Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

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EDITO
Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Industrial engineer Ancel Bhagwandeen thinks that growing your food indoors is a great way to protect crops from the stresses of climate change. So he developed a hydroponic system that “leverages the nanoclimates in houses so that the house effectively protects the produce the same way it protects us,” he says. Bhagwandeen told IPS that his hydroponic project was also developed “to leverage the growth of the urban landscape and high-density housing, so that by growing your own food at home, you mitigate the cost of food prices.” Hydroponics, a method of growing plants without soil using mineral nutrients in water, is increasingly considered a viable means to ensure food security in light of climate change.

West African-focused fund manager, Sahel Capital has unbundled a $33 million investment fund for agribusiness in Nigeria, with particular focus on the sector’s SMEs. “We raised $33 million to invest in agribusiness SMEs across Nigeria, and will be seeking to raise additional capital during the course of the year to reach our $100 million target,” an insider at Sahel told Business Day.
According to Business Day, the investment is a mix of debt and equity with a 10-year lifespan, designed to provide financing for Agric-focused SMEs as well as partner intermediaries to with lending facilities for small scale farmers.

The world is increasingly looking to Africa to meet growing global food requirements. Foreign investment in the agricultural industry is growing in countries like Ethiopia, which are deemed to have high potential. A 2013 World Bank report titled Growing Africa: Unlocking the Potential of Agribusiness states the continent has the potential to create a trillion-dollar food market by 2030.
“I think agriculture is definitely one of the biggest growth areas for Africa,” says Mucai Kunyiha, managing director of leading Kenya-based animal health company Cooper K-Brands.Kunyiha says Africa has huge tracts of arable land, water and technology. What lacks, and is partly to blame for food insecurity in parts of the continent, is the right application of technology, the work ethic and vision to fully maximise the potential.

In this week’s CTA Brussels video interview, Jean-Pierre Busogoro, International Technical Advisor in Rwanda for the Belgian Development Agency (BTC), tells us a bit more about the project he is working on that aims to improve the access to quality advisor services and helping farmers access quality fees. Additionally, he comments on how we can make sure that smallholder farmers are the drivers and beneficiaries of research innovation and concludes with the main opportunities and challenges there is for agricultural innovation in Rwanda.

The agricultural sector has welcomed plans by government to establish a national Food and Nutrition Security Council. This will provide a platform for the agricultural sector, business and government to discuss issues of affecting the industry. The Agriculture Minister made the announcement in Stellenbosch on Thursday, at the first Agri Sector Unity Forum. Of particular concern in the sector is food security, water and land reform. Agriculture minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson says change can now be expected in the way issues in the sector are dealt with.

The European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA) has launched a campaign Future…Food…Farmers aiming at raising public and political awareness as well as enhancing the role of young farmers in shaping the future of Europe’s agricultural system. Recent figures from the European Union Eurostat show that farmers over 55 years old account for more than 50 percent of farm holders in all 27 European Union countries; the number of young farmers aged under 35 make up less than seven percent of agricultural producers.

Friday, 07 March 2014

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, at the weekend disagreed with world agriculture ministers over their position on organic agriculture as against agro-chemical practice. Adesina, who on behalf of the federal government, signed a bilateral cooperation agreement for agricultural development with  the Israeli government on Friday in Abuja, stated that the plant does not care how it get its nutrients.

Basseterre, St. Kitts (CUOPM) — Food crop production in St. Kitts increased by 15 percent last year, from 1,176 metric tonnes in 2012 to 1,356 metric tonnes in 2013. According to the Acting Director of Agriculture, Mr. Thomas Jackson, the increase in production could be attributed to increase acreage planted, the introduction of shade houses for vegetable production, the supply of water from dams during the dry period and favorable weather conditions during 2013.

When Dean, the first storm of the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season, lashed Dominica on Aug. 16, it left behind a trail of destruction, claimed the lives of a mother and son, and decimated the island’s vital banana industry. Seven years later, Dominica’s agricultural sector remains painfully vulnerable to natural disasters and climate variability. Every year, farmers lose a significant portion of their crops and livestock during the six-month hurricane season.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries on Friday officially handed over Agricultural Training Centres and Agricultural Mechanization Stations to the county governments. Agriculture Secretary Felix Koskei said the ministry will unveil support services and tools that will drive agriculture development in the counties. Speaking at Waruhiu Agricultural Training Centre in Ngewa ward, Githunguri, he said: "It was the intention of of the ministry to establish an ATC and AMS in each county within the transition period of 3 years but this was overtaken by the notices.""We are glad to hand over 27 established ATCs. Seven others are in various stages of construction in 7 counties.