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Van g ua rd, MONDAY,. JANUARY 9, 2012

• Filllancialvanguard

Agric

BRIEFS Cote d'ivoire to host World Cocoa conference ""rhe Ieco i, organising 1. the fir.t high-level World Cocoa Conference. to tab place in Abidjan, C6te d '!voue. the world', large,t cocoa produdng country. CeI1ain to be of interest to all stakeholders in the global cocoa vallle chain, the event will address I.he mos t impoI1ant issues facing cocoa in the second decllde of the 21st Century. To be hos ted by tbe Government of COte d 'Jvoire, the World Cocoa Conlerence will b e ·opened officially by His Exccllency, Dr. A1Wisane Ouattara, Pres ident of the RepubUc of Cate d'Ivoire, in the presence of his peers, heads of s ta te (rom cocoa_ producing countries in the region and berond . In addition, the conference will involve c bief eJecutives and senior ofli ci~.h from the world 's major cocoa and chocolate companies and will feature presan ta liolU {ro m speClkers repr e senting t h e highes t expertise in cocoa production, processing, tra de , banDn;" insuranC!:e, s hipping and many other fields in th e ' vorld's cocoa chain . The conferen ce pre,entatiOllS will address topical isSU e.lI s u cb .u sLstainable s upply and d emand, quality and safety. remunflratlve price., certification, child labour, price vola tility and s peCUlation . The WOlld C ocoa Co nfe rence w iI.! al s o incorpordte e m ajor trad e exhibltion, in, olving partic ipation from .....orldwide . uppliers to Ule c~ production and processing indu$tries, including equ ipmenl mClnulacture rs, ba!l king, in s urance, shippin'1 and trading companies, and those CODcerns oUe rle g both raw cocoa and finished prodUcts , as well as A :los t of ancillary services. A dedicate d partner programme will allow accompanying gu e r Is 10 see tbe highlights of C ote d 'Ivoire's ecoDomic cap ital, Abidjan. and d e legate:.! will also b e oUered tb e chance to lak e part in field trips and ,ite visits linked 1(0 the country 's cocoa indus tr y. Finally, tiu: World Cocoa C onfe rence w ill cODclude with a Gala .lvening, high lighted b y local and regional musical an,l other cultural attraclion3 whicb will see all sectors of t he cocoa trade and indust ry mix in the ultimate int e r,a tionClI n etwo rking opportunity. Th e d a tes .:b osen for tb e Worl~ C OCOt. Co nferen ce are the 19 th t) the 23rd No· vember 20 12, and the ven_ ue will be tho l live-s lar H otel Ivoire l u t erContinental in Abidjan .

•FarmenJ working on a dce tann In Zumba, Niger State

AGRICULTURE: Stakeholders march into 2012 with renewed hope BY JIMOH BABATUND WiUl

agency ff!lXJrts

B

efore the discovery of crude oil in commercial quantity in Nigeria, agricu1tural produce WaS the main source of foreign exchange. It sustained mnst of the local industries and had enough for

export, Most importantly, food importation was rare; Nigeria was se1f-sufficienllt fed itself_ Then the rot began to set in. A major problem of agricultural labour supply arises [.rom the increasing migration of a ble - bodied you lhs from rural to urban areas. Tbe consequence of the massive migration of youths is seasonal labour shortage, especially at the peak periods of labour demand (during land preparation, planting, weeding, and harvesting) . Nigerian farmeIS are mostly small holder and subsistence, and lack access to micro cred its and farming inputs such as fertilis e rs, good seeds. pesticides, and markeL More than 70 per cent depend on rain-fed agriculture which is r isky. Previous administrations invested more in the sector without m uc h success a s there were no clear-cut policies on how to drive the sector. Nigeria becameao importer of food and not a n e.xporter. In 2010 alone, Nigeria s pent N 635 billion on importation of wheat, N356 billion on imporlation of rice, N217 billion on s ugar impOJ,;ta , ~Q , ,n 'and.deSpite "

the huge marine resources. s pent N97 billion importing f ish So , 2011 could b es l be descrihed as the year the agriculture sedorwas brought to the front bwner of economic development as Ille government came up with a clear-cut policy on howto grow lhesector. his is because the T Goodluck. Jonathan admi.nistration sees the sector as crucial in positively turning things around in Njgeria. The

President beUeves that ·one sector of this country that if it is well developed can revolutionise ourway of doing things in our economy is agriculture." Wanting to turn tbings around in Ille sector he called an 'abandoned' secto~ Jonathan a ppointed it techoocrat. Dr. Akinwumi Adesina. as the minister to oversee the sector.

ister and his team set out to fashion a fundamental paradigm shift that will see ag riculture as a business, not a development programme. '"rile search for lhat sbilt .1 brought about the Agriculture ltansformation Action Plan, AIAP, a roadmap aimed at revolutionising Lbe agriculture secto r of th e economy in tbe next four years. The action plan, acco rding to Akinwumi Adesina, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. is to treat agriculture Dot as a development issue but as purely business. with emphasis on partnersbip, investment and accountabili ty. The minister .aid that through the ATAP; government aims to diversity tbe agriculture sector, especially where Ille country bas compantlive advantages, listing rice. cassava, sorghum.. cocoa and coUon production as key agricultural crops that the country has comparative advantage. Observers said the focus OD the above crops will enable Nigeria to participate in internationally-traded commodities such as rice, maize and wbeat whose prices increase regularly . The agricultu re trnnsfonnatiou programme. a ccording to Adesina. would "enable Nigeria to be food secure by increasing production of key food. staples by 20 million metric lonnes,· with rice production expected 10 rise to two million metric tonnes, cassava by 17 million metric lonnes and sorghum by ODe million metric tonnes. When fully operational. Lbe sector, according to the minister. would create more than 3.3 million jobs.

To d e velop Nigeria into a bread basket - a ,power bouse for food production, Ille min-

Agric research is improving livelihoods in Africa R

esearch by t.he InternatioDailnslitute of Tropical Agriculture is nol only Increasing knowledge g enerally in the sciences, but also positively transforming Uvclihoods in Africa, says Ms Cecilia Akintomide. Seerelary-Genentl, African Development Bank. "The impact is real and I am proud of the results cOming out of thIs African- based research iostitution," Akin tom.ide said during a private visit to lITA in lbadan last Monday. This is nol the fi.rst time UTA is being co mmended for its impact in A!rica. In 2007, an impact assessment team by the Science Council of the Co n s ultative Group on In te rn illiona l Agri c ultural Researcb (CGIAR) repoI1ed thai about 70 per cent of !.he impact by the CGlAR in Africa came from research outpU ts of 1ITA. Today, more than 60 per cent or improved maize .grown in West and Central Africa comes-rrom IITA vari4·

eties. focus on pos t-connict aDd Woddog with intemCltiona.i fragile states, she was imand n3tiona.i partners in Afripressed by the imp3ct of the ca, !ITA has over the years gene b ank in post-connict d e veloped improved crop countries, as the source of the varieties which are superior in seeds and plants of bope that terms 01 yield to local were used to restart (arming varieties. Most of these in post-conlliclcountries such improved varieties Clre as· Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. re5l5tant to pest and diseases. n the Great L1kes region On the economic imporwhere cassava brown tance of agriculture, she restreak is a menace, tolerant called that in Nigeria, for incassava varieties developed stance, before the discovery of by IITA are belping farmers oil, a.griculture was the key in cutting down annuall05ses driver of the economy, with that are estimClled at $ 50 cocoa playing a leading role million. particul a rly in the G rowing up, Akintomide southwestern region. The earspent ber childhood and early Iy inInlstructu.re in the region ad ult b-ood years in UTA. was built from revenues genwhere be r father was the first elated (rom cocoa. African Director of Th e AIDB Sec retaryAdministration. The multiculGeneral noted that the tura! and muJtiliogua.l envibank'sMediumTermStJategy rooment in UTA created in her included in its pillars; i:! deep appreciation 01 diverinJrastTUcture. higher sity. Forhel; diversity was noreducation, science and mal while the lack thereof was technology. These MTS abnonna.l. pillars provided a.reas of During the trip to IITA, convergence between AIDB Akintomide Yisited, the, gege • ,M4 UTA. bank, and given AIDB's'k'eeh· '.' ••••..

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VANGUARD, 16 JANUARY, 2012  

Agric research is improving livelihoods in Africa

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