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MAAN Commends Unity Bank For Supporting Maize Farmers



Maan Commends Unity Bank For Supporting Maize Farmers

Olushola Okunlade Writes

Nigerian maize farmers under the auspices of the Maize Farmers Association of Nigeria (MAAN) have commended Nigeria’s agric-focused lender, Unity Bank Plc for its role in facilitating the financing of maize production by smallholder farmers in the country through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The President of MAAN, Dr Bello Abubakar gave the commendation while delivering an address at the official unveiling of 21 maize pyramids in Kaduna on Thursday.

Maan Commends Unity Bank For Supporting Maize Farmers
Left-Right: Mrs. Patricia Ahunanya, Head, Agribusiness, Unity Bank Plc, Dr Bello Abubakar, President, Maize Association of Nigeria, MAAN and Mr. Usman Abdulkadir, Executive Director, Risk Management & Compliance, Unity Bank Plc at the unveiling of Maize Pyramids by MAAN in Kaduna on Thursday.

Abubakar said Unity Bank has proved to be a trusted and reliable partner of Nigerian maize farmers in their journey to sustain sufficiency in maize production in the country.

“What we celebrate today would have been impossible without our finance partner, Unity Bank. The Bank has been a reliable partner in the journey and we shall continue to partner to greater heights,” Abubakar said.

Through Unity Bank’s strategic partnership with the maize farmers under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme of the CBN, which focuses on commodities with significant concerns for foreign exchange, maize production output has risen to 11 million metric tons from 10.1 million metric tonnes in 2014.

As a major financial institution partner of the ABP, the Bank has facilitated the disbursement of billions of naira to no fewer than 4.52 million smallholder farmers across the various commodity value chains supported by the ABP, including to an additional 120,000 maize farmers in 2021 alone.

Maan Commends Unity Bank For Supporting Maize Farmers
Left-Right: Mrs. Patricia Ahunanya, Head, Agribusiness, Unity Bank Plc, Dr Bello Abubakar, President, Maize Association of Nigeria, MAAN and Mr. Usman Abdulkadir, Executive Director, Risk Management & Compliance, Unity Bank Plc at the unveiling of Maize Pyramids by MAAN in Kaduna on Thursday.
“Unity Bank has maintained its commitment to supporting the girl child by supporting several advocacy initiatives and investing in the education sector
Mrs. Tomi Somefun, Managing Director of Unity Bank.

Speaking at the event, the Managing Director of Unity Bank Plc, Mrs. Oluwatomi Somefun said the Bank remains committed to its strategic partnership with maize farmers to support their capacity to sustain sufficiency in maize production.

She said, “When we say that we are farmers’ best friends, we walk our talk. And I am glad that the association appreciates the invaluable support that we provide by facilitating the financing of their activities. As a Bank, we are driven by the overarching objectives of the federal government to drive food sufficiency, while creating the much-needed jobs for sustainable development.”

Represented by Mr. Usman Abdulkadir, Executive Director, Risk Management and Compliance, Somefun said the pyramids displayed is a reminder of the inherent possibilities in Nigeria’s agricultural value chains and proof that with enough commitment, Nigeria could maximise its potential in agriculture through strategic initiatives such as the Anchor Borrowers Programme.

Since its launch in 2015, the central bank has through the ABP programme, disbursed a total of ₦975.61 billion to over 4.52 million smallholder farmers, who have cultivated 21 commodities across the country for the procurement of inputs and cultivation of maize, rice and wheat.

Maize is one of Nigeria’s most important staple foods, with about 60 per cent of the maize produced in Nigeria used for commercial activities including the production of poultry feeds and as a major ingredient in alcohol production.


Local Dairy Farmers Excited, As Arla Foods Distributes Milk Cans To Improve Nigerian Milk Quality



Local Dairy Farmers Excited, As Arla Foods Distributes Milk Cans To Improve Nigerian Milk Quality

Olushola Okunlade Writes

In line with its commitment to advance local dairy development in Nigeria, Arla Foods, makers of Dano Milk, has empowered smallholder dairy farmers in Kaduna with training and funding through the Advancing Local Dairy Development in Nigeria (ALDDN) program.

The Advancing Local Dairy Development in Nigeria (ALDDN) is a five-year program being implemented in conjunction with Sahel Consulting and other private sector companies to catalyse a vibrant local dairy sector in an inclusive way that improves the livelihoods, productivity, nutrition, and empowerment of smallholder dairy farmers and the communities in which they live.

Speaking during a ceremony held to distribute the first batch of milk cans to 30 farmers in Gadan Gayan Community in Kaduna State, the Dairy Site Manager, Arla Foods, Ewarts Samuel, noted that the main objectives of the program are to increase demand for locally-sourced milk from smallholder dairy households, empower women, dairy farmers, while also improving smallholder dairy farmers’ productivity.

Local Dairy Farmers Excited, As Arla Foods Distributes Milk Cans To Improve Nigerian Milk Quality
Left-Right: Managing Director, Kaduna Federation of Milk Producers Cooperative Association (MILCOPAL), Hajia Rukaiyah Gwamna; participating farmer and program beneficiary, Hajia Amina Hashimu and Arla Dairy Site Manager, Ewarts Samuel during the distribution of Milk Cans to local dairy farmers by Arla under the Advancing Local Dairy Development in Nigeria (ALDDN) program held in Kaduna recently.

He disclosed that the program recently purchased 900 milk cans for distribution to smallholder dairy farmers in Nigeria, which is expected to help preserve milk received from the farmers and ensure that high quality and good hygiene are maintained during milking and transportation.

“Arla is currently partnering with the local dairy farmers by offtaking their milk through our plant that is located in Kaduna State, where the milk is processed into yogurt under the MILCOPAL brand. Under the ALDDN program, Arla also facilitates training programs for smallholder dairy farmers and provides funding support for certain key endeavours,” Samuel said.

In his remarks, Project Assistant, Sahel Consulting, Ahmed Mohammed, stated that the partnership with Arla Foods is geared towards transforming Nigeria’s agriculture and nutrition landscape.

“We are excited to be part of this partnership as this would help a great deal in addressing food security, malnutrition, and unemployment which will, in turn, drive economic growth and prosperity for families, communities, and Nigeria in general,” Mohammed said.

Know More About Arla: Arla Foods is a dairy company with around 9700 farmer owners in seven EU countries. Our philosophy of producing natural, healthy, and high-quality dairy products dates back to the 1880s when dairy farmers in Denmark and Sweden joined forces with one common goal: To create and provide the best dairy products.

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Nestlé Partners With Africa Food Prize To Strengthen Food Security And Climate Change Resilience



Nestlé Partners With Africa Food Prize To Strengthen Food Security And Climate Change Resilience

Olushola Okunlade Writes

Nestlé announced today that it is partnering with the Africa Food Prize to help accelerate the transformation of food systems in Africa, as a way of strengthening the continent’s food security and building greater climate change resilience.

The Africa Food Prize awards USD 100,000 to individuals and institutions that are pioneering agricultural and food systems transformation in Africa.

The Prize puts a spotlight on uniquely impactful agri-food initiatives and technological innovations that can be replicated across the continent to increase food security, spur economic growth and development, and eliminate hunger and poverty in Africa.

The Africa Food Prize is hosted by AGRA, an African-led and Africa-based institution that puts smallholder farmers at the center of the continent’s growing economy by transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive into farming as a business that thrives. AGRA is headquartered in Kenya and works in 15 African countries.

This year, Dr. Eric Yirenkyi Danquah, a plant geneticist from Ghana, was awarded the prestigious prize during September’s AGRF Summit in Kigali, Rwanda. Dr. Danquah was celebrated for his outstanding expertise and leadership in establishing the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) and developing it into a world-class center for the education of plant breeders in Africa.

Nestlé will contribute CHF 100,000 to the Africa Food Prize, which will be awarded in 2023. Part of the contribution will go to the main award and part to a special category focusing on innovations that advance regenerative food systems.

Remy Ejel, Chief Executive Officer of Zone Asia, Oceania, and Africa, Nestlé S.A. said, “Transforming agriculture to be more productive and sustainable is key to reducing hunger and improving livelihoods for the long term. We aim to support and amplify efforts that spearhead regenerative agriculture and food systems to enable better productivity, better nutrition, and better incomes for people in Africa.”

Commenting on the partnership, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of AGRA said, “We are happy to be partnering with Nestlé to recognize Africa’s best in food systems. The Africa Food Prize is a great opportunity to shine a bright spotlight on Africa’s outstanding minds, giving the rest of us a chance to learn and replicate their good work that is moving us closer to sustainable, inclusive, and resilient food systems and achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2 on Zero Hunger.”

In 2019, the Southern Swamp Associated Gas Solutions project was commissioned, and the SPDC JV is planning to reduce associated gas flaring further through its Forcados Yokri gas-gathering project, of which large parts are set to be completed in 2022. Despite such efforts to reduce continuous flaring, unfortunately flaring intensity (the amount of gas flared for every tonne of oil and gas produced) at both SPDC- and SNEPCo-operated facilities increased in 2021 owing to short-term operational issues. Flaring from SPDC-operated facilities increased by around 5% in 2021 compared with 2020. The increase was primarily because of the extended outage of the gas compression system in SPDC’s shallow-water operations. The system was restored and became operational from January 2022. Flaring at SNEPCo-operated facilities rose by around 160% in 2021 compared with 2020. This was mainly because of an increase in flaring on the Bonga floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel. Repairs to a flex-joint on the Bonga FPSO’s gas export riser in the second quarter took longer than expected, in part because of weather conditions. While repairs were under way, the FPSO continued to produce oil and therefore flaring was necessary for safety reasons. The repairs were safely concluded in July 2021. Although flaring intensity levels rose in 2021, SPDC and SNEPCo over the last 10 years have almost halved the combined amount of hydrocarbons they flare from 1.5 million tonnes in 2012 to 0.8 million tonnes in 2021. This reduction is the result of a strict flaring reduction management process and both SPDC and SNEPCo will continue to work in close collaboration with joint-venture partners and the government to make progress towards ending routine flaring of associated gas. NIGERIA LNG EXPANSION UNDERWAY Global demand for LNG continues to grow as the world increasingly seeks reliable supplies of lowercarbon energy. Shell’s investment in Nigeria’s gas infrastructure for export is expected to help 6 This is according to a data provided by global research and consultancy business Wood Mackenzie. the country benefit further from revenues. Shell Gas B.V. and its partners took a final investment decision in 2020 on a new LNG processing unit – known as Train 7 -- at NLNG. The expansion is expected to create around 12,000 jobs for Nigerians during construction and stimulate growth of the local oil and gas service sector, with 55% of engineering and procurement of goods and services being sourced in-country. Train 7 is expected to ensure Nigeria’s continued place as a global player in a lower-carbon energy source. Once operational, Train 7 will add around 8 million tonnes per annum of capacity to the Bonny Island LNG facility, taking the total production to around 30 million tonnes per annum. In 2021, NLNG began awarding procurement and construction contracts. Early works started at the site. The first phase of the worker village is expected to be ready for occupancy in 2022 and the new material offloading facility ready for use by the end of 2022. NLNG’s Train 7 is expected to come onstream in the middle of the 2020s. KEY LICENCE RENEWED FOR DEEP-WATER SNEPCo has interests in four deep-water blocks in the Gulf of Guinea, two of which it operates. Today, nearly one-third of Nigeria’s deep-water oil and gas production comes from the Bonga and the nonoperated Erha fields.6 Since production began in 2005, Bonga alone has produced more than 950 million barrels of oil with the 2021 average oil production per day at 105,000 barrels. The Bonga FPSO vessel has a total production capacity of 225,000 barrels of oil per day and 150 standard cubic feet of gas export per day. In 2021, the availability of the FPSO vessel increased to 80% from 70% in 2020. In addition to Bonga, SNEPCo’s exploration activities have led to several significant discoveries of oil and gas over the last two decades, including the Bolia and Doro fields (Shell interest 55%). Nigeria Briefing Notes Helping to power Nigeria’s economy 13 In the right investment climate, SNEPCo believes that there are opportunities to expand. In 2021 the OML 118 (Bonga) production sharing contract was renewed and the lease extended for 20 years. Bonga North and Bonga South West Aparo (BSWA) oil fields are two such potential opportunities. Bonga North is a proposed tie-back project to the existing Bonga FPSO with Phase 1 comprising 14 wells. BSWA is a development of a new FPSO with Phase 1 comprising 23 wells. SUPPORTING RENEWABLE ENERGY STARTUPS Millions of Nigerians are excluded from the country’s power grid and Shell Companies in Nigeria have established and provided substantial funding for a not-for-profit, impact-investing company called All On. Operating as an independent company, All On works to bring reliable electricity – often from renewable energy sources -- to off-grid urban and rural customers. This support aims to build a solid pipeline of viable businesses that can create the scale required to address Nigeria’s access to energy gap. In December 2019, SPDC and SNEPCo made a significant additional 10-year financing commitment of $160 million in All On, bringing the total commitment to $200 million. By the end of 2021, All On had provided investment capital to over 40 renewable energy start-ups in its portfolio – an increase of more than 30% from 2020. One such company is Infibranches Technologies Limited, to which All On has committed $2 million, which is expected to enable the indigenous technology company to expand sales of solar home systems via its more than 13,000 agent banking partners across Nigeria. With the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, the All On Hub was established in 2020 to provide nonfinancial support and build the capabilities of off-grid energy entrepreneurs. In 2021, the hub supported 81 ventures – nearly double the 41 supported in 2020. Also in 2021, All On, Odyssey Energy Solutions and the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet launched a $10 million equipment financing facility as part of the DART pilot programme in Nigeria. 7 Hydraulic flying leads support the delivery of hydraulic fluid and/or chemicals between subsea equipment. 8 Subsea trees are an assembly of valves and other components used to monitor and control the production of a subsea well. DART will combine demand pooling, aggregated purchasing of solar equipment, and access to affordable finance to unlock economies of scale for solar companies, achieve cost savings for end-users, and accelerate the growth of the renewable energy sector in Nigeria and beyond. DEVELOPING LOCAL CONTENT AND SKILLS Shell Companies in Nigeria contribute to the growth of Nigerian businesses that can provide technical and support services to the industry. This includes the manufacture of tools and technical kits, the operation of helicopter flights in the Niger Delta, and strategic partnerships between foreign and local companies to stimulate technology transfer and capacity development. While there are government-required programmes in some areas, such as the Nigerian and Community Content Strategy embedded in the Assa North/Ohaji South gas development project, Shell Companies in Nigeria deliberately seek to contract local businesses wherever possible. In 2021, Shell Companies in Nigeria awarded $800 million worth of contracts to Nigerian-registered companies. Of these, 92% were companies with at least 51% Nigerian ownership. SNEPCo has awarded major engineering and construction contracts to companies that are indigenous, have local staff, or possess domestic capabilities in the country. At present, the manufacture and rebuild of hydraulic flying leads7 (HFLs) is being carried out in-country by wholly indigenous companies. Pressure Controls Systems Nigeria Limited, another Nigerian company, continues to refurbish old subsea trees.8 Sometimes, a lack of access to capital hinders Nigerian companies from competing for and executing contracts effectively. Shell Companies in Nigeria have provided access to nearly $1.6 billion in loans to 901 Nigerian vendors under the Shell Contractor Support Fund since 2012. These loans help improve their tendering opportunities.

Nestlé’s partnership with the Africa Food Prize builds on its years-long work in Africa to improve the continent’s nutrition and agriculture. The company has taken great strides to expand access to affordable nutrition in many communities, for example, by fortifying Maggi bouillon cubes with iron in Central and West Africa. It is also pioneering regenerative dairy farming with the establishment of the first net zero dairy farm in Skimmelkran, South Africa.

In early 2022, Nestlé launched an innovative income accelerator program, aimed at addressing child labor risks and closing the living income gap for cocoa-farming communities in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. Recently, Nestlé announced an investment of CHF 1 billion by 2030 under the Nescafé Plan to transition to sustainable coffee farming, including in Côte d’Ivoire.

Entries in the Africa Food Prize are evaluated by a judging committee comprising some of Africa’s greatest food system leaders. Winners are selected based on proven results and scalable efforts.

Submissions for next year’s Africa Food Prize will be open from January 2023 and winners will be announced at the AGRF, Africa Food Systems Forum, in September.

Click here for more information on the Africa Food Prize.

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What Will Your Cup Of Coffee Look Like In 2030?



What Will Your Cup Of Coffee Look Like In 2030?

By Scott Coles, Coffee Business Executive Officer for Nestlé Central and West Africa

There is nothing quite like that first cup of coffee in the morning. For me, it’s a moment to
gather my thoughts before the day really begins. However, this daily ritual isn’t something we
can take for granted.

Climatologists have warned that without action, coffee farmers in Africa will lose their
livelihoods. So, if we want to keep enjoying that precious cup, we must ensure our coffee
is sustainably sourced.

What Will Your Cup Of Coffee Look Like In 2030?
Scott Coles, Coffee Business Executive Officer for Nestlé Central and West Africa.

Coffee farming in Africa: The continent produces 12% of the world’s coffee, with over ten million farmers across 30 countries. While demand for coffee is forecast to grow significantly, crops have been declining in Côte d’Ivoire – the largest coffee producer in West Africa.

Nestlé has been manufacturing coffee in Côte d’Ivoire for over 60 years, and we have seen
first-hand the challenges farmers are facing.

Climate change creates rising temperatures, drought, and flooding which makes coffee more difficult to grow. Under this pressure, farmers have turned to environmentally harmful practices such as deforestation and substituting old coffee trees for crops that are
easier to grow.

What Will Your Cup Of Coffee Look Like In 2030?
Amani, a female farmer from Yobouekro, Côte d’Ivoire.

The case for sustainable coffee farming and transition to regenerative agriculture: It’s not too late to reverse this decline. On a recent farm visit to the village of Yobouekro, I
saw for myself the impact climate change is having. I met with Amani Ahou, a female coffee
farmer who, until recently planned to abandon her plantation as the crop from her aged trees
had fallen to depressingly low levels.

Over the last few years, Amani has received training from Nescafé agronomists. She has learned pruning techniques, composting, and the importance of planting shade trees. She is now more upbeat about the prospect of reviving her coffee farm. ‘My plantation has rejuvenated, my old trees are starting to flower again, and are producing good coffee” she said.

It was great to see for myself how improving technical knowledge, and building stronger partnerships between farmers and industry can have a real and lasting impact on farmers like Amani.

Regenerative agricultural techniques like these play a critical role in the future of coffee farming. They will improve soil health, restore water cycles, increase biodiversity, and reduce
greenhouse gas emissions. By planting more coffee trees and encouraging greater
biodiversity, farmers can create an environment for bees, insects, and birds to thrive on their
farms. This will positively impact the ecosystem and reduce the effects of climate

The responsibility and cost for transitioning to regenerative agriculture cannot lie solely with
the farmers. It’s been 10 years since we launched the Nescafé plan, during this time we have
worked closely with farmers to improve agricultural practices, sharing our knowledge and
expertise from across the planet. The plan builds farming skills to help farmers produce higher
quality beans and achieve higher premiums, so they can support their families and contribute
meaningfully to their local communities.

However, we know there is much more to be done, which is why we are going further and
last week announced the Nescafé Plan 2030 to accelerate regenerative agriculture, reduce
greenhouse gas emissions, and improve coffee farmers’ livelihoods.

Nescafé has committed to investing over 1 billion Swiss francs globally. The aims of the plan are for 100% of our coffee to be sourced responsibly by 2025 and 20% of coffee sourced from regenerative agricultural methods by 2025 and 50% by 2030.

In Côte d’Ivoire, we are committed to supporting farmers that take on the risk and costs associated with transitioning to regenerative agriculture. We will be piloting a financial
a scheme that includes conditional cash incentives for adopting regenerative agriculture

We have a long way to go, but if the whole coffee industry in Africa supports this transition
to regenerative agriculture, we will ensure no farmer is left behind, so we can continue to
uplift lives and livelihoods with every cup we drink.

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