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African Agriculture on a mission to boost global food production.



African Agriculture on a mission to boost global food production

African Agriculture Inc. (AAGR), a New York-based Africa-focused company, is on a journey to deliver protein to the world through the enhancement of cattle feed via high nutrition content and fiber alfalfa production, the responsible environmental and employment management of Africa’s abundant coastline, and the deployment of cash flow ultimately into a global program of carbon offsets.

With capital in a very strong asset provided by the founder and majority investor, Frank Timis, the company’s wholly owned subsidiary, Les Fermes de la Teranga (LFT), is developing a commercial farming business in Northern Senegal that will initially focus on producing and selling alfalfa for cattle feed and nutrition purposes. Over the next two to three years, the company plans to largely develop 62,000 acres of land located at LFT and also aims to expand within Senegal, Niger, and potentially to other West African countries.

“Protein is a necessary component of every diet. It is necessary for children to develop their brain power and for bone development. So, we want to make sure there is a balance of protein in every aspect of service to the world’s what would be close to 10 billion people by the middle part of the century,” Alan Kessler, Chairman and CEO, African Agriculture, said in an interview last October.

“So, we will be producing alfalfa as our first crop in African Agriculture. Alfalfa provides protein to livestock and cattle necessarily for beef production, dairy product production, which will feed into the making of other products. Additionally, it can be used as a biofuel. So, we think we can really drive protein access both domestically and also potentially for export of what we produce. Our next strategy also involves the production of fish. That will help serve protein directly to the local communities and also potentially for export,” said Kessler, a former investment banker and investment researcher with extensive emerging market investment experience.

Currently, African Agriculture is seeking to raise capital through an initial public offering (IPO). It has filed for an IPO with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, with Spartan Capital Securities as the sole underwriter for the IPO. It did not, however, disclose the amount it expects to raise nor an expected price range for its IPO.

The principal purposes of the initial public offering, according to the management of African Agriculture, are to fund their program of incremental planting expansion of 10,000 hectares at the LFT Farm, which they expect to occur in 2022 with approximately 50 hectares seeded on a daily basis.

The management said they intend to use approximately $9,500,000 of the net proceeds from the offering, together with their existing cash and cash equivalents, to prepare the pivots, irrigation, all farming operations, machinery and infrastructure necessary to complete such expansion, which based on average yield expectations would produce approximately 250,000 tons per year.

“We currently intend to use approximately $18,000,000 of the net proceeds from this offering for phytosanitary products, including Soil treatment, Potassium, Gypsum, Seeds, Fertilizer, payment of salaries and personnel for two years and D&O, Crop and Workers Compensation insurance for two years,” the management said.

“Additionally, we currently intend to use approximately $650,000 of the net proceeds of the offering to conduct feasibility studies for potential new businesses including approximately $50,000 for aquaculture, $300,000 for carbon credit and reforestation programs and $300,000 for biofuel from algae.

“We intend to use the balance of proceeds for ongoing operating expenses and other general corporate uses.”

The outlook for alfalfa is positive, according to a 2021 market research report by Fortune Business Insights, which puts the global market for alfalfa at an estimated $19.9 billion in 2020, with a projection to reach $35.2 billion by 2028 on the back of growing cattle production and the use of more nutritionally balanced feed products.

The demand for food and sources of protein will continue to rise on the projected increase in the world’s population to about 9.7 billion by 2050. Already, the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict is piling pressure on food supply. Dana Peterson, in an Op-ed for CNN Business Perspectives published April 9, 2022, points to how sanctions, import bans, destruction of infrastructure, a refuge crisis, and supply chain disruptions due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict are stoking global food prices and risking shortages, paving the way potentially for greater food insecurity around the world.

“The war in Ukraine is seriously disrupting production and exports of grain to vulnerable countries. Not only is it making farming in Ukraine more difficult, but sanctions are disrupting logistics for producing things like fertilizer,” Peterson writes.

Russia and Ukraine together supply a large chunk of the world’s grains – almost one third of its wheat, a quarter of its barley – and nearly three-quarters of its sunflower oil, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute. Apart from being used in the production of breakfast cereal, bread, pasta and corn syrup, the grains also provide feed for animal stocks. The disruption in the supply of these grains will continue to drive up prices of proteins, like chicken or pork.

But with African Agriculture’s investment in alfalfa production beginning in Senegal, with planned expansion into other high margin food product categories in the West African region, the company is well positioned to make a significant contribution to global food and protein security whilst delivering significant value for its shareholders.

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National Coffee Forum Petitions Parliament Over UCDA Merger



Coffee stakeholders through National Coffee Forum say UCDA merger will disrupt the coffee sub-sector. Coffee is one of the leading sources of foreign exchange for Uganda

Coffee stakeholders through the National Coffee Forum – Uganda (NCF – UG) has petitioned Parliament through the Speaker over the proposed mainstreaming of Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) into Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF)

The government plans to merge a number of Agencies to the line Ministries in a move aimed at saving about Shs1 trillion annually. If the move succeeds, UCDA will be taken to MAAIF.

However, coffee stakeholders through NCF – UG say that they find the proposal to take UCDA to MAAIF untenable and detrimental to the coffee sub-sector.

NCF-UG is a private foundation whose membership includes farmers, processors, exporters, roasters, brewers and researchers, among others.

The Forum Chairperson Francis Wakabi says that mainstreaming the entity will negatively affect the achievements Uganda has attained in coffee production and export.

“This decision will negatively affect our access to the international market and will stunt Uganda’s economic growth opportunities by distorting the functions of UCDA that have stabilized the industry over the years,” said Wakabi in a petition dated February 21, 2024. The petition was copied in to the Chairperson of Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries as well as all MPs.

He adds that Uganda should not risk its achievements by tampering with UDCA that is the main contributor to our coffee success story.

“Mainstreaming it would therefore disrupt the many livelihoods that depend on the industry and adversely affect the badly needed foreign exchange for the country,” the petition reads in part.

As a result of UCDA coffee regulation, Wakabi says that Uganda’s competitiveness was elevated on the global market, ensuring high quality Uganda coffee and enabling Uganda’s coffee to displace that of Brazil and India in Italy and UK coffee markets.

“… World over, coffee is supervised and regulated by a specialized body like UCDA for purposes of institutional memory and specialized focus. Experience from Ethiopia and Kenya who disbanded their specialized coffee authorities and mainstreamed them back into the relevant ministries had to reverse their decisions after registering negative outcomes,” said Wakabi.

The Forum further says that the European Union (EU) buys over 60% of Uganda coffee, making it the biggest market for Uganda.

“The EU has introduced a new regulation called the EU deforestation regulations (EUDR) which bans export of coffee from deforested land, taking effect from 2025. This calls for farmer traceability and the EU commission in Uganda is already working with UCDA to implement the said regulations. They require a country to constantly monitor deforested areas and map all the farmers for purposes of implementation of the farmer traceability program to maintain a high standard of quality. It was reported that Uganda has achieved most of the requirements under the EUDR and required a few steps to be declared compliant. Monitoring and implementing the scheme for the millions of farmers is a tedious activity which requires a specialized unit that can be best implemented using the already established structures of UCDA. Disrupting the current UCDA structure will not only halt the progress made in achieving compliance, but also risk reversing the gains made,” added Wakabi.

He avers that UCDA has been able to greatly contribute to Uganda’s improved Coffee quality through implementation of programs such as certification of Coffee nurseries to ensure quality of planting materials, Provision of Coffee specific extension services and agronomy to improve production and productivity, Provision of technical expertise in Coffee rehabilitation, post-harvest handling practices and pest and disease management and provision of coffee processing equipment like wet mills to farmers and cooperatives to improve quality and promote value addition. The coffee stakeholders are worried that once UCDA is taken to MAAIF which is loaded with many crops and projects, coffee, a key source of foreign exchange for Uganda may not get the necessary priority. Coffee stakeholders argue that if indeed Parliament is a people-centred institution, it should listen to the views of farmers and other stakeholders and retain UCDA as a semi-autonomous agency.

“Given the above position with the attendant reasons, the NCF advises that the proposed mainstreaming of UCDA into MAAIF should not be implemented and that the proposed Bill No. 30 (part VII) be dropped in order not to disrupt the industry and the progress made under the stewardship of UCDA. All coffee stakeholders are unanimously in agreement with this position,” reads the petition in part.


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Govt to import 10 million vaccines to control cattle disease



Entebbe, Uganda.  Government is set to import 10 million doses of vaccines to enable scaling up of ring vaccination as the fight to eradicate Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in Ugandan cattle enters a new phase.

Cabinet chaired by President Yoweri Museveni on Monday also proposed that once ring vaccination is complete, farmers start paying for the FMD vaccines in a compulsory vaccination scheme, and thereafter, trade in animal products, will be restricted to those adhering to the plan.

Minister of Agriculture, Animal industry and Fishers Frank Tumwebazwe on Monday shared the resolutions after Cabinet laid out strategies to contain the disease that has hit 36 districts.

Cabinet agreed to create a revolving fund to enable procurement of sufficient FMD vaccines to facilitate compulsory bi-annual vaccination of the susceptible domestic animal population. It also approved a plan for farmers to pay for the vaccines while government covers other costs.

“Vaccination is to be made compulsory. Proof of vaccination will be a precondition for any farmer to sell any animal products,” said Minister Tumwebazwe.

“I appeal to fellow livestock farmers and stakeholders to understand and appreciate these effort as we steadily move to eradicate FMD in Uganda just like other animal diesases like rinderpest wre eradicated.”

Ntoroko veterinary disease surveillance team conducting FMD surveillance and sample collection

The 36 districts currently affected and under quarantine are Budaka, Bukedea, Bukomansimbi, Bunyangabu, Butaleja, Fortportal City, Gomba, Ibanda, Isingiro, Kabarole, Kasanda, Kayunga, Kazo, Kiboga, Kibuku, Kiruhura, Kumi, Kyankwanzi, Kyegegwa, Kyotera, Luuka, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Mbarara, Mbarara City, Mityana, Mpigi, Mubende, Nakaseke, Nakasongola, Namisindwa, Ngora, Ntungamo, Rakai, Rwampara and Sembabule.

All districts neighboring the affected districts are at high risk, under strict surveillance, and the authorities have been advised to remain vigilant.

These include Apac, Amolatar, Bugiri, Bushenyi, Butaleja, Hoima, Iganga, Jinja, Kabale, Kaberamaido, Kaliro, Kamuli, Kamwenge, Katakwi, Kasese, Kibaale, Kiboga, Kyenjojo, Mbale, Masindi, Mayuge, Mukono, Namalemba, Nakapiripirit,
Palisa, Rukungiri, Sironko, Wakiso and Soroti.

Tumwebaze assured farmers that in the next one or two months, his Ministry expects to receive and dispatch 2.3 million doses of the FMD vaccine to the affected and susceptible districts for ring vaccination scale-up.

He told parliament earlier that as a way of increasing availability of Foot and Mouth Disease vaccines in the country,
Uganda’s National Agiculture Research Organisation (NARO) has started the process of formulating and developing an FMD vaccine for Uganda.

Source: The independent

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Farmers losing Shs4 trillion due to livestock diseases



ScienceDirect has revealed that farmers in Uganda lose more than $1.1b (Shs4.1 trillion) in aggregated annual direct and indirect loss due to the rising spread of tick-borne animal challenges, with the commonest and economically damaging tick-borne disease being the East Coast Fever.

The livestock industry in Uganda and its productivity continue to be threatened by a number of diseases many of which are tick-borne related.

This, Dr Anna Rose Ademun, the Ministry of Agriculture commissioner animal health, said results from arcaricides that have become resistant, thus the need to ensure collaboration and get solutions to the problem.

“There are ongoing efforts by the Agriculture Ministry, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation to support diagnosis of tick resistance to acaricides at regional laboratory centres but this is not enough,” she said during the livestock industry key stakeholders meeting in Kampala, which had been convened to discuss and prioritise areas for tick control.

The stakeholders included veterinarians, extension staff, farmers, processors and government representatives.

Ministry of Agriculture is already working on the Managing Animal Health and Acaricides for a Better Africa Initiative, which seeks to, among others, provide sustainable solutions to enable small-scale farmers maximise the potential of their cattle by developing and practicing methods that can successfully manage tick infections in cattle.

During the meeting, the TickAcademy App, which will support farmers in managing tick infestations was also pre-launched.

By the end of January, farmers and extension workers will be able to access the app’s educational content, which includes simple-to-watch films, to help them become knowledgeable about tick control.

Mr Enrique Hernández Pando, the GALVmed head of commercial development and impact, said the Managing Animal Health and Acaricides for a Better Africa Initiative will be important in tackling acaricide resistance challenges as well as help farmers and animal health officers to access creative methods of addressing the problem of acaricide resistance.

During the meeting, stakeholders jointly agree to train and sensitise field staff and farmers about tick management strategies that work, as well as strengthen the diagnostic infrastructure and testing capabilities for tick resistance and other animal health-related concerns.

Others will involve making it easier for farmers to obtain credit from savings institutions run by farmer groups at a reasonable cost so they may purchase specialized equipment for applying pesticides.

Mr Nishal Gunpath, the Elanco Animal Health country director south and sub-Saharan Africa, said they will support the Initiative to drive livestock in a better direction, noting that it will also help small-scale livestock farmers to maximise their potential.

Original Source: Daily Monitor

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