KickStart International Showcase Irrigation Pump in Oyo
Following the emergence of technology in agriculture over the years, the trend does not exclude Africa and most especially, Nigeria where many farmers are no longer relying on rain alone. As a champion of best agronomy practices in Oyo Diocese, the Rural Development Programme department of the Justice, Development and Peace Movement (JDPM) Oyo brought KickStart International, an award-winning non-profit Social Enterprise with a mission to lift millions of people in Africa out of poverty to Oyo town in order to enlighten farmers about the new development.
Speaking to farmers at the venue, the Head of Department, Rural Development Programme (RUDEP), JDPM Oyo, Dr Matthew Ojo said, farmers in Oyo diocese and beyond can now smile because the innovative irrigation pump will make farming easier. He noted that if an individual farmer could not afford the machine, different farmers groups could combine their resources to procure the machine which would be shared among them.
Dr Matthew described the existence of KickStart as a blessing in disguise which would break grounds in stabilizing food security, promote economic development and minimize the effects of climate change on farming activities as it would enable farmers to cultivate crops all year round.
Addressing farmers during the testing of the machine, KickStart Country Representative, Mr Dayo Mosobolaje, said KickStart is a non-profit organization that cares a lot about poverty alleviation and comfort of farmers in Africa.
He added, "At KickStart International, we ensure that through the Money Making Max Pump and Money Maker Hip Pump, which are operated by applying pressure on it with either hands or riding, farmers are assured of quality farming throughout the year instead of relying on rain alone. We have been able to lift millions of farmers out of poverty and by 2020; we intended to raise another 1 million farmers from the shackle of penury."
"We don't deal with private individuals. Instead, we work with partners, local and international NGO'S, UN agencies, Relief Organizations, Government, farmer's societies among others. In fact, we have been operating in more than 16 countries from 3 hubs: East Africa Hub; Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. West Africa Hub: Ghana, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal. Southern Africa Hub: Zambia, DRC, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. So, RUDEP is one of our amiable partners to reach the farmers in Oyo diocese and our relationship has been cordial".
In his word, Mr. Nathaniel Ajayi of RUDEP charged farmers to be proactive and innovative in their farming activities by diversifying from monolithic farming especially cassava and maize to other crops such as cultivation of pepper, tomatoes among others as a means of minimizing unnecessary delay in realizing profit, citing a case of a farmer in one of the neighboring towns who makes about N75,000 weekly from the sale of pepper from his large expanse of land.
Appreciating the presence of farmers group's representatives, a field Officer, RUDEP, Mr Fakorede John, noted that farmers should embrace the new technology because it will make farming easier and increase farm yield. He added, "You should consider the approach as a good sign of development in agribusiness because it will give you the opportunity of irrigating crops easier and quicker especially the vegetables and leguminous farmers. Mere looking at the machine, it is easy to assemble and dismantle, strong, durable, portable, easily maintained, low cost, easy to operate with ergonomic design."
Money Maker Pump is called a money-making machine because it enables farmers to make an extra profit during on and off season. It has been tested and trusted as it was purchased by small farmers and organizations throughout Africa for over ten years in more than twenty countries. The machines reduces famine risk and improves food sources, decreases reliance on foreign food aid, ensure production of high-value crops, enables farmers to sell high-value crops in the marketplace and allows for a greater diversity of cash crops.
Catholic Diocese of Oyo Celebrates 2018 Annual Farmers Forum
The Rural Development Programme department (RUDEP) of Justice, Development and Peace Movement (JDPM) Oyo recorded another success as it celebrated 2018 Farmers Forum on 13th December, 2018 at the JDPM premises, Mabolaje Oyo. This year edition came with an astonishing focus on the topic "strengthening agricultural development through financial inclusion and commodity cluster formation". The atmosphere was lively as the invited guests from far and near graced the occasion. The event had guests from JDPMC Osogbo, JDPM Oro, JDPC Ibadan, Ave Maria Multipurpose Investment Limited (AMMIL), farmers groups from all the zones; Iwere ile, Ijio, Iseyin, Otu, Tede, Ago Are, Saki, Abojupa Oyo, Okeho, Ogbomoso, representative of the trustee and Legal holder of JDPM Oyo, Monsignor Anthony Akin Olawumi, Rev Fr Philip Onifade, Rev Fr Gabriel Agboola, representative of the Nigerian Police Force, Oyo Area Command Headquarter, ASP Sheidu Sulaiman as well as representative of partners from National Institute of Horticultural Research (NIHORT) Mr Alabi Olakunle, Dr Pelemo Adegbenga of the Goseed Unit and Dr Femi. Aina of the Cassava Breeding Unit of International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Oladele Mogba Foundation Oyo, Dr Adejare Opadeji, Country Manager of iCRA, Dr Idowu Gbenga to mention just a few.
Welcoming guests to the event, Chairman, Sustainable Farmers Association of Nigeria (SUFAN) Oyo State, Chief Alani Oguntona, said it is imperative for all farmers in the state to realize that commodity cluster system is the only way because it will allow numerous farmers to gain much from their farm produce. According to him "we need to answer five basic question before arriving at a reasonable conclusion, what do we have to do, how do we go about it, who are the people that will do it, where are we doing it and what will be the result of all the effort. We (farmers) can’t continue to labour in vain. We must embrace these new creative ideas of our facilitators".
In his opening remark, the Coordinator, JDPM Oyo, Rev Fr Gabriel Adeleke noted that the over the years , RUDEP has always been a principal actors in promoting the gospel of agricultural development in Oyo, Oke ogun and Ogbomoso leading to capacity building and knowledge sharing through networking with farmers in the regions. He, however, described the new paradigm shift in agribusiness through the financial inclusion and commodity cluster system as a welcome development which improves the livelihood of farmers and the make food security attainable in the Catholic diocese of Oyo and the entire Oyo state. He cited the recent commissioning of Ave Maria Multipurpose Investment Limited (AMMIL) as a good opportunity for farmers to access financial services for their agricultural business.
Keynote speakers, Mr Ajayi Sadiq from the Development finance department, CBN Ibadan and the Country Manager of iCRA in Nigeria, Dr Idowu Gbenga, noted that financial inclusion is very important for farmers in order to access financial services because without it, the commodity cluster system will not work. They added, Farmers must note that they need to have bank accounts with BVN and must work as a team in unity in each zone so that it will be much easier to sell their farm produce to big industries rather than selling individually because farmers cultivate different crops. Dr Idowu charged all farmers to embrace unity of direction with the tractor operators, weed management companies and other suppliers in order to make the commodity cluster system efficient.
On security issues, DSP Sheidu Suleiman from Oyo Area Command, Durbar Oyo, charged all farmers to be security conscious on farm. He suggested that farmers must maintain cordial relationship with their neighbors and must also embraced open dialogue through community leaders and representatives of Fulani heads to discuss herdsmen invasion on their farms rather than resorting to violence. He warned farmers to avoid going to farms alone while caution should also be taken on the time to harvest crops to avert hoodlum attacks. "As I speak with you, effort is ongoing to avert all forms of herdsmen crisis in Oyo East LGA. We engaged all the aggrieved parties to dialogue on how to resolve their differences because we noticed that some perpetrators of this heinous crime are nocturnal passerby’s herdsmen. Those who have been living within our environment have been so cooperative".
Delivering the goodwill message of Bishop Emmanuel Badejo to the farmers at the event, Monsignor Akin Olawumi Anthony, congratulated and thank all farmers, CADI trainees, partnering bodies RUDEP and JDPM staffs for their cooperation, unity and cordial relationship that made the day a successful one, adding that efforts should be intensified to spread the good deeds of RUDEP and JDPM Oyo to the nook and crannies of the state and beyond by the people so that the good work will continue beyond imagination.
The highlight of the event involved graduation and presentation of certificates with a token cash reward to the 16 Catholic Agricultural Development Initiative (CADI) trainees who have been under practical training on agriculture for the past a year with the institute in Oyo while Adesola Francis emerged the best trainee. Also, Awards were given to the Best Farmers of the year with Mr Dominic Ogunsola emerging the winner, while the best Farmers Led Extension Service (FLES) Award was won by Alhaji Sulaiman Salaudeen and Alfa Lateef Mafolasere clinched the Award of the Best Youth Farmer
Meanwhile, there was exhibition of products by the invited partners from IITA ( Cassava Weed Management Unit, Cassava Breeding Unit, Business Innovation Platform, Goseed, AgriServe) NIHORT, Divine Mercy Foods, Grow Mighty, Multichem industrial Ltd, Technisem. It is hoped the event will continue to further strenghetening the existing cordial relationship between RUDEP, farmers and the partnering bodies.
Delivering the vote of thanks, RUDEP Programme Manager, Dr Matthew Ojo thanked all the farmers for their collaboration during the year and also referenced all the partners who graced the occasion. He then prayed that farmers will continue to grow and prosper in all their endeavors.
RUDEP Attends Nutritious Food Fair in Lagos
The Rural Development Programme dept of our esteemed organization attended Nutritious Food Fair in the megacity of Lagos. The programme was held in Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria between 7 and 9th November 2018. The Nutritious Food Fair (NFF) has grown to become a commercial platform for promoting the production, marketing and consumption of nutritious foods in Nigeria. The food fair which is in its fourth edition has as primary objective to gear political will and markets towards increased production of nutritious foods. This year's event attracts over 10,000 participants from within and outside the country. HarvestPlus improves nutrition and public health by developing and promoting biofortified food crops that are rich in vitamins and minerals and providing global leadership on biofortification evidence and technology within and outside Nigeria and Africa.
The opening Keynote speech was delivered by the Director General of National Orientation Agency (NOA) while Welcome Address was done by HarvestPlus Country Manager, Dr Paul Ilona. The second Keynote speech was delivered by the Director General, Nigeria Directorate of Employment, Dr Mohammed Nasiru Argungu. All keynote speakers underscored their office's roles in promoting
nutritional food security in Nigeria.
The programme also featured a special Panel session where experts discussed a special topic titled "How the private sector can contribute to Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) reduction". Including a Presentation by Dr Francis for Aliko Dangote Foundation Integrated Nutrition as well as an educative presentation by NESTLE on "Strengthening Private Sector Commitment to the Nutritious and Food sector; Smart Mother Session-Motherhood and Nutrition" where mothers especially are sensitized on the importance feeding children with balanced nutrition.
The event also featured Dr Nitturka, who spoke to participants on Seed System Supports to Scale the production of crops and foods in Nigeria and Africa which has the potential to compete globally for balanced nutritional food security among the comity of nations.
On the final day, the programme ended in grand style because they afford some speakers from partnering bodies to speak about the relationship they have established with HarvestPlus Nigeria over the years. Notably, Mr Sola Oyekan of RUDEP spoke extensively on the activities of JDPM partnership with HarvestPlus since its inception couples of years ago. He described the relationship as cordial and strictly professional.
The high point of the event was entertainment of participants by an eccentric comedian, "Wooli Agba", a thrilling and fun-filled musical performance by King Sunny Ade (KSA),cultural dance display by the Cultural Troupe of Emmanuel Alayande College of Education, Oyo town, group picture of HarvestPlus partners in Oyo state (JDPM, OYSADEP and SAWEC). However, it is believed that this type of event should create an enabling environment for cross-cultural dialogue on mission achievement and a clearer roadmap in order to improve more service delivery to the target audience in the future. Without mincing a word, the event was a success and hopefully, it will continue to touch more lives in the society.
Abt Associates and HarvestPlus Visits CADI Farm in Ilora
The Abt Associates and Harvest Plus visited Catholic Agricultural Development Initiatives (CADI) farm in Ilora, Afijio Local Government area of Oyo State on the 24th of October, 2018 as part of the three-day tour to Harvest Plus Nigeria and its partners in Nigeria. The team which was led by Senior Analyst, Dr Abigail Conrad from Abt Associates on behalf of Bill and Melinda Gate was on a visit to evaluate the level of progress made by HarvestPlus and RUDEP of the JDPM Oyo on the implementation of biofortify Vitamin A Cassava on Agripreneurs. Abt Associates is an engine for social impact, fueled by caring, curiosity and cutting-edge research that move people from vulnerability to security. Whether it's welfare or weather disasters, the environment or economics, agriculture or HIV and AIDS, the organization addresses the world's most pressing issues.
She was accompanied to CADI farm by Mr Samuel and Mr Dayo from HarvestPlus, IITA, Ibadan and was taken around sections in the farm by RUDEP officers; Dr Matthew Ojo, Mr Shola Oyekan, Mrs Agnes Awowole and CADI farm manager, Mr Iyiola Gabriel. Fortunately, the visit coincides with the time when harvesting of the present Varieties of Vitamin A cassava is ongoing on the farm and she ( Dr Abigail Conrad ) partook in the exercise.
Expressing her satisfaction at what she saw, Dr Abigail Conrad, said the emergence of Vitamin A cassava multiplication and implementation in the state will go a long way in improving food security in Nigeria, adding that her previous visit to CATO Foods, Iwo, Osun State, a processing company where biofortified foods such as Vitamin A cassava are processed for public consumption convinced her to realised that HarvestPlus and partners are working at high speed to ensure that nutritional security is achieved in Nigeria.
Speaking at the CADI farm, Dr Matthew Ojo said the developmental auditing and evaluation visit remains one of the best things to ever happen to RUDEP because the varieties of Vitamin A cassava has been gaining ground and waxing stronger on yearly basis.
He maintained that the acceptance of the biofortified cassava stems among farmers as facilitated by RUDEP from HarvestPlus, IITA, Ibadan has been impressive because of massive consumption of the products such as ; Lanpon, a more refined version of the usual Lafun, Castard (Cassava Custard), yellow Gaari, yellow Fufu by farmers in their household and the public at large amongst others. "We have given out the present varieties of cassava stems to farmers for multiplication and dissemination purposes and we expected a more improved version next year," He said.
No doubt, the visit was a successful one as it exposed the rudimentary roles RUDEP and HarvestPlus have been playing in ensuring the stability of quality biofortified foods for sustainable food security in Nigeria as well as providing more awareness for people beyond the shore of the state.
RUDEP Observes the Inauguration of Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation in Ibadan
The Rural Development Programme (RUDEP) Department of JDPM of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo graced the occasion of the launching of the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) at the Oyo State Agricultural Development Programme (OYSADEP) Zonal Office, Moor Plantation, Apata, Ibadan on the 9th of October, 2018. The theme of the programme was "Training on Good Agricultural Practices in Cassava Farming System". The event was organized by Oyo State Government, Cassava Weed Management Unit of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the Cassava Compact of the African Development Bank (ADB). Dignitaries present at the event were; Permanent Secretary, FMARD, Mr Victor Atilola, IITA Deputy Director General, Partnership for Delivery, Dr Kenton Dashiell, Special Adviser on Agriculture, Professor Adekunle, State Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Mr Popoola, Commissioner for Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development in Oyo State, Mr Oyewole Oyewumi, Programme Manager, OYSADEP, Mrs Akande F.F amongst others.
TAAT is essentially a knowledge- and innovation-based response to the recognized need for scaling up proven technologies across Africa. It supports Feed Africa by providing the needed, proven agricultural and food processing technologies and implementation strategies for inclusion within the Bank's loans to Regional Member Countries (RMCs). TAAT's approaches revitalize and transform agriculture while restoring degraded land and maintaining or strengthening the ecosystems that underpin agriculture.
Speaking to participants at the event, the Facilitator, Mr Godwin Atser from the Cassava Weed Management Unit (CWM) of IITA, Ibadan said "it is imperative that farmers" take into consideration safe agricultural practices because some chemicals are injurious to human health. He maintained that agriculture in recent time has gone beyond mere spraying of herbicides on weeds and plants, rather, it has to do with the right application of the chemical that will not pose any harm to human beings."
In his Goodwill message, the State Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, (FMARD), Mr Popoola, said "farmers deserved a better livelihood, part of why such event came up to address the challenges they(farmers) faced in farming which continue to subdued their productive effort for a long time"
While facilitating the programme, Mr Godwin Atser from the Cassava Weed Management Unit, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, said the inauguration of the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) is an initiative that aimed at improving farmer's yield, reduce poverty and improve the livelihood of farmers. He added that that training farmer on good agricultural practices especially in cassava farming system would go a long way in improving the quality of farm produce, save stress and wastage of resources in weeding out unwanted plants in farms.
According to him" herbicide is a pesticide used to kill unwanted plants on the farm but there are many things attached to it because herbicide could be Selective and Non-Selective based on the type or categories of weeds.
He further stated that every weed has life cycle regardless of how stubborn they are, some could live for a year, live for more than one year but not more than two years while only a few lived for more than two years. The high point of the event was a group photograph and presentation of certificates of participation to the participants.
From Grass to Grace; How RUDEP imparted a farmer's life in Tede
Human activities require not just physical energy but also psychological and networking input from appropriate quarters. The Rural Development Programme Department (RUDEP) of JDPM, in the Catholic Diocese of Oyo, recorded another impressive achievement in Tede, Atisbo Local Government of Oyo State where their efforts have helped in greatly improving the life of one of their farmers who were able to build his own bungalow house from the proceeds made from farming activities..
Speaking to JDPM officers, the man, Alhaji Salaudeen Suleiman, said RUDEP has been a good agent of change for a long time in their locality. He noted that he came in contact with the RUDEP team, through a fellow farmer's friend who is a Catholic faithful during an argument over the economic viability of Vitamin A cassava compared with other varieties of cassava. According to him "when RUDEP first came to Alakuko Village to preach the gospel of Vitamin A cassava stems to farmers, my thought was that they came as one of those cheap talkers with the assumption also that the programme was targeted at the Catholic faithful alone.
After a while, I decided to ask if the cassava stems are meant for only the Christians and I was told that it was meant for every farmer who is interested. So, I gave it a try by buying about fifty bundles of Vitamin A cassava stems. Though RUDEP doesn't give us any money, yet, they make sure they supervise, guide and give us professional advice and training as it concerns farming."
Alhaji Suleiman further stated that at a point in time, majority of his acquaintances tried to discouraged him because they thought whoever tries to empower anyone should not have said that they (farmers) should buy cassava stems in the first place, but he never gave up because he claimed to have projected that he saw light at the end of the tunnel. "You wouldn't believe that when the majority of those who tried to confuse me earlier saw the level of progress I was making, they volunteered to join. Although a vast majority still refrained without knowing that for anyone to succeed in life, one needs to take calculated risks"
While appreciating RUDEP, he said JDPM has touched lives of so many people in the area without segregating in terms of religion, adding that they should keep the good work because many are still left to benefit from the good economic sustainability of the scheme. He added that the effort of RUDEP has enabled him to build a beautiful house and even buy another four plots of land behind his residence. He said farming is a good profession but it needed a good professional counselling, guidance and determination because gone are the days of primitive farming where old farm implements are used, a lot of improvement has been made over the years, part of what I am benefiting today. It is therefore essential to let the public know that agribusiness is one of the best ways of bailing our nation from the shackle of poverty, youths unemployment and monolithic economy". He concluded
EXCURSION; RUDEP TAKES FARMERS ON A LEARNING VISIT TO ILRI
The importance of knowledge sharing in sustaining human effort can never be over-emphasized. Hence, the Rural Development Programme (RUDEP) of JDPM took farmers on a learning visit to the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), located at the international Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan on the 13th of September 2018. This was to enable farmers acquire knowledge as it concerns the production of livestock feeds made from High-Quality Cassava Peels.
The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) works to improve food security and reduce poverty in developing countries through research for better and more sustainable use of livestock. It focuses its research on building sustainable livestock pathways out of poverty in low-income countries. ILRI works with partners worldwide to help poor people keep their farm animals’ alive and productive, increase and sustain their livestock, farm productivity and find profitable markets for their animal products.
Welcoming the team to ILRI, the country manager, Dr Tunde Amole, said the centre has been repositioned to address series of challenges that farmers face in livestock production and agribusiness in general. He said “ILRI's research addresses seven global livestock development challenges including vaccine and diagnostic technologies for orphan animal diseases, animal genetic resources, climate change – adaptation and mitigation, emerging diseases, and market access within broader market opportunities for the poor, sustainable intensification in smallholder crop-livestock systems and vulnerability of marginal systems and peoples.”
Introducing the team, the Head of Department, Rural Development Programme, JDPM, Oyo, Dr Matthew Ojo, said the team’s visitation was conceived on the need to improve agribusiness initiatives among farmers in the Catholic Diocese of Oyo. He further stated that it is time farmers to start seeing agriculture from a business perspective and take advantage of new technologies in both livestock and crop production. He further said that the farmers should take advantage of learning the new technology and find a suitable point along the cassava peels-for-feed value chain so as to improve their farm income and better their livelihood.
While taking the team around the facilities, the Field Manager, Mr Yinka Olasusi, said Since ILRI is focused on livestock production while IITA focuses on crop production with Cassava being one of the major crops IITA works on, ILRI decided to consider working with cassava to feed livestock. This birthed the research into a technology aimed at producing "High-Quality livestock feed from cassava peels. He noted that the problem of feeding livestock with locally dried cassava peel is the possibility of such peels been infested with aflatoxin - which arises from slow drying of cassava peels. This according to him has contributed immensely to poor health of most livestock. Hence, the technology for quick drying was developed. The developed technology is faster, safer and also gives high quality feed for livestock.
Responding at the factory section, Mr Yinka Olasusi, said ILRI is working with the government on setting up a prototype processing centre at one of the known cassava processing hubs in Oyo State, so as to promote the technology. He added that ILRI has been engaged in training people on the production of High-Quality Cassava Peel Feed since July and it will end in December. The training runs from Monday - Wednesday every week with 10 participants per batch. The training is sponsored by a donor agency in partnership with BOI which offers funding for interested trainees to set up processing facilities at a 5% interest rate. In the end, trainees will receive certificates.
On his part, Dr Tunde Amole said the research on the technology has been on for about 10 years but in the last 2 years ILRI has decided to publicize it due to the success of the research work. According to him “feeding livestock with fresh cassava peels can cause abortion, foaming in the mouth, sterility to mention but a few due to the hydrocyanide content. The approved level of cyanide for consumption is 100mg. The Cyanide content of HQCP is between 90mg and 87mg. it has been observed that at the tolerable level cyanide serves as an antioxidant that aides longevity in livestock.
In his word, a RUDEP Officer, Mr Fakorede John suggested it would be beneficial to the team and members of the public to know certain nutritional formation that makes the technology economically viable than the usual primitive method just sun-drying cassava peels without concern for proper hygiene in the process. Responding, Dr Tunde Amole, said the technology is beneficial because it helps to reduce environmental pollution and climate change, reduces cost of livestock feedings, reduces competition for foods like grains, between man and livestock, creates employment opportunities for youth, and more importantly creates agribusiness opportunities for many.
While appreciating the Institute for hosting the team, the Coordinator, JDPM, Rev Father Gabriel Adeleke, extolled the past and present effort of the centre at sustaining livestock and keeping the hope of farmers alive. He charged the centre to attract more youths who have been inactive because of unemployment, adding that such gestures could go a long way in reducing youthful exuberance, crime and unemployment in our society. He maintained that JDPM would be grateful if the prototype centre could be set up in Oyo where many people will benefit from the technology.
At the end of the excursion, it is hoped that the views of many people among the team as well as the public will be changed on how modern technology can reduce environmental challenges and help improve the quality of life. Without mincing words, the excursion was indeed a huge success as it provided an opportunity for learning technology adoption.
NISA HOSTS RUDEP AS, EXCURSION TOUR ROUNDS OFF AT ILERO
Agriculture in recent time has gone beyond the usual primitive practices. The responsibility of sustaining food production with the increasing population has been a serious challenge to many researchers, corporate bodies, agribusiness owners and the government. But if you think Nigeria can never overcome her challenges of food production, then you are probably wrong because until you see an agro-processing company with vision and core competencies in cassava value chain, extensive market coverage within and outside Nigeria for agro products and lot more like Niji Institute of Sustainable Agriculture (NISA), you will never believe.
In what looks like dream come true for most indigenous farmers in Oyo State, the Rural Development Programme (RUDEP) department, took the farmers from the different zone; Oyo, Oke Ogun and Ogbomoso to the Niji Institute of Sustainable Agriculture (NISA), Ilero, Oyo State on the 29th August 2018. Despite the deplorable state of the Oyo-Iseyin road for decades, the team still defiled all odds to visit the place, being a superb hub for agro-allied products and agro-processing, a vibrant niche full of experts that have been leveraging on the core competencies of agribusiness, agro-processing equipment design and fabrication, located on Km 5 Otu road, Ilero, Kajola local government area of Oyo State with over 5,000 acres fully cultivated with cassava and other edible crops. It is an extension of Niji Group which started in 1991 as a local startup with a commitment to resolve the rising challenges in Nigeria's agriculture with a special focus on types of machinery and agro-processing equipment design and fabrication.
No doubt, the place has come to stay and has been making impact on the research and operational efficiency in; Farm Operation, Food and Agro-processing, Agric Machines and Agro Processing equipment fabrication, logistics and supply management (Agric Value Chain Management), Marketing and Agro Technology, Agriculture Management, Clean, Renewable and Sustainable energy, Pharmacology(Herbs Cultivation and processing). Also, the centre offers short courses for different categories of people in Agriculture practices such as ; The Future Enterprise Fellows (six months) for graduates of Universities, Polytechnic and Technical Colleges, Emerging Fellows (three months) for small holders farmers and semi-intensive farmers, the Global Executive (two months) for Capital investors and Specialized Course Track (two weeks) meant for refreshers course.lecture in progress
The team which was led by the Coordinator, Justice, Development and Peace Movement (JDPM) Oyo, Rev Father Gabriel Adeleke, Mr. Nathaniel Ajayi, Mr. Fakorede John amongst others with the farmers was hosted in an ultra-modern hall fully decorated with many learning aids and instructive cum comfort gadgets by some key officers such as ; The Chairman/CEO Niji Group, Mr. Kolawole Adeniji, General Manager, Mr. Olateju Kehinde, Programme Coordinator, Engineer Bello and the Head of Corporate, Strategy, Business Research and Development, Mr. Eseimieghan ThankGod who led the open speech. He said that African has been a subject of slavery and oppression for a while because they narrowed their thought to the old ways of practicing agriculture.
According to him," an average Nigerian prefer to consume Shoprite Foods to ours even if it is of the same value because many agribusiness owners and farmers do not know how to package their products. A vast majority of countries like Israel, Thailand, China, Malaysia, Singapore, even South Africa do not have as many fertile lands like we do, yet, they stormed our market with their products because they know the right way. It is time Nigerians farmers stand up! Here in NISA, we have a core mission to serve and empower Africa through educating a generation of highly socially response and innovative Agripreneurs with an undying passion for the shared prosperity of Africa because we are the best. I challenge you all to get empowered so that you will stop being short of much profit on your hard labour on the farm" He said.
In his word, the Programme Coordinator, Engineer Bello, assert that farmers need to embrace innovation in farming and agribusiness. "I know the majority of farmers here are active and in fact, labored all days to get a good output but you all need to know agriculture has gone beyond the primitive practice because of innovative techniques in recent time. We are talking about eco-organic farming, good networking skills for marketing farm produce in the local and international market as well as channelization of effort through the right way that can eliminate the problems of greedy middlemen in product distribution and so on. They are all important because as farmers, you deserved the best necessities of life not just to be living above average, you worked for it, and you suffer for it." He said.
Addressing the attendee, the Chairman/CEO Niji Group, Mr. Kolawole Adeniji, appreciated RUDEP’s visit and use the opportunity to shed light on the need why all stakeholders should make farming attractive to the youths.” Our society suffers most societal vices because of a high rate of unemployment. Our youths need to be properly channeled towards a proper training and mentoring. Look around here, we have largely arable land that can be fully utilized to cultivate different crops, yet, our youths prefer quick riches thinking success happens overnight. The problem of herdsmen in the Southwest would have been drastically reduced if many active youths are on the farm because it is going to be an eye for an eye, but how do you expect the elders to quench this ugly trade when their days are already numbered. We need active youths in agriculture now than ever.”
Mr. Kolawole, a graduate of Osogbo Technical College, and a native of the same State were trained as a mechanical engineer with a specialty in agricultural machinery and equipment fabrication has received numerous accolades in Nigeria and abroad for his contribution to the development of agribusiness however, bemoaned the poor attitude of the general public towards farming. “ Many people have come to assume that farming is a profession that is peculiar to the active poor people in the society. Maybe you don't know that during the colonial era, the colonialist makes our forefathers produce cash crops and a few others to suit their needs. Even after the colonial rule, many educational institutions ranging from the secondary schools and tertiary institutions have successfully brainwashed most students that agriculture is a profession meant for the lazy ones. Look here, I have been to nearly all the country of the world where agriculture is seriously practiced. They are well organized and make earn living comfortably contrary to our myopic view here. Farmers are not meant to be underrated in any form.”The team tour round the factory
He further stated that many farmers have misplacement of priority on marketing strategies, making a vast majority to suffer a short of profit. He maintained that it is not about planting or cultivation of crops, weeding on the farm alone, rather it has a new skill so that the revenue will be strengthened. The group was later conveyed round the factory unit which comprises of; An automated starch line section where industrial starch production is processed, automated fryer section where ground cassava that has been drained are dried and fried (gaari) with at least a tonne per day, flash dryers section where odorless fufu/cassava flour is dried, automated cassava peel fry dryers section where cassava peel is dried, dried and converted to powdery semi-finished industrial ingredient. Also, the Machinery section which comprises; A standard agro-processing equipment fabricators, ten brand new customized tractors, two brand new customized min tractors, four new disc plough, two new planters amongst others.
The group then proceeded to the parent factory in the township to observe the sequential processes involved in the foods production and packaging strategies of fried gaari, odourless fufu, and starch as well as cassava flour which has been in Nigeria and international market in the last few years. Without mincing a word, Nigeria is a country of many think tanks that can shape the country's glory in agriculture and other key areas. Unequivocally, the memories of the excursion will linger on in the heart of the farmers for years to come because their experience has exposed many mysteries behind their worries on farming for decades and more importantly because NISA remains one of the most vibrant hubs for agro-processing in empowering Africans and Nigerian farmers for a sustainable agriculture.
PROJECT PARTNERSHIP; RUDEP FACILITATES WEED MANAGEMENT EQUIPMENT FROM IITA TO BENEFICIARIES
Towards agricultural development and elimination of chemical infiltration on farm produce, a new technological innovation has been devised for weeding out unwanted plants on farms. In view of this, the Rural Development Programme department (RUDEP) had earlier on 10th September 2018 facilitated the pick up of an advanced weed management machine from the Cassava Weed Management Unit of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan to beneficiaries from Oke Ogun area of Oyo State.
Appreciating the JDPM, one of the beneficiaries, Ogunbode Opeyemi from Otu in the Itesiwaju LGA, said the machine will minimize unnecessary stress farmers undergo in the area of weeding out unwanted plants on the farm. According to him, "JDPM and IITA embodied a cooperative and impartial entity that caters for the youth’s interest in agriculture. They do not discriminate on the basis of colour, religions, and towns.I wished to commend their efforts and I promised to make use of these machine in order to enhance my agribusiness".
In his word, the second beneficiary, Adeyemi Adelere from Iseyin LGA, Iseyin, expressed his appreciation to JDPM who has been an active frontier in channeling youth's in agriculture. “ it has been a long time that I had to know JDPM because they used to visit some villages around here. So, I noticed their activities on encouraging farmers to be more productive. I thank God for my life because I never had a former education since childhood. But I didn't give up on my dream. So, I continued to work hard on the farm every day until God located me through JDPM. We are grateful to them” An Officer of RUDEP department, Mrs Awowole Agnes, charged other CADII trainees present at the venue of presenting the machines to learn from the beneficiaries. She added that creative mind, determination, discipline and prayer is essential to human survival on earth.
Speaking to the beneficiaries, the Head of Department, RUDEP, Dr Matthew Ojo, implored them to be careful in handling and maintaining the machines. He charged them not to relent in their effort at attaining greatness, adding that agriculture is a lucrative business for those in the right frame of mind. He further stated that the selection process was transparent and fair, adding that he expected the lucky beneficiaries to utilize the privilege.
The beneficiaries advised fellow youths at the venue (JDPM premises) to be more proactive, discover their potentials, get a mentor, encourage themselves and remain focus with prayer so that they will be proud of who they are. After all, we are all a product of the choices we made. While praising the impact of Catholic Development Initiative (CADII), they described the institute's contribution to the human capacity development and motivational source of inspiration to many youths who actively loved agribusiness. They vowed not to relent and keep evangelizing the good impact that JDPM is making in turning the myopic view of most youths from assuming that farming is only meant for the active poor and illiterates in the society.
RUDEP Visits Partners at IITA
On Tuesday September 12, 2017, RUDEP made a visit to IITA to meet with her partners and prospective partners. The visit also availed the new Programme manager of RUDEP, Dr Mathew Ojo; and Mr Olaolu Akogun, a Programme Officer; the opportunity of being introduced formerly to RUDEP partners at IITA.
At IITA, RUDEP met with the Country coordinator of HarvestPlus,Dr Ilona was glad to receive the team and he commended RUDEP for being a reliable partner. He charged RUDEP to work further to fully bio fortify Oyo through the Vitamin A Cassava value chain creation being done.Dr Mathew Ojo assured HarvestPlus of RUDEP's commitment to achieving the set goal of the project.
Further discussions were made on how to better the relationship of the partners. RUDEP invited HarvestPlus to the upcoming Farmers' Forum in December.
Also at IITA, RUDEP visited the AfricanRice Centre, where they met with Dr Oyetunji Olumoye. welcoming the team, Dr Olumoye commended RUDEP for their various activities in improving rural development and agriculture.He also said some RUDEP farmers had been trained by AfricanRice with success stories. Dr Matthew Ojo thanked Dr Olumoye for the warm reception and told him RUDEP is ready to work with AfricanRice on any project that concerns rural farmers.
Mr John Fakorede said there was a need for partnership on training of farmers and youths on rice production and production of rice allied products, as this would help reduce youth poverty and unemployment. Further discussions were made on how to work out the training.
RUDEP Programme manager then informed Dr Oyetunji about the upcoming Farmers' Forum in December, he requested that AfricanRice should come and exhibit new innovations in rice production to farmers at the forum. The AfricanRice officer said he was glad that AfricanRice was invited again to the forum as they attended the last Farmers' Forum where they showcased new innovations and technologies to farmers. He promised that AfricanRice would be at the forum with the latest innovations in rice production.
RUDEP also visited the Cassava Weed Management Project and SARD-SC Maize Seed offices where they discussed ways of improving their partnerships.
RUDEP team and Mr Layi Adeniyi of Maize Seed Store
RUDEP forms new Farmers' group at Saki
As one of it's major responsibilities, the RUDEP Department of JDPM Oyo went to Saki on Monday September 11, 2017, to create a Farmers Group. The team of RUDEP officers in the persons of Mr John Fakorede, Mr Nathaniel Ajayi, Mrs Agnes Awowole and Mr Olaolu Akogun, were accompanied by Apex Chairman, Mr Alani Oguntona and Ago-Are zonal chairman Mr Joseph Ojedele. The farmers, 16 in number; waited eagerly and received the team warmly.
Mr Nathaniel Ajayi of RUDEP, introduced JDPM to the group as the social arm of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo. He went further to tell them about the various departments of JDPM Oyo and their responsibilities. He particularly spoke about RUDEP being responsible to better the lot and livelihood of rural farmers and dwellers through their various activities in partnership with various organisations both local and foreign. Mr Ajayi also said JDPM Oyo does not give out loans to farmers as it had been observed overtime that farmers were mostly interested in getting loans from organizations. The farmers were assured that the RUDEP Department of JDPM Oyo will work tirelessly to give to the farmers the right knowledge, skills, attitude and other priceless things that money can not buy, that would better their farming businesses and eventually their lives.
Mr John Fakorede of RUDEP also addressed the group, he particularly informed them on the functions and running of theMr John Fakorede addressing the farmers group. He also told them about the hierachy of farmers'groups, where local farmers'group is the lowest, followed by the zonal groups, Apex and SUFAN.
The Apex chairman and Ago- Are Zonal Chairman gave their testimonies about the numerous benefits they had derived from working with RUDEP over the years. They categorically challenged the new group to brace themselves up for a better life as that is the primary focus of RUDEP. The farmers requested for trainings on the following aspects of agriculture: snailery, Bee-keeping, Grasscutter farming, Yam minisett and wetland farming; which RUDEP promised to give at subsequent meetings.
JDPM opened a new centre for youth training on farming at Ilora.
Since Nigeria discovered oil boom in the 70s, her economy has largely dependent on crude oil with high neglect of agriculture. The country has suffered food crisis due to this neglect. Farming has been the only means of providing the most essential need of human existence which is food. The food production has been in the hand of the old and illiterate people mostly in the villages.
The youths has less interest in farming. This has affected the food security of the nation. Justice, Development and Peace Movement (JDPM) of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo has been in the vanguard of youth involvement in agriculture since 2003 when she sends 3 young people to Leventis Foundation school of agriculture, these youths had a 12 month training on farming skill and came back to their villages to start farming as a full profession.
Since then over 60 youths have been assisted by JDPM to acquire free skill in modern farming knowledge and more 30 of those trained are now full farmers in the Oyo state. The need to have an accessible training right in the Diocese led Rev. Fr. Femi Oladiipo to established a centre called Divine Mercy Agricultural Training Centre called DIMATCO in Oyo. with 5 students trained in 2007 more than 30 students have passed through the centre and these trainees are presently contributing to the food production in the South west of Nigeria.
Kudos should be given to Rev. Fr. Gabriel Adeleke who has a tall dream for DIMATCO, 30 acres of land was acquired under his administration to establish a new centre at Ilora. The centre has capacity for snailery, piggery, fishery, crop production, sheep and goat production, processing and hostel facilities. The new centre was blessed by Most Rev (Dr.) Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo on 9th of October, 2015. The ceremony was attended by all the priests in Oyo Deanery, students, staff, parishioners and well wishers.
In his speech, His Excellency, Bishop Badejo, he appreciated the boldness of JDPM at taking the right steps towards youth empowerment in modern farming techniques. He thanked the community that is hosting the training centre for their cooperation. The training centre will serve as a centre of excellence for production of seasoned young farmers in a bit to reduce hunger in our society.
RUDEP HITS DOMINICAN FARM IBADAN, AS EXCURSION TOUR BEGINS
The weather was cloudy, yet, the atmosphere was nice even though no one can predict whether it will be rain or sunny for such a perfect day. Regardless of this, the Rural Development Programme Department (RUDEP), defiled all odds out of its tight schedules and scaled through the climatic changes by taking the farmers groups representatives from Oyo, Oke Ogun and Ogbomoso zones to the Dominican Centre for Human Resources Development, Moniya, Ibadan, on the 28th August, 2018. The Sustainable Eco-Organic Farm Management hub is located in the serene environment along Ijaye-Iseyin road in the Akinyele local government area of Oyo State. It is situated on about 255 acres of land for arable farming and demonstration cum testing ground for Research Institute�s work while another large expanse of land covering about 350 acres is also set aside for pure organic farming at the Dominican Centre Farm Estate along Ijaye Orile, a small town some kilometers away. The Dominican came to Nigeria in 1951 through the missionary enterprise of St. Albert the Great Province, Chicago, Illinois, USA. The Province of St. Joseph the Worker (Nigeria and Ghana) was created in 1993 and is the only Province of the Order on the African continent. The Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans) founded in France in 1216 by St. Dominic, is an international Catholic Religious Order with nearly (40) Provonces from all part of the world, all United by Obedience to the Master of the Order.