22 may 2015
USAID provides improved crop varieties for farmers

Read more......

20 May 2015 USA
Farmers sharing big data with FBN

Google invests millions into the use of big data by farmers. The agricultural industry can benefit enormously from the use of big data. Starters Commercial Farmers Business Network (FBN), an initiative of Charles Baron, is working out this idea. Baron is a former employee of Google where he was leading innovative projects related to energy and the use of geothermal energy. With FBN he has now collected a huge amount of data from which farmers can distill best practices for getting the highest yield of a particular crop and specific place. Farmers want to pay $ 500 a year for the use of this advice. The capital injection of $ 15 million in FBN is led by Google Ventures, the investment vehicle of Google. Besides doing a number of other investors join, reports VentureBeat.
FBN provides common interface

Baron says many agricultural equipments already collect data. The problem is that applications can not get along with each other because they come from different manufacturers or suppliers. FBN must provide an interface to link to the data. By sharing their results in the network, the farmers also compare the averages of other farmers. In the database are now data from farmers exploiting together almost 3 million hectares of land. In the US, where FBN is active, is still about 57 times as much agricultural land in use. However, Google also sees opportunities for expansion outside the US. Baron says he has already received interest from Eastern Europe and Asia. Read more......

09 May 2015 Tanzania
Food prices push monthly inflation.

Rising food prices have pushed the inflation rate to 4.5 per cent in April, an increase from the previous month’s 4.3 per cent, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced in Dar es Salaam on Friday. According to NBS, the impact of the depreciating value of the shilling couldn’t be measured in the April inflation but rather its impact will be seen the next month. NBS has attributed the inflation to the increase in food prices, citing some food items like rice the price increased by 23.3 per cent, cassava flour by 8.4 per cent, meat by 4.9 per cent, fish by 5.8 per cent, sugar by 5.6 per cent, cowpeas by 13.3 per cent and beans by 6.8 per cent.
Read more......

09 may 2015 Ghana
Central Region has potentials for Industrialisation – Spio-Garbrah

Dr Ekow Spio-Garbrah, Minister of Trade and Industry, said unless the industrial infrastructure in the Central Region was strengthened and developed, the region could not create enough jobs for its teeming youth. He said unemployment was a major cause of poverty in the region and that the Ministry would ensure it became the centre of industrialisation because of its potentials. “Central Region can boast of enough cassava, salt, fish, rubber and citrus. This clearly shows that Central Region has a great potential for a wider range of industrialisation. I’m ready to ensure that these industries are fully developed to benefit the people here,” he said.
Read more......

07 May 2015 Cameroon
An agricultural project co-financed by Japan is harnessing the expertise of Andom residents in East Cameroon

(Business in Cameroon) - For four years, thanks to the implementation of the Forest-Savannah Sustainability Project (FOSAS), jointly financed by the Cameroonian government and its Japanese counterpart through the latter’s international cooperation agency (JICA), everything has changed in the village of Andom in the East region which is one of the most isolated in Cameroon. “Many children are now going to school thanks to this project. Parents who do farming have increased their production using the cassava driving and processing facilities,” stated a village resident. Indeed, in Diang, the FOSAS, which promotes using natural resources to improve peoples’ living conditions while preserving the environment, turned to cassava farming and processing to get Andom’s residents out of poverty.
Read more......

07 may 2015 Ghana
EDAIF maintains strong support for entrepreneurs

EDAIF has since the beginning of this year maintained strong support for Ghanaian producers and entrepreneurs through a number of initiatives and financial assistance. A Graduate Enterprise Development Initiative has been launched to provide financial and technical resources to budding entrepreneurs. Under phase one of this initiative, 20 young graduates would receive up to GH¢ 100,000.00 each to develop their projects. Similarly, an elaborate Cassava Integrated Enterprise Development Project has been put in place to increase economic opportunities in Ghana through sustainable and competitive cassava production, marketing and agro-enterprise development.
Read more......

06 may 2015 Zambia
New cassava varieties introduced



The Zambia Agricultural Research Institute (ZARI) has introduced new varieties of cassava that can easily adapt to the soils and climate of Western Province in a bid to increase crop productivity. And ZARI has urged farmers to consider growing cassava as a way of diversifying and reducing dependence on maize. According to the Friday brief availed to the Daily Mail by the Zambia National Farmers Union recently, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock in conjunction with the ZARI held a field day in Kaoma, Western Province were the new varieties of cassava were introduced to farmers. According to ZARI, the newly introduced varieties would be grown either organically or inorganically. “Cassava happens to be one of the major crops grown in Western Province, ZARI therefore urges the farmers to consider the inclusion of the newly introduced cassava varieties as part of diversification and minimise on the dependence of drought prone crops such as maize”. The ZARI said the new cassava varieties will improve food security and reduce poverty among smallholder farmers in Zambia.
Read more......

06 may 2015 Cameroon

Cassava seedlings in store for Sotramas in Cameroon
(Business in Cameroon) - The Cameroonian Minister of Agriculture has just provided the Programme for the Development and Promotion of Roots, Tubers and Plantain with improved cuttings of certified cassava to plant fields in the vicinity of the Sangmélima (Sotramas) cassava processing plant in the South. Construction on the Sotramas factory, which is expected to convert 120 tonnes of cassava into starch, was completed several months ago, but activities are slow to start because of the cassava shortage. According to official estimates, in the next five year, 4,000 hectares of cassava will have to be planted in the Sangmélima area for Sotramas to operate at full capacity. 
Read more......

05 may 2015 Libera
CARI Produces 504 Metric Tons Seed Rice. As local farmers plead for support
By: Gloria T.Tamba
Mr. Aaron Marshall, team leader at the Central Agriculture Research Institute (CARI) in Suakoko, Bong County, has disclosed that 504 metric tons of seed rice was produced during the Ebola period. Making the disclosure over the weekend in Gbarnga in an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer he said following the deadly Ebola outbreak, a lot of work was done at CARI.
Read more......

29 april 2015
Drones defending avocadocrops in Florida

Read more......

22 APRIL 2015
"Cassava drying is the bottleneck"

Mrs.Catherine Njuguna of The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Regional Corporate Communications Officer for Eastern Africa stated:

“Cassava, on top of being a reliable food crop is also a cash crop. It can be processed into various products for use in the home and industries including high quality cassava flour in the baking industry and starch for use in the pharmaceutical, textile, and food industries among others,” she said. Dried cassava chips are used for livestock feed. She said they have been working on promoting efficient processing of cassava mostly into high quality cassava flour, which from our research, has the highest potential to boost cassava commercialization in the country. Our activities have included designing and improving cassava processing machines, looking into packaging and marketing aspects and linking processors to markets. “On processing we have identified drying as one of the most important bottlenecks in cassava value addition. The processors mostly depend on solar drying and they are not able to process the flour in sufficient quantities and of required quality during the rainy season,” she said.

21 April 2015 Tanzania
Destructive crop disease emerges


A new, destructive pest is rapidly spreading through the coastal areas of Tanzania around Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar attacking important food crops such as pawpaw and cassava and ornamental plants like hibiscus and frangipani. According to a statement made available to 'Daily News', this pest has been identified by scientists at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), as the pawpaw mealybug (Paracoccus marginatus). “In Tanzania we have observed the pests along the coastal belt around Dar es Salaam and its environs, mostly on pawpaw, cassava and ornamental plants such as hibiscus and frangipani.
“But we need to carry out a survey throughout the country to determine the full extent of spread and the range of plants affected,” said Dr James, Legg, IITA entomologist. Dr Legg and one of the scientists who is leading the efforts to contain the pest after first noticing the pest’s damage in his home garden, said the pawpaw mealybug is currently one of the most destructive and rapidly spreading invasive insect species. “Samples sent to IITA’s Biological Control Centre for Africa, located in Cotonou, Benin, have been positively identified as the pawpaw mealybug by the Institute’s entomologist Dr Georg Goergen. “Now that we know what we are dealing with we need to act fast. The pest can easily spread throughout the East African region, causing major damage and threatening the food security and incomes of tens of thousands of Tanzanian farmers,” he said. These mealbugs are tiny, white, flat insects which sap the life out of the plants. Their preferred host are pawpaw, but the insects also affect a wide range of crops including cassava, beans, coffee, pepper, melon, guava, tomato, eggplant, cotton, and jatropha.
Therefore, if not controlled, the pest may result in massive damage and loss of livelihoods for many farmers in the country. The pawpaw mealbugs appear as white fluffy spots on the undersides of leaves, branches, and fruit, and are often accompanied by an unsightly black, sticky substance coating these surfaces―this is a result of a sugary excretion by the pests which attracts mold.
The affected plants don’t grow properly and farmers are unable to sell the often misshapen, discolored and in severe cases, completely shriveled fruits. The mealybugs are easily blown by the wind or transported by ants from one plant to another and are transported longer distances by people who unknowingly carry infested plants or fruit from one part of the country to another or from country to country.
Read more......

April 21st 2015 Kenya
State, donors train sights on traditional crops

BY Nicholas Waitathu

For a long time, traditional high-value crops, despite their high nutritional value, have been neglected, with little set aside for their research and development. These ‘orphan crops’, which include cassava and millet, have largely been thought to be outdated and offer little value to the modern Kenyan’s plate of food. Escalated efforts But the Government, in partnership with the development community, has escalated efforts to change these perceptions and support a food production diversification strategy through the Traditional High Value Crops Programme (THVCP).
Agriculture Principal Secretary Sicily Kariuki said the strategy is intended to boost production of drought-tolerant, early maturing seed varieties of high-value crops that require few inputs. These crops include sorghum, millet, beans, green grams, pigeon peas, cow peas, dolichos and open-pollinated maize. “The programme advocates the growth of adaptable varieties in arid and semi-arid areas (ASALs) of the country where 3.5 million smallholder farmers live,” said Ms Kariuki.
“Consumption of traditional high-value crops has been low as consumers prefer other crops, such as maize, rice, fresh produce and processed foods. But owing to various initiatives and activities implemented by the Government and the donor community, the trend in terms of consumption of orphan crops is changing upward.” The PS added that there is a growing market for traditional crops, as their high nutritional value gains mass appeal.
For instance, five-star hotels in the country now offer as buffet options traditional foods like cassava, sweet potatoes, arrowroot and yams. She added that since 2006, THVCP has spent Sh1.4 billion to finance the distribution of 5,781 metric tonnes of assorted drought-tolerant, traditional high-value crop seeds. “The seeds and planting materials have reached 2.49 million beneficiaries in various sub-counties. Further, 60 commercial villages marketing sorghum, green grams, sweet potatoes, cassava and cow peas have been formed countrywide in collaboration with Farm Concern International,” Kariuki said.

Read more at: