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AfDB seeks partnerships to lift 1 billion people out of hunger globally

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THE African Development Bank, AfDB called on global partners to join hands to lift one billion people worldwide out of hunger and said it was leading the way by investing US$24 billion in African agriculture over the next 10 years in the largest such effort ever.

“We are not winning the war against global hunger,” Bank President Akinwumi Adesina told an agriculture conference at Purdue University in Indianapolis on Tuesday, 25 September.

“We must not get carried away,” he added, referring to statistics showing a decline in the global population living on less than two dollars per day. In reality, the number of hungry people in the world had increased from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million in 2016, he said citing the latest World Food Security and Nutrition data.

Adesina told the audience that included researchers, implementing organizations, business leaders, policymakers and donors that simple technical and scientific methods were already making a whole difference to farm yields and income in Africa. While such technologies to deliver Africa’s green revolution exist, they are mostly just sitting on the shelves, he said.

“The release of water efficient maize varieties now allows farmers to harvest good yields in the face of moderate drought,” he noted. “Today, rice varieties exist that can give yields of 8 tonnes per ha. Cassava varieties exist with yields of up to 80 tonnes per ha. Heat tolerant and disease resistant livestock and technologies for ramping up aquaculture exist.”

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Bank experts put current comparative yields at 1.5-2 tonnes per ha for rice and 10-15 tonnes per ha for cassava.

What was needed urgently was deployment of supportive policies to ensure technologies are cascaded down to millions of farmers. “All Africa needs to do is to harness the available technologies with the right policies and rapidly raise agricultural productivity and incomes for farmers and assure lower food prices for consumers.”

The Bank has launched its Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), a $1 billion initiative to extend the use of farm technologies. TAAT is currently engaging seed companies, public and private entities, and financial institutions in 27 countries to make technology available to a total of 40 million African farmers.

Combining targeted subsidies for farmers with a market-based system for rapidly expanding access to financing for farmers and agricultural value chains is the fastest way to get many people out of poverty to a sustained pathway for economic growth, Adesina added.

The conference on “ Scaling Up Agricultural Technologies for Transformation” marked Adesina’s fond return to his alma mater.

“It was here, as a graduate student, that I began the journey of searching for ways to get technologies into the hands of millions of farmers,” he said. Adesina was to go on to make a huge impact on the transformation of agriculture in Africa, including implementing game-changing policies in his years as Nigeria’s Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development before taking up his post at the Bank in September 2015.

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Adesina said the situation in Sub-Saharan Africa needed particularly urgent intervention due to the ravages of climate change. The International Food Policy Research Institute estimates that Africa will add 38 million to its number of hungry people by 2050 as a result of climate change.  The Institute forecasts that Africa will experience major food shortages by 2020 and beyond, while malnutrition will be on the rise over the next 20 years.

The Bank’s ongoing initiatives had the objectives of growing income for farmers, stabilizing prices for staple crops, reducing losses and stimulating multiplier effects in local economies.  With its Staple Crop Processing Zones and other initiatives, the Bank is demonstrating how this can be done.

“The African Development Bank put feeding Africa as one of its topmost priorities when it launched its Feed Africa strategy  in 2015 and is investing $ 24 billion in agriculture for Africa over 10 years – the largest ever such effort,” the Bank President said. Across Africa, the Feed Africa Strategy  is supporting the development of policies, markets, infrastructure and institutions that will ensure that agricultural value chains are well developed and that technologies reach several millions of farmers.

Adesina called for global partnerships to establish Staple Crop Processing Zones across Africa.

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“The SCPZs will provide several advantages for rural economies. They will create markets for farm produce. Raw materials will no longer be moved out of rural areas, but as finished value-added products. Post-harvest losses will be substantially reduced. Well integrated agricultural value chains will develop, with supportive logistics, especially warehousing and cold chains,” Adesina added.

The African Development Bank has already started investments to develop these SCPZs in a number of pioneering African countries, including Ethiopia, Togo, Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique. It expects the processing zones to be active in about 15 countries in the near-term.

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Just In: Makinde appoints Ogunwuyi DG investments, public-private partnership agency

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The Executive Assistant to the Oyo State Governor on Investment Promotion, Honourable Segun Ogunwuyi, has been appointed as the pioneer Director-General of the newly-established Oyo State Investments and Public-Private Partnership Agency.

A statement signed by the Special Assistant (Print Media) to Governor Seyi Makinde, Moses Alao, indicated that Hon. Ogunwuyi’s appointment was approved by Governor Seyi Makinde, on Tuesday.

The appointment is to take immediate effect.

In a letter conveying the appointment, the Governor congratulated Hon. Ogunwuyi, wishing him success in his new task.

Hon. Ogunwuyi, represented Ogbomoso North/Ogbomoso South in the 8th House of Representatives. Prior to that role, he was elected into the Oyo State House of Assembly in 2011.
Hon. Ogunwuyi holds a B.Sc. in Accounting and a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.

He is a Certified Accountant and Financial consultant, who has consulted for top organizations like TNT Logistics (UK), Baker Hughes (UK), Nokia Siemens Network (Finland) and NNPC (Nigeria), among others.

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Iwo Road interchange project will be delivered under one year – Makinde

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The government of Oyo State is set to collaborate with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) on the management of traffic within the State, the Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde has said.

The Governor expressed the commitment of his administration to collaborate with the agency on how to manage traffic gridlock on the roads and proffer solution for easy vehicular movements in the State.

A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the Governor as saying these while receiving the Corps Marshal and Chief Executive of the FRSC, Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi, who paid him a courtesy visit in his Office.

 

Makinde maintained that the state government under his leadership will continue to support the activities of the FRSC in the State.

“Let us keep the cordial relationship going. We need a lot of support to lift the situation in our State- ideas and things that you have been able to provide solutions to at the federal level. We also want to key into them so that we do not make the same mistake all over again. I believe this is going to be the beginning of our working together,” Governor Makinde said.     

 

The Governor said his administration is committed to finding lasting solutions to the gridlock at the Iwo Road Interchange, which has been causing a lot of problems for the users of the road in that area, noting that the project would be executed within nine months.

 

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He said: “Also, at Iwo Road, it’s the same thing but we do have solution to that. What they are doing around that axis right now are just palliatives to make the place motorable. We have a serious plan for the road. Meanwhile, I have even been castigated on why I want to spend such amount of money on that interchange but it is a project that we believe will change the face of that place and sanitise the area.

“The Honourable Commissioner for Works is working on it and we need to follow the due process. So, it’s a little bit slow but I believe, within the shortest possible time, we can get this project underway and delivery has been given to us at nine months. Once we flag it off, within nine months, we believe we will be able to decongest the area and everyone will be proud of it.”

The Governor, therefore, stressed that he would consider urgently the modern trailer park project, noting that it was not ideal for trailers to cluster around the highway, saying, however, that the only justification to remove them would be to provide a modern park for them. 

Governor Makinde added: “What you mentioned about a trailer park will be sorted out. Before now, I have had discussion with the sector commander and Chairman of OYRTMA and I asked them to, first of all, clear that Toll Gate axis. About two weeks ago, I was going to Oyo and I saw illegal trailer parks along the road similar to what happens in Ogere. I was actually alarmed that once that kind of facility takes roots, it becomes difficult to uproot again.

 “So, it’s something we are also committed to fixing. Ideally, we should not be seeing trailers along the road. All along the express way, from Toll-Gate to Ojoo, we still have where trailers are parking at different points along the road, but once we have trailer parks for them, we can be justified to relocate and disallow them by stopping them parking indiscriminately along the road.”

Earlier, Dr. Oyeyemi appealed to the Oyo State Government to give priority attention to the construction of a modern mega trailer park in the state, noting that the project would greatly help to reduce traffic gridlock in the state, “as Ibadan is strategic to vehicular movement across the nation.”

While stressing the need for collaboration with the corps to abate instances of road mishap during the ‘ember months,’ the Corps Marshal also implored the Governor to equally work on the Iwo road interchange and disallow street trading on the Ibadan-Iwo road, Ibadan-Ife road and other major roads in the state.

 

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Photo credit: Shutterstock

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Nigerian radio stations broadcast agronomy recommendations on cassava weed management, best planting practices

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Three Nigerian radio stations are now broadcasting agronomic recommendations on the Six Steps to Cassava Weed Management and Best Planting Practices. The Six Steps to Cassava Weed Management and Best Planting Practices is one of the Decision Support Tools of the African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI). The radio stations include Splash FM (105.5 FM), Harvest FM (98.9FM) and Amuludun FM (99.1FM).

Research done by the Cassava Weed Management Project concludes that farmers are able to more than double the yield per hectare of cassava (from less than 10 tons per ha to more than 20 tons per ha) using the ACAI’s Six Steps to Cassava Weed Management and Best Planting Practices extension toolkit.

The three radio stations which are airing the toolkit are among the prominent listened to stations, according to Media Planning Services— an agency that advertisers depend on to make investment decisions.

The program on Ibadan-based Splash FM which is also streamed online is aired every Wednesday, 7.00 PM – 7.30 PM and is anchored by Seun Akinola with Godwin Atser, IITA Digital Extension and Advisory Services Specialist. On Benue-based Harvest FM, the program is aired in Tiv language by 1.00 PM -1.30 PM every Fridays and anchored by Joseph Kwaghdega with  Atser, while Amuludun FM airs the Yoruba version every Tuesdays (5.00 PM – 5.30 PM)  with Rasheed Adegbola as the anchor with Abiodun Olatoye, an extension agent with Oyo State Agricultural Development Program. Plans have also been concluded to broadcast the program on Radio IITA—an internet-based radio.

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In several rural areas in Africa, radio is among the top medium used by farmers as a source of information. With the traditional extension system being overwhelmed, ACAI is using the radio platform to reach out to millions of farmers in Nigeria. The radio programs being promoted by ACAI are aimed at changing the behavior of farmers and influencing the adoption of ACAI recommendations.

Radio channels being selected were based on reach and listenership. ACAI plans to undertake a study on the effectiveness of the radio programs after six months. At the moment, the private sector is excited over the radio programs and partnership support is being received from pharmaceutical and life sciences company, Bayer. More companies are planning to sign-up.

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