions, but to all those that use tiny “battery” cages, cut off beaks, and engage in other atrocities common to industrial chicken farming—watch out, your birds may be plotting against you.
4. Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road – This is still one question scientists don’t have a theory for. I guess we just have to settle for poultry in motion

Ps. If you have found this interesting or put a smile on your face, please drop a comment to let us know. This was inspired by The Modern Farmer article by Brian Barth

Youth Unemployment - Perspective

My experience working on the YAE project since 2012, exposed me to a variety of salient issues youths in Nigeria are confronted with. Some of these findings have shaped my perspective on the unemployment issue.

1. OPPORTUNITIES - During the initial research phase of the YAE project, a detailed survey was carried out to gauge the depth of the unemployment problems. The most noticeable issue exposed by the survey was the chronic lack of opportunities for the youth population. The lack of balanced participation and representation of young people amongst the policy-makers made it extremely hard to propagate laws that included youth problems amongst the policies been passed. Majority of young people I interacted with were keen on gaining useful employment mainly driven by the desire to gain independence and self-expression. The level of willingness demonstrated by most of the individuals was not proportional to the opportunities available. There are very few youth specific jobs created by the policy makers in the country to address youth unemployment and poverty. A pervading belief of solving youth poverty and empowerment by creating jobs for their parents was evident. This is main driven by the cultural view of empowering the parents and assuming that it translates as empowerment for their children.

2. INAPPROAPRIATE TRAINING AND SKILL SET - The 21st century has experienced incredible development in science and technology which has affected the socio-economic landscape globally. The job market is constantly shifting and evolving to match these developments. Job definitions are changing and valued skills set have evolved to the point that its completely contrary to those been proffered to youths in academic institutions. A lot of young people are been trained through formal education along the models and syllabuses created to suit the economy of the last century. The education we received was modeled after an economy that was driven on quantization and classification. Jobs had defined roles and expectations. A science student focused on learning the theories and concept valuable and isolated to the scientific world without the need to learn business skills, social sciences or consumer behavior while a student of the arts faculty would focus on their discipline without any understanding of the telecommunications, environmental sciences. The current global economy on the contrary places high value on dynamic and versatile personnel due to the complex overlap and interaction of various disciplines for a given job. This has led to an increase in young people spending valuable years in educational training and then ushered into a global economy that has no need for their skills set. Another factor that is often muted is the penchant for parents to coerce their children into studying disciplines that are traditionally viewed as reputable professions while the interest, the zeal and natural flair for that field might not be present in the individual.

3. THE ENTREPRENEURIAL APPEAL – The focus on entrepreneurship as a tool of battling unemployment has been prevalent amongst majority of developmental organizations with interest in youth unemployment. This trend has become so popular because it’s a solution that typifies the bottom –up approach. Young individuals without jobs and a steady means of income invariably turn to various forms of entrepreneurship. This is usually an option driven by necessity. The increasing number of young individuals going through formal education and decreasing number job of opportunities has forced young individuals to create their own jobs. This option has become very popular with the high level of job insecurity. Jobs are created and destroyed at a faster rate than ever before in our history this has made the appeal of entrepreneurship stronger for young individuals that are about to start their careers. This factor along with the desire to express their own identity and beliefs in the global socio-economic landscape has led to a lot of youth wanting to become entrepreneurs. As a young person, we believe we have novel ideas, new ways of viewing the world’s challenges and new needs that can only be serviced by creating our own enterprises to solve them.
4. GLOBAL PEER LINKAGE - My experiences working with agriculture as a developmental tool in Nigeria has exposed me to the vast possibilities that lay abound in entrepreneurship in the country and the continent at large. Re-positioning the African youths to partake in the entrepreneurial pursuit and creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive would play a massive role in helping Africa overcome its last major challenge outside of peace and security – youth unemployment. Attracting individuals and corporations with the know-how of developing enterprises and businesses in Africa would only be possible with strong ground work in investment finance, business networking opportunities and developing indigenous capabilities to trade with their global counterparts. A strong framework of business development across and between African countries would need to be in existence for this vision to be achieved.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Fulani, Falae and The Oldest Battle

I read with alarm and sadness that Fulani's have attacked the farm premises of Olu Falae in the Obaile residence of the elder statesman and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

According to Premium Times, about 10 Fulani herdsmen also attacked the farm of Falae, on Sunday, taking one of the security guards at the residence hostage. The security guard was later found dead on Thursday. His body was discovered by the police in a pool of water some miles away from Falae farm.

The matter was said to have been handled quietly by the police on the behest of the Falae family. The family reportedly deserted their house for fear that they will be attacked again. It would be recalled that the former SGF was last year kidnapped by some Fulani herdsmen, who are currently facing criminal prosecution for the abduction. Falae was, however, released by his abductors after paying N5 million ransom.
This constant battle between rogue Fulani men and farmers have been on the increase across the country. The whole of Plateau state and Benue are used to the constant battle between farmers and Fulani men. This has become a major problem that needs to be addressed by our policy makers. The agriculture community are aware of the importance of these nomads to our economy as intensive rearing of cattle are still above the level of sophistication displayed by most farms in Nigeria at the moment and with such large mass of land unused, that makes for perfect grazing grounds.

The problem is that Nigeria's grazing reserves have been systematically depleted or allocated to large corporations to use as farming lands. This combined with the rise in cattle rustling in the past years have made the Fulani's feel aggrieved and create a level of tension.

The Ministry of Agriculture would do the nation a massive favor in its push towards delivering milk to school students if we made the cattle and dairy industry an efficient entity. Grazing lands are a non-negotiable. Planting resistance and nutrient rich grazing plants like the alfalfa plant across vast grazing lands across the country would definitely help in sequestering the movements of these Fulani herdsmen. The battle between settlers and nomads is the oldest fight known to man. it can run deep and bloody so should not be ignored for much longer by the government. We need policies implemented to handle this situation.

My sympathies goes to those that were harmed or lost their lives during the attack on Chief Olu Falae's farm and hope the police would speedily conclude their investigations.

Have a good day.


Thursday, 7 April 2016

VIDEO; Gardening Without Cutlass-GROWING Wild Okro

So I came across this inspiring young man growing Okro in the wild employing No-till cultivation method. This is such an amazing step as it reduces the energy input from the farm and conserves the integrity of the biological composition of the soil. No-till cultivation is gaining prominence in a lot of organic and bio-intensive circles. This young man even though motivated by profit is making a big move.
Salut to Mr Jerry Osazee!

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Fuel, Food And Optimism

The fuel scarcity is hitting everyone hard. The small to medium scale businesses are really struggling as well and like the rest of the country we are begging for respite. Fuel scarcity also poses a major threat to our food security. The cost of transporting food round the country would increase which would also spike the food costs. Not good news at all at the moment. Losses are been incurred everywhere in the country.

I came across a news article regarding these losses from the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) which made it clear to the government that the issue of unavailability of petroleum products and its importation portrays our country in bad light. It shows us up as an incompetent manager of our resources.
“NNPC from the comments of it’s officials may have given up. We may seriously need to divest our refineries. Businesses and our economy are being battered from all sides. Forex, energy supply, infrastructure, security concerns. The list is endless.” He said
Businesses especially MSME’s have lost over N30B through inadequate supply of petroleum products. Labour productivity is low as employees have stayed off work since the hike of fares by providers and when they come, they are always late. NNPC banned the use of containers to buy petrol without considering that most households and small businesses run on petrol generating sets. This has forced them to close shops. Buying with kegs is not the cause of scarcity but inadequate supply of products.
According to Tony Ejinkeonye, NNPC over the years has not proffered any meaningful solution. They are fond of treating symptoms instead of addressing the issue, he concluded.

The fate of a business owner in Nigeria at the moment reminds me of a Late Koffi Awnoor verse;
"If I turn here, the rain beats me
If I turn there the sun burns me
The firewood of this world Is for only those who can take heart
That is why not all can gather it"

Naija, we are still pregnant with hope!

Meet The Next Generation of Farmers In Abuja

More young people are interested in Agriculture than ever before due to a combination of factors. These young individuals are passionate and knowledgeable about current Agricultural practises. They are able to fuse their knowledge of the global economics with the immediate need of Nigerian farming and economy.
The images below are from Fish Farming cluster in ABUJA. Run by young individuals with a exciting new ideas for Farming.
I salute your efforts!

Monday, 4 April 2016

Meet The Modern Farmer From Uganda

Lanyero Family Plot
Gulu Region, Northern Uganda

Christine Lanyero was only a teenager in 1987 when Joseph Kony’s brutal Lord’s Resistance Army occupied the Gulu-region village where her family farmed. After the LRA killed Lanyero’s father, she walked nearly 250 miles to a refugee camp outside the city of Kampala.

But in August of 2014, the camp’s land was sold for development. With financial aid from a U.S.-based nonprofit, Lanyero—along with 31 other women and their families—journeyed north to their ancestral lands, which are once again considered safe.

Lanyero, her husband, and her five children moved into a new mud-brick and thatch hut steps away from where she grew up, and she planted maize, groundnuts, cassava, and soybeans. Like the majority of women in Northern Uganda, Lanyero digs food (dig is the local word for farm) to feed her household, and often walks long distances to sell surplus at regional markets. Every day, she carries jerricans over a mile each way to the nearest borehole to gather water. “It is difficult to start over and make a life again,” she says. “This has not been easy. The digging is challenging, and the market is far away. Everything is far away.”

Christine is just an example of a growing trend of modern farmers who seem to be characterized by the sheer will to grow food against the odds of environment, social hindrances and lack of access to land either due to cost or land grab challenges. Christine's story shows us that there is a way and more importantly she isn't alone; there are many people in her situation and many individuals and organizations that have dedicated their time and effort to help work together and solve these problems.

Do you know any modern farmers around you that would benefit from support and a network to help improve their farming methods and improve quality of life, please contact me and lets see what we can all achieve together. Lets keep growing.

The nonprofit After the Bulldozers—founded by a 16-year-old girl in Danville, California—helped Lanyero and more than 200 others.