Oct 10, 2008

Nigeria: Cassava Growers Association Board of Trustees Inaugurated

Abubakar Sadiq Isah

USA. AllAfrica.com - Washington, Daily Trust (Abuja)
The Cassava Growers Association of Nigeria (CGAN) yesterday inaugurated its new board of trustees in Gwagwalada Area Council. An inaugural speech by the President of the association, Deacon B.S.B Adebayo, said the cassava stakeholders association was about technology developed method of cassava production, utilization, processing and marketing.

He said Nigeria is the largest producer of oil in Africa and the 6th in the world as the income per capita in Nigeria is about N300 less than 10 US dollars unlike 1974 when it was 350; US dollars. He said before oil took the center stage, agriculture was the only known source of Nigeria 's economy, as it generated food security and rapid development, observing that the present government is now confronting the problem of food insecurity in order to prevent its negative impact on the family and the economy.

He however said it is important for farmers to genuinely work together and be focused in order to create commodity association.

Chief Adebayo explained that a presidential initiative committee was inaugurated to work out how Nigeria could benefit from it maximally. The new board of trustees and the incoming members of the national executive, in collaboration with the national working committee of the cassava stakeholders association of Nigeria could be constituted.

He therefore commended the Federal Government for allocating 400 tractors with full implements to the cassava stakeholders association of Nigeria with a subsidy of 25 percent of its total cost.

While delivering his acceptance speech, the co-ordinator and Secretary, Board of Trustee of the association, Mr. Tola Ademola, said the association is devoid of not being a parastatal of any government ministry or as an opposition group to any government.

He said the association is activities would positively complement the policies of government especially as far as cassava production and utilization was concerned.

Mr. Ademola thanked the chairman and other members of the association for the confidence reposed in him for his ability to reconcile the officers and members of the association.

Also speaking, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the association, Sir, Eze Eke, said for the past three years, the association was bedeviled by in-fighting and unnecessary wranglings among its leaders and members.

He said the responsibilities of the new board members as vested in the association include reconciling factions, forming members into cooperative societies, liaising with government and interacting with research institutions.

Among the new board of trustees of the association are, Dr. (Mrs.) Sarah Jibril, as Vice Chairman andOba Abdulrasmoni. Members are, Chief Adebayo Ajayi, Chief Ubochi Osiugwe Mr. Daniel Okafor Davi Osasona and Pastor Olusola Samuel.

Mozambique: Green Revolution to Eliminate Grain Deficit


USA. AllAfrica.com - Washington.
Addressing the country's parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, in response to a request for information on food security from deputies of the ruling Frelimo Party, Nhaca said that, even before the sharp rise in world grain pries, the government "had a clear vision on the need to put food production and job creation at the top of our priorities". The current statistics on agricultural production, he said, showed that that the country only generates a surplus in two staples, maize and cassava. There is a surplus of around 75,000 tonnes of maize and 819,000 tonnes of cassava a year.

Government strategy towards agriculture is to eliminate the need to import rice and potatoes, and slash imports of wheat, declared Agriculture Minister Soares Nhaca on Wednesday.

Addressing the country's parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, in response to a request for information on food security from deputies of the ruling Frelimo Party, Nhaca said that, even before the sharp rise in world grain pries, the government "had a clear vision on the need to put food production and job creation at the top of our priorities". The current statistics on agricultural production, he said, showed that that the country only generates a surplus in two staples, maize and cassava. There is a surplus of around 75,000 tonnes of maize and 819,000 tonnes of cassava a year.

But there is an annual deficit of 316,000 tonnes of rice, 467,000 tonnes of wheat, 169,300 tonnes of potatoes, 24,000 tonnes of chicken and 54,000 tonnes of fisheries produce.

The "Green Revolution" the government speaks of is designed to eliminate these deficits, said Nhaca, and has been condensed into a Food Production Action Plan, covering the period 2008-2011.

A key target is to reduce rice imports to just 21,000 tonnes a year by the 2010/11 agricultural year "which means that the country will import only three per cent of its rice consumption requirements", he said.

As for wheat, the target is to reduce imports by 30 per cent. This can be done by raising domestic wheat production from a planned 21,300 tonnes in the 2008.9 agricultural year to 97,000 tones in the 2011 harvest. Until this year, wheat has only been grown in Tsangano district, in the western province of Tete. But for the first time wheat is also being harvested in Manica, Sussundenga and Barue districts in Manica province, in Chokwe in Gaza, and in Manhica in Maputo.

"Because of its strategic importance, the government intends to expand wheat production in all districts or areas in the country which have the proven agro-ecological potential for wheat", said Nhaca. There were also encouraging results from tests in producing bread from a mixture of wheat and cassava flour rather than solely from wheat.

The minister added that the government hopes to greatly increase the country's maize surplus. By 2011 there should be a surplus of 329,000 tonnes of maize available for export.

All this depends on ensuring that new varieties of seeds "more productive, and adapted to local agro-climatic conditions" are available for Mozambican farmers, said Nhaca, and on improved management of water available for irrigation.

The government would also stimulate the use of animal traction, to increase the areas under cultivation, and would "strengthen the institutional capacity of the state to prevent and control the main pests and plant diseases so as to ensure that, alongside increased production, the necessary conditions are created for due protection against eventual economic losses".

The government would also ensure that surpluses could be moved from the areas of production and stored. Grains silos for a food reserve are being constructed this year in five fertile agricultural areas in northern and central Mozambique.

As for mechanization of agriculture, Nhaca said that 50 tractors, all equipped with ploughs and trailers have been acquired and are low being distributed. A further 110 tractors will arrive in the first half of 2009. An agreement has been reached under which the supplying companies will guarantee training of tractor drivers, and maintenance of the equipment.

Currently the state only employs 590 rural extensionists. Nhaca said that a further 185 are being recruited, and the number of peasant families assisted by the extensionists should rise from 285,000 to around 500,000. He expected that this will lead to a considerable increase in yields per hectare.

Nhaca pledged that the government will crack down on people who have acquired title to large areas of land but are not using it. A national course for land inspectors will be held this month, and the inspectors will then check whether the individuals or companies who acquired land are complying with the land use plans that they submitted. Those who are not may find their land titles cancelled.

In the ensuing debate, while Frelimo deputies praised the government's commitment to increased food production, members of the Renamo-Electoral Union opposition coalition poured scorn on the "Green Revolution" as just another slogan.

As usual in these debates, the most extreme position was taken by Renamo deputy Luis Boavida who repeatedly called the executive "a government of thieves, corrupt individuals and looters of the state". He claimed that Mozambique's food problems had nothing to do with any international crisis, but was caused by alleged theft and corruption.

Boavida pointed to surplus crops in parts of his home province of Zambezia "while people are dying of hunger in Gaza". In fact, no hunger deaths have been reported from Gaza, in the south, and Boavida did not suggest how maize surpluses could be moved from Alto Molocue in upper Zambezia to the arid Gaza interior, a distance of almost a thousand kilometres.

Boavida also revived a very old Renamo demand - namely that the state should stop Zambezia farmers from selling their grain to Malawians. Given the porous nature of the border with Malawi, even if the government did decide to outlaw the cross-border trade in grain, this would be completely impossible to enforce. In fact, the government has for many years taken the view that peasant farmers are free to sell their grain to whoever they choose.

A much more moderate line was taken by a second Renamo deputy, Ismael Mussa, who queried whether there is enough water available for a green revolution, particularly in the southern provinces.

Culinary courier

Columbus' historic voyages changed the world's menu

By Bill Daley

UNITED STATES. Chicago Tribune, October 8, 2008

In honor of Columbus Day, we celebrate the New World's culinary treasures in a special section. What if Christopher Columbus had missed the New World? For those of us whose families hailed from outside the Americas that would have meant, among other things, no ketchup, no chocolate bars, no potato chips, not even green bean almondine. Whether that would have been for good or ill is, like the impact of Columbus' voyages, still open to debate among culinarians and historians. There can be no argument that the arrival of the grand "Admiral of the Ocean Sea" in the Bahamas on Oct. 12, 1492, sparked a food migration of unprecedented global scale. Plants and animals of the New World were carried off to the Old and vice versa.

The Genovese seafarer never found the gold, spices and pearls of the fabled East he was looking for but, instead, he found treasures of another sort: haricot beans, corn, chili peppers, cassava, guava, papaya and pineapple.

What happened next is called the "Columbian Exchange." It continues to affect what you eat every day, from the venerable all-American recipes handed down from your grandmother to the latest in high-tech fusion foods served up at the world's best restaurants.

Columbus' voyages, and those of the explorers, plunderers and adventurers who followed, distributed the foods of the New World around the globe, revolutionizing diets, fostering population growth and creating new economic markets.

Thanks to this movement, tomatoes eventually turned up in Italy, potatoes populated Ireland and chili peppers sprang forth in China's Sichuan province. Conversely, the migration put the pork in the Mexican taco al pastor, turned fried chicken into the South's Sunday sacrament and led to that special entity known as the Chicago steakhouse.

The initial flurry of exchanges happened breathtakingly fast, as Raymond Sokolov explained in his book, "Why We Eat What We Eat: How Columbus Changed the Way the World Eats."

"Within 50 years the Spanish had established full-scale European agriculture in the West Indies, Mexico, Peru and the Caribbean coast of South America," Sokolov wrote. "The Spanish had also opened a regular trade with China from their base in the Philippines. Food and food ideas flowed freely between Seville and Asia on the same ships that carried goods from China and the Americas to Europe and on the return trip brought European necessities for the colonists."

New World foods advanced on multiple fronts. Take the humble chili, which Columbus brought back as a "substitute" for the valuable black peppercorns Europe so desired. It is said that chilies were introduced into Hungary by the nearby Bulgarians, who got them from the Turks, who in turn got the peppers from Portuguese traders. The chilies were turned into the famous Hungarian spice, paprika. Meanwhile, chilies had made it to remote Nepal by 1629 from plants grown in the East Indies, according to Waverley Root's "Food: An Authoritative Visual History and Dictionary of the Foods of the World." At the same time, peppers were migrating inward from the ports of China to the provinces of Sichuan and Hunan. As Fuchsia Dunlop notes in her Sichuan cookbook, "Land of Plenty," chilies there are still called hai jiao, or "sea pepper," to denote their foreign origin.

Some of the new foods were luxurious curiosities. The pineapple was so prized that Charles II was famously painted in 1675 receiving the first fruit grown in England. Pope Clement VII was the lucky recipient of New World beans in 1528. A member of the Medici family, the pontiff sent the beans off to his hometown of Florence. Root notes that cultivation spread through the region and the Tuscans were soon being called mangiafagiol, or "bean eaters," by other Italians far less sold on this newfangled crop from the Americas.

Key to acceptance of these new foods was often some sense of familiarity, said Sandy Oliver, editor and publisher of "Food History News."

"It has to do with, in part, our adaptive nature and it also has to do with where the food fits in the cuisine," Oliver said. "In other words, it's hard to get a food to catch on if there isn't something about it that seems familiar to the people who are adapting it.

"The tomato is a good example of a vegetable that took a while to catch on. It baffled people. Potatoes were easy because people ate root vegetables. Everyone knew a bean when they saw it. Corn, when ground into a grain, acts like other grains. It took a while to figure out how to work with tomatoes. If you were in Northern Europe, tomatoes were a big pain in the butt. If you couldn't get them to ripen, it was just wasted space in the garden."

Yet, when the tomato finally caught on, it became a cultural and culinary icon, first in Europe and then, thanks to Immigration, in North America.

A number of the New World plants, like tomatoes, took root so deeply in the soils of the Old World that many people are surprised now to learn these European staples originated in the Americas.

Further blurring the line of origin was the constant movement of goods and people, enslaved and free, across the world's oceans. Foods from the Americas were often reintroduced elsewhere in the New World and, thanks to breeding and hybridizing, these foods sometimes came in different forms or had different uses.

The potato, for example, was shipped from the Peruvian highlands to Europe in the 16th Century and ended up in North America sometime in the late 17th Century. Peanuts followed a similar route, from South America to Africa to North America. Cassava became a beloved staple crop in Africa while turning into that oft-dreaded dessert, tapioca pudding, here in the United States.

"It's a combination of people taking things with them, both plants and animals, and using the ideas in their heads and the skills in their hands," said food historian Barbara Wheaton, the honorary curator of the culinary collection at Radcliffe Institute's Schlesinger Library in Cambridge, Mass.

"If they saw a new foodstuff it took a while for them to figure out what to do with it. If it looked like something they knew, say, green beans look like asparagus, they'd cook it like asparagus."

She said a new food's popularity often revolved around the questions of flavor and health. She points to what happened to chocolate after the conquistadors invaded what is now known as Mexico.

"Virtually all the early literature of chocolate is concerned about whether it was good for you or bad for you, and could you drink chocolate before communion?" she said.

Sokolov notes that before Columbus, Europeans ate much the same food; the so-called "national" cuisines of Europe evolved in no small part by New World foods.

"The French, Italian and Spanish food 'traditions' we now think of as primeval all sprang up relatively recently and would be unrecognizable without the American foods sent across the water, mostly in Spanish boats," he wrote.


Related links

Pecan: Love it or leave it, it's a distinctive nut
Corn: Amazing maize travels the world
Squash: A triumph after a mistaken identity
Cranberry: Tiny berry packs powerful punch
Sweet potato: Centuries of sweet nutrition
Tomato: The well-traveled orb's adventures around the world
Chilies: Columbus performs the old switcheroo
Potato: A tuber with staying power
Chocolate: The food we hold sacred
Good Eating: The Columbian Exchange
The American larder

Govt Partners Chinese Firm for $115m Ethanol Factory


NIGERIA. THISDAY - Apapa,Lagos,Nigeria Oct.9, 2008

Taraba State government has signed an agreement with a Chinese firm, A-Dinota Ventures Ltd, to establish a $115 million ethanol factory in the state. Addressing government officials during the signing of the agreement at the executive chamber of Government House, Jalingo, a representative of the Cassava Agro Industries Service, Mr Boma Anga, said the factory is an integrated ethanol plant that could produce 200,000 litres of fuel ethanol, 100 tons of cassava flour, 50 tons of liquid Co2 and 600,000 litres of bio fertilizers daily.

Through its policy of Public Private Partnership (PPP), the state government is expected to provide land and $70 million sovereign guarantee required by the company for importation of the processing equipment from China. The state shall be a beneficial part owner of the company and will receive 15 per cent holding of the paid up share capital, which will be distributed between the host community, local and state government equally.

When completed, the factory is expected to produce 54 million litres of fuel ethanol, 30,000 metric tons of cassava flour, 15,000 metric tons of Co2, 60,000 metric tons of bio fertilizer, 120,000 metric tons of animal feed ingredients, 1606 mega watts of electricity and 300,000 tons of fresh cassava roots annually.
The company also intended to sell a minimum of 10 per cent of its output to the host communities as a cleaner and cheaper household fuel, to replace Kerosene for cooking and is expected to create employment for about 30,000 people.

Responding, the Consulting Adviser to the state government, Engineer Aniaoglu Kizito, charged the firm to ensure that the project is successfully implemented.
Secretary to the state government, Barrister Ibrahim El-Sudi, thanked the company for choosen the state for the establishment of the factory, which is first of its kind in West Africa.

Cassava - Google News