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Kenya to host global macadamia forum

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Jane Nturibi harvests her macadamia nuts at Laithicie village in Tigania West on April 13, 2016. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Increased small-scale production of macadamia nuts in the country has won global recognition with Kenya set to host the 9th International Macadamia Symposium in August 2021. The festival, held every two years brings together experts, scholars, entrepreneurs and growers around the world to share the industry’s achievements and chart the future development of the industry. Nut Processors Association of Kenya (NutPAK) CEO Charles Muigai said Kenya was chosen to host the event due to the success of the sector through small-scale farming, which typifies the country’s production system.

The association is one of the main organisers, with the symposium expected to be attended by 800 delegates.
While other producers such as China, South Africa and Australia deal with large-scale plantations, Kenya has about 200,000 small farms.

The farms currently produce an estimated 42,500 tonnes in-shell nuts, constituting about 20 percent of global supply, according to NutPAK.

Last year’s symposium estimated global production to increase from the current 200,000 tonnes to 276,000 tonnes in 2020.

“The symposium’s prevailing sentiment was that all macadamia producing regions need to work towards increasing investment in production and marketing.

“As the world moves towards the production volumes forecast for 2020, a sound marketing strategy will be required in order to drive the demand needed to soak up the growing supply,” Mr Muigai said.

He appealed to the government to be one of the main sponsors of the coming symposium.

Chinese example

Mr Muigai said the Chinese government offers vital lessons of how Kenya’s government can offer more support to the industry.

The government of China has supported macadamia sector with the funding of the International Macadamia Research and Development Center established to promote the industry.
“China now has up to 200,000 hectares under plantation and will be the fourth-largest producer this year at around 20,000 tonnes.

“Up to 80 per cent of farms in the largest growing region of Yunnan are owned by small growers, with the government supporting them,” Mr Muigai said.

Small-scale farmers in Mt Kenya region in the recent years have abandoned traditional cash crops for macadamia nuts.

Since the ban of export of raw nuts in 2009, production of the nuts has risen from an annual production of 11,000 metric tonnes and four processors to over 45,000 metric tonnes and 30 processors by 2018, according to statistics by NutPAK.

Anticipating increased production in the next five years, processors have created an installed processing capacity of 90,000 tonnes and are currently operating at 50 percent.

Non-traditional areas

The targeted areas for production are non-traditional areas such as Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet and Nandi counties in efforts to prop up production.

The Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) will supply at least three million seedlings to farmers in an attempt to scale up production from the current 41,000 tonnes to about 61,000 in the next five years, Mr Richard Ndegwa, Interim Head of the Nut and Oil Crops Directorate at AFA said in an earlier interview.

The demand for increased production of the nut is fuelled by attractive farm gate prices that hit the Sh200 mark a kilo at the close of the last season in August last year.

– BusinessDaily

Agriculture

Tunisia Trains first set of Drone pilots for agricultural productivity

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The training which focused on handling, maintenance and the security aspects of flying drones, took place in Tunis from 19-30 November 2018

TUNIS, Tunisia, December 14, 2018/ — Eight pilots have successfully passed their drone flight training in Tunisia following a two-week intensive training period organized by the Ministry of Agriculture of Tunisia, the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) and Busan Techno Park.

The training which focused on handling, maintenance and the security aspects of flying drones, took place in Tunis from 19-30 November 2018. The eight were the first batch out of 40 candidates selected for the exercise, which envisages training a total of 400 young Tunisians by 2021.

The project will also see the setting up of a training center equipped with training drones as well as computer simulation tools for drone control. This center is expected to be upgraded to a center of excellence in drone technology. The training also focused on promoting drone-centered activities in Tunisia in view of promoting efficiency and effectiveness.

“It is very good training. I want to share my experience. I would like to participate in this project and contribute for the development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in my country Tunisia and my region, Africa,” said Lazhar Meskine, an air traffic management engineer, who was among the trainees.

After accumulating 20 hours of flight time and passing the practical flight, they obtained a “Drone Pilot Certificate” recognised by the Tunisian government. The four best trainees from this first batch will undergo further training for eight weeks to accumulate 100 hours of flight time. This will make them eligible to take the certification examination and qualify as drone pilot trainers.

The participants were highly enthusiastic about the training.

“I have also learned many things through Tunisian trainees. It gives us a great chance to understand the local situation for further projects by using drone technologies,” their instructor, Mr. Yong-ju Seo, added.

The pilot project on the use of drones for agricultural development projects in the Sidi Bouzid region (https://bit.ly/2EoVOWD) (central Tunisia), is financed by a grant from the Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation (KOAFEC) (https://bit.ly/2rze2Nj), under the management of the African Development Bank and Busan Techno Park. Busan Techno Park has already tested the drones for efficacy in managing similar urban projects.

Korea (https://bit.ly/2EvaqV0) is a leading country in the development and use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) for real-time data collection and processing. Drones have been used in agriculture to provide fast and accurate data, helping to improve decision-making at all stages of a project, from preparation to implementation and evaluation.

SOURCE African Development Bank Group (AfDB)

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Agriculture

Diversification: Dangote steps up investment in agric

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Against the background of Federal Government’s diversification agenda, Dangote Group has intensified its interest in agriculture by stepping up its investment. Disclosing this during a meeting with some Asian businessmen, who visited him at the weekend in Lagos, the President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, said his belief in the current administration’s approach to reenergising the economy towards an export oriented one made him step up investment in agriculture.

He said Nigeria had wasted so much foreign exchange importing food that ordinarily should be produced locally and even exported, stressing that until a new approach at redirecting the economy from import dependent one, no meaningful changes could happen. According to him, “we have invested massively in rice, sugar, dairy products and tomatoes. Our rice out-grower scheme will produce rice by next year that would reduce our rice import to nearly zero because Nigeria imports more than half of the rice it consumes.
We have expanded our sugar operations with our operations in Tonga in Nasarawa in addition to Numan sugar projects where sugarcane is cultivated for raw sugar production. “Some months ago, we laid the foundation for the construction of ultramodern rice processing integrated plant that will process 16 metric tons of paddy rice in one hour, by the time you multiply this by the number of hours and days it operates, you will understand that this is huge. The interesting thing about investment in agric is that apart from food production sufficiency, the job potential is unquantifiable.”

Against the background of Federal Government’s diversification agenda, Dangote Group has intensified its interest in agriculture by stepping up its investment. Disclosing this during a meeting with some Asian businessmen, who visited him at the weekend in Lagos, the President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, said his belief in the current administration’s approach to reenergising the economy towards an export oriented one made him step up investment in agriculture.

He said Nigeria had wasted so much foreign exchange importing food that ordinarily should be produced locally and even exported, stressing that until a new approach at redirecting the economy from import dependent one, no meaningful changes could happen. According to him, “we have invested massively in rice, sugar, dairy products and tomatoes. Our rice out-grower scheme will produce rice by next year that would reduce our rice import to nearly zero because Nigeria imports more than half of the rice it consumes.

We have expanded our sugar operations with our operations in Tonga in Nasarawa in addition to Numan sugar projects where sugarcane is cultivated for raw sugar production. “Some months ago, we laid the foundation for the construction of ultramodern rice processing integrated plant that will process 16 metric tons of paddy rice in one hour, by the time you multiply this by the number of hours and days it operates, you will understand that this is huge. The interesting thing about investment in agric is that apart from food production sufficiency, the job potential is unquantifiable.”

He also declared that his company was investing massively in agribusiness, promoting industrialisation through backward integration process to ensure Nigeria becomes self-reliant in food production in good time and save it the much-needed foreign exchange hitherto spent on importation. He said: “We are producing the raw materials needed in our factories.
In the sugar sector, we developed a sugar backward integration project plan targeted at the production of 1.5MT/PA from various sites across Nigeria in the next 10 years. “We have an out-grower scheme; enough paddy rice will be grown and harvested for processing. Some 20,000 out-growers expected to produce an average of 180,000 tons of paddy rice. We are presently building rice processing mills in Kano, Jigawa, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi and Niger states in the first phase.”
NewTelegraphNG
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Agriculture

ABE, Misr el Kheir sign cooperation protocol to support livestock farming

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CAIRO – 21 November 2018: Chairman of the Agricultural Bank of Egypt (ABE) El Sayyed el Quseir and Misr el Kheir Foundation Trustees Council Chairman Ali Gomaa signed a cooperation protocol to finance and operate livestock farms to contribute to narrowing the gap between cost prices and selling prices of meat at the Egyptian market.

The signing ceremony was attended by heads of ABE various sectors and top officials of Misr el Kheir and El Kheir Land Company.

The protocol aims at boosting joint cooperation in the field of livestock farming through a national project to raise cattle so as to generate profits and create job opportunities with the aim of pushing forward development process in Egypt.

In statements following the ceremony, ABE chief said the volume of the bank’s dealing with El Kheir Land Company reached EGP 310 million which benefit 740 farmers who raise around 14,740 head of cattle.

He also said the protocol aims at providing funding services to owners of farms, young farmers as well as individuals who raise cattle to contribute to the livestock development.

He also said ABE funnelled EGP 500 million to contribute to the national project of “Reviving Veal Raising” that will support as many as 4,850 farmers so as to rear 37,750 head of cattle and achieve a balance in the meat prices at the Egyptian market.

Meanwhile, the head of the Council of Trustees of Misr El Kheir voiced happiness over clinching such a cooperation protocol, asserting that Misr El Kheir has the biggest livestock farms in Egypt whose production hit 100,000 heads annually. Misr El Kheir farms are established in various parts of Egypt including in Assiut, New Valley, El-Wahat el-Bahariya (Bahariya Oasis) and Tor Sinai.

– EGYPT TODAY

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