AATF, CAMAP begin cassava revamp in Nigeria

By Charles Coffie Gyamfi, Abeokuta

September 17, 2017

Nigeria is currently the largest producer of cassava in the world with an annual output of over 34 million tonnes, but even with this, the country is yet to meet its local demand.

Cassava. Photo by www.guardian.ng

To address the shortfall in its production, the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), a Non-Governmental Organisation through the Cassava Mechanisation and Agro-processing Project (CAMAP), with the support of United Kingdom Agency for International Development (UKAID) is working with both smallholder and commercial farmers from Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Kwara and Kogi States, to deploy machines to assist them in improving the cassava value chain.

These machines are: cassava planting machine; boom sprayer; ploughing and harrowing machines; and cassava harvesting machine.

The machines, according to the country coordinator of AATF-CAMAP programme, Mr Ayodele Omowunmi, would assist farmers in harrowing, ploughing, planting, application of herbicides and harvesting of cassava with ease.

As at now, the programme has organised farmers, mostly youths into clusters in six states: Osun-15 clusters and five commercial farms; Ogun-20 clusters and two commercial farms; Oyo-seven clusters and two commercial farms; Kwara-five and two commercial farms; Kogi-three clusters; and Delta-one commercial farm.

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Victory over Striga weed under the yoke of army worms

By Nancy Juma,

September 15, 2017

Despite an attack by the fall army worm on her Esikhokho Village farm in Luanda, Everlyne Odogba is still happy with the harvest this season.  It is her first harvest after planting StrigAway maize seeds on her half-acre field.

Everlyne Odogba in her farm planted with StrigaAway maize seed

“It is not so much, but this is the best crop ever seen in my farm,” says Everlyne, a 30-year old mother of six.

Everlyne explains that she has often considered abandoning the maize on her farm, as whatever harvest she got was never enough to feed her family.

“Can you believe the most I have ever harvested is only 12kgs after all my labour?  I have often thought of switching to sweet potatoes, ground nuts and cassava as planting maize was just a waste of money and time,” she says, noting that her neighbour whose field was of equal size had harvested almost 20 times more. Continue reading

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From petty trader to major supplier, thanks to StrigAway

By Nancy Juma

September 03, 2017

 

Eunice Anyango addresses journalists at her farm in Nyakach – Kisumu County, Kenya

Before she decided to switch to StrigAway, the yield from Eunice Anyango’s five-acre farm could barely feed her family, with any little surplus being sold in tiny 2-kg tins known as gorogoro in the local market.

“We would faithfully plant the variety known locally as ‘farmer’s choice’ and wait for the little harvest.  Whatever was not eaten by kayongo would come out stunted but we had no option but to hope for a better harvest the following season,” says Eunice.

Immaculately dressed and speaking in perfect English, Eunice is quick to point out that she believes those days are behind her.

“I am no longer a small farmer packing maize in small tins to take to the local retail market.  I am now supplying maize to the local boarding school and I cannot forget the first time I held a cheque worth Sh. 100,000 in my hands!” she says proudly.

Like many other farmers here in Nyakach, Kisumu County, Eunice was for long at the mercy of the devastation caused by striga weed on her farm. Despite her faithful use of fertilizer, weeding and spraying, the most she would harvest from the five acres was three 90-kg bags.

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New varieties of rice to be introduced to farmers soon

By James Kariuki

August 29, 2017

Rice farmers prepare land for planting in Nyando, Kisumu County. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kenya is looking at introducing 15 high-yielding, locally developed rice varieties that, once commercialised, could drastically reduce the country’s import requirements.

The move could save the nation billions of shillings in foreign exchange. It follows completion of the second national field trials (NFT) in May at various farms that reported bumper harvests.

The rice varieties developed by Kenyan researchers under the Hybrid Rice Project saw harvests triple to between 7 and 10 tonnes per hectare, with fewer cases of diseases reported.

“On May 2017, we inched closer to delivering the first indigenous rice hybrids in Kenya after second successful national performance trials (NPT) for the 15 new varieties. Just like in the first NPT in 2016, the varieties showed the much-desired traits; early maturity, higher yields and disease resistance,” said a statement signed by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) Rice Project manager Kayode Sanni.

The trials were conducted by Hybrids East Africa (HEAL) under the supervision of the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) at Hola and Malindi in the coastal region, Mwea in Central Kenya as well as in Siaya and Kisumu counties.

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How cassava mechanisation is sparking industrial revolution in Ogun State, Nigeria

By Collins Nnabuife

August 29, 2017

Ongoing ploughing operations in Isenyi, Oyo State – Nigeria done by CAMAP project.

Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava in the world with the production capacity of approximately 45 million tonnes which is almost 19 per cent of the total cassava production in the world. 

Cassava, which is raw materials for countless products, has served as food for families especially in the rural areas as the popular garri is produced from cassava, and other products which form the basic daily food of Nigerians.

Being the largest producer of cassava in the world, Nigeria is yet to add more value to cassava production, as the majority of cassava produced in the country is basically used as food item domestically.

It is as a result of this that successive governments have tried to add value to cassava production through the introduction of cassava flour in bread baking and other confectionery.

This cassava flour adoption is being implemented a cross the country, but the demand of cassava for this initiative is still very poor as farmers still have their products decaying in the soil without patronage.

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Building Nigeria’s agribusiness through smallholder farmers: The AATF initiative

By Abdallah el-Kurebe

August 29, 2017

“By 2030, the size of the food and agribusiness in Africa will reach $1 trillion. So, if you are thinking of how to make money, that’s the sector to be in.” – Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank. “Cassava is an industrial crop of the future in Africa, with the potential to generate income for poor farmers and a huge number of jobs.” – Claude Fauquet, Director, Global Cassava Partnership for the 21 Century.

Cassava farmers supported by CAMAP project. Photo by Daniel Essiet/www.thenationonlineng.net

Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava in the world with an annual output of 34 million tonnes of tuberous roots. It is produced mostly by smallholder farmers by use of ‘traditional instruments’ with an average landholding of less than two hectares per smallholder farmer.

But the low productivity of cassava, according to the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), is as a result of limited market opportunities due to low utilisation of mechanisation and production or processing tools. “It takes a farmer in Africa 10 days to uproot or harvest their fields while a farmer in India requires only six hours.” Therefore, in order to encourage commercial production of cassava by smallholder farmers, AATF, through funding by the United Kingdom Agency for International Development (UKAID) has rolled up a Cassava Mechanization and Agro-processing Project (CAMAP) currently in Kwara, Kogi, Ogun, Oyo and Delta states.

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Burkina Faso farmers still yearn for Bt Cotton

By Suleiman Okoth

August 28, 2017

Mr Francois Traore (Centre) former president of Union of Cotton Producers (UNPC) in Burkina Faso with Dr Edgar Traore (Left), OFAB Burkina Faso – coordinator and Daniel Otunge (Right), Program Manager – OFAB Africa.

In my journey to understand the intricacies of Bt Cotton in Burkina Faso, I had the rare opportunity to interview Mr Francois Traore through a translator in his modest residence about 10 kilometres from Burkina Faso capital, Ougoudougou.

Francois Traore, a towering man in his mid-60s, former president of Africa Cotton Producers Association (APROCA) and first president of Union of Cotton Producers (UNPC) in Burkina Faso, is not your typical farmer. As a cotton farmers’ representative in Africa, he has brushed shoulders with prominent world leaders.

His admiration for Ernesto “Che” Guevera — the Argentine revolutionary leader who had a desire to change the lives of South Americans is unmistakable if you have an opportunity to visit him at his home — a portrait of Che Guevera is prominently placed in his sitting room alongside a photo of him with former president of France Jacques Chirac, Barack Obama, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela among others.

I was curious to know what attracts him to Che Guevera and how it is related to farming and his journey as a cotton farmer, of which he replied: “I admire the work of Che Guevera especially in improving lives of poor farmers in South America. I hope to emulate him as I represent farmers and ensure that they gain from their sweat and improve their lives.”

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Drought-tolerant, pest resistant maize variety promises higher yields

August 27, 2017

Drought-tolerant (DT) and insect resistant (Bt) maize at Kiboko Controlled Field Trial site in Kenya.

Scientists have unveiled a new drought-tolerant and pest- resistant maize variety, raising prospects for higher yields.

The Mon 87460/Mon 810 variety, which has been undergoing tests in confined fields, can withstand harsh climatic conditions and invasion by pests, the two top challenges farmers face.

The new variety comes against a 25 per cent projected decline in maize production this year due to erratic rains and armyworm invasion.

“The second season of these trials has proved to be drought tolerant and pest resistant in what marks a major step in the fight against insects which have caused farmers losses for long,” said Dr Murenga Mwimali, the lead scientist of the project.

The trials are a Water Efficient Maize for Africa (Wema) project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The project, conducted at Kenya Livestock Agricultural Research Organisation (Kalro) centres, seeks to develop smart technology for African farmers. Dr Mwimali urged the government to release the environmental report on the variety urgently to pave way for commercialization.

Maize production is forecast to drop from 37 million bags last year to 28 million this year.

The armyworm invasion, which attacked major growing zones in the country, is expected to cut production by five per cent with erratic weather contributed 20 per cent of the yield losses.

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Enhancing commercial cassava production

By Daniel Essiet

August 25, 2017

 

Cassava farmers supported by CAMAP project. Photo by Daniel Essiet/www.thenationonlineng.net

Cassava is used for many things: Food, feed, ethanol and other industrial uses. Besides, it has a lot of derivatives.

It is, particularly, valuable for rural small-holder farmers, breweries, pharmaceuticals, distilleries and ethanol-producing companies, which use  cassava flour and starch as raw materials. In most cases, these firms rely on imports for their raw materials.

Initiative

It is for this reason that a non-governmental organisation (NGO), African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), has taken the initiative to make cassava business attractive in Nigeria. It is working through Cassava Mechanisation and Agro-processing Project (CAMAP).

CAMAP, funded  by United Kingdom Agency for International Development( UKAid), seeks  to  transform  the  cassava  sector  in  sub-Saharan Africa by enhancing  commercial  production,  processing and market linkages based on business models that engender sustainability.

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Nigeria: Cassava Farming Declining in Katsina

By Aliyu Kwaifa

August 25, 2017

Mr David Ayodele, CAMAP coordinator, explaining the project to the youths on their field in Oyo State – Nigeria.

Cassava famers in Katsina State is on the decline, Daily Trust’s investigation has revealed.

This is coming just as the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) has said although Nigeria is the highest grower of cassava in the world, it has a zero value chain for the produce.

The AATF’s Communications and Partnerships Officer for West Africa, Mr. Abu Umar, stated this at a stakeholders’ meeting on cassava in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

He said the government should find solution to the lack of value chain for cassava otherwise the country’s agricultural sector would not develop fast.

For decades in Katsina State, rural farmers have been into cassava production essentially for local consumption.

However, the gradual change in the agricultural trend across the country is causing a decline in the production of cassava in the state.

This reporter visited some communities in the state and discovered that most of the farmers concentrate more on maize, sorghum and soya beans farming.

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