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Agriculture

Farmcrowdy Group Announces Partnership with Best Foods Fresh Farms

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Farmcrowdy Group, the parent company of Nigeria’s first digital agriculture platform. Farmcrowdy and Farmgate Africa, a leading online agro-commodity aggregator, have today announced a strategic partnership with Best Foods Livestock and Poultry Limited one of Nigeria’s most respected agribusiness companies with more than 16 years of operations and a focus on the processing and marketing of livestock produce.

Farmcrowdy Group Partnership with Best Foods

L to R: Kenneth Obiajulu, Co-founder and Managing Director, Onyeka Akumah, Founder and CEO, Farmcrowdy Group and Mr. Emmanuel Ijewere, Chairman of Best Foods Group 

Under the agreement, Farmcrowdy Group and its subsidiaries will consolidate their financial, technology, sales and marketing resources to increase the go-to-market efforts of Best Foodswith Farmgate Africa. The partnership will also work towards specifically improving the livestock value chain across the nation through Farmcrowdy’s production. This will improve the quality of meat production and processing practices in alignment with international standards, becoming the best source of processed meat in Nigeria, eventually eliminating the need for the importation of processed meat.

Mr. Emmanuel Ijewere, the Chairman of Best Foods Group and also the Vice-President of the Nigerian Agricultural Business Group (NABG) says, “according to state records, Lagos state alone consumes over 6,000 cows daily. This partnership with Farmcrowdy Group will create easy access to funds that will be used to establish the best meat processing practices utilized around the globe. This will eventually lead to Best Foods expanding beyond the meat industry as both companies have synergy in other areas that will be good for Nigeria’s overall agricultural space.”

Farmgate Africa Team with BestFoods Chairman

Farmgate Africa Team with the Chairman of Best Foods

Onyeka Akumah, Group CEO and Founder of Farmcrowdy Group (FCG), says “We are going into this relationship with Best Foods for the long haul, to improve how Nigerians access quality beef. This relationship will see all partners work together to raise quality cattle, process and sell quality beef to major buyers around the country. We are therefore excited that we have a respected expert like Mr. Ijewere offering his years of experience, network, and assets to improve our process while we look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship for many years to come.”

Kenneth Obiajulu, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Farmgate Africa, also spoke about the importance of the partnership for his business stating that it will enable Farmgate to meet widening demand from a host of strategic key accounts, including modern retail facilities, restaurants, international hotel chains, schools, and caterers, for healthy and traceable meat. “This is tremendous traction for Farmgate Africa. The increasing daily demand for meat in Lagos is encouraging and a pointer to growth. Part of our mandate is to reduce the spread of animal-to-human diseases by providing affordable, traceable, fit-for-slaughter and disease-free bulls coming directly from Farmcrowdy Group’s feedlots across the country.”

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Agriculture

African Development Bank hosts experts to accelerate food transformation in West Africa through technology

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Image: AfDB

The African Development Bank has hosted a group of experts to discuss how technology can be deployed to transform food systems in West Africa.

The Bank co-hosted the workshop with the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the African Green Revolution Alliance, the World Economic Forum and Rabobank for the Food Systems Action Platform (FSAP) for West Africa at the Bank’s headquarters in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, on 20-21 June.

More than 70 representatives from multi-lateral organizations attended the two-day session, along with delegates from food companies, African governments, including Togo and Ghana, research institutes, commodity exchanges, processor and producer organizations, and financial institutions.

“Africa is lagging behind in terms of food value chains. Never in the history of the world has there been more technologies, more know-how and other tools at our fingertips,” said Jennifer Blanke, Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development. “How can we all get together to use it to make a difference?”

Also Read Sahara Group Boots Climate Protection With Project #Greenlife

The FSAP and partners’ workshop agenda centered the relationship between climate resilience and nutrition and how to integrate those factors into food value chains, such as rice, cassava, fruits and vegetables, in West Africa. The event brought the FSAP partner organizations to create a collective base of value chain initiatives, and identify existing turnkey projects and innovative solutions to achieve the platform’s objectives.

“The stakeholders came together to see what they can do as a team and what are the actions that we need to prioritize in terms of bringing the food systems approach forward,” said Bank Director for Agricultural Finance and Rural Development Atsuko Toda, who coordinated the workshop.

Workshop participants determined actions to prioritize include: preparing business cases; codifying experiences that can be shared at future conferences like the African Green Revolution Forum, the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly or the Bank’s Africa Investment Forum. Attendees also agreed to establish a leadership work stream that draws knowledge from government, business and other African institutions.

 

– African Development Bank

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Agriculture

Harmful Agricultural Practices Farmers Should Avoid

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What happens when there is no longer arable land to plant on or livestock to rear because of all the harmful agricultural practices that have been practiced over the years? We experience pollution, land degradation, food shortages, and devastating climate change.

Sadly, that’s where we are headed if we don’t nip some of those practices in the bud.

Presently, earth has lost about  ⅓ of its arable land in the last 40 years. Erosion is one of the leading causes of this and there are some harmful farm practices which result in erosion. As global food demand soars, we need to make sure some of those practices are minimized, if not eradicated completely.

1. Use of Harmful Pesticides:

In agriculture, farmers use pesticides to control pest and disease carriers which could be harmful to crop and animal production. The pesticides come in forms of herbicides, insecticides, or fungicides. However, pesticides are usually poisonous and sometimes, they end up being harmful to unintended targets.

For instance, neonicotinoids are agricultural insecticides which affect the central nervous system of insects. While they’re efficient in wiping out unwanted insects, they’re considered a huge threat to honey bees.

Keith Delaplane, a professor of entomology and director of the Honey Bee Program at the University of Georgia says that neonicotinoids are one of the most serious causes of negative pressure on pollinators.

There are also other harmful pesticides such as Metam Sodium and Telone II. Although these are some of the most widely used compounds in America, they are considered dangerous to not just animals, but to humans.

Metam Sodium is an organosulfur compound which is used as a pesticide, herbicide, and fungicide, while Telone II is a liquid soil fumigant, used to control plant parasitic nematodes in the soil.

Metam Sodium can be toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that the fumes released from Telone II can cause cancer when inhaled over long periods.

There are some organic alternatives to using pesticides to control pests on the farm. Some of the good farming practices to replace the harmful ones are; interplanting, strip cutting, reproductive controls, and quarantines. Studies also suggest that botanic soil amendments with weeds could help fight against nematodes.

2. Slash and Burn Agriculture:

Sometimes, when farmers have to clear farmland in preparation for planting, they do so by setting fire to the forests, weeds, and grasses. Slash and burn agriculture, also called fire-fallow cultivation, involves cutting and burning plants in a forest to pave way for farming.

Aside from the obvious environmental pollution and potential health hazards of this method of farm clearing, there are many other adverse effects. It alters the soil nutrient cycle and sometimes irreversibly breaks down some mineral constituents by excessive drying after burning. This greatly affects the quality of the soil.

It also exposes the top soil to one of the leading causes of arable land destruction; erosion.  Slash and burn agriculture also produces harmful gases such as carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, hydrogen sulphide, nitrogen oxides, and other oxidants.

It could also lead to loss of reserves. FAO warns that indiscriminate bush burning and cutting of trees could lead to loss of forest reserves in communities.

One of the common alternatives to slash and burn agriculture is Inga Alley Cropping. This involves planting agricultural crops between rows of Inga trees. Inga is a nitrogen-fixing plant. When the trees develop, they are pruned at chest height and their branches are stripped of leaves and used as mulch.

The mulch fertilizes the soil, thus removing the need for chemical fertilizers and they use the larger branches for firewood, creating an alternative to cutting down trees. Inga trees regrow quickly to repeat the cycle of pruning and planting crops.

Also Read Empowering Entrepreneurs is the Route to Eradicating Poverty in Africa – Tony Elumelu Foundation CEO, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu

3. Overgrazing:

Overgrazing is eating up soil fertility – literally. It occurs when livestock continuously grazes on a particular land area for a long period of time, without giving the area enough recovery time. Some of the reasons for this are improper land use, poor livestock management, and many others.

As you can imagine, exposing a specific land area to intensive grazing will reduce fertility, soil organic matter, and productivity of that land. Erosion can also take place as a result of it. Overgrazing creates loss of habitat for wildlife or other livestock which feeds on grass.

One of the long term effects of overgrazing is food shortage.  It destroys land fertility, which makes it difficult for planting to take place. It also makes it difficult for grazing livestock to feed and thus, we could lose both land and livestock to overgrazing.

Nonetheless, we can put certain practices in place to avoid overgrazing. Proper land assessment, maintaining proper pasture residuals, monitoring grass growth and creating a balance between livestock feeding habits and pasture could go a long way to control overgrazing.

Are we missing any harmful agricultural practices? Spread the word by letting us know in the comments section below.

 

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Agriculture

uMsinga emerging farmer invests in high-tech agriculture solutions that will benefit local women-run farming cooperatives

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Zondo had just walked into the home of a strategic partner towards the empowerment of emerging farmers and achieving food security in Africa

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, June, 2019 – Six months ago, founder and chairman of the Bahle Zondo Foundation, philanthropist and entrepreneur Dr. Bahle Zondo walked into the AGCO Africa office announcing that he would like to set up a successful agribusiness in his community of Msinga. He was quick to add, that he knew nothing about farming. AGCO, Your Agriculture Company (NYSE: AGCO), is positioned to be the driving force in the development of a sustainable and prosperous agricultural industry across the continent. Zondo had just walked into the home of a strategic partner towards the empowerment of emerging farmers and achieving food security in Africa.

On Wednesday 29 May, 2019 the Foundation marked a milestone in scaling up operations through mechanisation during a handover ceremony of the Massey Ferguson MF 5710 tractor on one of its farming sites in Mkhuzeni, Msinga. For Zondo, it all began with a protest of about 50 women outside the local primary school.

“The women were pleading for more job opportunities with the school’s feeding scheme,” explains Zondo who is always keen to find solutions for his community. “It was impossible for all these women to be employed by the school.”

He had to find an alternative that would utilise their skills to restore their dignity and empower them with the means to sustain themselves and families. With a seed fund of R1.2 million, Zondo established the uMsinga Farming Project by merging 3 informal cooperatives on communal land with sites varying from 2 to 50 hectares in size. Zondo was certain that he could uncover economic opportunities for these women if only he could access the right guidance, equipment and training.

Based on soil analysis and site visits by the AGCO team together with Drakensburg Agricultural Services (DAS) – a Massey Ferguson dealer in the region, Zondo was advised to purchase the MF 5710, known for its ease to operate and dependability. The MF 5700 series comes in 3 models -5708, 5709, 5710; 92 hp to 102 hp (61 – 76 kW). Powered by 4 cylinder engines, the series is available in 2WD and 4WD axles.

“No farmer, no nation!” assured by Nuradin Osman, AGCO Vice President & GM, Africa, at the tractor handover ceremony. “AGCO understands that the future of farming in Africa rests heavily on small scale farmers and the emerging middle class. Our mission is a development strategy: Empowering African Farmers.”

The tractor was handed over by Leon Rohrs, Managing Director of DAS. Being a farmer himself, Leon knows the challenges and needs of local farmers first hand and has been key to AGCO’s 28.2% market share in the region of northern KwaZulu Natal, in just under a decade.

The handover ceremony was attended by iNduna Zuma and iNduna Ntuli representing the local chief, iNkosi Majozi. Other AGCO businesses GSI – responsible for grain storage facility; Sparrex, suppliers of approved AGCO replacement parts & accessories as well as AGCO’s distributor in Southern Africa, BHBW – A Barloworld BayWa Company were represented at the event.

Word spread fast in the community and soon the event turned into a Massey Ferguson tractor convention as local owners of vintage models pulled in, to showcase their prized possessions and the AGCO team and partners were at hand to assist with advice on spare parts, implements and modifications.

“Having both the Managing Director of DAS and the AGCO Vice President & GM of Africa come all the way to our village of Msinga to hand over this tractor, truly indicates their passionate dedication to the success of the farmer – be it an emerging or an established one,” concluded Zondo as he thanked all who had attended the ceremony.

AGCO together with DAS have taken this project under their wing and will provide advisory and mentoring on Agronomy practices, technical support, on-going product aftercare as well as link uMsinga Farming Project to support services within the industry.

AGCO Corporation.

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