Role of Agricultural Biotechnology in Developing Economies 2



Ecoagriculturist – 2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,700 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 45 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

An -Upworthy- island movement


When last was there an international story about the Caribbean, a small, relatively known region of the world? Stereotypically the most recent is more than likely a story on relaxing island life, the beautiful weather and friendly people. Threatening this serenity and way of life is climate change – this is obvious due to the increased number of hurricanes in recent years that have completely destroyed infrastructure and the livelihoods of so many islanders. However what is not clear is the fact that tackling the climate change issue seems to be one of few things that the region can do together as one.I confess myself ignorant.

Prior to writing this article most would think, including myself that there is little talk of the climate change issue despite the heavy impact the Caribbean has felt. Never has a notion been so inaccurate. One glimpse into the climate change diaspora of the region gives an insight into the progress that has been made and what is yet to come. Continue reading

Youth, the Future of Family Farming

Involving Youth in Foresight Activities

It was the first day of June in the serene and sunny – but slightly windy – city of Montpellier, and from all around the world researchers and academics in the fields of agriculture and family farming were gathered: experts in international development, decision makers, NGOs, as well as farmers organizations’ and private sector representatives. The stage had been set for the “International Encounters on Family Farming and Research”.

The “Encounters” had been organized as part of the International Year of Family Farming, declared by the United Nations for 2014 by research institutions of Montpellier hub – Agropolis International – in collaboration with international partners like the CGIAR Consortium, the Global Forum for Agricultural Research (GFAR) and the World Rural Forum (WRF). With the support of the Government of France, the aim of the conference was to foster exchanges between all stakeholders and enhance research agendas dealing with family farming and the global change challenges.

“The” Youth Co-chair

Over three hours before the opening event at 7:30pm – a public debate kick-started by Hans Herren, a passionate elderly man I admire: all the chairs, co-chairs and facilitators of the working groups’ event had a briefing. Their task was to plan the methods of engaging the audience in the discussion groups based on the orientation papers earlier prepared – weeks ahead – to guide the conference discussions. I was a co-chair representing YPARD within the working group on “Family Farming facing the challenges of urbanization and employment”. From my assessment, I can say that I was the youngest face in the room. Continue reading

Microdosing: Cutting waste and putting nutrients exactly where they are needed


Putting nutrients where they are neeed

For many smallholder farmers, the cost of purchasing fertilizers to nourish their crops is a necessary but often exorbitant part of their cost of production. Often, it is part of the main costs that determine if the farmer makes a profit or loss on production at the end of the harvest season.

And due to an awareness of this fact, many African governments – including Nigeria – are now subsidizing the cost of fertilizer purchase for their farmers to drive down their input cost, their entire cost of production and as a result help make their produce more competitive and gain better market access through reduced selling price.

Despite this expensive cost of fertilizer and its effect on the competitiveness and market access of farmers, the conventional mode of fertilizer application by many farmers – including smallholders – calls into question the efficiency of the use of this expensive resource. Many farmers usually practice the age-long broadcasting/heavy application with little thought for use-efficiency and often with the erroneous belief that the higher the dosage the better the yield. Continue reading

Rare Breeds: Young women pushing back socio-cultural barriers in ICT4Ag


Rare Breeds: Young women challenging assumptions regarding ICT fields

Last week (Thursday) was the International Girls in ICT Day. To commemorate the day many development organizations recounted tales of the increasing involvement in – and the use of – ICT by girls (and women) in their various development spheres. Many also used the avenue to highlight their own contributions to promoting the use of ICTs by girls/women and the increasing involvement of the other half of the society in the ICT fields – which are largely perceived as a male preserve.

The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation, CTA, one of the highly visible international organizations in the agricultural development field, which focuses on the Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific regions, used the spotlight beamed on Girls in ICT on the day to ‘’honour the women finalists and some (other) female participants of the YoBloCo Awards (blog competition organized (with)in the framework of CTA’s ARDYIS Project)”.

This honour was shown to these young women “to recognize their efforts and contribution in raising the youth voice in agriculture through their blogs”. They were 15 in all – with different nationalities that span across the 3 regions of the CTA’s focus i.e. the ACP region.

Among them is Kofo Durosinmi-Etti, a young woman whose blog and journey into agriculture I have found quite fascinating. With academic and professional backgrounds that have nothing, however remote, to do with agriculture, and “approximately 6 years in the Banking and Technology sector”; Kofo’s decision to actively engage in and combine the “posh” world of the Nigerian banking/management sector employee with the “dirty/unrefined” sphere of a farmer and agribusiness player is a case far from the norm – especially among young Nigerian women. Continue reading