Archives de catégorie : Agriculture

Agriculture and Climate Change In ZIMBABWE / Agriculture et changement climatique AU Zimbabwe

Kundai Ngwena

Globally there has been changes in weather patterns and uncertainty has become the order of the day in as far as in weather forecasting is concerned.
Such a scenario has negatively affected the agricultural sector as farmers relied on the existing traditional weather patterns.
According to the meteorological services of Zimbabwe, since 1987, the country has recorded record breaking temperatures having risen by approximately two degrees Celsius.
The average water levels in some lakes have dropped by a wide margin.
It is sad reality that Africa contributes less of the greenhouse gas emissions yet the continent is impacted the most.
Zimbabwe has invested massively towards making sure it achieves it’s set objectives of making vision 2030 a reality. The government has crafted several initiatives aimed to reduce the adverse effects of climate change.
Also the new dispensation has introduced several climate proofed agricultural initiatives for example the pfumvunza/intwasa to counter this development.
Earlier this year, through social media platforms , farmers posed questions citing confusion on the changing planting season.
Most of the questions were centred on planting times, cut off dates but the responsible authorities were not fully equipped with correct and definite answers.
I realised that they are not at fault, I blame climate change. An elderly woman from Marondera on anonymity said that, “she was worried on how she will pay back the loan she took for her maize project due to the wilting the crop experienced when they was a prolonged dry spell.”
She also highlighted that she is not sure of the actual yield she will get from the three-hectare farm. However, financial institutions are not worried about climate change effects, they need their loans paid back with the interest.
This leaves people with questions on how to adapt to this crisis. There is that part a farmer has to play and other stakeholders as well. Farmers need to invest in water harvesting just in case of a prolonged dry spell.
Frequent soil testing is now essential in continuously checking on compatibility of type of seed and fertiliser that suit the on-going long term changes.
From a radio show, an award winning environmentalist Kundai Ngwena urged farmers to appreciate that seed varieties are now available and it is now advisable to buy early maturity seeds which have a shorter crop cycle.
These will survive even if they encounter dry spells during the entire crop cycle. An urban farmer from Harare only managed to plant their maize a week before Christmas day and now the crop is almost ready for fruition just the same as the late maturity seeds other farmers around her planted.
This is one of the few examples we have seen that have adapted to climate change and life of a farmer goes on.
Other stakeholders such as financial institutions are still lagging behind in adapting to climate change.
Despite being indirectly affected they still have a role to play.
One of the branch managers from a local bank in Harare highlighted that droughts and floods are force majeure and hence they do not need to be insured against.
This is a huge gap that needs to be covered. It leaves farmers with huge losses to repay the loans and yet they would have harvested little or no yield.
It is the cry for most farmers as there isn’t that balance as yet. The Banks Association of Zimbabwe should have this issue as one of their top priorities.
The seed houses should engage independent researches to carryout performance evaluation exercises on different types of seeds and hence assess compatibility and have their findings communicated to farmers. This will enable farmers to adapt and thrive.

 

 

À l’échelle mondiale, il y a eu des changements dans les conditions météorologiques et l’incertitude est devenue l’ordre du jour en ce qui concerne les prévisions météorologiques. Un tel scénario a eu des effets négatifs sur le secteur agricole car les agriculteurs se sont appuyés sur les conditions météorologiques traditionnelles existantes. Selon les services météorologiques du Zimbabwe, depuis 1987, le pays a enregistré des températures record ayant augmenté d’environ deux degrés Celsius. Les niveaux d’eau moyens de certains lacs ont chuté de façon importante. C’est la triste réalité que l’Afrique contribue moins aux émissions de gaz à effet de serre, mais le continent est le plus touché. Le Zimbabwe a investi massivement pour s’assurer qu’il atteigne ses objectifs fixés de faire de la vision 2030 une réalité. Le gouvernement a élaboré plusieurs initiatives visant à réduire les effets néfastes du changement climatique. La nouvelle dispense a également introduit plusieurs initiatives agricoles à l’épreuve du climat, par exemple le pfumvunza/intwasa pour contrer ce développement. Plus tôt cette année, par le biais des plateformes de médias sociaux, les agriculteurs ont posé des questions invoquant la confusion sur l’évolution de la saison de plantation. La plupart des questions étaient centrées sur les périodes de plantation, les dates butoirs, mais les autorités responsables n’étaient pas entièrement équipées avec des réponses correctes et définitives. J’ai réalisé qu’ils ne sont pas en faute, je blâme le changement climatique. Une femme âgée de Marondera sous anonymat a déclaré qu'”elle s’inquiétait de la manière dont elle rembourserait le prêt qu’elle avait contracté pour son projet de maïs en raison du flétrissement de la culture lors d’une période de sécheresse prolongée”. Elle a également souligné qu’elle n’était pas sûre du rendement réel qu’elle obtiendrait de la ferme de trois hectares. Cependant, les institutions financières ne s’inquiètent pas des effets du changement climatique, elles ont besoin que leurs prêts soient remboursés avec les intérêts. Cela laisse les gens avec des questions sur la façon de s’adapter à cette crise. Il y a ce rôle qu’un agriculteur doit jouer et d’autres parties prenantes également. Les agriculteurs doivent investir dans la collecte de l’eau juste en cas de sécheresse prolongée. Des analyses de sol fréquentes sont désormais essentielles pour vérifier en permanence la compatibilité du type de semences et d’engrais qui conviennent aux changements à long terme en cours. Dans une émission de radio, un écologiste primé, Kundai Ngwena, a exhorté les agriculteurs à comprendre que des variétés de semences sont désormais disponibles et qu’il est désormais conseillé d’acheter des semences à maturité précoce qui ont un cycle de culture plus court. Ceux-ci survivront même s’ils rencontrent des périodes de sécheresse pendant tout le cycle de culture. Une agricultrice urbaine de Harare n’a réussi à planter son maïs qu’une semaine avant le jour de Noël et maintenant la récolte est presque prête à porter ses fruits, tout comme les graines à maturité tardive que d’autres agriculteurs autour d’elle ont plantées. C’est l’un des rares exemples que nous ayons vu qui s’est adapté au changement climatique et la vie d’un agriculteur continue. D’autres parties prenantes telles que les institutions financières accusent encore du retard dans l’adaptation au changement climatique. Bien qu’ils soient indirectement touchés, ils ont encore un rôle à jouer. L’un des directeurs de succursale d’une banque locale à Harare a souligné que les sécheresses et les inondations sont des cas de force majeure et qu’elles n’ont donc pas besoin d’être assurées. C’est un écart énorme qui doit être comblé. Cela laisse aux agriculteurs des pertes énormes pour rembourser les prêts et pourtant ils n’auraient récolté que peu ou pas de rendement. C’est le cri de la plupart des agriculteurs car il n’y a pas encore cet équilibre. L’Association des banques du Zimbabwe devrait faire de cette question l’une de ses principales priorités. Les maisons de semences devraient engager des recherches indépendantes pour effectuer des exercices d’évaluation des performances sur différents types de semences et ainsi évaluer la compatibilité et faire communiquer leurs conclusions aux agriculteurs. Cela permettra aux agriculteurs de s’adapter et de prospérer.

 

TECHNOLOGY IN AGRICULTURE AND the fourth industrial revolution (4IR)

Ikechi Kelechi Agbugba, PhD

Professor, Faculty of Indian Oceanic Sciences, University of the State of the African Diaspora (USOAD)

Professor, College of Agriculture & Agribusiness Management, Cavalla International Univ. (CIU)

Senior Academic/Researcher, Dept of Agric. & Applied Econ., Rivers State University (RSU)

 Faculty Member, Agribusiness Management, Rome Business School (RBS)

Chair, International Advisory Board, African Council on Small Businesses and Entrepreneurship (ACSBE)

USAID, FEED-the-future nigeria & STAKEHOLDERS’ workshop on COVID-19 impact ON value-chains of agrifood smes Held in port harcourt City, nigeria

IKECHI AGBUGBA, PhD

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in conjunction with other stakeholders of Nigeria’s agriculture sector transformation such as the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Policy Activity, World Fish and International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in a One-Day workshop held a technical session discussing findings from research studies carried-out by the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Michigan State University on ‘’the impact of COVID-19 and associated shocks and policies on smallholders (SMEs) along the poultry and fish value-chains’’ on Monday, 6th  December, 2021 in Port Harcourt City, Rivers State.

The knowledge-sharing research dissemination workshop was facilitated/moderated by Dr Ikechi Agbugba from the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Rivers State University on the theme, “COVID-19 and Agri-Food SMEs in Nigeria: Evidence from Fish and Poultry Value Chains.”

During the workshop, the lead researcher and principal investigator from Michigan State University, Prof. Saweda Tasie, who participated via zoom stated that the USAID has expressed commitment toward supporting policy processes via scientific research to enhance skills and mentoring through training and Institutional Capacity Development in Nigeria.  She further explained that the initiative is aimed at promoting policy-driven collaborative research and analysis, as well as supporting Nigerians and partners to provide evidence that would guide policy processes in the agriculture sector.

NATURE OF RESOURCES IN ATTENDANCE

Among other stakeholders from Artisan Fishermen Association of Nigeria (ARFAN), National Fishers Association of Nigeria (NFAN), crops and livestock farmers, as well as selected youths and students of tertiary institutions in the agriculture space in attendance, heads of department at the Rivers State Ministry of Agriculture (RSMOA) also attended and they are: Dr Godswill Ukoikpoko (Livestock and Veterinary Services), Mr. Promise L.Y. Birah (National Agricultural Research and Liaison Services, NAERLS); Mr. Bestman U. Wokele (Fisheries and Aquatics) and Bestman Wokele (Poultry Association of Nigeria, PAN).

* Cross -section of the Participants

More so, Dr Benjamin Otene from the Department of Fisheries and Environment, Rivers State University (RSU) was in attendance. Other participants present include: Dr Ebitari Binaebi (Agricultural Economist, RSU); Dr Ekwueme Ifeanyi-Amos (Agricultural Economist, Ignatius Ajuru University of Education); Mr. Sunday Agbagwa (RSU); Nari Lebe Monday (ARFAN); Tammy Barango (ARFAN); Faabel Tombari (ARFAN); Billy Thankyou (NFAN); Offumbu Nelson (State MOA); Bibi Adeleye (Fisheries Dept., MOA); Mrs. Blessing Ohaeri-Chigozirim (Farmer/Immigration Officer); Benita Ogbuehi (Fish Farmer); Dagogo Blessing (Artisan Fisher);Lebelage Barisere Chris (Artisan Fisher); Emmanuel Akumuko (Fish Farmer); Desmond Chizunum Wali (Agricultural Economist, RSU); Prosper Kagbara (Agricultural Economist/Corper).

FEED THE FUTURE NIGERIA AGRICULTURAL POLICY ACTIVITY NOTES 1 TO 3

Presentations were made on the findings and recommendations by team members on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on Agri-food, small and medium enterprises in Oyo, Niger and Abuja.

For Oyo State, the study findings as reported by Abagyeh-Igbudu et al. (2021) are as follows:

• Even though the state did not implement a full lockdown in response to COVID-19, SMEs were still significantly impacted by disruptions to their input and output supply chains, largely due to their interdependence on other states for inputs, output markets and other supporting services.

• The challenges firms faced in the state changed from supply chain disruptions (due to lockdown in other states) to financial challenges due to lower demand and increased default in payment among customers and the increase sales on credit adopted by SMEs in response to the early challenges with market access.

• Only three percent (3%) of the study sample received any assistance. Of those who received any assistance, 100% of it was from their social networks and not government and the FCT.

For Niger, the study findings as captured by Muhammad et al. (2021) are that :

• The COVID-19 pandemic and associated policies severely affected the operations of small businesses along the poultry and fish value chains in Niger State. The number of small businesses in operation declined in the months after the lockdown period, indicating a medium to long term effect.

• There was a steady decline in the number of regular workers employed by small businesses after the lockdown. This may be an indication of a severe long-term effect of the pandemic and associated policies on business operations.

• Employment of daily laborers was also disrupted. Both small and non-small businesses experienced a decline in the number of daily laborers contracted in all supply chain segments, except for small businesses in the downstream supply chain (fish, chicken, and egg retailers).

• Businesses along the fish and poultry value chains faced increasing challenges during and after the lockdown. Numerous businesses faced financial difficulties in the months after the lockdown.

• No assistance was received by the value chain actors from any of the Government agencies during the period

From the research findings for Abuja, Sule et al. (2021) submitted that :

• Lockdown policies in the FCT severely restricted the operations of SMEs in the midstream and downstream of the poultry and fish value chains

• While the impacts of the restrictions appear to be temporary for non-small businesses generally, we find some evidence of longer-term effects on small businesses in the midstream

• The COVID-19 lockdown policies significantly affected firm employment decisions with important differences between male and female owned enterprises. While employment by male owned businesses appear to have partially recovered, employment levels remain extremely low among female owned enterprises

• Very few SMEs received any assistance to support their response to COVID-19 and the few that did only received assistance from friends and family.

Technical Session with Poultry and Fish Dealers and Selected Stakeholders of Agri-Food Transformation in Rivers State

With respect to the points raised at the Port Harcourt Zonal Workshop Group, that fish production is going very low, ineffective and inefficient is as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, as well as black soot which, in the last quarter of 2016 has become an environmental issue for residents of Port Harcourt City, state and region. The increased presence of this airborne particulate (soot) in the environment is suspected to come from illegal refining, bunkering and gas flaring activities are the major sources of soot in the State around the City.

The question of what can be done to remedy the situation was raised and there is room for an efficient increase in fish production in Rivers State. Indeed, the issue of soot has made life less-abundant for artisan fishers and that has drastically and severely affected their farmlands, fishing resources and even sources of drinkable water. For instance, one of the participants complained that buyers and consumers of fish have found black soot inside fish guts whenever fish is cut.

·       A Poultry dealer in the Port Harcourt workshop lamenting on
her ordeal in the high cost of feeds and poultry products  

According to one of the stakeholders in attendance, ‘’that there are no clear distinctions regarding rural and urban farmers as rural farmers are mostly affected,’’ was not captured in the research papers.

In addition, that the feed price for both poultry and fish is skyrocketing due to the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer news and that issue was raised by a lady poultry farmer. She further suggested that Nigeria’s government need to show more concern in providing some assistance to smallholder poultry and fish farmers in the form of grants, loans, subsidies, more cultivable land to site their farms. According to an NFAN member in attendance, recommendations was made to provide some medium for farmers in accessing funding sources as that would go a long way in sustaining the fishers.

“It is not just COVID that is responsible for the decrease in poultry and fish agribusinesses, but the policies enforced by government,” commented by one of the academic stakeholders Faculty of Agriculture, Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Port Harcourt. The high price of fish, chicken, egg, among other poultry products in food market is described as outrageous and that government, private investors, Nigerians in diaspora and other stakeholders can do more to support farmers to scale-up poultry and fish production. With respect to fishers accessing funds and grants, Head Fishery Department at Rivers State Ministry of Agriculture suggested that farmers be registered at their appropriate departments in the ministry as that would go a long way to structuring out a framework for channeling information, interventions or palliative for farmers especially for fishers.

A fish farmer in Rivers State who participated expressed her pains over the high cost of fish feed as it is closing down catfish farms in the state; and her question was what will be the assistance of government to bail-out fish farmers and save their businesses. On the other hand, a poultry farmer attendee lamented that there is over 100% increase in the price of poultry feed. However, in the market, buyers are unwilling to pay higher prices. She further pointed-out that palliatives made available during COVID-19 for farmers was inaccessible to them implying that loans meant for farmers are diverted by persons who do not practice farming and this is an aberration in the system. In the course of the workshop, a general question which was raised by majority of the participants is what is the Federal Government of Nigeria doing to ensure poultry and fish farmers, as well as other agrifood practitioners in providing meaningful assistance for them? More so, a follow-up question on what can be done by the government to bring down the price of poultry and fish feed, so as to salvage those agribusinesses from closing down.

Recommendations/Last Words

As recommended by head of the department, Livestock and Veterinary Services, RSMOA that: “as farmers, there is every need to more innovative in thinking particularly as what to do for government.” The practice of good farm management such as biosecurity is of great essence to ensure disease prevention in and between livestock/animal farms. He stressed that all farmers especially poultry and fish farmers must encourage themselves by forming or joining a recognized farmer cooperative to enhance their chances of securing loans, grants, subsidies, interventions, among other support pills from government and other funding agencies. Enrolling in a cooperative could also be a strategy for the farmers in minimizing the shock Furthermore, he stressed that there is need for mindset change by farmers on what they can and would do for government and ‘not just’ what government can/would do for farmers. Still on that, another participant suggested that farmers be encouraged to register with agricultural cooperatives as that could be an antidote to the ‘no data issue’ for farmers; and would definitely help in these times of a dearth in data for real farmers.

More so, it is recommended that Rivers State Government in conjunction with stakeholders of agriculture transformation should welcome initiatives in establishing chicken hatcheries in the state as that would go a long way in cushioning the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.

However, regarding the policies meted by the government during and after COVID, strategies adopted in improving the concerns, farming conditions and livelihoods of poultry and fish farmers, as well as prospective entrants in the agri-food value-chain agribusiness can be actualized since they are a veritable strategy in generating employment opportunities, increasing income, reducing farming/farmers’ risks, developing agri-infrastructure and improving the quality of rural life.

Therefore, in line with the research conducted, such conversation and knowledge-sharing session will essentially help policy makers in identifying true farmers since the findings indicated that significant numbers do not receive any form of assistance during COVID-19 pandemic.

ABOUT THE FACILITATOR/REPORTER

Ikechi Kelechi Agbugba, PhD is an Agro Economist Professor in the Faculty of Indian Ocean Sciences of the University of the State of the African Diaspora (USOAD). Since 2003, he has been carrying-out researches on food and agricultural marketing in sub-Sahara Africa (SSA). He earned PhD in Agricultural Economics and has gained Postdoctoral Research Experience on a collaborative study between South Africa’s Agricultural Research Council (ARC) and the University of Fort Hare, Alice Campus. Currently, he is a Professor of Agricultural Sciences and Agribusiness at the Cavalla International University (CIU) and also features as senior academic/researcher playing mentoring roles to university students, African youths, teenagers, as well as engaging with international networking volunteer organizations across Africa and outside, as either senior advisor or director in championing Africa’s transformation through the agriculture/agribusiness and education sectors. He is one of the Advocates of the European Technology Chamber (EUTECH) focusing on possible and easy solutions how to deploy business ideas, as well as relevant technology to targeted African communities. According to Dr Ikechi, “moves to industrialize the agriculture sector must be vastly encouraged especially in this era of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR).” To mention a few, Dr. Agbugba is an Advisory Board Member with the African Continental Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCCI); Director, Research & Development/International Coordinator for Africa Agriculture Agenda (AAA); Senior Advisor, African Youth Diaspora Organization (AYDO); Senior Adviser, Tomatoes and Orchard (Horticulture) Producers Association of Nigeria (TOPAN); Advisor, AgriEn (an agribusiness and agri energy initiative focused on accelerating development and delivery of innovative and sustainable interventions in food security, among other initiatives. Also, Dr Ikechi is the Technical Adviser to NutriCare, Malawi (an initiative developing strong farmers’ links and networks with the agriculture sectorin specific regions thereby identifying farmer/farming needs, as well as building networks, partnerships and relevant opportunities in line with the vision of actualizing food and nutrition secure communities through empowering women to increase availability of affordable nutritious foods.

Dr Ikechi is a Faculty Member in the agribusiness management program of Rome Business School, as well as a Senior Academic/Researcher, Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics, Rivers State University (RSU). Moreover, he is a selected academia/researcher stakeholder in the Feed-the-Future initiative of the USAID Global Food Security Strategy Whole-System Workshop and has led plenary sessions on Food Security and Agribusiness especially at International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) World Congress which held at St Paul Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. Moreover, he is the recipient of the excellence award ‘Agro-Economist of the Year’ in the 2017 Conference of the Pan African Agricultural Journalists (PAAJ) at Ikeja, Lagos State, Nigeria.

Website: http://nutricaremw.com/                                

Website: https://ruralfarmershub.com/about

Website: https://agriennetwork.com/our-team/             

Website: https://www.topanigeria.com/our-team/

Website: https://www.africaagricultureagenda.com/dr-i