Monthly Archives: September 2020

University of Education, Winneba set to Partner Casa de Ropa

The Management of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW) has expressed their enthusiasm to partner, Casa de Ropa Ghana Limited, a Ghanaian limited liability company at Gomoa Bewadze, near Winneba to strengthen the industry-academia relationship.

Casa de Ropa, with a 300-acre potato processing factory, focuses on farming, food processing, and consultancy to improve production knowledge and technology, value addition, and marketing innovations to the benefit of all actors in the value chain.

The partnership, when finalised, would give UEW students at the College of Agriculture Education and the Business School access to benefit from the factory as a centre of excellence and research.

This came to light at the Council Chamber, North Campus, Winneba, when a three-member delegation from Casa de Ropa Ghana Limited led by its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Ebenezer Obeng-Baffoe, paid a courtesy call on the University Management.

Read also Government is committed to revive and improve the fisheries and aquaculture value chain – Deputy Minister assures

In brief remarks, Mr. Ebenezer Obeng-Baffoe revealed that his outfit thought it wise to partner academia because he believed that the country had not paid much attention to the many benefits agribusiness offers.

“We are so much dependent on food imports and what we are doing is an example of how a country can take its own raw materials and process it to bring value. Currently, in what we are doing, we are using up to 55% of the sweet potato to replace flour. So, if you have a piece of bread, 55% of it is orange-fleshed sweet potato, 45% is flour.

“So, as a country, we are already doing 400,000 metric tonnes of flour import. We believe that by producing this piece of bread, having used 55% of sweet potato means we are creating opportunities for farmers. The fact that we have replaced the flour with 55% of our raw material means we are reducing the import burden and strengthening the value of the cedi,” he said.

Read also UCC Scientists introduce newly developed soybeans to farmers in Central Region

Mr. Obeng-Baffoe indicated that because sweet potato has its own natural sugar, the potato bread produced by his outfit is sugar-free adding, the refined sugar from the potato bread also cuts down on the importation of sugar.

“We have gone far with our product in terms of product development. We could use the same product to produce 21 different products including mosquito coil and tea. So, as we are growing, we decided that we will partner academia,” the CEO asserted.

The Vice-Chancellor, Rev. Fr. Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni lauded the visiting team for their great services to the nation. He requested that they bring a formal proposal to enable the two parties to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to make each entity more relevant in supporting to find more jobs for the teeming youth.

“We are very grateful for your coming. I hope that the University can support you or collaborate with you in ensuring that we make our local businesses thrive,” The Vice-Chancellor stated.

Among other University Management members present were the Ag. Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Andy Ofori-Birikorang; Registrar, Surv. Paul Osei-Barima Esq.; Finance Officer, Mr. Francis Obeng, Ag. Internal Auditor, Mr. Isaac Marfo Oduro and Director, Physical Works and Development, Arc. Grace Oppong-Peprah.

Read also 28-year-old Ghanaian bags partnership with high-ranked US Medical University

Source: UEW

UCC Scientists introduce newly developed soybeans to farmers in Central Region

Scientists at the University of Cape Coast have introduced to farmers new breeding lines of soybean at a farmers’ field day at the Teaching and Research Farm of the university.

The Soybean Project is being spearheaded by scientists in the College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences with Prof. Aaron Tettey Asare as the Lead Researcher. The farmers’ field day forms part of the processes to develop new varieties of soybean after recommendation from the National Varietal Release and Registration Committee and subsequent approval by the Minister for Food and Agriculture for its official release to the Ghanaian market.

The farmers’ field day brought together farmers, scientists, staff of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and consumers to assess and select the best soybean breeding lines cultivated on the field. The selected lines will be planted and evaluated in other fields by the farmers.

In his remarks at the programme, the Dean of the School of Agriculture, Prof. Elvis Asare Bediako, who is a member of the research team explained the need for the farmer’s participatory approach. He said, “If you develop this material and farmers do not accept it, then you are going to have a problem with the adoption because they will not plant it”. He said since the crop was being developed for the farmers, their acceptability was very important.

Read also Prof. Elvis Asare-Bediako appointed as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Energy and Natural Resources

Speaking on the Soybean, the Head of Department for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Prof. Aaron Tettey Asare explained that the College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences had identified and investigated specific plants and concluded on soybean as a crop that was nutritionally significant in terms of protein density.

He noted that though soybean was mainly produced in the northern part of Ghana, the production level was just about half of what the country consumed. “Soybean is mainly imported from outside the country, meanwhile we have the land and the requisite condition for production “he stated.

Prof. Asare who is the Principal Investigator for the project said the current research would come out with “high yielding, disease tolerant, drought tolerant soybean that is widely adaptable to climate change”.

Read also Prof. Kwame Agyei Frimpong Receives African Plant Nutrition Outreach Fellowship Award

The Director of Agriculture in the Asikuma Odobeng Brakwah District, Mr. Theophilus T. Laryea, who was also present during the evaluation said the project would help in the livestock industry where soybean was mostly used as protein source for the preparation of animal feed. He added that producing the crop would help meet the demand for nitrogen-fixing for cereal crops grown in the country.

The Monitoring and Evaluation member of the team from Directorate of Research, Innovation and Consultancy (DRIC), Dr Mohammed Augustine Takase, explained that he was pleased with what had been done so far with the grant that was awarded last year for the project.

“I must say I am very impressed with what I have seen on the field and I commend the team for doing a marvelous work. From here, I will report the positive outcome of this project to DRIC,” he expressed.

In an interview with an extension officer and a farmer, they expressed their interest and joy towards the soybean project especially its enormous benefit to the country’s agriculture sector.

The soybean project is funded by DRIC. The project is also geared towards the government’s policy of Planting for Food and Jobs to encourage Ghanaians to venture into soybean production as a profitable business venture.

Participants of the Farmers’ Field Day

Read also UCC and Agri-Impact Undertake Greenhouse Project on Campus

28-year-old Ghanaian bags partnership with high-ranked US Medical University

Twenty-eight-year-old founder of International University Services (IUS), a subsidiary of the Caroline Group, Caroline Esinam Adzogble has bagged a pivotal partnership with a top-two ranked United States Medical University St George’s University.

The Educationist Caroline Esinam Adzogble mostly noted as the face of education in Africa, has grown to become a foremost international education advising organization with excellent support strategies for students, international schools as well as other educational stakeholders; hence drawing partnerships from world-class institutions across the globe.

This partnership will allow Ghanaian students to pursue four to seven years MD programs in Grenada with an easy visa process; one that allows visa on arrival.

Commenting on the feat, she stated “obviously I work with so many great brands across the globe with each partner bringing something unique to the table but this partnership is very personal to me considering you all know how I had to give up on my medical doctor dreams which worked out very well in the end because now I am in the position to open these many great doors for students across 146 countries.”

She added “the American residency permit students receive at the end of their program is the biggest takeaway for me. I am looking forward to diving into this opportunity with various families, other education consultants, high schools, universities, The Ministry of Education and Scholarship boards in Ghana to see how best we can push this forward for Ghanaian students.”

Here are some information about St. George’s University;

George’s University located in the Caribbean’s, Grenada is the largest international provider of new doctors in the USA for the last 11 years combined, and its graduates have practiced in all 20 Top Hospitals in the USA, according to US News & World Report 2018-2019.

The University has been providing the world with highly trained doctors for more than 40 years and has an extensive international network of over 18,000 MD alumni of which 25 have Ghana citizenship.

SGU graduates have been licensed in all 50 US states and Canada and have practiced in more than 50 countries of the world and has 18 Ghana citizens who have secured post-graduate positions in the US.

SGU has a large network of 70+ affiliated hospitals and health centers in the USA and in the UK, and therefore all eligible students complete their clinical rotations in these two countries.

To learn more about pursuing medicine in Grenada, please contact the front office of Caroline Group on +233-244-271-978

Vegetable producers and exporters advocates for pest free in production of curry leaves for export

curry plant

The President of Vegetable Producers and Exporters Association of Ghana (VEPEAG), Mr. Felix Kamassah, has indicated that their association supports the establishment and maintenance of pest-free areas for the production and export of curry leaves in Ghana.

He made this statement when Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in collaboration with the Europe-Africa-Caribbean-Pacific Liaison Committee (COLEACP) organized a workshop to establish and maintain Pest Free Areas (PFAs) for the production and exportation of curry leaves at Accra, Ghana.

Mr Kamassah also said the management of harmful organisms on vegetables and fruits for export is a collaborative effort between exporters and the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate (PPRSD) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

Read also Ugandan farmers are not adopting drought tolerant maize; see why

He said that “We must all agree on a plan of action on pest management to safeguard the quality of crops from losses by pests and diseases”.

In a welcoming address read on behalf of the Director PPRSD, Mr. Ebenezer Aboagye, Head of Crop Pest and Disease Management Division explained that establishing and maintaining pest free areas for the production and export of curry leaves to European markets is a key to boost the exports of the product.

“In line with the regulatory changes affecting exports to the EU, Directive 2019/523 requires that export to the EU must conform to options. That is why this discussion is very important and we need to choose the best option and its management if the vector of citrus greening disease is present in Ghana” he added.

Read also GEPA organizes training for vegetable farmers in Keta and Anloga

Mr. Aboagye indicated that the citrus greening disease which is transmitted by Asian citrus psyllid Diaphorina citri and the African citrus psyllid Trioza erytreae is widely distributed in the sub-tropics and tropics.

“Since the 1990s, more than 60 million citrus trees have been destroyed worldwide. Widespread losses of citrus trees have also been reported in Brazil, Indonesia, Philippines, India, Nepal, and Saudi Arabia. The disease is also threatening citrus production in Florida and California in the United States since its introduction in 2005 and 2012 respectively” he added.

Mr. Daniel Kwagbenu, the facilitator of the workshop explained that the objective of the gathering was to discuss the importance of Establishing and Maintaining Pest Free Areas for the production and export of Curry Leaves.

He opined, “Establishment and use of a PFA by PPRSD provide for the export of plants and plant products from the country in which the area is situated (exporting country) to another country (importing country) without the need for the application of additional phytosanitary measures when certain requirements are met.”

Read also Africa has a growing food security problem: here is why it can’t be fixed without proper data

The Facilitator said the EU plant health regulation ((EU) 2016/2031) that came into force on December 14, 2019, has brought rigorous new rules to prevent the introduction and spread of pests and diseases in the EU Member States.

“Countries exporting fruit and vegetables to the EU market must take action to ensure that all consignments are in compliance. If pests are found on arrival in Europe, especially regulated pests, the EU authorities are likely to take action that has serious consequences on the export sectors,” Mr Kwagbenu said.

Mr. Kwagbenu indicated that in 2015 the UK placed a ban on the exports of fresh curry leaves (Murraya koenigii) from Ghana. However, the imports of dried and frozen leaves were still permitted. “It’s possible for exports to resume if producer countries outside the EU are officially recognized as free from citrus greening disease”.

Within the framework of EU’s Fit for Market-Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (FFM-SPS) program, this COLEACP sponsored workshop; (a) created awareness and facilitated understanding of the principal requirements for a pest-free programme as well as, (b) familiarity with and implications of the various options, namely pest-free areas (PFAs), pest-free places of production (PFPP), pest-free production sites (PFPS) and areas of low pest prevalence ALPP).

COLEACP (The Europe-Africa-Caribbean-Pacific Liaison Committee), a not-for-profit association, facilitates the flow of trade within the Africa-Caribbean-Pacific (ACP) region, and between ACP countries and the EU.

For several years, COLEACP has supported the development and compliance initiatives of companies/associations in Ghana and other ACP countries active in the production, transformation, and export of fresh fruits and vegetables to European markets (www.coleacp.org/en).

The workshop brought together officials from the VEPEAG, Ministry of Trade and Industries, Ghana Export Promotion Authority, and the Directorate of Crop Services of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Other stakeholders also participated online via Zoom.

Credit: Nana Yaw Reuben

Read also African farmers are younger than you think; here is why – study

Incredible things Laycon said in yesterday’s live Instagram session with fans

Winner of 2020 Big Brother Naija Lockdown version, Laycon, had an Instagram live session with his fans yesterday.

His live video exceeded the numbers of other BBnaija housemates who have done Instagram live – Laycon got over 40k active viewers.

He outlined some important points as he spoke about relationships and plans since the BBNaija show is over.

Looking his list, he seems to have some fun-packed moments as he will be holding a concert as well dropping a collaboration with his former housemate, Vee. Interesting, isn’t it?

Read also Laycon reacts to the lady who claimed to be his girlfriend; says I don’t have an ex-girlfriend

He disclosed that he will be will holding a live music concert as soon as he gets to Lagos State when Government gives permission for clubbing and party to reopen.

Laycon also said he will be organizing a meet and greet with his fans where they will meet and talk and have fun together.

Check the list out below;

Read also Land of Disabilities: Life in Karni Village, where persons with disability are productive and hopeful – part 2

Laycon reacts to the lady who claimed to be his girlfriend; says I don’t have an ex-girlfriend

The winner of the 2020 Big Brother Naija Lockdown house Olamillekan Agbeleshebioba, known popularly as Laycon, has finally reacted to the lady who claimed to be his girlfriend.

Since Laycon won the BBNaija 2020, some ladies have come out to say they had something to do with Laycon in the past – claiming to be his exes.

But Laycon has reacted to the videos and posts moving around social media with a lady alleging to be the ex-girlfriend of the BBnaija winner Laycon.

Read also I suffered with him, fed him with my money – Laycon’s ex-girlfriend cries out

According to one of the ladies, she dumped Laycon because she didn’t know he will get this far. She also begged Laycon to be his baby mama.

She also wishes Laycon can forgive her and take her back as she claims she still love her.

But during Laycon’s Instagram live session, some fans questioned him about the lady claiming to be his ex-girlfriend.

In response, Laycon said “No girl oo. Your President don’t have any first lady oo. You all are my first ladies. I love you all.”

See a screenshot of the lady’s message to Laycon:

Read also Video: Ini Edo opens up battling depression due to damaged skin

Electoral Commission of Ghana re-opens Voters Registration Exercise for One Day

The Electoral Commission of Ghana has announced that they will re-opens Voters Registration Exercise for One Day.

The commission made this known to the public a recent press release issued on 24th September 2020 but actually published it today 29th September 2020.

The Electoral Commission’s release indicated this is an opportunity for those who have attained the age of eighteen (18) years and citizens who are for one reason or the other could not register in the just ended registration exercise.

Read the full statement below:

Small and medium growers and innovation are key to South Africa’s citrus export growth

Established-citrus-orchard-patensie-south-africa

While COVID-19 has disrupted many industries, the citrus industry in South Africa has emerged resilient, with strong demand in export markets and strong potential beyond the crisis.

To tap this growth potential requires complementary public investment in ports and irrigation infrastructure, and technical capacity to negotiate access to wider export markets on favourable conditions.

Demand for citrus in international markets has boomed under COVID-19 and prices have increased. For example, European prices for South African oranges in May 2020 were 7%-15% higher than a year earlier in euro terms, or around 40% higher in rand terms.

The volume of citrus exports from South Africa also grew amid the crisis. They more than doubled in the first four months of 2020 compared to the previous year, accelerating on the long term growth trend.

As reflected in the Citrus Growers’ Association membership, the industry is made up of established white commercial farmers who grow for the export market and a smaller number of small and medium-sized black growers.

The association established a subsidiary body, the Citrus Growers Development Company, in 2003 to support the small and medium-sized black growers and drive transformation in the industry.

Read also Nigeria to attract youths into agriculture through mechanised farming

These smaller growers accounted for 9% of the total 88,569 hectares planted by citrus growers in 2019. Similarly, of the 1,022,948 tonnes of citrus exported in 2019, small and medium-sized growers contributed 8% to the total.

Increases in the production and exports of small and medium growers could boost foreign exchange earnings and create jobs in an industry which already directly employs about 125,000 workers, around 14% of total employment in agriculture.

Greater inclusion of these growers in the higher value export markets is key to sustained growth. Measures to support their inclusion include investments in on-farm infrastructure and to ensure compliance with standards for quality and health (plant and human).

The requirements needed to reassure importing countries that they are not at risk of any pests and diseases are the biggest barrier for fresh fruit exports.

The benefits of digitalisation can be harnessed to lower growers’ costs in adopting the necessary standards. For example, the use of blockchain technology through end-to-end data transparency allows all players in the supply chain to access historical and real-time data linked to the product, such as growing conditions, harvest details and transport history.

Read also Ugandan farmers are not adopting drought tolerant maize; see why

A similar data sharing platform, Phytclean, was developed in South Africa in 2016. The platform captures, stores and reports data on registration and verification of orchards, and phytosanitary records for export certification.

Collective action by the industry and government is key to unlocking these opportunities to ensure that sustained growth stands on the two legs of inclusion and innovation.

Compliance and Innovation
Citrus exports amounted to approximately R20 billion in 2019, up from R6.7 billion in 2010 (around 45% growth in US dollar terms). The growth in exports has been coupled with a corresponding increase in direct jobs in citrus farming from 56,902 jobs in 2009 to 125,000 in 2017, with many more in related activities.

Globally, South Africa is the second-largest exporter of citrus fruit after Spain, accounting for 10% of global exports in 2019. As such, the citrus industry represents a success story of labour-intensive and high-value agriculture-led growth. This success requires research and innovation in what can be termed the ‘industrialisation of freshness’.

If South Africa pursues wider export markets and supports the growing participation in exporting by small and medium growers then the fruit industry could create an additional 100,000 jobs by 2023. Changes in demand as the world comes out of COVID-19, with an increased emphasis on health, imply sustained stronger demand for citrus products.

Read also Africa has a growing food security problem: here is why it can’t be fixed without proper data

Large farming groups currently dominate
The main exporters are large farming groups. This partly reflects the investments required to meet the demands and standards of export markets, with the costs of compliance being the responsibility of the exporter.

Export requirements include registration and inspection of orchards and packhouses. This is to ensure traceability, good agricultural practices, conformity with product quality and labelling, and compliance with phytosanitary requirements to reduce the risk of quarantine pests and diseases.

Also, being competitive in export markets requires innovation through growing new and improved varieties.

To comply with the many export requirements, larger growers appoint administrators to keep records for compliance with standards and traceability of products. They also pay for audits by certification bodies to show they comply with quality standards.

The industry has developed the technical and science expertise to comply with the requirements for exporting. The challenge is how to include smaller farmers in the systems of exporting to high value markets through collective actions.

Read also African farmers are younger than you think; here is why – study

There have been steps to do this. Seventy-six of the 123 small and medium-sized growers registered with the Citrus Growers Development Company are exporting (although this is largely to regional markets).

The majority sell to hawkers and municipal markets or alongside main transport routes. These markets are important and will continue to be supplied. But the opportunity for growth in value is in the export market.

How to support growers
Efforts to grow the citrus industry need to focus on widening participation of small and medium-sized growers in export markets. The state and collective action through industry associations are critical to achieve this, not least in the current COVID-19 period.

Small and medium growers face challenges that exclude them from export markets. These include:

production of poor quality fruit;

non-compliance with sanitary and phytosanitary standards;

a lack of irrigation water; and

a lack of on-farm infrastructure such as irrigation equipment, fencing and packing facilities.

Government and industry have put in place several initiatives and interventions to address the challenges. These include access to land and input grants. But support tends to be piecemeal. It is also not up to the level that is required by growers to be sustainable.

A focused collaborative approach between industry and government will go a long way to bring the necessary resources to bear to enable small and medium growers to grow exports.

The COVID-19 industry-led initiative to set up an Economic Transformation Programme for black citrus growers by pooling funds across public and private organisations is a huge step in the right direction. In addition, the interventions to fund orchard establishment, expansion and rehabilitation, on-farm infrastructure development and skills development will support small-scale growers beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

At an industry level, the government is addressing the challenges of aging and worn out infrastructure at the ports. This will enable faster movement of products through the ports and improved exporting processes.

In March 2020, national rail operator Transnet bought new equipment for the Port Elizabeth and Durban ports. These investments need to be sustained beyond COVID-19 as port bottlenecks have been undermining South Africa’s exports in the past 12 months.

These different measures constitute concrete steps to achieve a ‘land reform for wealth creation’ agenda for small and medium citrus growers, which can be a model for other crops to follow.

Read also African indigenous cattle more resilient to climatic shocks, diseases – Study reveals

Africa has a growing food security problem: here is why it can’t be fixed without proper data

The COVID-19 pandemic and consequent lockdown measures have had a huge negative impact on producers and consumers. Food production has been disrupted, and incomes have been lost. But a far more devastating welfare consequence of the pandemic could be reduced access to food.

A potential rise in food insecurity is a key policy point for many countries. The World Economic Forum has stated this pandemic is set to “radically exacerbate food insecurity in Africa”. This, and other supplier shocks, such as locust swarms in East Africa, have made many African economies more dependent on externally sourced food.

As the pandemic continues to spread, the continued functioning of regional and national food supply chains is vital to avoid a food security crisis in countries dependent on agriculture. This is true in terms of both nutrition and livelihoods. Many countries in Southern and East African economies are in this situation.

The integration of regional economies is one vehicle for alleviating pervasive food security issues. But regional integration can’t be achieved without the appropriate support for investment in production, infrastructure and capabilities.

And, crucially, there must be more accurate and timely information about food markets. Data on food prices are crucial for political and economic stability. Yet they are not easily accessible.

A study by the Centre for Competition, Regulation and Economic Development highlights how poor and inconsistent pricing data severely affects the quality of any assessment of agricultural markets in the Southern and East African region.

Read also African farmers are younger than you think; here is why – study

What’s missing?
There have been attempts to collate and disseminate agricultural prices internationally. National commodity exchanges have also been created in some countries to facilitate wholesale agricultural trade and the collection of market and price information in Africa. These include the Regional Agricultural Trade Intelligence Network, the Food and Agricultural Organization’s Corporate Statistical Database and the World Food Programme’s Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping database.

But the overall effectiveness of commodity exchanges has been limited in countries in Southern and East Africa. With some exceptions, they have not been widely used, meaning that small producers have not had good access to reliable pricing information.

The patchy data that is available at the producer level indicates very large price differentials across Southern and East Africa. These differentials are far in excess of reasonable transport and related costs. They speak to the lack of integration of markets. They also point to the potential that local market power is being exploited. An example would be the power of large buyers over small producers who face high transport costs to individually transport goods to faraway markets.

Having up-to-date information on food prices – along with other market information relating to production and market structures – is necessary to understand agricultural food systems in the region. This is crucial to track events ranging from the effects of this pandemic to the weather as well as locust swarms.

Read also Ugandan farmers are not adopting drought tolerant maize; see why

Without close to realtime data, it is not possible to rapidly plan appropriate responses.

In addition, the lack of readily available market data restricts our understanding of the impact of changing supply and demand conditions in local markets, and regional value chains more broadly. The climate crisis – and other supply shocks like the pandemic – imply much greater volatility in production and food prices. The effects will become ever more dire for farmers, vulnerable consumers and downstream industries.

Hit the reset button
Máximo Torero, chief economist of the Food and Agriculture Organization, has observed that this pandemic is an opportunity to hit the reset button on policies to alleviate food security problems. It has emphasised the fragility of overdependence on a globalised agricultural system. What is needed to achieve a more integrated and regionalised agricultural system is coordinated public policy responses to support agribusiness. These responses must also ensure small and medium-sized farmers are included.

The World Bank is working closely with many governments to track domestic food and agricultural supply chains. The goal is to ensure that food systems continue to function despite the challenges wrought by COVID-19. In addition, the Food and Agriculture Organization has mapped a way to potentially avoid a looming food crisis in Africa. These short-term measures are welcomed.

Action can be taken at a regional level too. For example, an effective market observatory would assist in the promulgation of wider, deeper and more competitive agricultural markets. Market observatories help market participants in reading market signals while also reducing market volatility.

Examples of these can be found throughout the European Union covering a range of agricultural products. Developing this capability would also contribute to identifying key trends in the region in close to realtime. And it would help identify issues relating to market access, border and transport-related problems, and possible anticompetitive behaviour.

In the medium to long term, greater attention is needed on ensuring appropriate market shaping measures for more resilient and integrated regional agricultural systems in the Southern and East African region. Such measures depend on having accurate and timely information on market participants, food production and prices.

Read also Building Resilient Food System On Systemic Vulnerabilities

African farmers are younger than you think; here is why – study

Over the past 20 years sub-Saharan Africa has registered the highest rate of agricultural production in the world. There have been knock-on effects with the region also seeing the fastest growth in off-farm employment and non-farm labour productivity.

There’s a widely held view that Africa’s agricultural growth trajectory could be jeopardised by an ageing farm population because young people are fleeing from farming. Several sources indicate that the average age of Africans in farming has risen to 60 years or more. But we are unaware of any empirical evidence to support this claim.

To understand what’s really going on, Felix Kwame Yeboah, Assistant Professor of International Development, Michigan State University and Thomas Jayne, MSU Foundation Professor, Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, Michigan State University, used nationally representative survey data collected by the government statistical offices of six African countries – Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Nigeria and Tanzania.

Because these surveys were replicated multiple times in each country between 2000 and 2018, they could compute how much time people spent annually in farming and off-farm jobs. Felix and Thomas did that so they could examine trends in the age distribution of the labour force in farm and off-farm employment since 2000.

This was done as part of their research into young people’s access to land as well as their migration decisions and employment opportunities.

Read also Ugandan farmers are not adopting drought tolerant maize; see why

Their findings debunk the myth that most farmers in sub-Saharan Africa are over 60 years of age – far from it in fact.

According to the national government-administered data in the six countries they used, the average age of the agricultural workforce ranges from about 32 years to 39 years. Even when not counting young adults in the 15 to 24 year old range, the average age of the agricultural workforce ranges from 38 to 45 years of age. And even going beyond the generally accepted labour force age range of 15 to 64 years to include all elderly people of any age working in farming, the mean age of farmers barely changes.

This is explained by the fact that only 3% of sub-Saharan Africa’s population is 65 years and over. And less than half of this group is economically active and engaged in farming.

Secondly, the average age of the agricultural workforce in the six African countries examined has either increased by one or two years or remained constant over the past decade. Between the first and latest survey periods, which spanned from seven to 12 years, the average age of the labour force in farming increased by less than two years in four of the six study countries (Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia). The mean farmer age remained unchanged in Nigeria and declined slightly in Tanzania.

In other words, the age of Africans in farming is barely rising, if at all. Considering that roughly 7 million to 10 million young people are entering the labour force in sub-Saharan Africa each year, it is easy to understand why the average age of the farming population is not rising, even with large numbers of young people partially or fully moving out of farming.

Based on these nationally representative surveys, it is clear that of the region’s many agricultural challenges, an ageing workforce in farming is fortunately not one of them.

Third, the study found that individuals in off-farm jobs are on average one to three years younger than those in farming, especially when the sample excludes the 15-24 year old age group.

Read also Nigeria to attract youths into agriculture through mechanised farming

Touching on how to make farming profitable for young people, they explained as follows. As highlighted in previous studies, the share of employment in farming has been declining over time as opportunities for off-farm employment expand in Africa’s rapidly transforming economies. But farming still accounts for a significant proportion of the jobs held by working-age individuals and remains the single largest employer of rural youth. Most of the jobs, however, are, part time.

It is true that many young people from rural areas are leaving farming as off-farm opportunities continue to expand. Nevertheless, most young people who are economically active remain engaged in farming. What is missing, however, is a critical mass of skilled young Africans with access to finance and know-how to drive productivity growth in farming and related value chains.

The idea of keeping young people in farming for fear of African agriculture becoming the preserve of the elderly is misplaced. A more effective strategy would prioritise resourcing the millions of rural youth already engaged in farming to make farming more profitable.

Making agriculture “sexy” is not nearly as important as making it profitable. Young people will flock to agriculture if and when it becomes clear that it can make good money.

A related priority is to encourage skilled young Africans to apply their expertise to address the many policy, regulatory, and financing barriers that inhibit them from starting and expanding agribusiness firms that provide important services to African farmers.

Read also Unemployment, Increasing demand for honey; time to invest into beekeeping industry in Ghana?

Ugandan farmers are not adopting drought tolerant maize; see why

In Uganda, maize is happens to be one of the most important cereal crops. Particularly, smallholder farmers rely on it for food and as a cash crop. They also grow it as an important export crop.

Over the years, total maize production in Uganda has gradually increased, from roughly 800,000 tonnes in 2000 to 2,575,000 tonnes in 2019. But this is largely due to a steady expansion of maize acreage, little from improved productivity.

Low productivity is one of the biggest challenges facing Uganda’s maize industry. The reason for this is that, as most maize farmers are smallholders, their use of agricultural technology, such as fertiliser and improved seed, is very limited. There are also concerns that changes in temperature and rainfall – specifically increases in temperature and decreases in rainfall – will further affect maize production.

Read also Practical ways to make farming appealing to youth

To address these challenges, in 1991 Uganda released improved maize varieties with drought tolerance.

Although it depends on the conditions of the maize growing areas, studies indicated that compared with local varieties, drought-tolerant maize can increase yields by 15%. It also reduced the probability of crop failure by 30%.

But, even after 30 years, drought-tolerant maize has yet to be widely adopted by smallholders. In one study, which covered 1,000 households, just 14% used the modified seed in their fields.

HyeJin Lee, a researcher at Konkuk University, set out to understand why smallholders did or didn’t plant drought-tolerant maize. To do this Lee used available literature, policy documents, and reports.

HyeJin found that the constraints to adoption included (1) Different farmer characteristics such as wealth or education level; (2) A lack of information or understanding about the seeds; (3) The attributes of the seeds themselves and whether they meet the farmers’ needs; and (4) Counterfeit seed and fertiliser in markets.

For drought-tolerant maize to be more widely adopted, it’s crucial that policymakers support smallholders with effective information campaigns and subsidies. They must also ensure the markets for the seed and complementary fertiliser are reliable and meet farmer needs.

Read also Government is committed to revive and improve the fisheries and aquaculture value chain – Deputy Minister assures

HyeJin indicated that there are two seed systems in Uganda – one is formal and the other informal. Through the formal system, improved seeds, including drought-tolerant seeds, are developed under the National Agricultural Research Organisation.

The National Seed Certification Services regulates the formal seed sector from variety listing to seed certification for commercial seeds that private seed companies distribute. But in Uganda, 85% of seeds planted – which includes local maize varieties – are through the informal system.

Most maize farmers in Uganda are resource-constrained smallholders. Thus, their decision to adopt the drought-tolerant maize may be influenced by perceived economic risks.

The seeds of the local maize varieties that farmers use are ones that they’ve saved from previous harvests and may cost them nothing. In 2015, modified maize seed could cost up to Ush6,000 per kilo (about US$1.60) depending on the variety, while the local seed cost nothing.

However, a study calculating the costs and benefits of modified seed found that the drought-tolerant maize could be more economically beneficial. For instance, local maize could require more labour costs due to less resistance, if any, to pests, weeds, and diseases.

In addition, the higher yield of the improved maize could compensate for the higher seed and fertiliser costs. This suggested that the reason for low adoption by smallholders may not be financial.

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A number of factors determines whether small-scale farmers adopt a new seed or not and some of which include:

Information and Education

Farmers need information on how the seeds work and will decide whether or not to use them based on this. Whether a farmer has relevant information is based on the farmers’ network, specifically, contact with extension services, NGOs or cooperative memberships.

Their understanding is also affected by levels of education or farming experiences. If the farmer decides to cultivate the new seed, it must be physically available, accessible, and affordable.

However, studies also show that even when critical conditions are met – farmers’ awareness, access and can afford the seeds – universal adoption is highly unlikely.

One of the reasons for this is because farmers prefer traditional varieties. This could be because the traditional varieties may be more resistant to pests, taste more familiar, or mature faster. There’s also evidence that some drought-tolerant varieties don’t suit certain local conditions.

Counterfeit seeds are another issue. Between 30% and 40% of seeds traded in Uganda are thought to be counterfeit. Farmers will be less likely to take the risk of using modified seeds if they believe they might be counterfeit.

Read also Asante Juaben gets food bank to prevent post-harvest losses

Political will
All of these barriers to a way forward in improved maize seed adoption can be tackled with government interventions and public-private cooperation.

First, the information bottleneck must be addressed with awareness campaigns and training via extension services or international aid programs. If it’s already been happening, there should be investigations into why it’s not working and ensure that the delivery of information is customised and simplified according to the characteristics of the target farmers.

The government must ensure that quality seed is available at local markets or through extension services. There also needs to be better supervision to prevent counterfeits from permeating the market.

It’s also important for the government to incorporate maize farmers’ preferences in the breeding process, based on their local conditions.

In addition, the government must help smallholders who lack cash and credit with a subsidy or voucher. International aid programmes could distribute free packages with the modified seeds and fertiliser to the most vulnerable.

The challenge of getting more farmers to adopt the drought-tolerant seed is certainly overwhelming. But it is necessary to improve livelihoods and eventually the maize industry of Uganda.

Read also Take advantage of Ghana Federation of Forest and Farm Producers Incubation Service – Charles Nyaaba to farmers

Source: theconversation.com

Government is committed to revive and improve the fisheries and aquaculture value chain – Deputy Minister assures

Ghana’s Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Hon. Atto Cudjoe, has assured the public that the government is highly committed to work with all stakeholders to revive and improve the fortunes of all actors within the fisheries and aquaculture value chain.

He said this during the launch of the 2nd maiden edition of the Livestock, Poultry, and Fisheries (LiPF) tradeshow which was organized by the Agri-house Foundation with the theme, “Step Up” at Accra.

Mr Cudjoe said, “To improve and revive the fisheries sector, the government made good to its promise to support aquaculture particularly through the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development implementing the fisheries sector flagship programme, Aquaculture for Food and Jobs.”

According to him, the programme is tailored to mobilize 10,200 unemployed youth nationwide into the Aquaculture Enterprise Groups where successful beneficiaries will be trained in modern aquaculture production techniques and support with necessary inputs such as fish feed, fingerlings, tanks, and cages to engage in commercial fish farming.

“This would thrive and create more jobs and consequently improve the livelihood of the people across the country”, he added.

Read also Asante Juaben gets food bank to prevent post-harvest losses

He mentioned that the policy will support distress farmers, second cycle institutions, and other public institutions to set up new aquaculture establishments as well as rejuvenate the existing ones.

Out of this an estimated 7,000 additional direct and indirect jobs and 33,628 metric tonnes of fish would be produced.

He complimented the Agri-house Foundation for conceiving and implementing such a magnificent initiative to help people to identify the opportunities present in the livestock, poultry, and fisheries sector and how to harness this opportunity for job creation, reduction in unemployment, and growth of the Ghanaian economy.

The Chief Party of United States Development of Agriculture-Ghana Poultry Project (USDA-GPP), Carianne De Boer entreated the government, civil society, and the industry players to stem the tides and work together purposefully and decisively to realize a shared vision for agricultural development.

“Let us build a partnership that would accelerate self-sufficiency in food production for Ghana and strengthen the local market systems in order to boost resiliency in these uncertain times, the time to step up is now”, she remarked.

She urged all to build a strong positive regulatory environment that will step up private investment and access to finance in agriculture.

Read also Nigeria to attract youths into agriculture through mechanised farming

Contributing to financial support to the fishery industry, the General Manager in charge of Agribusiness at Agriculture Development Bank (ADB), Kwame Asiedu Attrams explained that supports from the Bank to the industry have been in a form of working capital to buy feed, loans to acquire processing units to add value to the fresh fish and importation of outboard motors and fishing gears to the fishermen.

“This year, in collaboration with the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, the Board of Directors approved an amount of 20 million Ghana Cedis for the importation of 1,300 outboard motors to be distributed to fishers in support of their work”, he said.

He commended the government, the sector Minister and his team, and Agri-house Foundation for the enthusiasm exhibited in moving Ghana’s agriculture forward.

The Executive Director, Agri-house Foundation, Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa thanked the government for the renewed effort to revamp the livestock and aquaculture sector through the introduction of Rearing for Food and Jobs and Aquaculture for Food and Jobs programmes.

She commended the inputs of the stakeholders like the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture, USDA-GPP, the National Farmers and Fishermen Association, etc. for making the event a success.

Read also Agriculture Department educates farmers on balanced and nutritious diet

Asante Juaben gets food bank to prevent post-harvest losses

Juaben Food Bank

The Ghana Commodity Exchange (GCX), in collaboration with the Juaben Food Bank Limited, has inaugurated a warehouse to help curb the perennial post-harvest losses of agricultural produce in the area.

Mrs. Tucci Goka Ivowi, Chief Executive Officer of GCX, speaking at the ceremony, said the objective was to support smallholder farmers, especially those in the production of cereals and grains, and to link them to local and international markets for more competitive pricing.

It would also facilitate contract farming of key local farm produce such as maize and rice.

Read also Nigeria to attract youths into agriculture through mechanised farming

Mrs. Ivowi said GCX was not only focusing on curtailing post-harvest losses of farm products but also preserving the quality and promoting food security in the country.

She said the GCX, as a marketplace or a platform for buying and selling of listed commodities, created opportunities for increased revenue stream of patrons in a simplified manner without any risk.

Nana Abayie Serebour, the Executive Chairman of the Juaben Food Bank Ltd, said the initiative was geared towards helping the local smallholder farmers to access ready and strong markets.

Read also Take advantage of Ghana Federation of Forest and Farm Producers Incubation Service – Charles Nyaaba to farmers

He said competitive pricing for farm produce was the surest way to promote the business of smallholder farmers and to guarantee them sustainable incomes to enhance equitable socio-economic standards.

Nana Serebour said the 1,000 metric tonnes capacity warehouse, which is fitted with maize and rice millers, dryers, de-stoners, polisher, cleaner, grading and storage machines, could store and treat many of the maize and rice production in the area.

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Ms. Ama Pomaa Boateng, the Member of Parliament for the Juaben, commended the GCX and the Juaben Food Bank Ltd. For the venture, which would help create jobs and transform agricultural production in the area.

Nana Otuo Siriboe II, the Paramount Chief of the Juaben Traditional Area, stressed the need for management to institute stringent measures to help sustain the operations of the facility.

Read also African indigenous cattle more resilient to climatic shocks, diseases – Study reveals

Nigeria to attract youths into agriculture through mechanised farming

The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has indicated that the Federal government of Nigeria is working on plans to mechanise agriculture in order to make it more attractive to Nigerian youths.

Dr. Onu said this in Abuja when he received Promise Amahah, Director General and National Coordinator of Nigerian Young Farmers Network in his office.

The Minister said considering the population of youths in the country, their involvement in agriculture would guarantee food security, job creation and increase foreign exchange earnings for the country.

He emphasised that the present administration placed high premium on agriculture, as demonstrated by the massive attention given to rice production by President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to the Minister, the deployment of science, technology and innovation is crucial to the development of agriculture in Nigeria.

“Many aspects of farming are dependent on Science and Technology: from selection of seeds that are high yielding to drought and pest resistant seeds,’’ he said.

Read also Agriculture exports in Nigeria increase

The Minister, however, regretted the misfortune of post-harvest losses in the country’s agricultural sector.

He assured that his ministry will support the sector by deploying relevant technologies to ensure significant reduction in post-harvest losses to attain food security.

He said agricultural produce were essential to the development of pharmaceuticals, adding that products like cassava provide starch which was a major ingredient for the production of medicinal drugs.

Onu advised the group to continue to work as a team to achieve its objectives.

Earlier, Amahah told his host that the visit was aimed at seeking a working relationship with the ministry in order to positively reposition agriculture in the country.

Read also Nigeria: Precision farming to bolster global agriculture resiliency

He said the network was a melting pot for key stakeholders and investors in the agricultural sector.

He added that the group was striving towards developing a reliable and dependable data platform for agriculture in the country.

According to him, the network which has over two million members spread across the country and focused on driving and accelerating agricultural development in Nigeria

Read also Nigeria looks to agriculture sector to decrease oil dependency

Dorathy of BBNaija explains why she was always looking at the cameras

The 1st Runner Up of the 2020 Big Brother Naija, Dorathy, has explained whey she always looked the camera.

She was dragged on social media for looking into camera countless times.

Read also I suffered with him, fed him with my money – Laycon’s ex-girlfriend cries out

But the heavy chest babe, has opened up on why she starred at the camera.

In an interview with host of BBNaija, Ebuka Obi Uchendu, Dorathy revealed that she was looking out for where the camera was positioned so as to get herself positioned properly for the lenses to capture her well.

Read also Video: Watch how Ozo saved the day by holding back Dorathy from fighting Nengi (BBNaija)

Watch the video below;

Read also Video: Why I love Laycon; Nengi opens up in a latest interview [BBNaija]

Video: Why I love Laycon; Nengi opens up in a latest interview [BBNaija]

The 2020 Big Brother Naija 2nd Runner Up, Rebecca Nengi Hampson, has opened up on her experiences in the house.

She talks about her relationship with Ozo and her newly found friendship with winner, Laycon.

Nengi revealed in a conversation with Ebuka Obi Uchendu that her intuition told her that Laycon was going to grab the ultimate crown.

Read also “I don’t wear pant” – Nengi reveals [BBNaija]

Nengi said, “… at some point in week 6 I knew Laycon will win because I have a very strong instinct.”

She also touched on her likeness for Laycon as she was seen dancing with him almost every night at their parties.

She smilingly said, “I just like Laycon, he dances with me, I enjoy dancing with him too, he is really a caring person , I like him, I just like Laycon’s kind of person.”

Read also Video: Nengi caught red handed on camera fondling Ozo’s ‘Banana’ in bed (BBNaija)

Watch full interview below:

Read also “Our friendship is over” – Nengi vows after Ozo ignored her during last night’s party [BBNaija]

STC station in the Volta region capital, Ho, has been attacked

The STC station in the Volta region capital, Ho has been attacked by some unknown persons.

Read also Unemployment, Increasing demand for honey; time to invest into beekeeping industry in Ghana?

One of the mini buses in the yard was burnt and drivers who were present at that time were also assaulted.

Read also Prof. Kwame Agyei Frimpong Receives African Plant Nutrition Outreach Fellowship Award

This follows last Friday’s attack blamed on secessionists calling themselves, the Homeland Study Group Foundation.

Read also Akufo-Addo’s speeches are all full of lies, dishonesty and hypocrisy – A Plus

Akufo-Addo’s speeches are all full of lies, dishonesty and hypocrisy – A Plus

Kwame A Plus known in private life as Kwame Asare Obeng, former Pro New Patriotic Party (NPP) member, says President Akufo-Addo has told nothing in his speeches but lies, dishonesty and hypocrisy to Ghanaians.

A Plus shared his opinion about the sitting government of the political party he once supported on his social media handles on Monday 28 September, 2020.

According to A plus, Akufo-Addo speeches of Covid-19 are all full of lies and dishonesty to the people of Ghana.

Explaining further his argument, he claims the President has ban almost all social gathering because he said people will contract Covid-19 if social distancing measure is not enforced.

Read also A Plus reveals how Kojo Opong Nkrumah has chopped more girls than Papa No

Meanwhile, the NPP government is actively engaged in huge number gatherings of people in their campaign tours ahead of 2020 general elections.

A Plus wrote on his wall:

“If we play football people will die of Covid-19. If we go to school people will die of Covid-19.

If we don’t wear nose mask people will die of Covid-19 If we spend more than two hours in church people will die of Covid-19

If we go to the beach people will die of Covid-19

If we demonstrate people will die of Covid-19

But if we organise events like this, coronavirus will go to the village to visit his grandmother.

This country nankasa sometimes I wonder why we call ourselves a Christian nation.

Akufo Addo will come on TV and speak English; arish rish kontomire, all be full of lies, dishonesty and hypocrisy”

Kwame A Plus

Read also Audio: Kumawood actor, Sekyere Amankwah speaks on death rumours

She also shared the photo below when making the above comment.

Read also Mahama’s “Big Push” programme for massive infrastructural development

Audio: Kumawood actor, Sekyere Amankwah speaks on death rumours

Popular Kumawood actor, Sekyere Amankwah who was reported dead yesterday has broken his silence on the issues.

The report that Kumawood actor Sekeyere Amankwah has passed away was based on a funeral poster making rounds on social media announcing his untimely demise.

However, it was later revealed that the actor is not dead after all and the obituary was a calculated attempt to draw attention to the movie.

Read also Photos: The return of Emeka Ike to Nollywood, the lover boy features in new movie

Following that he has granted an number of interviews on radio stations across the countries. Yesterday we heard him speak to Kofi Adoma of Angel FM, an Accra based radio station, on the dead rumour.

He has also reacted to the reports in a phone conversation with colleague actor Joe Shortingo. In their conversation, he revealed that the obituary poster of him circulating that he is dead is never true but it is a poster from a movie he’s working on.

According to him, he is among the actors in an upcoming series which has him playing a role as one Akwasi Mensah which was the exact name displayed on the circulating poster meanwhile his real name is Sekyere Amankwah.

Read also I am tired of P0rnHub, want real love – A lady cries

Listen to the audio below …

Read also Video: Ini Edo opens up battling depression due to damaged skin

Phil Jones likely to stay with Manchester United until January

Manchester United have struggled and continue to struggle to offload their deadwood from the team.

The only outgoing has been Alexis Sanchez on a free, a stark contrast to last year, when five senior names walked out the Old Trafford exit doors.

Teams are clearly reluctant to splash the cash on United’s high-earners, with the Red Devils also being stubborn over their asking prices.

Read also How Donny van de Beek was discovered

Chris Smalling is currently only with the club because of the latter, with Roma yet to meet Ed Woodward’s £20m valuation of the player.

The Englishman isn’t the only central defender that would be free to leave United either, should a satisfactory offer come to the table. Forgotten man Marcos Rojo is also surplus to requirements, with Phil Jones being granted a licence to depart too.

Bids have been few and far between, and with just one week of the window left, an influx of player sales looks unlikely.

Read also “… right now, I feel the best I’ve felt in my career” – David De Gea

The MEN have already reported that Jones looks set to remain at United until at least January, due to an injury. The 28-year-old featured just twice in the Premier League last season, and currently finds himself behind Eric Bailly and newly-promoted Teden Mengi in the pecking order.

Removing stagnating figures has been a key part of Solskjaer’s rebuild at the club, but such progression looks set to come to a streaking halt this summer. The inability to move players on is out of the manager’s hands, but it is himself that will be held back from such poor business dealings.

Jones’ career at Old Trafford has been overshadowed by injuries, and ironically, it is the only thing keeping him employed by the club.

Read also Ghana Football Association appoints Julius Ben Emunah as club licensing manager

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