How farmers can increase food production…

Livestock in Nigeria plays a big role in the livelihood of farmers and nutritional needs of the country.   Livestock also contributes to farming in many other ways.  Animals are used as draught power to pull plows or help weed farmland, and cow dung is an excellent fertilizer.

With so much at stake, farmers could benefit from simple, yet highly efficient ways to increase the health and productivity of their livestock.  These factors are often compromised when animals roam free in open pasture, exposed to disease vectors and left to feed on unwholesome grasses and plants.

One technique that can be very effective in maintaining healthy productive animals is a zero-grazing system.

In zero-grazing, livestock is kept in stalls all the time, and feed and water are brought to the animals. Zero-grazing keeps animals healthier. It can ward off diseases such as sleeping sickness caused by tsetse flies and tick bone diseases, which are so prevalent throughout Nigeria.  Zero-grazing also helps farmers increase productivity either from their current livestock or from the purchase of higher-yielding breeds of livestock which would not be able to thrive in an open pasture.

Zero-grazing has side benefits as well.  The increased efficiency of this management practice means more weight or milk can be produced per unit of feed eaten. Zero-grazing uses less land to produce more nutritious fodder plants, which allows the farmer to maximise the use of available land. Processes such as milking are easier to perform when the animals are kept corralled and calm.  Manure can be collected from the enclosure and used as fertiliser for growing crops.  Diseases are minimised because troublesome insects, such as biting and nuisance flies, are easier to control.

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How to tackle livestock disease outbreak, by expert

English: Ruptured oral vesicle in a cow with F...

English: Ruptured oral vesicle in a cow with Foot-and-mouth disease. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HOW can livestock disease outbreak be tackled? It is by a national data on animal movement, a livestock expert, Dr Aderemi Adeyemo has said.

Adeyemo, Head of General Management Department, Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI), Ilorin, said the farm animal movement data is essential in the event of an outbreak such as foot-and-mouth disease.

He  said  there was  a need for programmes to train animal health officials. He also said the livestock  industry should ensure foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) never occurs again.

Adeyemo  stressed the need  for  a communication system that will provide  Despatch Alerts, Warning, and Notifications (DAWN) via email, voice messages, or text messages to assist farmers and  veterinarians to monitor disease outbreaks.

English: Foot and Mouth Disease Warning Sign a...

English: Foot and Mouth Disease Warning Sign at Ballygroggan. The farmer here is displaying a high degree of caution by bringing out an old Foot and Mouth sign hundreds of miles away from the current outbreak in Surrey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He said  by  not investing  in  animal monitoring  the authorities are not only jeopardising the agriculture  economy, but also putting the health and welfare of  livestock at risk.

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Nigerian Farmers earn $136 million from cassava export to China

THE cassava production initiative of the Federal Government has started to yield the expected dividend as farmers may have earned $136 million (about N2 billion) from the produce exported to china in the last few months.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina said in Abuja yesterday that the country has so far exported 1.1million metric tone of Cassava chips to China adding that farmers have earned close to $136million from the export of the product to China.

The Minister said it was sad that Nigeria was spending a whooping N5.6billion annually on importation of Wheat flour, when farmers could earn N254billion annually from the substitution of high quality cassava flour for Wheat flour in bread production.

He lamented the waste of over 40million mt tonne of Cassava produced in the country. He stressed the need to add value to cassava produced in the country, as against the conventional Gaari, Fufu, and starch being produced.

According to the Minister, Nigeria was partnering research institutions in order to create best seed varieties for farmers and to accelerate the Cassava production in the country.

Cassava (yuca) roots, the Taínos' main crop

Cassava (yuca) roots, the Taínos’ main crop (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He further unfolded plans by the government to distribute free 1, 293,000 bundles of improved cassava cuttings in the next few weeks to cassava growers in 28 states of the federation.

“In Ogun State alone, 200,000 bundles of improved variety of cassava will be given to farmers: cassava farmers in Borno state are to receive 90 trailer-load of improved variety of cassava cuttings for planting on 150 hectares”.

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What’s driving Africa’s growth

Africa’s economic pulse has quickened, infusing the continent with a new commercial vibrancy. Real GDP rose by 4.9 percent a year from 2000 through 2008, more than twice its pace in the 1980s and ’90s. Telecommunications, banking, and retailing are flourishing. Construction is booming. Private-investment inflows are surging.

To be sure, many of Africa’s 50-plus individual economies face serious challenges, including poverty, disease, and high infant mortality. Yet Africa’s collective GDP, at $1.6 trillion in 2008, is now roughly equal to Brazil’s or Russia’s, and the continent is among the world’s most rapidly growing economic regions. This acceleration is a sign of hard-earned progress and promise.

While Africa’s increased economic momentum is widely recognized, its sources and likely staying power are less understood. Soaring prices for oil, minerals, and other commodities have helped lift GDP since 2000. Forthcoming research from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) shows that resources accounted for only about a third of the newfound growth.1 The rest resulted from internal structural changes that have spurred the broader domestic economy. Wars, natural disasters, or poor government policies could halt or even reverse these gains in any individual country. But in the long term, internal and external trends indicate that Africa’s economic prospects are strong.

Each African country will follow its own growth path. We have developed a framework for understanding how the opportunities and challenges differ by classifying countries according to levels of economic diversification and exports per capita. This approach can help guide executives as they devise business strategies and may also provide new insights for policy makers.

Satellite image of Africa, showing the ecologi...

More than a resource boom

To be sure, Africa has benefited from the surge in commodity prices over the past decade. Oil rose from less than $20 a barrel in 1999 to more than $145 in 2008. Prices for minerals, grain, and other raw materials also soared on rising global demand.

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Flour Mills Nigeria Plc Vacancy : Product Development Manager

Position: Product Development Manager

Department: Research & Development
Job Reference:     PDM 12

The  Job:
Lead a team of analysts and technologists to develop and launch an exciting range of new products in line with the company’s aggressive growth plans
Manage internal and external stakeholder relationships to ensure that agreed product launch timelines are met.

The person:

  • Have leadership skills and can manage a dynamic team
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and an eye for detail
  • Proactive, resourceful, self motivated, target driven individual

Qualification

  • Master’s Degree in Food Technology/Food Chemistry/Science or a related field.
  • MBA or/and Marketing / Commercial orientation is an added advantage

Experience
Minimum of 15 years in applied development and commercialization of new products in the Food Industry

Application Closing Date
24th August, 2012

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