Debunking African agriculture myths

first_img7 July 2016In a presentation to the World Economic Forum on Africa in June 2016, Kenya-born Calestous Juma, a professor at Harvard University, explains the world has taken a generalised view of African agriculture and how this perception can be changed.Juma is an internationally recognised authority in the application of science and technology to sustainable development worldwide. He was named one of the most influential 100 Africans in 2012, 2013 and 2014 by the New African magazine. He is the director of the Agricultural Innovation in Africa Project, and part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In his 2011 book, The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa, Juma outlines policies and institutional changes to promote agricultural innovation across the African continent.. @calestous #AskCJuma #TEEPagricReport pic.twitter.com/u9zHa98PQ4— GroIntel (@GroIntel) June 18, 2016See Juma’s article:From newspaper editors to TV anchors to bloggers, the default symbol of African agriculture is an African woman holding a hand hoe. This imagery highlights the drudgery African women face in farming. But it also conflates family farming with the broader agricultural enterprise.As I argue in The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa, farming is only a small but important part of the agribusiness value chain. The value chain includes resource data processing, input provision, production, aggregating (covering bulking, cleaning and grading), processing and packaging, retailing and recycling. Making the value chain work efficiently involves connecting farmers to markets.As noted in a recent report by the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Unleashing Africa’s Agricultural Entrepreneurs, the sector “accounts for 32% of Africa’s gross domestic product, and employs over 65% of its labour force.”Taking the value chain approach, the World Bank has estimated that Africa’s agribusiness market will reach $1-trillion (about R15-trillion) in 2030. This estimate does not include auxiliary industries that will arise from the expansion of the sector.For example, efficient markets rely on effective information flow. New firms such as Gro Intelligence are emerging to fill the data gap. Similarly, the expansion of rural energy, transport, irrigation and telecommunications infrastructure will also spur the rise of support [email protected] #Gro-Graphic on Africa’s developing #seed market. pic.twitter.com/hNBG6jIbTe— GroIntel (@GroIntel) June 18, 2016Too much focus on farmingThis is one of the ways the long value chain of agribusiness serves as a driver for industrial transformation. Few other sectors offer Africa such a broad range of opportunities for technological innovation and entrepreneurial development. There are templates for business models that can be readily adopted. The key is to define agribusinesses as learning opportunities from the outset, as demonstrated by the work of the Africa Atlantic Holdings.Past efforts to promote agribusiness were not successful partly because of the narrow focus on farming. This approach also failed to appreciate the importance of investing in basic rural infrastructure without which neither production nor markets can function. In addition, the focus on farming precluded consideration of the role of higher technical training in agribusiness.The general policy prescription was that farmers did not need more than primary education to function. In many cases, agriculture is more complex that manufacturing, where many functions can be automated and products can be generated just in time. The complex process of plant or animal growth demands more versatile knowledge sources and husbandry that cannot be readily automated.The focus on farming also created biases in the provision of incentives such as credit, insurance and technical support to farmers. Urban enterprises, especially those involved in manufacturing, have access to a wide range of enabling incentives. The same is not true of agriculture, especially where it is perceived narrowly as farming. Agribusiness needs to be supported like other ventures. Farmers need to be viewed as entrepreneurs and innovators, not simply as producers for downstream operations.. @thinkcally @calestous #AskCJuma #TEEPagricReport Yield & Farm Size in Kenya,Malawi,Tanzania & Uganda #Gro-Graphic pic.twitter.com/6fNVkmphou— GroIntel (@GroIntel) June 18, 2016A bright future for agribusiness in AfricaThe good news is that young people in many parts of Africa see great potential in agribusiness. But it needs to be put on par with other sectors. Because of a long history of neglect, young people venturing in to agribusiness lack access to capital. But even more critical is the lack of mentors who can guide them through the early phases of their start-ups.In addition to mentorship, young agripreneurs could also benefit from investment in adequate infrastructure. They already know the power of mobile technology. But what they might need most is access to broadband, which also helps link them to knowledge centres given the absence of extension services. Today, the cost of broadband is prohibitively expensive, despite the fact that it is essential for dynamic business operations.One possible way to resolve this could be to provide “broadband grants” in the same way the US government provided “land grants”. Private enterprises can also purchase broadband and donate it to selected agribusiness start-ups as part of their corporate social responsibility.There are many opportunities for leveraging the growing interest in agribusiness to expand the sector. These opportunities are diverse and lie not only along the full value chain, but also in farms of all sizes – small, medium-sized and large. The starting point should not be driven by opportunity or ideology or dogma about farm size. There are many enterprises that do engage in agribusiness but if given an opportunity they could diversify into the sector. This could be enterprises that are seeking new opportunities.In China, for example, coal-mining firms are starting to diversify into agribusiness in light of new restrictions imposed on the sector to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. In Africa, some oil companies might also explore moving into agribusiness given the uncertainties in the sector.Agribusiness in Africa needs to be nudged towards a tipping point from which it can take off. The push will need to come from a collaboration between government, business, academia and civil society. It will require a collective effort.. @calestous #AskCJuma #TEEPagricReport #Gro-Graphic: Only 2% of SSA university graduates specialize in #agriculture pic.twitter.com/DVXsG0t6oZ— GroIntel (@GroIntel) June 18, 2016Modernising African agricultureOne additional way to promote agribusiness is to recognise individuals or organisations that have made outstanding contributions to different sections of the value chain. Many of the existing prizes tend to focus on production, thereby reinforcing the narrow farming image. The newly established Africa Food Prize, with a judging panel chaired by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, could serve as a role model in emphasizing the agribusiness approach in its awardees.The good news is that African governments, as illustrated by the case of Nigeria, are starting to appreciate the importance of agribusiness in long-term economic transformation. But appreciation is not enough. We not only need heads of state and government to serve as champions, we also need policy consistency. The two are important because of the long-term nature of agricultural transformation.In one of her signature appeals for the modernization of African agriculture, the chairperson of the African Union, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, said that hand-held hoe should be in the museum, not in the hands of African farmers. The quickest way to consign this symbol of drudgery to the history books is to shift our thinking from traditional farming to agribusiness. That is the root of Africa’s coming prosperity.. @calestous @Kayisa #AskCJuma #TEEPagricReport #Gro-Graphic on ag higher education pic.twitter.com/cVQwu6902i— GroIntel (@GroIntel) June 18, 2016Source: WEF Africalast_img read more

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WOTUS jurisdiction decision muddies regulatory waters

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The national stay on the 2015 waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule is expected to be lifted following a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that any legal challenges to the rule must take place in federal district courts and not at the appellate level.However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the previous administration’s rule will take effect. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rule to put the brakes on the WOTUS rule prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling, putting in place a two-year delay on the effective date while EPA undertakes a broader rewrite.“The U.S. Supreme Court ruled correctly today that federal district courts — not federal courts of appeals — have jurisdiction to review the 2015 WOTUS rule. This Supreme Court decision brings greater clarity to an important issue that has bogged down the litigation over this and other Clean Water Act regulations for years. That is a positive result, but it also creates uncertainty and confusion in the short term, because the Sixth Circuit must soon lift its nationwide stay of the 2015 rule,” said Ellen Steen, General Counsel of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “At this time, the Environmental Protection Agency has not yet finalized its proposed rule to delay the application of the unlawful and dangerous 2015 WOTUS rule while the agency considers whether to permanently repeal that rule. AFBF is considering its options to avoid application of the 2015 rule while EPA moves forward with an appropriate long-term solution that provides clear rules and clean water without requiring a federal permit to plow a field.”last_img read more

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Neymar Jr Named Ambassador For Handicap International

first_imgBrazilian football player Neymar Jr. became the new ambassador of the charity Handicap International this week.Through this partnership, Neymar is using his huge fame for a good cause: to support the most vulnerable people in the world, people with disabilities in poor countries, victims of conflicts and natural disasters.The first action of Neymar Jr. as an ambassador of Handicap International was to send a message of support to people with disabilities across the world.On Tuesday in Geneva, the football player went on the top of the Broken Chair monument.Broken chair is the work of the Swiss artist Daniel Berset, erected twenty years ago by Handicap International in front of the United Nations headquarters in Geneva to call for a ban on antipersonnel landmines.While at the top of the iconic sculpture in Geneva, Neymar Jr sent a message to all the nations in the world, to call for more inclusion of people with disabilities in society. Symbolically, this message took the shape of a football with the logo of Handicap International on it. The ball was kicked in the flags alley situated in front of the Palace of Nations. The event was followed by a press conference hosted by the United Nations Office at Geneva.Neymar Jr. chose to engage with Handicap International and to promote all of the charity’s work toward people with disabilities in poor countries and victims of natural disasters and conflicts.The star and Handicap International met on the topic of access to prosthesis for amputee children, which is a topic particularly close to Neymar Jr.‘s heart and one which he has already supported. He wanted to support actions on this topic on a global scale and got to know Handicap International’s work at the beginning of 2016. He expressed the wish to go in the field to see the charity’s projects.In October 2016, Neymar Jr. showed his support to the organisation’s actions in Haiti on social media, following Hurricane Matthew.Neymar Jr becomes the first international ambassador of Handicap International.last_img read more

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Inuk woman once homeless now part of Montreals effort to put people

first_imgDanielle RochetteAPTN National NewsMONTREAL – Lena Onalik is from Kangiqsualuajjuaq, Nunavik – a long way from the streets of Montreal.She arrived in Montreal two years ago and was in a precarious situation.The streets became home.But now she is part of an outreach workers team at the Native Friendship Centre in Montreal.She is helping the homeless Inuit downtown.“I was on the street for a while and I finally got my home which is excellent … I love it,” said Onalik. “Helping the ones who do not have a home yet is good for me.”The mayor of Montreal recently announced a three-year action plan to combat homelessness.The city is committing $2.5 million a year for housing and shelters.A project of hundreds of housing units is also under development.Denis Coderre admits that is not enough.But the city is moving in the right direction.“It’s never enough, of course,” said Coderre. “But sometimes resources does not mean a matter of money it’s a matter of awareness, it is a matter of political will.”Adrienne Campbell has been the director of the only overnight Aboriginal shelter in Montreal for many years.She’s pleased to hear Coderre going to bat for the most vulnerable.Campbell was particularly happy about creating a homelessness ombudsman.“He actually plans to give a voice directly to the people … he was able to recognize that and put that in there, which again is a huge lift from any other action plan,” she said.Campbell said affordable housing and increased employment are important solutions but are only pieces of a big pie, especially relating to Indigenous peoples.“For us having a focus investing in healing services, health services especially for Aboriginal people is very important,” she said.Back at the friendship centre, Onalik goes about her day.When asked about what the homeless people really need her answer comes quick.“Support,” she said.last_img read more

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Facing Health Concerns Venus Williams Wins At French Open

Venus Williams faces challenges off the court.Venus Williams, in her first Grand Slam match since revealing in August she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, overcame a slow start Sunday to beat 19-year-old Paula Ormaechea of Argentina 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.The seven-time major champion did not look excited to be on the court, hardly smiling after many of her 41 winners. But Williams, 31, laughed a lot during her news conference, especially when she discussed her health as ”definitely an adventure and journey; it’s life happening.”An autoimmune disease is a case of mistaken identity, when the body begins attacking its own healthy tissue. Autoimmune conditions include rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.”A lot of it, I have to figure it out. It’s physical and emotional and all kinds of different things. Mental,” Williams said of her medical condition. ”It’s a big accomplishment for me to be here right now.” read more

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Winners of WCGFT Fishing Tournament catch nearly 500lbs

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 18 Mar 2015 – The Wine Cellar Golf & Fishing Tournament held over the weekend was a gleaming success and after two days of fishing Roscoe Talbot, captaining the boat Therapy won with 187lbs after catching nothing on day one of the tourney. On the Gwendolyn was Codney Capron, coming in slightly under the winner with 184.5lbs and rounding out the top three; the NJ Law, skippered by Ozzie Virgil with 103lbs of sport fish. Related Items:codney capron, gwendolyn, ozzie virgil, Wine Cellar Golf & Fishing Tournament Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApplast_img read more

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Weather for TCI Weekend

first_img Related Items:Weather Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 04 Sept 2015 – Turk and Caicos Islands the weekend forecast looks to be mostly sunny and clear with a 20% chance of rain. So make it a good one TCIslanders. Recommended for you Two systems developing off California Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Four Systems under watch in Atlantic Weekend Weather Watch – storms and general TCI weather for weekendlast_img

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