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FG to generate N6bn from concession of 20 Silos

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ogbeh

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved the Concessioning of 20 out of its 33 Silos to private sector operators at the cost of N6 billion.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, revealed this when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

The meeting was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.

He said the Silos built at different parts of the country were being concessioned for 10 years.

“Today, we presented a memo to Council, seeking approval to concession the Silos which have been built in different parts of the country over the past 10 years.

“A total of 33 Silos exist with a capacity of 1,360,000 metric tons of grains and they are spread almost evenly through the geo-political zones of the country.

“In 2014 government decided to privatise or concession some of these Silos so that the private sector can help, use them for a fee to the Federal Government.

“The process was carried out by World Bank, the concession committee of the government, NGOs, the private sector and the Ministry of Agriculture.

“It has taken this long to arrive at this because the processes are very slow, we wanted absolute accountability,’’ he said.

According to him, six of the 33 Silos will be retained by the Federal Government.

“We informed them that the fact that we are concessioning some of the silos does not mean we are reneging on our responsibility to guarantee food security.

“We are keeping six of the silos which is according to international standard, we keep five per cent of all the grains we harvest every year, the rest will go to private sector groups.

“Those who bided and have shown capacity have been the ones allocated the Silos, those who are unable to manage them will have the concession revoked.

“Government will earn N6 billion in the 10-year period of the first instance.

“The Federal Government remains the owner of the silos and at the end of 10 years  it can either renew, revoke or takeover the Silos and operate them ourselves.

“We have requests for grains from different parts of the world, soya beans, sesame, sorghum and millet. We also have massive rice production going on and the likes of Dangote and Coscharis going into rice production now need these silos.

“So concessioning it to them means they will organise local groups to produce grains for them to dry properly and store and market when the need arises or even export.’’

The minister expressed the hope that the private sector operators had the capacity to operate and maintain the silos successfully.

Also speaking on the reported flood disaster in some parts of the country, the Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Suleiman Adamu, stated that Federal Government had put in place measures to address the situations.

According to him, the water level has risen to 11.19 , but has not reached the 12.4 level that led to flooding in 2012.

“The water level has not reached the point as it was in 2012, and we are happy that the water level in Cameroon has not reached the level that will make them open their dam.’’

Adamu, however, appealed to the communities within the flood plains to relocate from those areas.

Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, also responded to questions on the resignation of Kemi Adeosun as minister of finance and the subsequent appointment of Minister of State Zainab Ahmed to officially oversee the affairs of the ministry.

According to him, with her new appointment as supervising minister of finance, Ahmed has officially “relinquished her position as Minister of State, Budget and National Planning.”

Adesina said the clarification had become necessary following the confusion over her current status.

He said: “It is a matter of nomenclature, yes but she is overseeing the ministry. What you call her is a matter of nomenclature but if she is overseeing the ministry, then she is.

“But note that she is no longer minister of state budget and national planning for now until anything contrary happens. But for now, she is in charge of the ministry of finance.’’(NAN)

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Agriculture

Cocoa Pricing: Why Public-Private Sector Partnerships are Key to Sustaining the Livelihood of Smallholders Farmers in Africa

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AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited (AFEX) CEO, Ayodeji Balogun (Source: AFEX)

Pricing is a debating point in the cocoa sector, dominating contemporary stakeholder conversations; especially African cocoa producers. This is a result of the historically low cocoa prices that do not provide a fair income to farmers involved in cocoa production. Despite the announcement of the Living Income Differential (LID) by both Cote d’Ivoire and the Ghana Cocoa Boards, there still exist questions on the sustainability of this intervention – to take farmers out of poverty. Stakeholders in the African Cocoa industry need to rethink its strategy to improving farmers’ livelihood, by increasing their earning potential through value chain efficiency, facilitated by public-private sector partnership.

Interventions aimed at income enhancement and lifting farmers out of poverty are often based on the assumption that the said interventions, alone, are enough for the solution being pursued. On the surface, the decision to increase the farmgate price of cocoa and LID by an additional $400 a tonne on all cocoa contracts, appear to be a solution to lifting farmers out of poverty. However, even if farmers’ incomes were to increase – through increased farm gate prices – other structural issues like small farm sizes and low productivity levels will still keep these farmers below the poverty line.

For Cocoa farmers to earn a fair wage from their input, issues like ageing plantations, lack of adequate training and financing as well as direct access to the market, need to be addressed. These structural issues pose a more significant threat on the livelihood of cocoa producers in Africa.  Price increases on their own are not enough to lift the poorest farmers out of poverty. Price interventions like the LID must go hand in hand with other policies and programme, implemented to increase the volume and quality of beans produced. Achieving this will require a multi-stakeholder collaboration involving both the private and public sector aimed at not only improving the quality of lives of farmers but ensuring that the cocoa value chain is optimized.

To enable smallholder farmers benefit in an egalitarian way from the cocoa industry, the focus should be towards improving value chain efficiency while addressing structural challenges in the sector. This is achievable through a public-private collaboration that will drive private sector operations to deepen financial markets, scale-up infrastructure investments and enhance productivity and quality through training and input supply.

Through collaborating with Cocoa Cooperative Societies –providing training, input financing and market access, AFEX has enabled smallholder farmers to increase their productivity, while producing to international standards. With technology like AFEX Workbench – a value chain management platform which facilitates input sourcing, loan administration, sales, a transparent and efficiently executed cocoa process is achieved.

A public-private sector-driven model will create a sustainable approach which will revitalize and boost cocoa production in Africa – creating jobs and improving the living standard of the farmers. While the government takes the driver seat to develop policies and the infrastructure to catalyze this growth across the cocoa ecosystem, private sector organizations will ensure value chain efficiency – increasing the benefits stakeholders gain from the industry.

AFEX is committed to providing the support and technology to improve the quality of life for African cocoa farmers and their communities.

Author: Ayodeji Balogun is the CEO of AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited (AFEX)

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Goodwell Investments Backs Chicoa Fish Farm With $1.5 Million Funding To Support Food Security In Africa

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Chicoa Fish Farm Production Breeding Cage, Mozambique (Source: Chicoa Fish Farm)

Series A funding enables Chicoa to contribute to a stable market for affordable protein and improve outcomes for smallholder farmers and food vendors in Southern Africa.

Chicoa Fish Farm, a Mozambican-based company addressing the critical challenge of a lack of affordable protein in Southern Africa, announced today that it closed its Series A equity funding round totalling $1.5 million from Goodwell Investments.  

Building A Sustainable Aquaculture Industry

Chicoa Fish Farm was founded by Gerard McCollum and Damien Legros in 2015 with the vision to provide a blueprint for a sustainable aquaculture industry across Africa. Since its inception, Chicoa has focused on securing its supply chain through primary production of tilapia, establishing a breeding program, and developing sales and distribution channels in Mozambique, Malawi, South Africa, and Zambia.   

The $1.5 million Series A funding boosts the transition to its next stage of growth — the processing and distribution of frozen tilapia products. To facilitate this growth, plans include extending production facilities, the installation of a processing plant and including local small-scale farmers in its model. At scale, Chicoa will produce over 5,000 tons of tilapia per annum, putting more than $10M of direct income into the local economy each year.  

“We are delighted that Goodwell has joined us on this really exciting journey to develop fish farming as an industry in Mozambique,” commented Gerry McCollum, CEO of Chicoa Fish Farm. “Being a first-mover is really challenging, but also hugely impactful. Not only do Goodwell bring a wealth of experience to the table, but their philosophy of supporting for transformative businesses in areas of most need makes them a perfect partner for us.”

Supporting Food Security

Food security is one of the biggest challenges facing Africa and Mozambique is amongst the worst affected, with nearly 80% of the population unable to afford an adequate diet. While the continent has the resources to feed its population, most countries are net exporters of food. Mozambique, for example, imports nearly double the value of fish products it exports. Further, regional aquaculture businesses currently satisfy just 6% of the total demand for fish across the Southern Africa region.

“The opportunity to develop the aquaculture industry to meet the local and regional demand is clear,” notes Dhanyal Davidson, Senior Investment Associate at Goodwell Investments. “The sector can play a key role in the economic development Mozambique by providing affordable, high-quality protein, creating jobs and generating income for local farmers, and promoting broader regional development.”

Affordable, High-Quality Protein

In the face of overfishing and climate change, aquaculture, in particular, provides a means of providing a stable fish supply without increasing the harvesting of wild fisheries beyond the maximum sustainable yields. Chicoa is the largest commercial provider of fish in Mozambique and works to increase yields to provide a sustainable protein source and facilitate import substitution, boosting the sector with an affordable, high-quality fish.   

“Chicoa’s significant traction achieved to date coupled with our visit to the farm in Tete solidified our confidence in the company and its potential. The company is driven by an experienced team with deep roots in aquaculture and Southern Africa, and we look forward to supporting Chicoa to fulfil its potential. Aquaculture is a new area to Goodwell Investments, and we are especially pleased to be joining the table with like-minded investors who bring along a wealth of knowledge in the aquaculture space,” added Davidson.   

Goodwell joins long-term Chicoa Fish Farm investor and leader in sustainable aquaculture investments, Aqua-SparkAmy Novogratz, Founder and Managing Partner at Aqua-Spark commented, “We are excited about Goodwell Investments joining the investor base of Chicoa. Finding a high-quality partner like Goodwell, committed to joining us for the long-term development of regional food security, keeps Chicoa’s vision on track.”  

By developing a vertically-integrated solution to kick-start the freshwater aquaculture industry in Mozambique, Chicoa helps to improve the lives and incomes of local fish farmers and increase the sustainability and stability of food supply across Southern Africa.

Source: Goodwell Investments

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Agriculture

Cold Logistics Academy: Perishable Export Logistics Training (PELT)

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Cold Logistics Academy, the training arm of Kennie O Cold Chain Logistics is poised to train aspiring and professionals in the cold chain and logistics industry. The Academy have a robust curriculum that spans across the relevant aspects of the profession. With seasoned facilitators, it guarantees a training experience with practicable modules and engagement.

Cold chain logistics plays a huge role in export of fruits and vegetables; whether by Air, Sea or Road. From the farm gate to the final destination.

Learn practicable skills in cold chain logistics and export from experts. Get certified in the Perishable Export Logistics Training (PELT).

The Cold Logistics Academy course has been developed to handle challenges and provide solutions in the transportation of perishables. The course content includes Cold Chain Logistics and Freight, Export documentation and planning, Insurance and claims, Packing and labeling for Export, Food safety and handling.

Who to attend

• Logistics professionals working in cold chain and related services.
• Senior and midlevel managers involved in cold chain design.
• Certification bodies.
• FMARD.
• Operations and logistics managers.
• Warehouse managers and supervisors.
• Transport managers and supervisors.
• Third-party logistics personnel looking to improve their current operations, or providing cold chain services.
• Supply Chain Managers.
• Exporters.
• Route Planning Managers.
• Cold Room and Storage Professional.
• Farmers and Agribusiness Practitioners.
• Pack house.
• Quality Assurance managers.
• Consultants.

The extensive modules includes; 

Module1. Export documentation and planning.
Module 2. Logistics and Freight (Cold Chain Logistics).
Module 3. Insurance and claims
Module 4. Packing and labeling for Export.
Module 5. Food safety and handling.

The Speakers

• Ope Olarenwaju CEO Kennie O Cold Chain Logistics.
• MudiagaOkumagba General Manager, RedStar Express PLC.
• Kinsley Kwalar CEO StilFresh.
• Adebola Akingbele Founder Msvalue food safety practices.

Date: 24th and 25th November 2020.

To register for the training, Clck here

Also Read Closing The Gender Gap: An Interview with Dream Girl Global (DGG) Founder, Precious Oladokun

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