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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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Kigezi In Famine Scare After Drought Hits The Region



Farmers in Rubanda district are living in fear that they may be hit by famine due to the prolonged drought that has greatly affected the area. This comes after the area was hit by heavy rains in the month of May 2023, which left most of the gardens washed away, and since then the dry season has started up to date.

This is the first of its kind for Rubanda district and Kigezi at large to undergo such a prolonged drought.

According to farmers, this is the first of its kind for Rubanda to go through a long drought, adding that they are in fear that they may be hit by famine since they were used to receiving rains at the beginning of August, which is not the case this year. They add that even the seedlings that they had planted excepting that the rains would come have all dried up by the long spell.

Farmers also say that they don’t know what could be the cause that has stopped the rains,adding that the government should come up with a program that provides them with seedlings.

Akampurira Prossy Mbabazi, a woman Member of Parliament for Rubanda District, says that the issue of drought is not only in Rubanda District; however, this is the first of its kind. She adds that the drought comes after the area was hit by heavy rains, which caused a lot of challenges, adding that now it is the drought that may affect the farmers.

Akampurira further says that, as a leader,she will continue to educate farmers on better methods of farming depending on climate change.

Kikafunda Evelyne, founder of Green Environment Promotion (GEP), says it’s sad that farmers in Rubanda district and Kigezi at large are experiencing a long drought. She attributes it to problems of environmental degradation that include swamps being reclaimed, deforestation, and plastic pollution, adding that this is an indication that people don’t mind about the environment.

Kikafunda calls upon all people to take part in protecting the environment, adding that environmentalists should devise means on how to protect the environment.

It’s now been four months since it last rained in the districts of greater Kabale, that is, Rubanda, Kabale, and Rukiga districts, as well as other parts of the Kigezi Subregion.


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Ban GMOs in Africa, farmers urge govts



A cross section of residents from the oil-rich Albertine Region have petitioned African heads of state to ban genetically modified organism (GMOs) and crops across the continent to save Africa’s indigenous crops and animal species from extinction.

The August 26, petition addressed to President William Ruto of Kenya, the Chairperson of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change, asks African heads of states who are meeting this week for Africa Climate Dialogue to pass strong resolutions to ban GMOs.

Africa Climate Dialogue kicks off today in Nairobi, Kenya under the theme “Driving green growth and climate finance solutions for Africa and the World.”

Co-hosted by the Kenya and the African Union Commission, it brings together heads of state and Government, policymakers, civil society organisations, the private sector, multilateral institutions and the youth to design and catalyse actions and solutions for climate change in Africa.

The petitioners under the Uganda Oil Refinery Residents, have made a raft of recommendations including passing a strong resolution to immediately ban the use and promotion of GMO products in African countries, a resolution for promotion of indigenous species of plant seeds and animals in all African states and another resolution to increase budget allocation for agriculture with focus on research in preservation and conservation of indigenous species of plants and animals in Africa.

“This will contribute to knowledge sharing and awareness creation on the relevance of indigenous species as a response to climate change,” the petition recommends, adding: “Lastly, pass resolution to integrate indigenous agriculture practices in education curriculum in some relevant subjects like agriculture and biology in all African countries. This will enable preservation and increased knowledge among the young people on the need to preserve and promote indigenous species.”

The petitioners, drawn from Kabaale and Busheruka sub-counties in Hoima District Uganda where there are planned oil refineries and other infrastructure, say GMOs present a number of risks and their introduction onto the continent could have a huge negative impact on food security, indigenous crops and organisms, health risks and associated problems.

The petitioners say while different African states have made a number of policies, laws and commitments regarding climate change, including integrating the aspect of climate justice into their different state legislations, as a grass root community whose livelihood entirely depends on agriculture, they still believe that leaders have not done enough to respond to these calamities.

“The major concern is about the use and promotion of genetically modified organisms [for both plants and animals] in Africa.

Uganda, whose backbone is agriculture, once known for its indigenous plants and animals now faces many difficulties in dealing with these invasive species. Maintenance and management strategies of these species require a lot of capital in terms of purchasing inputs such as fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides, among others,” the petition reads in part.

The petitioners say with the worsening climate change, the introduction of one season fast maturing plants has made it difficult for farmers to plan. They argue that GMOs, which they claim are invasive species onto the continent, cannot withstand climate change and weather vagaries and therefore increase food insecurity on the continent.

“As earlier stated, these species require many inputs in terms of chemicals like fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides, processed feeds, and vaccines, among others that are all expensive for the ordinary African farmers,” they add in the petition.

The petitioners also contend that in Africa, more than 85 percent of grass root communities heavily rely on rain-fed agriculture and that the ‘invasive species’ are not resistant and not compatible with the local environmental conditions.

“As such, they require effective irrigation as an alternative, which is extremely expensive for grass root communities. Whereas these GMOs were initially introduced as a solution to enhance agricultural productivity and food security, there has been a concerning trend of a financial strain on communities due to the high costs associated with these invasive species,” the petition states.

“Buying seasonal seeds for planting and agricultural inputs to manage these species among others is not sustainable and oftentimes leads to significant drain of limited financial resources within the communities. The local farmers are often compelled to divert funds from other essential needs such as education, healthcare and basic infrastructure development,” the petition adds.

They also say there is an increased outbreak of pests and disease, which is attributed to the increase in temperatures caused by the changing climate. Unfortunately, they say, GMOs are prone to attack by these pests and diseases.

They also say the GMOs present huge health risks to the local communities, who are illiterate and do not understand the precautions to follow while using these pesticides and herbicides.

This, according to the petition, exposes the users to high risks of contracting diseases through ingestion, inhalation, or skin contact that can lead to acute and chronic health related issues.

“These include respiratory diseases, skin irritations, neurological disorders, and even certain types of cancers in the end. Most grass root women are also worried about the consumption of these genetically modified organisms since they are mainly treated with chemicals; others are injected with hormones to increase their shelf-life spans,” the petition states.

Source: Daily Monitor

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NEBBI: Livestock disease kills 14,000 goats



Nebbi, Uganda. The Nebbi district veterinary department is struggling to contain an outbreak of the Contagious Caprine Pleuropneumonia (CCPP), a disease which is highly fatal in cattle and other hoofed animals.

At least 14,650 goats have died and 53,397 goats have been infected following the outbreak of the disease which was first reported in 2022.

According to the local authorities, the disease has since spread to a cross all the sub counties like Erussi, Nebbi ,Alala Jupangira Atego ,Ndhew and Kucwiny as well as Nebbi Municipality.

Moreen Awekonimungu, a livestock farmer in Nebbi Municipality says that she has so far lost three goats since the outbreak was reported a year ago. She further notes that an infected animal dies within two weeks after presenting with signs and symptoms of the disease.

The Contagious Caprine Pleuropneumonia (CCPP) is an infectious disease caused by mycoplasmas and it mostly affects ruminants.

The diseases are transmitted through direct contact and inhalation of droplets from infected animals. Symptoms include fever, nasal discharge, coughing, difficult respiration, edema, and lung tissue abnormalities.

Emmauel Ongeitho, the Nebbi Municipality assistant veterinary officer blames the persistence of the diseases on the poor attitude of farmers against vaccination of their livestock. According to Ongeitho several farmers shunned the mass vaccination exercise which resulted in a spike in livestock deaths.

According to Dr. William Abedkane, the principal veterinary Officer for Nebbi district, the outbreak which started last year has been killing goats silently since farmers are hesitant to report the cases to the veterinary officers in their respective sub counties.

Abedkane further appealed to farmers to pay attention to animal health just like they do with their own health.

According to information from the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), the outbreak of Contagious Caprine Pleuropneumonia (CCPP disease was first confirmed in Uganda in 1995 in Karamoja region.

Original Source: URA Via The Independent.

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