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www.africanfarming.net September/October 2012
Europe m14.50 - Ghana C1.3 - Kenya KSH150 - Nigeria N200 - South Africa R18 - UK ÂŁ9 - USA $15
Lowering feed production costs
Cassava Plus in Nigeria
YEARS IPM has been suggested as an essential approach for managing the leucaena psyllid.
Improvements in smaller tractormounted sprayers
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www.africanfarming.net September/October 2012
News and Events
Europe m14.50 - Ghana C1.3 - Kenya KSH150 - Nigeria N200 - South Africa R18 - UK £9 - USA $15
A topical digest of news, views and events including Farmers’ Calendar. Poultry
Lowering feed production costs
Cassava Plus in Nigeria
Producing poultry feed quickly, easily and cheaply in Nigeria. Lowering poultry feed production costs with phytogenics. Corrosion poses major threat to poultry operation’s ROI.
YEARS IPM has been suggested as an essential approach for managing the leucaena psyllid.
Lowering poultry feed production costs and combatting corrosion in poultry houses.
Cassava Plus - a public-private partnership to commercialise cassava production in Nigeria. Nigera pushes on with cassava economic scheme.
Improvements in smaller tractormounted sprayers
Climate smart cocoa - a new crop insurance scheme in Ghana that involves climate change mitigation.
Centre pivot irrigation: past, present and future
There has been a need to increase cocoa production without compromising forest cover in the country.
Integrated pest management
IPM is a rational approach to reducing the impact of pests and has been suggested as an essential schema for managing the leucaena psyllid in Africa.
For many growers, improvements in the smaller tractor-mounted sprayer sector are more important than high output self-propelled and trailed machines for big acreages.
38 Micron hand-held Ulva sprayer working in cotton.
Protectant foliar fungicide sprays for tropical tree crops.
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African Farming - September/October 2012
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AGRF convenes global and international leaders
3rd ApiExpo 2012 www.apitradeafrica.org
Addis Agrofood www.addisagrofood.com
Aviana Uganda 2012 avianaafrica.com
CropWorld Global 2012 www.cropworld-global.com
EuroTier 2012 www.eurotier.com
IPM Dubai www.ipm-dubai.net
SAHARA - 25th Intl Exhibition for Agriculture and Food for Africa and the Middle East www.saharaexpo.com
KAMPALA LONDON HANNOVER DUBAI
Sudan Poultry Expo www.expoteam.info
TANZANIA HAS RECENTLY hosted the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), the next milestone in developing African-led food security solutions. At the recent G8 Summit, global leaders, including 21 African countries and 27 private sector companies, committed US$3bn to the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, launching the next phase of the global food security effort. AGRF 2012 set the stage for Africa’s leaders to drive the initiative by promoting investments and policy support to increase agricultural productivity and income growth for African farmers. During the forum, global leaders tackled leadership policy, revolutionising African agricultural finance models, strengthening markets, and transforming African agriculture through innovative partnerships. Christopher Chiza, the Tanzanian minister of agriculture, food and co-operatives, said, “Tanzania has long known farming is at the centre of our economy. We are pleased to welcome leaders from across the continent and around the world to find new ways to scale the success we’ve seen in our own agricultural breadbasket.” As the host nation, Tanzania’s recent agricultural growth represents a case study of what is possible. In the Kilombero district of Morogoro, the yields for maize have increased for some smallholder farmers from 1.5 to 4.5 tons per hectare while the yields for rice have increased from 2.5 to 6.5 tons per hectare. “The goal of the government is to transform Tanzania into a middleincome country by 2025, fuelled, in a significant part, by growth in its agricultural sector,” Chiza added. The forum will remain focused on unlocking Africa’s agricultural potential by empowering smallholder farmers across the continent, organisers claimed.
Ghana’s small-scale farmers to get $96mn boost from Brazil GHANA WILL SOON secure a US$96mn concessionary loan facility from Brazil to boost small scale farming in the country. The loan is meant for the government to buy and distribute agricultural equipment to small-scale farmers thereby helping to improve and modernise agriculture in the country. It will also help build the competence of small-scale farmers to reduce the importation of food and address food security concerns. Madam Irene Vida Gala, Brazilian Ambassador to Ghana, made this known when assessing her country’s preparedness in participating in the 4th National Food and Agric Show (FAGRO 2012). Ambassador Gala said, for the first time that 15 Brazilian companies will be participating in FAGRO with various agricultural products such as: machinery, feed for fish, cattle and other animals and especially equipment that can be used by small scale farmers. “Our main aim is to advertise the Brazilian companies who will be participating and help them to understand that there are many possibilities and opportunities of doing business in Ghana. We want them to also understand the level of Ghana’s agriculture sector and to build a sound and strong business relationship in Ghana.
4 African Farming - September/October 2012
The loan will help build the competence of small-scale farmers to reduce the importation of food.
We want them to appreciate the fact that the government of Ghana fights corruption and so they will be doing business in a transparent environment,” she pointed out. She stressed the need for Ghana to invest massively in technology to revolutionalise the agricultural sector, saying there will be a big change in Ghana in the next 30 years if focus is placed on technology. “Many Ghanaians are hardworking and ready to work but where to focus their effort is the challenge; but Brazil sees Ghana really going up and up and up.” For her part, FAGRO Exhibition Director, Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa, said FAGRO as an agricultural networking and marketing platform will help
to strengthen the long standing relationship between Ghana and Brazil in the agricultural sector and expressed the hope that it would grow from strength to strength, to promote bilateral and economic co-operation between the two countries in other sectors of the Ghanaian economy. She emphasised that FAGRO 2012 will draw a diverse local and international audience, which will create opportunities for them to form strategic partnerships. There is also a business-to-business session between Brazilian and Ghanaian companies. Brazil is South America's most influential country, an economic giant and one of the world's biggest democracies- Brazil has been adopting modern technology at a speed and scope that is unparalleled even in the most advanced economies. This has resulted in agricultural policies that are more oriented towards the market with an emphasis on actions such as the “programme to modernise the agricultural sector fleet, associated implements and harvesters.” FAGRO 2012 will therefore provide a platform for Ghana and Brazil to strike mutual beneficial relationship for the benefit of both countries’ economies especially in the area of agricultural technology and modernisation.
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Free weather forecasts for fishermen
Kariba invests in new fish farm in Zambia
FISHERMEN LIVING AROUND Fishermen on Lake Victoria Lake Victoria will receive freeweather forecasts after the launch of a pilot project by telecommunication company MTN Uganda, phone manufacturer Ericsson, the Uganda department of Meteorology and the World Meteorological Organisation. The fishermen will receive their forecasts on the phone. By sending ‘Weather EN Kalangala to 178’, interested persons will get to know the weather forecasts on the lake. This way, they will know when and where to fish. “This is a real demonstration of the importance of meteorological expertise to our society”, said Michael Nkalubo, the commissioner of the Uganda department of Meteorology. He added that Lake Victoria was chosen for the pilot project because it is the world’s second largest fresh water lake providing a source of livelihood, directly and indirectly to over 3.5mn people. The lake supports Africa’s largest inland fishery and produces over 800,000 tons of fish annually. The pilot project involves training 19 fishermen and community representatives in basic understanding of weather forecasts and how to respond to various alerts. Equipped with mobile phones, the community representatives will pass on their knowledge for fishermen and traders to sign up to the Mobile Weather Alert Service. Other lead partners in the project are the National Lake Rescue Institute and Kalangala Fishing Community.
KARIBA HARVEST ZAMBIA Ltd has invested about K50bn (US$9.5mn) to build a tilapia fish farm in Siavonga district to offset the country’s fish deficit. According to the Department of Fisheries (DoF), Zambia has a huge fish supply deficit compounded by declining fish due to overfishing and variable weather patterns, among others. The project, which will create over 300 permanent jobs to the local community, is expected to begin next year. When fully operational, KHL will have the capacity to produce 12,000 tonnes of fish annually to double the current national aquaculture production which is less than 7,000 tonnes. This is according to the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report obtained from the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA). “This project, when fully operational, will contribute to increased fish production and availability of fish protein to many more Zambians than are currently consuming fish,” reads the EIA. Works on the project will include establishing 70 breeding ponds to produce fingerlings, construction of a water treatment plant to handle effluent from breeding ponds, a feed production plant and a fish processing factory. “Other operations will consist of six production cage sites and one brood stock holding cage site,” reads the EIA. Additional project components include building of offices, workshop, staff canteen, guest accommodation, toilets and harbour. The other is the improvement of the existing road network in the area. The project will exert more positive impacts than negative ones, and the most negative impacts will easily be mitigated in accordance with ZEMA regulations. “The project will financially empower small-scale growers through the out-grower schemes and complement Government’s service delivery through Kariba Harvest Zambia Limited ’s corporate social responsibility programmes,”indicates the report.
Moses Kalisa Seruwagi
Kaleya funds irrigation programme KALEYA SMALLHOLDERS COMPANY Ltd (Kascol) has put aside about US$470,000 to expand its irrigated sugar cane project and associated infrastructure of a further 165 ha of irrigated sugar cane. This expansion will take place on the eastern boundary of Kaleya Estate in Mazabuka, Southern Province in Zambia. The project will incorporate smallholder farmers into production and marketing of sugar cane. The proposed project development involves some bush clearing, land preparation and the installation of three 50 ha centre pivot irrigation machines to irrigate sugar cane for the proposed expansion area. According to the company’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) report submitted to the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA), the proposed project is poised to contribute positively to the socioeconomic development of Zambia in general and Mazabuka in particular. It will increase public revenue through land rates and other outgoings, thus helping improve socio-economic infrastructure. ‘’The estimated project cost for the expansion programme and associated infrastructure is US$476,999 as per February this year, and it has so far attracted 160 farmers who are currently participants in the scheme,’’ the report reads in part. This scheme was started by the Zambia Sugar Company as a community outreach programme. The initial four stakeholders of Kascol were the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), two commercial banks which provided loans for financing infrastructure and equipment, with Zambia Sugar providing irrigation water. Kascol’s cane growing is significantly enhanced by the access of water from the Kafue River for efficient irrigation of the crop, resulting in excess yields and high sucrose content in the cane. The company is responsible for production management, service provision, harvesting schedules and negotiations between the smallholder farmers and the market.
6 African Farming - September/October 2012
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ABOUT MAHIINDRA IN AFRICA ce With presenc l
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Japanese grant to help women farmers in Kenya
Asian palm oil companies eye Central Africa
THE JAPANESE SOCIAL Development Fund has given Kenya a US$3mn grant to help improve agricultural market access for female farmers and enhance their business skills. The grant will be managed by the World Bank and is aimed at fighting poverty, especially in rural areas. Up to 3,400 projects in dairy, indigenous poultry farming and horticulture in Kitui, eastern Kenya and Molo in Rift Valley will benefit from the fund. Rajashree Paralkar, senior operations officer of the World Bank, Kenya, said, “Through the project, women will improve their production capacity, strengthen collective organisation and develop skills for the penetrating markets for their produce.” The project is aligned with the World Bank-funded Kenya Agricultural Productivity and Agribusiness Project (KAPP) and will collaborate with the government-funded Women’s Enterprise Fund. KAPP provides grants for people living on less than US$2 per day for projects that boost economic growth, reduce poverty and improve peoples’ lives. The two regions selected, Kitui and Molo, have a high concentration of poverty. Kitui has a 63.7 per cent poverty level compared to the national average of 45 per cent.
THE EXPANSIVE AREA of the Congo Basin rain forest in Cameroon is currently of interest to investors in search of land for palm oil plantations. Many Asian palm oil companies are investing heavily in Central African countries to expand their production areas. This is chiefly due to the pressure to meet the rising demand for food and fuel, to limit deforestation, cope with increased land shortages and aid in closer scrutiny of land acquisitions. Patrice Levang, a scientist at the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) and Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) said, “Cameroon is of special interest to many Asian palm oil companies due to the excellent biophysical conditions, availability of cheap land and labour, political stability, the willingness of the government to develop its agricultural sector, and more importantly the closeness of the country to high-valued European and North American markets.” The Cameroonian government is willing to offer concessions to companies in search of large acreages of land for palm oil production in forested zones since industrial palm oil production is a key element of the government’s poverty reduction strategy. According to Patrice Levang and David Hoyle (WWF), a new national strategy should invest in increasing the productivity and yield of the existing palm oil plantations as well as focus on sustainable development with minimum impact on carbon emission levels and biodiversity conservation. Details on palm oil development in West and Central Africa, investment opportunities, sustainability, yield improvement and other aspects of oil palm plantation were discussed at Palm Oil Africa which took place in Accra on 05-06 September.
Women smallholder farmers in Kenya.
AGCO launches model farm project
Zimbabwe govt to provide farmers with rain gauges
AGCO HAS ESTABLISHED a farm and learning centre near Lusaka, Zambia, giving farmers the chance to get hands-on experience by working with the latest machinery. The Model Farm Project is divided into a wide range of demonstration crop areas to be planted, cultivated and harvested using the company’s equipment. The training facility is designed to accommodate a variety of customers, from small-scale producers up to large, commercial farmers, AGCO said. Nuradin Osman, the company’s director for Africa & the Middle East, said, “The AGCO Global Learning Centre will help empower farmers in Africa to improve their food production levels.” As Africa’s population is set to rise to two billion by 2050, the need for mechanisation, training, service and support for small- and medium-scale farmers has never been greater, AGCO claimed. “Small- to medium-scale farmers with limited access to modern farming will benefit from training courses ranging from basic agronomy to general mechanisation. Large-scale farmers will be offered training on high specification tractors and harvesting equipment, including precision farming technology,” said Osman. Also, given the importance of minimising post-harvest losses, visitors to the centre will see the latest in grain handling and storage techniques from AGCO’s GSI product range. Zambia’s population is estimated at 13mn, with the majority located in rural areas, where the main economic activity is agriculture. Hubertus Muehlhaeuser, AGCO senior vice-president and general manager for Europe, Africa & the Middle East, added, “Africa has tremendous growth potential in the agricultural equipment sector and our mission is to provide agricultural solutions for the continent’s farmers. AGCO is committed to growing its presence within Africa by investing in distribution infrastructure and new training sites – like the one planned for Zambia. We have committed to invest US$100mn in Africa in the coming years.”
THE METEOROLOGICAL SERVICES Department is planning to provide local farmers throughout Zimbabwe with rain gauges so as to enhance its rainfall forecasting services. The Met Department revealed at a recent National Climate Outlook Forum (NACOF) in Harare that the programme to provide farmers with rain gauges to record rainfall at various points needed to be properly resuscitated. Barnabas Chipindu, a consultant meteorologist and agrometeorologist for the department, said the initiative will help it enhance rainfall forecasts. Farmers currently record rainfall from their stations and relay the information to the department during each season. Chipindu said previously it used to collaborate with about 2,000 farmers across the country who would provide rainfall recordings from their various stations. “Now we are dealing with about 200 farmers who provide the met office with rainfall information, but we need to revitalise this programme so that we enhance our rainfall forecasts,” he said. Chipindu added that the initiative, if boosted, will prevent the department missing out on rainfall recordings. The department used to collaborate with organisations like the Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) and the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) in the provision of rain gauges to farmers. He said that rainfall is very site-specific and recordings are needed at various sites to come up with proper forecasts. An official from the FAO Harare office said that it had sourced some rain gauges for farmers from outside the country, which were lying idle because the Met Department said they were not properly calibrated. Chipindu, who also works in the Physics Department at the University of Zimbabwe, said they plan to calibrate the rain gauges from FAO and hand them over to volunteer observers to record rainfall.
8 African Farming - September/October 2012
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Diversification is key to growth THOUGH AFRICA IS urbanising at a fast rate, agriculture remains the most important sector of the continentâ€™s economy and will have to be its â€œdriving engine out of povertyâ€?, according to a senior United Nations official. Underscoring his point, UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) DirectorGeneral Kandeh K. Yumkella says: Agriculture accounts for 65 per cent of the continentâ€™s employment and 75 per cent of its domestic trade. At the same time, the fact is that over a third of Africaâ€™s one billion inhabitants currently live in urban areas. By 2030 that proportion will have risen to a half, as UN-HABITAT, the United Nations agency for human settlements, said in a 2010 report. According to the report, the population of some cities is set to swell by up to 85 per cent in the next 15 years. The most populous city in 2010, Cairo, will grow by 23 per cent to 13.5m people. By 2025, however, it will have been overtaken by both Lagos (15.8mn) and Kinshasa (15mn). â€œFood and water shortages, poor infrastructure and a lack of housing are among the problems faced by governments during such rapid urbanisation. Progress in meeting these challenges would be shown by a fall in the proportion of slum-dwellers, who currently account for 70 per cent of urban inhabitants,â€? the economist summed up the report. With this in view, Yumkella believes that â€œin order to turn bright prospects into employment opportunities for its young people,â€? Africa needs to embrace economic diversification as well as focus on agribusiness to lift the continent out of poverty and put it on the path to prosperity. Yumkella was addressing the Africa Caucus Meeting in Kinshasa, which brought together the continentâ€™s finance ministers, central bank governors, and representatives of international development agencies and financial institutions. Yumkella stressed the need to boost agricultural productivity to achieve sustainable industrial and agribusiness development as a means of wealth and job creation, saying: â€œThe transformation of agricultural raw materials into industrial products depends
increasingly on the capacity of African entrepreneurs to participate and compete in global, regional and local value chains.â€? He added: â€œAccordingly, African agribusiness value chains will have to adapt to changing market conditions, continuously improve efficiency and strive to meet consumer requirements in a competitive global trade system.â€? He further pointed out that Africa needs â€œnew learning and innovation systems involving regional co-operation, new types of partnerships between farmers, sellers, investors and researchers, and the right incentives and public actions that crowd-in rather than crowd-
out private investment.â€? Investment in transport infrastructure, access to energy and water, information and communication technologies and management efficiency were vital for agribusiness to thrive, he noted. In 2012, in partnership with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), UNIDO launched the Accelerated Agribusiness and Agro-industries Development Initiative, or 3ADI, to promote value addition to agricultural commodities. The initiative is now operational in 12 African nations.
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4VSGIWWMRKXLI;SVPHÂ´W'VSTWÂŻJSV]IEVW 4VSGIWWMRKXLI;SVPHÂ´W'VSTWÂŻJSV]IEVW It is important to involve Africa's youth in agriculture projects.
African Farming - September/October 2012
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Moroccan firm to build Cameroon chocolate factory
Free advice for cocoa farmers on black pod threat
MOROCCO'S L E A D I N G CHOCOLATEmaking company, C o m p a g n i e Cherifienne de Chocolaterie, will build a 40,000 mt per year chocolate factory in Cameroon this year Cameroon is the world’s ﬁfth largest grower of cocoa. according to the government. Cameroon is the world's fifth largest grower of cocoa with more than 200,000 mt of production, and its government has been seeking to boost value-added exports. "The Compagnie Cherifienne de Chocolaterie is going to set up a major modern chocolate-producing factory here in Cameroon through its subsidiary, the Cameroon Investment Company,” said Trade Minister, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana. Construction will start in June 2012 with first output before the end of the year. He estimated the project would cost between CFA30-50bn (US$60-100mn) and would employ 500 people. Cameroon currently has just one local cocoa processing firm Sic-Cacaos, based in Douala, with an annual grinding capacity of 30,000 mt.
COCOA FARMERS CONCERNED about the threat of black pod disease on their crops can take action now to help prevent the spread of the fungus, according to Plantwise, a global initiative led by CABI. International cocoa prices have recently increased due to fear that black pod disease is spreading in major cocoa-producing countries in West Africa. A factsheet available from the Plantwise Knowledge Bank, a free online resource containing information and advice about crop pests and diseases, uses pictures to help farmers identify infected pods and provides a list of simple things that farmers can do to help control the spread of the disease. Black pod disease is caused by a fungus which grows on cacao trees in the shade when it is cool and damp, transferring quickly from sick pods to healthy pods. The authors of the factsheet advise immediate action to allow more light and air flow around the trees. They recommend: ● Removing all cacao pods showing symptoms of the disease, which should then be taken away from the plantation and either burned or buried; ● Reducing shade in the plantation by pruning or completely cutting down shade trees, with a recommendation of 50 per cent shade in the canopy of the cacao trees; ● Brushing weeds on the ground in the plantation to help reduce moisture around the trees. The factsheet can be downloaded free from the Plantwise Knowledge Bank at www.plantwise.org/knowledgebank
Plants for Sunflower Seeds Processing The demand on high-quality and healthy food is constantly increasing. SCHULE meets this high demand.
Sunflower seed oil, conditioned with SCHULE machines and labelled organic quality from environmentally sound production, is very successfully sold in European countries.
10 African Farming - September/October 2012
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Producing poultry feed quickly, easily and cheaply
REMIUM POULTRY FARMS in Abuja, has purchased the new Buschhoff BHOS DUO feed mill, which, according to the manufaturers, produces 10 tonnes of ready-mixed poultry feed per hour. The machine is separated into two independent lines, making it especially failproof, Buschhoff said. The mill’s design does not only lead to a good priceperformance ratio, but also facilitates the maintenance work significantly, it added. More than 300,000 of Premium Poultry Farms’ laying hens are served by the mill, said the owner, adding, “Apart from the economic advantage, I also receive a better and always consistent feed quality. Moreover, when I want to, I can change the feed recipes flexibly in accordance with the age and the productivity of the birds.“ Via an intake, the grain and other components such as soya are stored in round silos with a 1,000 tonne capacity, which include optional ventilation. Dosing augers then transport the components from the four silos to both of the hammermills, each using 45kW. The mills are not only very robust and powerful, but are also energy-efficient, Buschhoff said. A mill aspiration cools the material to be ground and the minerals are stored in stainless steel containers with elevator discharge. Meanwhile, calcium carbonate is kept in a container which can be filled from above with a reinforced discharge screw and oil is directly conveyed via a pump into the mixer, it added. All components are dosed in the mixer according to the recipe with a scale, making an exact dosing possible and the processes easily comprehensible. Furthermore, the fivetonne vertical mixer, used for the feed production, allows for a measuring accuracy of 1:100,000 to be achieved. The multilingual WIDOMIX® PC control facility is clearly structured for the operator, easy to use and completes all feed recipes in a fully-automated way, the
company claimed. The user’s only responsibility is to ensure a sufficient amount of all components are available. Overall, seven containers were necessary to ship the products to Nigeria. Premium Poultry Farms has already planned its next venture with Buschhoff products, intending to extend the silos so that in the future, the whole grain can be stored directly after harvesting. h
The grain is stored in these round silos.
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African Farming - September/October 2012
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Formulating poultry diets with phytogenics can lower costs for feed producers without sacrificing feed performance.
Lowering poultry feed production costs with phytogenics
ORMULATING POULTRY DIETS with a least-cost approach is not as easy as it once was. For decades, broiler producers have tended to use highdensity diets to feed their stocks and seek the highest possible profitability. But, with increasing feed prices, the entire production process is searching for alternatives to conventional feeding programs based on high-nutrient poultry diets to increase profitability. With conventional nutrition, producers tend to make use of least-cost feed formulations, which have served for a long time as powerful solutions to optimise high feed prices. But, formulating broiler diets by the least-cost tool is not as easy as in ruminants because of the differences in the availability of raw materials for poultry and ruminants.
Most programmes fail to keep the balance between lower feed costs and acceptable performance. There are some programmes that can target lower feed costs in an effective way, but unfortunately most of these programmes fail to keep the balance between lower feed cost and acceptable performance. One solution for everyone in the production process may be found in phytogenics. Nutrient digestibility The power of any feed additive is judged by its potential to improve the utilisation of protein, amino acids and energy. Unfortunately, there is no linearity between digestibility and the density of the feed, which means that we may offer a very rich diet but with low digestibility. Nutrient digestibility or utilisation depends on many factors. For example, the microbial status of the gastrointestinal tract or existence of bacterial challenge, as well as nutrients' source and their accessibility to the animal for absorption. By controlling gut microflora, phytogenic feed additives have great potential to improve nutrient digestibility. With the 12 African Farming - September/October 2012
Formulating poultry diets with a least-cost approach is not as easy as it once was,
addition of phytogenics, essential oils can limit the growth of the pathogenic bacteria in the gut, hence lowering the competition for nutrients between bacteria and their host, so that more nutrients are available for absorption. Phytogenics are environmentally-friendly It is a big challenge to supply the market with safe products (natural or antibiotic-free products) that meet customer satisfaction, are beneficial for animal health, environmentally friendly and of good economic value. In terms of the environment, animal production is accused of being a key culprit of greenhouse gases emissions. Some aberrant views have called for limiting animal production while ignoring the increasing demand for animal products, which is set to double in 2050. Therefore, nutrient sparing could be a powerful solution to limit emissions because decreasing one unit of protein may decrease greenhouse gases by 10 per cent. As they are natural compounds extracted from plants, phytogenics are safe for animal and human consumption. Phytogenic feed additives have proven beneficial effects in terms of improved performance through better feed conversion. Furthermore,
phytogenic feed additives work to decrease ammonia emissions through improving protein utilisation and hence decreasing the loss of nitrogen in the manure. Positive health impact Due to the high genetic potential of modern broiler strains, such birds tend to be susceptible to any decrease in protein and energy levels. In addition to their efficacy in improving productive performance, phytogenics can be used to decrease the risk in feed formulation due to improper mixing, variation in nutrient composition within feedstuffs or inadequate ingredients. This effect is very significant because manufacturing errors are quite difficult to observe and can cause severe loss in productivity and, hence, profitability. Many studies have proven that phytogenic feed additives have positive impacts on different health parameters, where feeding birds such compounds has led to lower microbial content in the digestive tract, lower levels of toxins and ammonia production, improved immunity and lower mortality. Novi Sad Universityâ€™s study began with placing broilers in four groups. Two groups had phytogenic product in their diets and two groups did not.
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Problems with high-density feeds There is a positive correlation between metabolic diseases and high-density feed. It has been shown that sudden death syndrome and ascites can be controlled via feed optimisation. Furthermore, chronic stress can be induced by high nutrient feed that increases birds’ metabolic rate. This can be avoided by offering low-density diets. The target behind the combination of nutrient-sparing and phytogenic feed additives is to pool their advantages with a modern feeding program that can meet
modern broiler performance and, at the same time, limit the effects of high feed prices. Impact of phytogenics in the diet To investigate the growth compensating effect of phytogenics and also the impact of down specification of diets with or without a commercial phytogenic product, an experiment at Novi Sad University was performed where birds were assigned into four treatment groups as shown in Table 1. Figure 1 shows that offering the lowdensity diet resulted in about two per cent reduction in live body weight, while the phytogenic product showed a clear compensation effect as group four had exactly the same live body weight as the control group. Surprisingly, the feed
conversion ratio of the fourth group (reformulated with the feed additive) was the lowest among all groups, which proves the efficacy of phytogenics as digestibility enhancers. The results obtained revealed that lowering nutrients in the feed had a negative impact on body weight and feed conversion ratio, which seems logical because of the high nutritional requirements of broiler chickens. On the other hand, the nutrient-sparing effect of the phytogenic feed additive was clearly shown to recover live body weight and lower the feed conversion ratio. Now, one must go beyond the traditional thinking to new horizons in animal nutrition where we will find different scenarios. The first scenario represents the standard feeding program resulting in standard performance. In the second scenario, the same level of performance is achieved by reformulating the diet using phytogenic feed additives. Finally, according to the third scenario, reformulation of the diet with phytogenic feed
additives provides an increased level of performance while maintaining feed cost. Choosing the right scenario depends on the actual targets of producers. Conclusion The fundamental question here is, “Do conventional feeding programmes serve modern broiler production?” In response, it appears that the combination of nutrientsparing tools, together with phytogenic feed additives, is a sustainable and safe solution that both reduces feed cost while maintaining desired performance. h Dr Ahmed Aufy is technical manager, Competence Center Phytogenics, Biomin Holding GmbH, Austria. African Farming - September/October 2012
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This article discusses different sources of corrosion in a poultry house and what producers can do to combat it.
Corrosion poses major threat to poultry operation’s ROI
NUMBER OF factors can negatively impact a poultry producer's return on investment, but corrosion is probably the most serious. Corrosion can happen anywhere in the poultry barn, and the conditions fostered by a poultry operation ensure that it will. So, what can a producer do to bolster ROI against this problem? Corrosion is defined as the deterioration of materials through a chemical reaction with something in the environment. The most common example of corrosion is iron rusting. However, corrosion is not confined to just metal. It can and does affect plastics, concrete, wood and other materials. Probably, the most noxious chemical created by a poultry operation is ammonia. Ammonia is the natural by-product of the chemical reaction between manure in the litter and moisture. The wetter the litter, the more ammonia in the air. We usually discuss ammonia in terms of the impact it has on the birds. Ammonia, however, also attacks metal components in a poultry house. This includes metal fasteners, heaters, steel walls and just about any other metal object.
Corrosion can happen anywhere in the poultry barn, and the conditions fostered by a poultry operation ensure that it will. Most enclosed watering systems and feeding systems primarily use plastic components, which are not affected by ammonia. The primary exception is the metal support pipe used to hold the water lines. Usually, this is made of a very special galvanised steel that can withstand the corrosive nature of ammonia for several years. Keeping the litter dry Ziggity recommends controlling ammonia by keeping the litter dry. The best way to achieve dry litter is by managing the 14 African Farming - September/October 2012
Big Dutchman's watering systems deliver a consistent, reliable, even distribution of water to your entire flock. The design of the system prevents water spillage.
watering system so that the birds get all the water they need to thrive, but not so much that it will spill onto the litter/slats. Some producers find that spraying an acid in the form of a poultry litter treatment helps reduce ammonia releases. The acid attacks the bacteria that facilitate the breakdown of uric acid. Proper use of such treatments is effective and positive. However, overuse or misuse of such products will lead to elevated acid levels and a generally corrosive poultry house environment. Additionally, using these materials could lead to groundwater contamination and could restrict how used litter is disposed of. Again, Ziggity recommends employing ventilation and watering system management procedures to maintain dry, friable litter. Watering system vulnerable to corrosion The watering system is particularly vulnerable to corrosion. Many producers regularly introduce chlorine and/or acidifiers into the watering system in an attempt to kill bacteria and viruses in the water. However, chlorine and acid can damage the metal and plastic parts of the drinkers. We know of one producer who
had to replace every drinker in his poultry house twice in less than a year because his acidification programme was too aggressive. That cost him about US$4,000 — not a good return on investment. Chlorine seems to work best as a sanitiser when the water is slightly acidic, that is with a pH below 7. pH is a scale — ranging from 0 to 14 — that measures how acidic a substance is. A pH of 7 is considered neutral and a pH above 7 is alkaline. It is important to note that the pH scale is not a simple one-step measure. It is a logarithmic measure. This means lowering pH from 7.2 to 6.2 increases the acidity of the water by 10 times. Lowering pH to 5.2 makes it 100 times more acidic, and lowering to 4.2 is 1,000 times more acidic. Producers originally began using acidifiers during the last few days of a flock. The acid reduces the pH in a bird's crop, making the gut less hospitable to bacteria. This, in turn, reduces the amount of contamination at the processing plant. Producers also learned that acidifiers improve digestion of proteins in young birds.
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POULTRY Using acidifiers Many producers then began using acidifiers as agents to clean the drinking lines. They would use it about once a week. Producers now are using acidifiers on a regular basis — often continually — to keep the pH of the water below seven. This acidifies the birds' crops, as well as kills bacteria in the watering line. Researchers also determined that chlorine used as a sanitiser is more effective when the water's pH is between 6.0 and 6.8. However, certain cautions are necessary. First, the chlorine is corrosive to many elements of the drinking system, causing it to fail faster. Another problem is that chlorine is not very effective against bacteria and viruses lodged in a biofilm, and chlorine cannot rid a watering system of biofilm. Ziggity recommends, as an alternative, using a properly formulated solution of hydrogen peroxide between flocks. Hydrogen peroxide can scrub the
Disinfectants that are not biodegradable are the most aggressive chemicals responsible for corrosion.
The wetter the litter, the more ammonia in the air., so keeping the litter dry is essential.
components of the watering system of the biofilm, allowing it to be flushed away during a high-pressure flush. Aside from ammonia, which naturally occurs in a poultry operation, the use of chemicals is responsible for corrosion. Disinfectants that are not biodegradable are the most aggressive of these chemicals. It is probably impossible to raise poultry commercially without the
Innovation by experience.
use of chemicals. The best a poultry farmer can do is keep aware of what is used on the farm and how the poultry barn and its elements are reacting. Awareness will allow a farmer to catch a damaging situation before it gets out of control and negatively impacts the return on investment. h ZIggity Systems Inc.
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African Farming - September/October 2012
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Liberia gets $1mn grant for poultry farming LIBERIA HAS RECEIVED a US$1mn grant from Nigeria to begin a poultry farming project, according to Liberia's Minister of Agriculture Florence Chenoweth, that will produce consumable poultry products and bring an end to imports. “We want to bring to an end the importation of poultry products, specifically eggs, by the end of this year," said Chenoweth. “We’ll have at our site in Grand Cape Mount County over 70,000 day-old chicks. Some of these will be given to other farmers who have an interest in poultry farming.” The project, known as Obasanjo Farm, after the Nigerian President Olusengun Obasanjo, is meant to help reduce the incidence of bird flu that comes from imported products and raise the quality of local production. The Liberia ministry is also working on a corn production programme to produce local feed for the chickens. Chenoweth said the poultry farming project and its corn feeding programme will create job opportunities for Liberians, especially young people who want to engage in poultry farming.
Ghana poultry association receives boost THE GHANA NATIONAL Association of Poultry Farmers is to receive US$179,391 to boost the operations of its members and to vitalise the industry, according to reports. The money will come from Liberty Commodities, an international trading group, and will be used to help support the association's broiler project. The project will supply farmers with breeding equipment and day-old chicks, along with exposing feeding techniques that will make birds ready for market in six weeks. Kwadwo Asante, president of the Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers, said that Ghana's poultry sector can play an important role in the nation's socio-economic development if given the proper aid. The country currently imports roughly 200,000 metric tonnes of poultry products per year.
Mycotoxin management project launched ANIMAL HEALTH AND nutrition major, Alltech, has developed a new global project to help control mycotoxins through a combination of mycotoxin management programmes and technologies. As part of this practical and solutions-oriented approach to effectively manage mycotoxins, the global Mycotoxin Management Team from Alltech will not only assist in managing mycotoxins throughout the feed chain, but also in detecting and addressing the risks caused by more than 37 types of mycotoxins. "It is now more important than ever to have a documented mycotoxin control programme in place as the price of feed rises, the use of alternative raw ingredients increases and the need for improved feed efficiency is paramount,"
Algeria drops duties and VAT on poultry inputs TO HELP THE poultry sector the Algerian government has decided to exempt inputs (raw materials) and finished products in the poultry industry from customs duties and VAT. In doing so, the government wanted, above all, to reassure the producers who are badly affected by the sudden soaring prices of corn and soybeans on the international market. During the last meeting they held at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, poultry farmers primarily responsible for the sector had expressed their concerns, calling for the abolition of VAT and all taxes imposed on products affected by increases in the market so, they said, to stabilise the price of chicken. Suppliers are requested to ensure an adequate supply of the market and to keep the price of chicken around US$3.2 (250 dinars) per kg until that date. Agriculture Minister Rachid Benaissa said that "the national community through the government has taken a series of measures to safeguard the sector, namely the exemption of customs duties and VAT for corn, soybeans and other feeds, as well as finished products for the period from September 1, 2012 August 1, 2013." This measure is mainly of interest to importers and producers of commodities and therefore the results depend on their achievements. The poultry sector in Algeria is plagued by parasites and profiteers in all layers, who raise price of chicken prices with poor quality feed which affects the cost of white meat. According to some estimates Algerian poultry currently use 3.5 kg of feed, against about two kg for developed countries. Even in Tunisia and Morocco less feed is used. Also modernisation of buildings and improvements in farming conditions is desired to boost and develop the sector. Finally, the poultry sector is pledged to unite "to act in synergy to create common interest groups, necessary for the sustainability of the sector," Benaissa said.
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said Dr Swarmy Haladi, global technical manager, Mycotoxin Management Team. "We know mycotoxins are going to be more prevalent in certain processed raw materials and also that mycotoxins can negatively affect health and feed efficiency, ultimately impacting profitability. The potential threat of mycotoxin residues to human health should also be factored in". One of the key elements of the project is Alltech's 37+ Programme. To assist feed mills and producers, Alltech recently launched its Mycotoxin Hazard Analysis programme, MIKO. Based on the principles of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP), the MIKO programme is designed to identify the mycotoxin risks within a given farm or feed mill and create a plan to minimise the risks.
Taking ostrich farming to the next level THE HEALTH ASPECTS of the meat and the high quality of ostrich products are often undervalued. To further professionalise the ostrich business, producers need to work together to solicit governments and other funding organisations for R&D. Growing ostrich is not easy and professional management is essential for ensuring good results. Ostrich breeding stocks were very expensive during the early stages of the industry’s expansion due to limited supply of breeders, but currently, breeding stocks are more readily available and prices have declined significantly. Since the main competitor of ostrich meat is beef, it is relevant to compare ostrich production mainly with beef production. Some production characteristics of ostrich make its operation more desirable than beef cattle production. For example, the incubation period of ostrich is 42 days (vs. 280 days gestation period of cattle). As a result, the shorter production period of ostriches means a faster investment return and higher production. Ostrich breeders also have a longer breeding period and a longer production period, hence less frequent and lower costs for breeding stock replacement. Cattle breeding programmes usually have one calving per cow per year while the number of yearlings per ostrich breeder is about 40. Gain to feed ratio of ostrich yearlings (0.28) is better than that of calves (intensive and extensive cattle production systems average 0.157 and 0.137, respectively). Therefore, the amount of meat, leather and fat produced by the off spring’s of an ostrich breeder per year in a successful operation is higher than that of cattle. Ostriches have dual digestion and can live 100 per cent from grazing on range if necessary. Without access to scientific research, the growth of the ostrich industry will be slow. The health aspects of the meat and the high quality of ostrich products are often undervalued. To further professionalise the ostrich business, producers need to work together to solicit governments and other funding organisations for R&D.
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West Africa as a source of new feed ingredients BY-PRODUCTS FROM the region’s major crops are underused, yet, with the aid of modern technology, they could become a rich supply of alternative ingredients. Now attention is being focused on investment and commercial production of other food substances whose viability as poultry feed have already been proven. Beyond securing the future of the poultry industry at home, West Africa could become a major exporter of alternative poultry feed as it offers alternative feed ingredients. Cocoa pod husk offers interesting prospects, and researchers have shown that it is a viable source of poultry feed. Nigeria’s Animal Research Institute has established that 10 per cent dietary inclusion of cocoa husk meal is optimal in starter diets and similar results have been obtained in Cameroon. In Ghana, the Animal Research Institute and Cocoa Research Institute (CRI) have also recommended maximum inclusion levels of 10 per cent in poultry diets. The CRI produces commercial quantities of cocoa husk meal on demand. Almost all West African nations produce large quantities of cocoa. Once the cocoa beans are extracted, dried and exported, there is currently little use for the by-product except for small amounts used in soap and compost production in Ghana and Nigeria. There are, as a consequence, large, and readily available, supplies of cocoa pods across West Africa that could be put to commercial use. Palm kernel cake (PKC) is another ingredient in plentiful supply in West Africa and is the byproduct of extracting palm oil from the palm fruit. Removal of the fruit exposes the hard nut, which is cracked to expose the kernel. Once the oil has been extracted there is the “waste” cake, which is a valuable source of both protein and carbohydrate and has the additional benefit of being aflatoxin-free.
Demand for palm oil is growing worldwide and production in West Africa is increasing as a consequence. Given that PKC is not used in human nutrition or as an industrial raw material, the region’s commercial producers have significant supplies. In Ghana, the President’s Special Initiative on Oil Palm is further encouraging the industry. A number of research initiatives into use of PKC as a feed ingredient, however, may have held back its commercial use. For example, in Ghana, it was reported that its high fibre content precluded its optimum use as poultry feed. It was also found that, due to its grittiness, it would require grinding before compounding. It was also reported that PKC produced by the “cottage-type” process had a strong odour, which could hinder feed intake. Cassava is another local root crop with potential to become a good source of poultry feed. It is an important source of energy, with a starch content of between 60 and 70 per cent. In West Africa it is already well known as a viable poultry feed ingredient, but the level of utilisation has been low, mainly because crop harvests have repeatedly suffered massive damage from the cassava mealy bug and cassava green mite. Studies have found that satisfactory growth can be achieved with various levels of cassava root meal inclusion in the diets of chicks, growers, broilers and layers. Supplies of cassava in West Africa continue to increase. Nigeria is currently the world’s leading producer of the crop, thanks to the introduction of improved varieties and the successful bio-control of pests. The plentiful supplies of alternative ingredients in West Africa, improved cultivation methods and processing technologies, together with increased demand for traditional feed ingredients, mean that a variety of crops currently grown in the region could be worth further examination.
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Cassava Plus has been implemented by IFDC and the Dutch Agricultural Development and Trading Company (DADTCO), a private enterprise specialising in large-volume commercial agricultural products with high trade potential.
Cassava production in Nigeria: Cassava Plus
ITH OVER 38MN tons of harvested fresh cassava roots per year, Nigeria is by far the largest cassava-producing country in the world. Estimates are that between seven and eight million Nigerian farming families grow the tuber. Cassava is an important staple food for both rural and urban populations in Nigeria, as well as many other nations in Africa. Production in the West African cassava belt has expanded rapidly over the years, but the sustainability of cultivation, and therefore further production growth, are threatened. Traditionally, farmers have practiced rotating cultivation. This is a process of cultivating crops for a two- to three-year period, then fallowing the land for at least 20 years to allow soils to regain their fertility. However, as a result of increasing populations and expansion of urban areas into former farming lands, farmers can no longer observe the necessary bush fallow cycles. In many locations, rotating cultivation has all but disappeared. The consequence is severe and often irreversible degeneration of once arable soils, with annual nutrient depletion rates in the absence of fertiliser application often exceeding 60 kg per hectare. It is therefore imperative for economic and soil nutrient sustainability that smallholder cassava farmers utilise more effective and sustainable agricultural practices, with a focus on quality agro-inputs and increased market capacity.
It is imperative for economic and soil nutrient sustainability that smallholder cassava farmers utilise more effective and sustainable agricultural practices. The increased production capacity of cassava in Nigeria could have major implications. Currently, 50 per cent of Nigeriaâ€™s urban population regularly consumes the traditional foods processed
18 African Farming - September/October 2012
Cassava is popular among African farmers because it is relatively droughtresistant and can survive in poor soils.
from cassava, particularly gari. But agricultural imports continue to rise as the nation consumes increasing quantities of imported wheat (currently over four million tons annually), Asian rice and other foodstuffs. As a sustainable alternative to these imports, cassava can be used as a substitute for grains such as wheat and maize in the production of bread, pastries, seasoning cubes and snack foods. It is also a prime source for starch derivatives such as sugars (high fructose syrup) for the soft drink industry. The Government of Nigeria quickly recognised this possibility, and in 2005, passed a law requiring a gradual increase of the cassava flour content in bread to 10 per cent. As a result, the nationâ€™s market demand for cassava flour grew to over 300,000 tons. Yet, with this progress, the lack of market infrastructure and suitable processing technologies has hindered the scaling of cassava to an industrial level. For Nigeria and other countries to make progress in the commercial development of cassava, agricultural value chain intervention is required.
The Cassava Plus project Cassava Plus is a public-private partnership to commercialise cassava production by linking farmers to valueadded markets. The three-year project (2010-2012) is financed by the Schokland Fund, which was established by the Netherlandsâ€™ Directorate-General for International Co-operation (DGIS). Cassava Plus is implemented by IFDC and the Dutch Agricultural Development and Trading Company (DADTCO), a private enterprise specialising in large-volume commercial agricultural products with high trade potential. The aim of Cassava Plus is to strengthen the market capacities of 164,000 cassava farmers in Nigeria. The crop is popular among African farmers because it is relatively drought-resistant and can survive in poor soils. However, cassava is primarily a subsistence crop, grown for home consumption and for sale in local markets. The tuber has not been widely produced as a commercial crop due to several factors, including extensive labour requirements, rapid spoilage and few stable linkages to
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processing and storage facilities. Cassava roots are noted for their short shelf-life after harvest. Deterioration begins within 48 hours, making it difficult for traditional processing companies to collect and process the tubers prior to spoilage. This has slowed the shift of cassava from a subsistence crop to a cash crop. To address the issue, DADTCO has developed an Autonomous Mobile Processing Unit (AMPU), which reduces the need for farmers to transport the perishable cassava over long distances. The mobile unit has a self-sustaining power supply, which allows it to move to within 20 km of farmers. The AMPUs are
20 African Farming - September/October 2012
creating a stable supply of cassava for the wholesale market while increasing villagelevel employment opportunities through expanded cassava production and AMPU operation. To further assist targeted farmers and to motivate others to participate in the project, DADTCO has created a guaranteed-purchase programme for those who process their cassava yields locally using the AMPUs. To further build market capacity, IFDC is assisting farmers to access quality agroinputs (fertilisers, seeds, crop protection products and water), and adopt more beneficial farm practices designed to increase productivity and return nutrients to depleted soils. IFDC is also training agro-dealers in improved production techniques and high-quality inputs supply. These agro-dealers then are able to introduce these new technologies and educate their farmer customers in the proper use of inputs. In addition, to meet the most immediate project challenge, IFDC is organising and mobilising farmers to comply with and support the new supply chain, addressing local harvesting, transport and other logistical issues. Cassava Plus is implemented in Kogi, Kwara, Osun, Taraba and Rivers states in
The aim of Cassava Plus is to strengthen the market capacities of 164,000 cassava farmers in Nigeria. Nigeria. Cassava farmers in the targeted areas produce about 13 metric tons per hectare (mt/ha). Through the project, production will increase to at least 23 mt/ha. As a result, average annual net income will rise by about US$250 per ha per farmer, a 62 per cent increase from current income levels. Cassava Plus is expected to also help increase farmersâ€™ incomes from rotational and staple crops such as soybean and pigeon pea, raising annual incomes by another US$250 per farmer, more than doubling average incomes. Cumulatively, the project is expected to generate an additional US$81mn in net income for farmers, and create an increase in annual supply of fresh cassava roots by 2.2mn mt, a six per cent increase in average national production. Project activities are now being transferred to other countries in Africaâ€™s cassava belt. h
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Nigeria plans to boost domestic food production by 20mn mt by 2015, according to the country’s agriculture ministry. One way is to use high quality cassava flour to make bread.
Nigeria pushes on with cassava economic scheme
HE NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT, which has long held up cassava as the key to significantly cutting the nation’s import bill and boosting its food self-sufficiency, has brought in a new cassava bread initiative as well as planning to introduce 18 new Chinese milling plants. The new policy, announced by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on 11 July, sees the Nigerian government enforce an additional 65 per cent levy on wheat importation, while also completely removing tax on imported cassava-enhancement enzymes from its current 10 per cent. Cassava bread development fund Additionally, the FEC plans that an unconfirmed proportion of the charge put on wheat importation will go towards the newlyestablished cassava bread development fund. Speaking to Nigeria First, Dr Okonjo-Iweala explained, “The whole idea is that the fund will be used to support the development of the value chain up to the point of actually baking the bread. The fund is being constituted at the moment.” The west African nation, despite being the world’s largest producer of cassava crops, exports a considerable amount the root and instead relies heavily on wheat, for which it is one of the largest importers. The new initiative forms part of the Nigerian government’s on-going goal to slash the amount of wheat imported – an amount that is currently costing Nigeria approximately US$3.9bn per year – and substitute it with nationally-grown and nationally-produced cassava.
Making cassava bread.
22 African Farming - September/October 2012
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The cassava industry is capable of generating about three million jobs.
April 2012 saw President Jonathan Goodluck launch the commercialisation of cassava bread in a bid to encourage Nigerian millers to use 40 per cent cassava flour in bread production. Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Ayo Adesina, spoke recently, “Nigeria will not be a slave to wheat importers. We have an economy to grow, farmers to put to work, we have jobs to create.” “These policies are all directed at turning Nigeria, which is the largest producer of cassava in the world, into the largest processor of cassava in the world, to create millions of jobs for our own farmers and our own people,” he added. Following some voiced scepticism arguing that the lack of effective infrastructure undermines the President’s plans, the government has revealed plans to import 18 cassava processing plants from China, as well as a number of rice processing facilities, with a combined value of US$1.2bn. Health concerns over cassava bread The health concern of cassava bread consumers, especially people prone to diabetes, is being addressed by the Glycemic Index (GI) studies embarked upon by the Federal Institute of
Pyrethrum Pyrethrum 5 5EW EW Natural Natural O Organic rganic i IInsecticide nsecticide
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Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO), Lagos. GI refers to how much and how quickly sugar is released into the body from ingested foods, the higher the index, the faster the food item will release sugar into the blood stream. Rather than rely on general online information alone to find out how these carbohydrates from the cassava flour are handled by the human body, the Institute has taken up research studies that use the cassava-inclusion loaves of 10 and 20 per cent to generate the result locally. And so far, according to the Director General and CEO of the Institute, Dr. Gloria Elemo, the preliminary result has been encouraging, declaring that the cassava is quite safe.
These policies are all directed at turning Nigeria into the largest processor of cassava in the world and to create millions of jobs. The director general said with inclusion of cassava flour of lower GI than wheat flour, the bread becomes even healthier and more so for diabetic patients. She said the study stems from the fact that the Institute is unwaveringly committed to the cassava flour production and inclusion in bread, a transformation agenda issue of the Federal Government. She said the cassava industry that is capable of generating about three million jobs is worth all the effort being put in by FIIRO over the past few decades. With a whopping US$3.95mn spent on wheat importation yearly, cassava flour inclusion of 20-40 per cent makes economic sense, a situation that would turn around the fortunes of Nigerian farmers and stakeholders in the value chain. h
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African Farming - September/October 2012
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Over 60,000 cocoa farmers in Ghana are bound to benefit from a crop insurance scheme that involves climate change mitigation. A similar scheme is currently under discussion for coffee farmers in Kenya and Ethiopia.
Climate smart cocoa
N AN INTERVIEW with African Farming in Nairobi recently, the developer of the ‘Climate Smart Cocoa initiative’ Dr John J. Mason, noted that his programme works closely with cocoa farmers, the private sector, government and multinational cocoa companies. “The biggest challenge facing African farmers is lack of insurance, credit and farm inputs. Farmers face risks ranging from effects of climate change, changes in prices, pest and diseases but there are few insurance companies willing to underwrite this risk”, observed Dr Mason, the founder and CEO of Nature Conservation Research Centre (NCRC) – a leading NGO in West Africa and a grantee of the Rockefeller Foundation. Dr. Mason was in Nairobi attending a Rockefeller Foundation grantees meeting whose theme was ‘Catalysing and Driving Change through Innovation’ to recognise the innovative work the grantees are doing in their focus areas. Ghana produces over 55 per cent of the global cocoa production in an industry estimated to be worth over US$1.5bn. Over 1.8mn ha are under cocoa, with most of it under small scale holdings averaging 2.5 ha.
Cocoa production in Ghana has increasingly been threatened by climate change, as deforestation continues. A huge chunk of the global cocoa production comes from Côte d'Ivoire although political risk has affected overall performance in the country. Cocoa production in Ghana has increasingly been threatened by climate change, as deforestation continues, with demand for food and cocoa production increasing. “Over 80 per cent of the forest cover in Ghana has been lost as land for growing cocoa is being sought. There has been a need to increase cocoa production without compromising forest cover in the country”, Dr Mason said, adding that players in the global cocoa sector have been helpful in dealing with effects of climate change. The ‘Climate Smart Cocoa Program’ involves cocoa farmers, insurance companies, the government and global cocoa millers such as Cadbury and Nestlé. Under pressure from the European Union and climate change activists to reduce their carbon emissions, multinational companies such as Cadbury and Nestlé have come out to pay cocoa producers in the developing world for their emissions. The Climate Mitigation Income from these companies is then channeled to insurance companies in Ghana which then underwrite the risks cocoa farmers face in producing their beans. “Farmers are given a production threshold say of 325kg of cocoa per ha. If production drops below this threshold, insurance companies compensate farmers for the loss occasioned by climate effects such as drought or other risks. As with other risks few of the
24 African Farming - September/October 2012
There has been a need to increase cocoa production without compromising forest cover in the country.
farmers are compensated annually making it a profitable business for insurance companies”, he asserted. The compensation is channeled through local banks which have also agreed to finance individual farmers – increasing the usage of farm inputs and other crop requirements. While the scheme is currently at pilot stage with the 60,000 farmers involved, cocoa production has risen for the farmers currently under the programme. According to Dr Mason, participating farmers have seen cocoa production in their farm rise from an average national yield of 125162kg per acre to over 1,200-1,500 kg. “Once farmers realise that they can be compensated for loss in yield, they are bound to improve their crop husbandry practices impacting positively in overall crop performance. They are also eager to employ practices that absorb as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere”, noted Dr Mason, adding that the involvement with the farmers has seen an 80 per cent reduction in carbon emissions from cocoa farms from 20 tonnes to two tonnes under this climate smart initiative. But for farmers to increase their yield, they have had to change their farming methods. “They have had to increase shade in their cocoa farms from the common 4-5 per cent to 40-50 per cent as cocoa is badly affected by too much sun. Availability of farm inputs, as banks and other financial organisations are assured of their returns, has also improved yields.” A Canadian national, Dr Mason has worked in Ghana for over 30 years and is regarded as a leading voice for conservation in West Africa. He was one of the first to draw attention to the long-
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term threat of climate change to the crucial cocoa sector. His organisation has been working closely with the agricultural extension in the government to increase knowledge on climate smart cocoa to local farmers. “We have also been in negotiations with insurances companies, local banks and input companies to bring them on board in developing the system where all players can benefit”, he said noting that to improve information sharing information technology is used. Accordingly, every cocoa farm is mapped with GIS and the owner/land use information digitalised and supplied to banks, insurance companies and extension personnel. Using this information, it has become easier for banks and insurance companies to authenticate land ownership and reduce fraud cases as it is hard for anyone to present fake documents. Dr Mason believes that under the programme, Ghana may be able to produce over two million metric tonnes of cocoa – a 40 per cent increase in a few years. “With this increased production, Ghana will need to reduce its land under cocoa- otherwise global cocoa prices will plummet – affecting the national economy. The freed land will then be put under reforestation programme.” With the success of this programme in Ghana, Dr Mason has been in talks with officials from COMESA and the African Union on ways of replicating such a scheme on coffee farmers in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia. He says that carbon credit schemes in eastern Africa have been weather indexed unlike the more beneficial yield indexed insurance in Ghana. The Rockefellers Foundation’s Developing Climate Change
Dr John J. Mason explains his climate smart cocoa to Hon. Obiageli Ezekwesili and Dr. Judith Rodin during the Nairobi meeting.
Resilience initiative seeks to help poor and vulnerable communities prepare for, withstand, and recover from the negative effects of climate change. A key focus of this work is insuring that resilience strategies are a more integral part of agricultural research, development, planning, training, capacity building and implementation in African countries. It aims at strengthening the resilience of smallholder farmers to climate variability and change, giving current investments in improving African agriculture a greater impact over the long term. h Mwangi Mumero
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African Farming - September/October 2012
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Centre pivot is a modern and efficient method of irrigation which, after initial setup, does not require anywhere near the labour input for operation and maintenance compared with traditional methods of irrigation. Dr Terry Mabbett reports.
Centre pivot irrigation: past, present and future
OU CAN’T REALLY miss a centre pivot irrigation system, because it tends to dominate the agricultural arena within which it is situated, and especially if you have a bird’s eye view from the window of an aeroplane. The substantial circular shapes seen below are not fields that have been designed as exact geometric circles, or ‘crop circles’ of ‘alien’ fame, but centre pivot irrigation systems. Centre pivot is a modern and efficient method of irrigation which, after its initial setup, does not require anywhere near the labour input for operation and maintenance compared with traditional methods of irrigation. The name centre
The pace of the system is set and dictated by the wheels on the periphery. Centre pivot allows irrigation of all types of terrain..
pivot is entirely appropriate, the system comprising a central pivot of sprinklers and the equipment required to rotate them in a circular pattern. As the pivot turns (rotates) so do the sprinklers and in a circular motion which is why the system is alternatively called a ‘circle irrigation’ system. Centre pivot irrigation has its roots and origins in one of the most arid areas of North America, the very dry ‘Texas Panhandle’. Credit for its invention and design goes to a Texan farmer called Frank Zybach who owned a farm near the town of Dalhart right in the middle of the Texas Panhandle. The only way he could improve his farm, land and crop yields was by ensuring the effective and efficient distribution of water to and across his fields. Zybach designed the first centre pivot irrigation system in 1949 although it did not take off on a truly industrial and commercial scale until much later. Startling and spectacular Centre pivot irrigation systems have been described as startling and spectacular and that is no over-statement. Segments of pipe fabricated from aluminium or galvanised steel pipe are connected together and 26 African Farming - September/October 2012
subsequently supported by a system of trusses. Once assembled, they are mounted upon wheeled towers with the sprinklers situated along their length. At the centre and heart of the system is the ‘pivot’ with an appropriately pivotal role. Situated below the pivot is the water pump which feeds it. The water feeds through to the sprinklers which sets the whole system in motion and operation. This system is no quick fix to irrigation but it is designed and dedicated to be slow in motion but nevertheless sure in function and result. The typical centre pivot irrigation set up usually takes 72 hours to complete an entire circle of sprinkler irrigation with the overriding aim of watering (irrigating) the crop rather than drowning it. The pace of the system is set and dictated by the wheels on the periphery, although leading edge technology plays a part too through sensors that are located on the segments to detect, warn and deal with any misalignment that may occur. This ensures that all the bits and pieces of the system remain straight as a ‘die’ because even a slight bending can lead to structural stress, metal fatigue and a collapse catastrophe.
For this reason, and clearly related to safety, the typical centre pivot irrigation system is rarely more than 500 metres long and most frequently around 250 metres in diameter. Water delivered uniformly One question commonly asked is why is the soil at the centre of the field not substantially wetter than the soil along the radius of the irrigated area given that the inner towers do not travel as far as those on the outside. The answer to this is simple. The nozzles which emit the sprinkler irrigation are smaller on the inside than those farther out thus ensuring that the irrigation water is delivered uniformly to all areas within the field. Whether it is seen by the naked eye from an aeroplane or viewed as pictures sent back to earth by satellites, the field patterns created by centre pivot irrigation systems continue to fascinate the observer while keeping the farmer in profit. Be that as it may, all this would have not been possible if it were not for one relatively small component of an otherwise ‘big parts’ system. The component in question is the tiny sprinkler nozzle, a seemingly humble part yet absolutely essential to the success
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The centre pivot system of irrigation system as a whole is widely credited with opening up areas of land which otherwise were uncultivable. of the centre pivot irrigation system. Centre pivots have evolved and appeared as a multitude of types and designs developed by bespoke manufacturing companies since the first system was ‘wheeled out’ decades ago. In contemporary centre pivot systems the emitter (spray) nozzles are most commonly suspended from a pipe called a gooseneck which allows them to be positioned and located just a metre or so above the crop. Without this much lower profile position sprinkler and deployment, the combined and related effects of wind and evaporation would otherwise divert considerable amounts of water from the crop surface. Consequences could prove catastrophic for crop yields and the economics of irrigation especially in arid areas.
Centre pivot irrigation continues to make significant strides in African farming.
Such has been the speed of technology development that irrigation water emitted by a modern centre pivot system can be dropped straight on to the ground by using LEPA (Low Energy Precision Application). This technique involves an extremely high tech and state-of-the-art damming process and is very much a development of the 21st century. Since its invention by Frank Zybach in 1949, the centre pivot system of irrigation has made great strides in every direction and dimension and correspondingly come a long way. The very first centre pivot irrigation systems were water powered and later upgraded to hydraulic powered systems. The majority of most modern systems have an electric motor located on each of the towers. One of the few drawbacks, and for obvious reasons of stability, is that farmers cannot set up centre pivot irrigation systems on steep hilly terrain, although the ground does not have to be totally flat. A reasonably flat or undulating field contour is usually fine, because the machinery and equipment deployed for a centre pivot irrigation system can cope with small ‘ripples’ in the ground. Opens new areas to farming Centre pivot irrigation continues to make significant strides in African farming, especially in drought hit areas, by conserving water that would otherwise have been wasted and opening up new
28 African Farming - September/October 2012
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areas to agricultural production. The only downside as far as Africa is concerned is related to the need to keep as many people as possible in agricultural employment. The modern centre pivot irrigation system dispenses with the inherently large labour forces required to maintain and operate during periods of traditional irrigation but more than compensates by opening up huge new areas to farming and food crop production. Indeed, the centre pivot system of irrigation as a whole is widely credited with opening up areas of land which otherwise were uncultivable because water could not be supplied to and utilised by crops. And to such a degree that howls of protest are increasingly heard from conservationists who claim the system is allowing agriculture to impinge and encroach upon important environmentally sensitive areas. h
FG plans installation of central pivot systems THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT of Nigeria has disclosed plans to establish central pivot irrigation systems in 10 different locations in the country, to boost agricultural activities and ensure food security, according to Joe Kwanashie, Director - Irrigation and Drainage Department in the Federal Ministry of Water Resources. This facility, which is an upgrade of the open canal irrigation system, ensures effective water management. Kwanashie said that the project, which was awarded by the late President Umar Yar’Adua's administration at a cost of N5.7bn would be located in 10 states to cover an expanse of 3,000 ha. He said the states are Nasarawa, Kogi, Zamfara, Cross River, Benue, Kebbi, Adamawa, Kano, Bauchi and Taraba. He explained that 12,000
farming families were expected to benefit from the project when fully operational. In a separate interview, the Minister of Water Resources, Sarah Ochekpe, disclosed that already the ministry was expecting a consignment of 71 containers of the equipment for onward installation in the strategic locations. "We have plans to install in 10 locations in five river basins. As a matter of fact, we are taking delivery of 71 containers of this equipment very soon. In a few weeks we will have them in place. Some part of it was delivered last year and the remaining part will be delivered soon and this will be installed in order to be used in our irrigation facilities," she said. Ochekpe, who reiterated the effectiveness of the pivot system in comparison with the open canal, said that farmers and river basin development
12,000 farming families will benefit from the project when fully operational.
authorities would record a boost in agricultural activities. "The good thing about this system is that it helps in effective water management; it is an improvement on the open canal. With this system, you don’t have to use too much water and then you are able to irrigate a very large expanse of land. This particular system can irrigate as much as 40 ha within the same period of time, so there is even distribution of water on the crops," she said.
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INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT
Integrated pest management (IPM) has been suggested as an essential approach for managing the leucaena psyllid in Africa.*
IPM - a rational approach to reducing the impact of pests
NTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT (IPM) is viewed as a rational approach to reducing the impact of pests (eg, insects, pathogens, weed) on forest and agroforestry ecosystems. This article presents the concept and components of IPM as they could apply to the management of the leucaena psyllid, Leucaena leucocephala (Lam.) de Wit. Experience gained from other IPM programmes to manage forest insects provides a basis for developing an IPM approach to managing the psyllid in Africa. IPM has been suggested as an essential approach for managing the leucaena psyllid, Heterosylla cubana Crawford, in Africa . IPM is an approach for reducing the impact of insects or other pests in any ecosystem. This concept has been in existence for over thirty years. Its purpose was to alert the world of problems suffered by man and the environment by the indiscriminate use of pesticides. As the informed people of the world became more concerned about the use of chemical pesticides, IPM advocates suggested other options to resource managers for controlling pests. While not eliminating the use of pesticides, IPM considers and encourages possible alternatives to manage pests affecting resources, appeases the environmentalists and gives managers a more logical approach for reducing the impact of pests on resources. Unfortunately, even today after the philosophy of IPM has been advocated for over three decades, many resource managers routinely resort to chemical pesticides since they may not be familiar with IPM or they may feel that the urgency of the situation justifies their use. This is especially true when farmers or homeowners are faced with the dilemma of controlling an insect pest. In Africa the first major IPM research, development and applications programme for a forest insect began in Kenya against the cypress aphid, Cinara cupressi (Buckton), in 1992. This insect, which now occurs in a number of East African countries, threatens to destroy industrial/commercial plantations as well as ornamental and hedges of Mexican cypress, Cupressus lusitanica. The National Aphid Project, with financial assistance from FAO, UNDP and the World Bank, and in collaboration with institutions such as Kenya Forest Research Institute (KEFRI), International Institute of Biological Control (IIBC), International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), Moi University and the Kenya Forest Department, has made progress towards the development of an IPM system for the cypress aphid. Areas where progress has occurred include the development of survey and sampling methods, importation of an exotic parasitoid, registration of a chemical insecticide, identification of possible resistant or tolerant varieties and removal of severely damaged plantations. Work is continuing to develop and implement an IPM system for cypress aphid in Kenya. Although there has been progress during the past two or three years additional work remains before an adequate IPM system is developed. Research and development of leucaena psyllid in the Asia-Pacific region has provided treatment tactics suitable for incorporation into an IPM decision support system in Africa. 30 African Farming - September/October 2012
Leucaena pysllid found near Mombassa.
IPM has been suggested as an essential approach for managing the leucaena psyllid. Components of an IPM system An IPM programme should design an organised system for decision-making that utilises information on the insect as well as the ecosystem and socio-economic conditions affected. As part of a process to look at the research needs of IPM programmes in the United States, a general conceptual model was developed to show both the research and development components, their relationship to each other and to the operational components. One of the most important aspects of this conceptual model is that pest management is only part of the total resource management for the resource managers or farmers. The Waters and Cowling (1976) version of this model refers to the interior of the model as the research and development components and the outer components as operational components. Research provides information to drive the operational components. When relating this model to the psyllid problem, a number of questions need to be asked. Do we have the information and methodology needed for the various components and which components should receive priority in terms of research? Is information collected and methodology developed in other parts of the world relevant to Africa? Additional information may be needed to develop an IPM system for leucaena psyllid in Africa. IPM for a specific pest is often referred to as a system or a decision support system. The system serves as an organised means for making a decision on whether to initiate treatment for a pest and, if so, what treatments to use. It may be as simple as using a key expressed as a series of questions or a complicated computerbased model. Some decision support systems require a considerable amount of information gained through research, development and practical experience. Research and development for some of the systems in use today has cost millions of dollars.
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INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT
Similar decision support systems for other forest insects have been implemented. None of them are without problems and they will be constantly changing as additional information becomes available and as the conditions within the forest ecosystems themselves change. Although they are imperfect, their use provides a more logical approach to decision-making, especially in the areas related to the environment and economics of forest pest management. The development of an IPM system is dynamic because improvements will need to be incorporated as conditions change and new knowledge is acquired. However, the management of forest pests using IPM treatment tactics should not be delayed until the system is completely developed. With regard to the leucaena psyllid, treatment tactics, such as the use of resistant and tolerant varieties of leucaena and biological control, have already proved useful in other countries without the development of a formal IPM decision support system. With some modification these treatment tactics could be used anywhere in the world. Although every IPM system is unique, a decision support system could be developed for management of the leucaena psyllid. The management of leucaena is different than a commercial forest plantation tree because it is an agroforestry species and the users are primarily farmers rather than government institutions or industrial managers. Leucaena psyllid causes the most severe problems in developing countries where financial resources for management are scarce and the products from leucaena or similar trees are vital for the well being of the farming community. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the development of an IPM programme for leucaena psyllid will contribute to the well being of the people of Africa and not just to scientific knowledge.
This approach should favour non-chemical and long-term treatment tactics. Technology transfer Technology transfer is a vital part of an IPM programme. Technology transfer bridges gaps between research, development and applications. Many of the results of an IPM research and development programme must be "translated" from highly technical terms to more easily understood language and reduced to simplest terms to benefit the ultimate user, the farmer managing the leucaena resource. In Africa it will probably be necessary to translate information into several national or local languages. Technology can be transferred in many ways including brochures, television, radio, video, training courses and demonstrations and is usually carried out by people specifically trained and designated for this job.
32 African Farming - September/October 2012
Close up of the leucaena psyllid.
The expertise to develop an IPM programme for leucaena psyllid in Africa is available but this in itself will not be sufficient to build a successful IPM programme. Technical and scientific capability is important but other elements including co-operation, organisation, co-ordination, communication, management, transportation and funding are all vital and without them, success will be limited. Summary and conclusions An IPM approach is recommended for management of the leucaena psyllid in Africa. This approach should favour non-chemical and longterm treatment tactics such as biological control and the introduction and distribution of resistant and/or tolerant varieties or species of leucaena. A pest management programme for the psyllid in Africa can be built on information that is already available while conducting research to fill information gaps that may be specific for conditions in Africa. The development and implementation of IPM for management of the psyllid should also consider the needs and level of sophistication of the ultimate user, the farmer or resource manager. h *J.G.D. Ward, FAO Nairobi and JG Mwangi, Forest Health Management Centre, Forest Department, Kenya.
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Increasing harvest performance can be simple WITH ITS NEW Lexion 700 series, Claas is introducing the world's first combine harvester model series which continuously and automatically adjusts to the harvest conditions. In 2010, Claas introduced Cemos (Claas Electronic Machine Optimisation System) for its Lexion combine harvesters. This operatorassistance system helps to improve combine harvesting performance by guiding the operator to the optimal machine settings through adjustment suggestions. However, the operator must request these suggestions actively and must actively accept or reject them. The system is, thus, a system of dialogue between operator and machine. "Without regularly checking and optimising the machine settings, we would not have been able to break the combine harvesting world record last year,” explained Jens Broer, combine harvester specialist at Claas and one of the operators of the world record-breaking machine. "During the 20 hour endurance test, we remained in contact with Cemos, and as a result adjusted the machine settings to the prevailing harvesting conditions via Cemos. However, during day-to-day farm operation it is often the case that the operator only makes minor or very few adjustments to the system –
out of fear of making mistakes." The Cemos Automatic system in the new Lexion promises to bring a revolution in combine harvesting as the first fully automatic adjustment system for separation and cleaning. In combination with the GPS pilot, automatic steering system, and cruise pilot throughput controller, Claas machines can perform almost fully automatic grain harvesting with top performance in the areas of throughput, grain quality, grain cleanliness, minimal fuel consumption, and ease of operation. The new Cemos Automatic system uses numerous sensors to monitor a wide variety of the parameters of the combine harvester with split-second accuracy and immediately adjusts the settings to the current conditions - fully automatically. Here a distinction is made between two working systems: Cemos Auto Separation optimises residual grain separation by adjusting the parameters for rotor speed and rotor cover plate position. Cemos Auto Cleaning regulates the cleaning process via the parameters for blower speed as well as upper sieve and lower sieve opening. Cemos Automatic is based on the familiar Cemos system and the automatic variant retains the same dialogue function. The automatic
The Claas Electronic Machine Optimisation System.
functions are displayed on the Cebis terminal. These are always activated at the plant but can be shut off by accessing Cebis mobile. Furthermore, Cemos Auto Separation and Cemos Auto Cleaning can be switched on and off separately. In Cemos Automatic, the operator can choose between four optimisation strategies: these are "maximum throughput", eg, if the harvesting window is very tight or if the weather conditions are more favourable; "minimum fuel consumption”; "high threshing quality”; and finally, "balanced", combining the three aforementioned basic settings. On initial preproduction machines, using the "maximum throughput" operating strategy in Cemos Automatic resulted in output improvements of up to 20 per cent. With its new LEXION 700 series, CLAAS is introducing the world's first combine harvester model series which continuously and automatically adjusts to the harvest conditions.
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Much of the crop sprayer research and development is concentrated on high output self-propelled and trailed machines for big acreages, but for many growers improvements in the smaller tractor-mounted sprayer sector are more important. Mike Williams reports.
The upright shaped 1300 litre tank on this Kuhn Altis sprayer keeps the centre of gravity close to the tractor.
RACTOR-MOUNTED SPRAYERS are less expensive than self-propelled or trailed models and they are also easier to use in small fields, but the smaller tank capacity and boom width of a mounted sprayer means output is reduced. Previously the typical tank size for a mounted sprayer was from about 600 to 1,000 litres, limited mainly by tractor lift capacities, and one of the recent developments is the availability of bigger tanks to boost output by allowing mounted sprayers to work longer between refills. The increase has been achieved partly because the lift capacity of tractor hydraulic systems has improved and also due to design changes from the sprayer manufacturers. Bringing the centre of gravity of the tank as close as possible to the back of the tractor makes the lifting effort more efficient, and this can be achieved by using a tall tank that is narrow from front to back. The design of the sprayer frame can also help to achieve a more compact design, allowing bigger tanks to be used while avoiding the need for a more powerful tractor. Lemken Sirius mounted sprayers have a tubular boom made of aluminium for weight reduction
Controlled Droplet Application technology can increase spraying efficiency because it produces a more even droplet size, reducing losses. The list of sprayer companies following the big tank trend include Berthoud with a 1,600 litre tank on their Elyte sprayers, Hardi, Kuhn and Vicon all offer an 1,800 litre tank, the biggest mounted Sirius 10 series sprayer tank from Lemken is 1,900 litres and Amazone offers up to 1,980 litres capacity. Another approach to increased spraying capacity is to add an extra tank mounted on the front of the tractor, with a pump to transfer the contents into the main tank at the rear. As well as increasing the overall tank capacity to spray more hectares between refill stops, the front tank also acts as a weight to counterbalance the load on the rear linkage. Front tanks are typically between 1,000 and 1,200 litres capacity. A recently introduced example is Vicon’s Ixtra front tank holding 1,100 litres. Using a combination of Vicon’s biggest rearmounted sprayer plus the Ixtra front tank provides 2,900 litres total capacity and this, as Vicon points out, matches the capacity of some of the smaller trailed and self-propelled spray equipment while retaining the manoeuvrability and much of the cost advantage of a mounted sprayer. Another design feature to improve mounted sprayer output is to fit a wider boom. The limitations include weight and stability problems as boom widths increase, but the use of aluminium and other lightweight materials helps to reduce the load while improved suspension makes wider booms a more popular option. A 28m boom width is available from many of the leading sprayer manufacturers including Kuhn’s aluminium range, Tecnoma offers the high specification Maxis sprayers with booms up to 28m wide and Lemken has a 30m version of their patented boom the with nozzles and spraylines protected inside a tubular aluminium boom. The widest Alu-light series lightweight boom for Cropmaster sprayers from Landquip is 36m. Spraying output not always main concern For some users spraying output is not the main concern and low price plus the ability to use a small tractor or work in a restricted space are bigger priorities. There are plenty of lower priced
34 African Farming - September/October 2012
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OBP, OBP OB P, the leading g innovator. i innovato r r. mounted sprayer options available including the smallest Premis model from Tecnoma with a 300 litre tank and a 7.0m boom and the Farmer range from Allman Sprayers starts with a 600 litre tank and a 12m boom for tractors from 20hp upwards. Further down the price scale for farms where the amount of spraying does not justify the cost of tractor powered crop spraying equipment, the alternative is to use a hand-held sprayer with the spray liquid carried in a backpack or knapsack. Hand-held spray equipment is widely used throughout Africa for protecting small areas including specialist crops such as vines, fruit, vegetables and ornamentals, and it is also used to protect stored crops and to control health hazards such as mosquitoes. Controlled Droplet Application or CDA technology can increase spraying efficiency because it produces a more even droplet size, reducing losses due to wind drift and achieving better retention on the plant surface. The extra efficiency of CDA means significantly less chemical and less water are used than with conventional spray equipment, and this is a particular advantage for hand-operated sprayers where the equipment and spray liquid have to be carried. CDA was originally developed by Micron more than 50 years ago and its first sales success was in Tanzania. Since then African countries have remained the biggest market for Micron CDA sprayers, which are also available for truck mounting and as aircraft-mounted versions for locust control. Trailed sprayers increasingly popular The success story for large scale crop protection is the increasing popularity of trailed sprayers, and sales worldwide have risen steadily during the last 20 years or so. Trailed sprayers are likely to
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African Farming - September/October 2012
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be the first choice for those with a big acreage of crops and with plenty of tractor power available, and some of the recently introduced models have an impressive tank capacity. An example is the UX11200 sprayer available from Amazone since the end of last year with a 12,000 litre tank, booms up to 40m wide, a 750 litres per minute pump capacity and with the rear axle equipped with automatic steering. Trailed sprayers can provide the biggest tank capacity for big farms and estates and the cost per litre of tank size is usually less than a similar capacity self-propelled model, although cost comparisons can be complicated. The difficulty is that the price of the self- propelled sprayer includes the engine and transmission as well as the spray equipment, and to make the comparison realistic an allowance for a proportion of the tractor cost should be added to the trailed sprayer price. The newest trailed sprayer in the John Deere range is the R962i announced in 2011 with a 6,200 litre tank. A smooth ride is important for trailed sprayers to aid boom stability to allow greater application accuracy and faster working speeds, and on the John Deere sprayer the suspension is based on maintenance-free dampers made of polyurethane and suitable for towing speeds up to 40 km/h. The boom options include a 40m wide version and the filling rate with the optional centrifugal pump is up to 700 l/min. Air suspension is included on the axle of the Gladiator sprayer announced this year by Landquip, and this is linked to a suspension system on the sprayer drawbar that reduces shock loads coming from the tractor. The Gladiator has a 5,500 litre tank and a 36-m wide lightweight aluminium boom, but other tank sizes up to 7,000 litres and a 44-m boom will be introduced later. Automatic boom section control by GPS is an option and a steering control system
36 African Farming - September/October 2012
John Deere's newest trailed sprayer has a 6,200 litre tank.
Although some customers have switched to using trailed sprayers, the self-propelled sector is still important. is standard. Steering systems for trailed sprayers, controlled automatically or by the driver, have become a popular feature on trailed sprayers as they can ensure that the sprayer and tractor wheels follow the same track to avoid damaging crop plants when turning into or out of the rows, and the steering can also give added control when spraying on a side slope. Berthoud’s newest trailed sprayers are the medium capacity Tracker series announced in 2011 with a 3,200 litre tank which is specially shaped for quick and efficient rinsing. Booms from 24 to 32 m are available, supported on Berthoud’s long established Axiale suspension system and the axle carries an improved version of the company’s Actiflex suspension. Although some customers have switched to using trailed sprayers, the self-propelled sector is still important and last year’s arrivals included two new models from Hardi. The EVO sprayer is a replacement for their popular Alpha Plus model, and the list of improvements includes a redesigned cab with better all-round visibility, an updated hydrostatic transmission and a smoother ride thanks to changes to the suspension on the rear axle. Tank options are 3,500 or 4,100 litres with steel booms up to 36 m wide or an aluminium version with 40-m maximum width. Also new from Hardi last year was the Saritor sprayer designed for big farms and with South Africa included in the list of potential markets. Tank capacity is 5,000 litres and booms up to 42 m are available with power provided by a 275hp Cummins engine. The air suspension system helps smooth the ride to allow a 50kph road speed and spraying speeds up to 35kph. Kuhn has recently moved into the self-propelled market with the new Artec sprayer powered by Deutz engines offering a power choice of 180, 210 or 250hp. The tank options are 4,000 or 5,000 litres and the lightweight boom with an advanced suspension system is available with widths up to 48m and the front and rear suspension adjusts automatically to match variations in the weight of the tank contents. This year’s new self-propelled models iinclude the Sapphire sprayer from FarmGem, offered with 3000 to 5000 litre tank sizes and boom widths up to 40m. Engine power is either 175 or 202hp linked to a four-wheel drive transmission with electronic control. An air bag based suspension gives a self-levelling action and the specification includes wheel track adjustment which is hydraulically controlled with settings in the 1.63 to 2.13m range. h
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S10 AF Sept-Oct 2012 Crop Spraying_Layout 1 27/09/2012 14:53 Page 38
Tropical tree crops are highly vulnerable to diseases of the foliage and fruit, and thus require long-term protection using foliar-applied protectant fungicides. Dr Terry Mabbett reports.
Protectant foliar fungicide sprays for tropical tree crops
IRTUALLY ALL KEY tropical tree crops, including cocoa, coffee, tea, citrus, mango and avocado are evergreen trees, which means their leaves, if healthy, have a functional life measured in years rather than months. Tropical tree crops tend to produce new foliage in distinct and copious leaf flushes in response to seasonal changes that are related to alternating wet and dry seasons. This rush and flush of young leaves, lacking cuticle and wax bloom protection, is exceptionally vulnerable to fungal pathogens and foliar disease. Growth and expansion rates of newly emerged leaves and newlyset fruits are rapid which means the surface area requiring protection is highly dynamic. Last, but not least, high levels of intense tropical rainfall and accompanying high humidity provide ideal conditions for infection, disease development and spread, while exerting high weathering and erosive pressures on protectant fungicide deposits on leaf and fruit surfaces.
Cocoa pods infected with black pod disease in Ghana.
Overall requirement is for the application of protectant fungicide using spray techniques which target the most vulnerable areas of the canopy, with formulations that provide tenacious fungicide deposits resistant to the erosive effects of tropical rainfall. Treatments must be applied at a dose x frequency that ensures fungicidally active deposits are maintained throughout the entire disease-susceptible period. Spraying protectant fungicides Protectant fungicides do exactly what their name says by forming a protective deposit over leaf and fruit surfaces to kill germinating fungal spores. As such they must be in place as a dry and rainresistant initial deposit and before the spores alight on the leaf or fruit surface. These are purely contact fungicides. They do not enter the leaf and are therefore unable to eradicate established infections in the same way as systemically-acting curative fungicides can. Copper fungicides are still the mainstay tree crop disease control in the tropics today although they have undergone evolutionary change in fungicide, formulation and spray application technique over the last 100+ years. They were initially used in West Africa at the end of the 19th century to control black pod. Contemporary copper-containing products are the particulate, fixed copper fungicides, so called because they are composed of discrete particles with the copper fixed in what are essentially insoluble (sparingly soluble) salts of elemental metallic copper. The three main proprietary fixed copper fungicides are copper oxychloride, cupric hydroxide and cuprous oxide. On a gram for gram basis cuprous oxide contains the most active copper and is therefore the most efficacious (on a weight for weight basis). Spray timing and placement Citrus and mango are two classic examples of tropical fruit tree crops that undergo marked foliar (leaf) flushing at particular times of the year in response to seasonal changes during the transitional
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period from dry to wet season. Large flushes of new leaves are soft and remain so until fully expanded with the formation of a thick waxy cuticle and covering wax bloom. During this period the young citrus leaves are highly susceptible to infection by a group of fungal pathogens including Mycosphaerella citri (greasy spot), Elsinoe fawcetti (sour orange scab) and Diaporthe citri. Not only do these diseases have the capacity to completely destroy new leaf growth but in some cases, such as sour orange scab, provide the ‘staging post’ and inoculum (spores) for subsequent infection of the young developing fruit. Citrus trees must be sprayed as they begin to flush and with repeated spray applications as necessary to account for deposit dilution through leaf expansion and the loss of deposit through erosive effects of rainfall.
Copper fungicides are still the mainstay tree crop disease control in the tropics today. Gloeosporium limetticola (wither-tip of lime) is a perennial problem on new leaf flushes in parts of East Africa. The disease sets back growth and distorts the growth pattern and normal long term canopy shape of lime trees. Trees respond to loss of the first foliar flushes with abnormal bursts of growth that subsequently destroy normal canopy shape. Colletotrichum gloeosporioides (anthracnose), and the major disease of mango, hits new flushes of the pendulous pink coloured mango leaves before moving on to infect the blossom and newly formed fruit. Anthracnose is carried right through to fruit maturity often as latent infections which only start to show
New soft pink-coloured mango leaf ﬂushes are susceptible to anthracnose.
African Farming - September/October 2012
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and spread post-harvest with serious losses of fruit during the pre-marketing storage period. Long term sustainable control of anthracnose of mango requires a season-long programme of copper fungicide sprays starting with the new leaf flushes and continued through to the pre-harvest period. Cocoa undergoes even more vigorous and sustained foliar flushing but it is the fruit (cocoa pods) that is the disease susceptible plant part. The most universal and damaging disease is black pod caused in Africa by several Phytophthora species including P. palmivora and P. megakarya. Pods at all stages of development are susceptible to Phytophthora pod rot, from the tiny ‘cherelles’ formed on the flower cushions to full ripe pods ready for harvest. Infection of flower cushions can lead to Phytophthora stem canker of the bark and wood which can kill the tree.
Black pod of cocoa is probably the most fungicide-demanding disease of the hot wet tropics especially in West Africa . Black pod of cocoa is probably the most fungicide-demanding disease of the hot wet tropics especially in West Africa where farmers in the wetter areas of Nigeria and Ghana regularly face total crop loss in the absence of a rigorously applied programme of copper fungicide sprays starting before the start of the rainy season. Leaf and fruit surfaces as spray targets Good spray coverage is critical. These foliar fungal diseases develop most readily right inside the tree canopy where leaves take a long time to dry out after rainfall and are difficult to cover with spray. The abaxial (lower) surface of the leaf is invariably more susceptible to infection because it lacks the waxy cuticle which covers the adaxial (upper) surface of the leaf, and because it is where most if not all the stomata (leaf pores) are found. The abaxial (lower) surface of a leaf stays wetter for longer after rainfall because it is shielded from direct rays of the sun. Tree crops infected by fungi which can only enter the leaf through the stomata and exclusively on the (abaxial) lower surface of the leaf present the most critically difficult targets for spray application. The classic examples are coffee leaf rust (Hemileia vastatrix) and citrus greasy spot (Mycosphaeralla citri) which not surprisingly are two of the most difficult to control diseases of tropical tree crops. Potential problems and challenges presented by such pathogens, and related to spray coverage requirements, can be overcome by using air-assisted sprayers like low volume knapsack mistblowers
40 African Farming - September/October 2012
Citrus fruit with a well distributed deposit of cuprous oxide fungicide (Picture courtesy Trond Kristiansen, Nordox).
and hand-held ULV (ultra-low volume) atomisers. Tree canopies are surrounded by a layer of still air which acts as a barrier to the deposition of spray droplets without sufficient force and momentum to ‘break through’. Spray droplets delivered by an air-assisted sprayer are preceded by the leading edge of the air stream which flips the leaves in the outer shell of the canopy. This allows droplets to penetrate the canopy and be deposited right inside. By flipping the leaves upwards the undersides are exposed to incoming spray droplets which are deposited on this surface, and exactly where they are needed, to prevent germinating spores of the coffee leaf rust pathogen and the citrus greasy spot pathogen from accessing and entering the stomata. One factor not sufficiently allowed for when calculating spray doses and frequencies is the dilution of initial fungicide deposit by an increase in size and area of young leaves and fruits on their way to full size and maturity. If a leaf receives spray on the day after emergence but not again for three weeks by which time it has increased 10 fold in surface area, then the initial fungicide deposit will have been automatically reduced by a factor of 10 (on a µg/cm2 basis) even without any loss from weathering. Protectant fungicide sprays should be applied at a sufficiently high dosage to buffer the effects of deposit dilution and be applied sufficiently frequently so that all new leaves receive spray at least once after the main period of leaf growth and expansion has been completed. The same premise applies for young developing fruit. Research shows how initial fungicide deposit on young citrus fruits can be reduced up to a factor of 15 simply through increase in size and surface area of the fruit from normal growth rates. h
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New Holland’s new distributor in Zambia debuts at Lusaka Show NEW HOLLAND AGRICULTURE, together with its newly appointed distributor Danatrac Ltd, has made its debut at the 86th Agriculture and Commercial Show, recently held in Lusaka, to showcase its fully efficient and versatile machinery. The show is Zambia’s most important venue for the agricultural equipment industry. Danatrac Ltd, a subsidiary of Dana Holdings Ltd, has been operating in the market since the early 1980s with a highly diversified portfolio and wide customer base. With headquarters in Lusaka, it has an established sales and support organization to cover the national territory. Through its
Danatrac’s commercial team with the award certificate for one of the best stands at Lusaka Show.
partnership with Danatrac, New Holland sells and supports a wide range of products in the country, including its TT, TD, TD5 and T6000 Series tractors, as well as an offering of combine harvesters and balers. “I believe the opportunities are all around in Zambia” - commented William Murengami, New Holland Business Manager Zambia, after the show. “The country has a high growth potential in the agricultural sector. New Holland is committed to supporting Zambia’s agribusinesses and mechanisation processes with a wide offering of advanced and reliable agricultural equipment. The partnership with Danatrac represents an important step toward this direction and I am convinced our new partner has growth prospects far beyond expectations.” New Holland displayed a selection of highly fuel-efficient and versatile tractor offering: the best-selling 127 hp T6050, which delivers impressive pulling power; the TT Series ranging from 55 to 75 hp which stands out for its ruggedness, reliability and excellent torque characteristics; and the TD Straddle (59-98 Hp) mounted tractors, ideal for mid-sized farms and engineered to deliver on productivity and reliability in the toughest conditions.
The New Holland stand at Lusaka Show 2012.
The models on display showed how New Holland’s offering is able to meet the requirements of Zambia’s farmers, who require rugged and robust machines capable of powerful performances with low operating costs and simple maintenance “The enthusiasm toward New Holland products shown by visitors was extremely rewarding for us” – added William Murengami. “As further evidence of the positive feedback received, I’m pleased to say that New Holland, together with Danatrac, has been awarded one of the best stands by the Lusaka Show organisation”. The products on display also reflect New Holland’s focus on the environmental impact of its equipment, which has led to its Clean Energy Leader strategy for the active promotion of renewable fuels, emissions reduction systems and sustainable agricultural technology. These tractors deliver outstanding performances with extremely low fuel consumption.
African Farming - September/October 2012
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Digital solution to aid agricultural productivity JOHN DEERE HAS introduced an online portal to enable agricultural producers to make sound management decisions and increase the productivity of their farming operations MyJohnDeere.com will allow producers to manage their equipment information, production data and farm operations by providing real-time information about their farm operations, field locations and important performance data from their equipment, the company stated. John Deere Intelligent Solutions Group product manager Nathan Greuel said, "This will be a new suite of technology to help agricultural producers plan, run and analyse their operations through the entire farming cycle." According to the agricultural machinery manufacturer, the online portal allows users to access its key applications such as JDLink, AgLogic, JDParts, John Deere Financial, Stellar Support and My Equipment. Information about technology, financial services, parts and service sourcing is available at a centralised website, which can be accessed via computer, smartphone or any handheld mobile device, Greuel explained. The website will, however, be seperated from the latest updates about new solutions, which are being developed under the John Deere FarmSight strategy "The user can access their MyJohnDeere site to view the information that is most important to them, as well as allow access to their dealer, farm manager or other third-party individuals," he highlighted. John Deere has embarked on significant expansion in the continent and has invested US$18.4mn to develop a new warehouse in South Africa to support the growing demand for parts and technical support in sub-Saharan Africa.
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