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

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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

Agriculture

3 Fun Facts About Vegetables

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Vegetables have become such a huge part of our daily meals that we cannot? our meals without them. Here are  three fun facts about vegetables that you probably didn’t know about:

1. Tomato Is Botanically A Fruit But Legally A Vegetable:

By definition, a fruit is a seed-bearing structure that develops from the ovary of a flowering plant while vegetables are other plant parts such as roots, leaves, and stems. Based on this, a lot of what we consider vegetables (such as cucumber, avocado, eggplant, okra, and even pepper) are actually fruits. However, even though tomatoes fit into the definition of a fruit, legally, tomatoes are vegetables.fun facts about vegetables

In the late 1800s, the Congress passed a tariff act that imposed a 10% tax on whole vegetables. Vegetable merchants used to bring in tomatoes and not pay the tariff, on the basis that tomatoes were fruits.  They took the case to court and in the end, the Supreme Court ruled tomato as a vegetable in 1893. They made this decision based on the culinary application of the food.

Many people backed this argument because despite being a fruit, we eat tomatoes like vegetables.

2. Eating Too Many Carrots Can Turn Your Skin Orange:

This seems like something you would tell a kid who was eating too many carrots so they’d stop but it is actually a fact. Eating too many carrots can turn your skin orange and here’s why.fun facts about vegetables

Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, a natural pigment which is responsible for the vegetable’s orange color. When you eat too many carrots (or pumpkins or any other food high in carotene), the excess beta-carotene will enter your bloodstream and be stored under your skin. This will cause your skin to have a yellow or orange sort of tint. Medically, this condition is known as carotenemia.

Now for the question of how many carrots is too many? Well, that differs based on individuals but the average healthy dosage of beta-carotene is 6 – 8 milligrams. Therefore continuously going above that limit for a long period can be too many carrots.

Also Read Meet Sivi Malukisa, The Congolese Entrepreneur Whose Food Startup Is Promoting DRC Cuisine

3. Tomatoes Win The Popularity Contest:

If I asked you to name the most popular vegetable, you’d probably think of onions or other vegetables you use in your everyday meal. However, tomatoes actually take the prize.

Be it a fruit or a vegetable, tomatoes are actually the most consumed food in the world. About 177 million metric tons of tomatoes are produced yearly in the world. The three largest producers of the food are China, India, and the United States.food wastage

Tomatoes are so popular that there is an entire festival around them called “La Tomatina.” The festival is held every last Wednesday of August in a town called Buñol ( in Valencia). It involves the participants throwing tomatoes at each other and getting into tomato fights, all for entertainment purposes.

Do you know any more fun facts about vegetables? Share it with us in the comment section.

By: Uduak Ekong/Farmcrowdy

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Agriculture

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Forests

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Forests do not only provide a habitat for wild animals or exist to scare us in horror movies, they do more for us than we realize. One of the most widely accepted definitions of a forest is by the FAO. The organization explains forests as land spanning more than 0.5 hectares with trees higher than 5 meters and a canopy cover of more than 10%.

Forests cover about 31% of the world’s land surface (which is just over 4 billion hectares where one hectare equals 2.47 acres). A better way to visualize this is by telling you that one hectare is about the size of an European football field. Therefore, 4 billion hectares is a lot of football fields.

Now that we know just how much of the earth is covered by forests, here are some more facts about them you probably didn’t know:

1. Forests Are Big Employers Of Labor: The United Nations estimates that about 10 million people are directly employed in forest management and conservation. The World Bank also states that the formal timber sector employs more than 13 million people.

These records cover only the formal sector. What about the undocumented forest workers? Forest business is largely informal and therefore many contributions and workers are largely unreported and the figures could amount to a lot more than we imagine.

Forests creates jobs which ranges from wood production to transportation, charcoal production and so much more.

2. They Serve As Habitat To Many: Forests serve as habitat to many animals such as deer, tigers, bears, and other wildlife. They also house plants and trees like oak, magnolia, moss, and many others. However, you would be surprised to find out that many people live in forests, 300 million people to be exact.

The world’s rain forests are home to about 50 million tribal people. Some of the tribes include the PygmiesHuli, and the Yanomami. They all depend on the forest for their food sources and survival.

Therefore, forest destruction not only ruins habitats for plants and animals, but also renders some humans homeless and takes away their source of survival.

3. Forests Affect Our Everyday Lives: Almost everything you’ve done today can be traced back to forests. If you’ve eaten today or taken the bus, or even written something down on a piece of paper, then forests have paid an important role in your activities.

The manufacturing of products such as paper, fruits, wood, and even ingredients for detergents, medicine, and cosmetics, can be trailed back to the forest.

The importance of forests, especially in our daily lives, cannot be overemphasized.

4. They Give Us Oxygen: Did you know that one tree provides about 260 pounds of oxygen yearly? That means two mature trees can provide enough oxygen for a family of four. How much more a forest?

Forests make oxygen by absorbing carbon dioxide and converting it to oxygen. Without this process, we would not survive. Forests also clean up the air by absorbing harmful gases such as carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide to release oxygen.

Also Read Meet Sivi Malukisa, The Congolese Entrepreneur Whose Food Startup Is Promoting DRC Cuisine

Apart from making the air clean for us, they also cool the air. The evaporation from a single tree can create the cooling effect of 10 room size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day. If one tree can do that, what can a whole forest do?

5. Forests Attract Tourism: Nature is beautiful, and a lot of people are willing to pay good money to experience nature. Forests can be a good way to drive agritourism and enhance the economy. When tourists pay to see forests and their reserves, this contributes to the economy of the community where the forest is found.

Also, the visual aesthetics and cooling effects they have can boost creativity and serve as a source of inspiration.

Are we missing an important point in this post? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Agriculture

AfDB, African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership sign $5.4 million agreements to foster fertilizer market in Nigeria and Tanzania

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The African Development Bank and the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) have signed two grant agreements to implement trade credit guarantees worth $5.4 million to support fertilizer value chains in Nigeria and Tanzania, potentially benefiting hundreds of thousands of smallholder farmers.

The organizations held a signing ceremony at the African Green Revolution Forum in Accra, Ghana on 5 September 2019. Dr. Jennifer Blanke, African Development Bank Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development said the agreements would provide the inputs needed for Africa to have “the productivity that we hope for.”

“We are just thrilled to be getting together with our partners in order to expand the efforts to make sure that we are financing the development of manufacturing and blending of fertilizer,” Blanke said. “This is an African effort, led by Africans, for Africa,” she added.

The grants are designed by the Bank’s Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism (AFFM) to provide sustainable financing solutions to boost the fertilizer value chain in Africa.

African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership CEO Jason Scarpone signed the agreements on behalf of the continental body, emphasizing the importance of value chain financing – bringing fertilizer financing from manufacturer, to distributor, to retailer to farmer. “Few succeed in doing it. This project will be successful,” Scarpone told reporters.

The two deals are the first agreements signed by AFFM, which is hosted by the African Development Bank, since it was became fully functional last year;they pave the way for the first implementation of trade credit guarantee projects for fertilizer financing led by AFFM in Nigeria and Tanzania.

The African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership will be the implementing partner operating in the two countries on behalf of the Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism. The Partnership has substantial experience in supporting the agricultural value chain across the continent.

Also Read Meet Sivi Malukisa, The Congolese Entrepreneur Whose Food Startup Is Promoting DRC Cuisine

Scheduled for implementation over a two-year period, the projects will lead to the enhancement of fertilizer value chains in the two countries and will target 10 importers, 5 blenders/manufacturers, and 37 hub agro-dealers as direct beneficiaries, 520 retail agro-dealers as indirect beneficiaries and 700,000 smallholder farmers as final beneficiaries.

By supporting the fertilizer value chain in the two countries, the projects will go a long way to making fertilizer available to more farmers, a key objective of the Bank’s Feed Africa Strategy.

“We have expected results that are realistic. We are here to make sure this happens,” AFFM Coordinator Marie Claire Kalihangabo said at the signing ceremony.

African Development Bank

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