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IBM Supports African Agricultural Start-ups through Digital4Agriculture Initiative

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IBM on Tuesday announced that it is supporting the Digital4Agriculture Initiative (D4Ag), which aims to foster African start-ups in the agricultural sector and strengthen the long-term living conditions of local small farmers by increasing productivity and quality.

With the help of digital expertise from IBM Services and access to accurate weather data provided by IBM’s The Weather Company, D4Ag has successfully launched and is helping over 36 African agricultural companies become better prepared for the digital future.

Reliable weather forecasts are very difficult to make for Africa’s agricultural industry due to IT infrastructure unavailability.

Small agricultural enterprises not only lack internet access and suitable hardware, but existing data is often unreliable or difficult to process.

By making high-resolution weather data available to agricultural start-ups, DG4Ag is providing valuable information to small farmers that can help them make important decisions with greater confidence.

For example, historical weather data from a tea plantation served as training material and showed how data analysis can be used to increase yields, as well as to determine the best time to harvest or the optimal use of fertilisers or pest control.

“We want to help local start-ups to reach more customers and develop new markets.
“To this end, we provide them with basic knowledge in the areas of data analytics, interoperability and business modelling, said Desiree Winges, consultant at Make-IT in Africa and responsible for D4Ag.

”We also want to promote cooperation between start-ups and platform operators to fully exploit the opportunities of the digital world.”

On behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) is implementing the D4Ag program within the framework of the project “Make-IT in Africa”.

This project is designed to promote the start-up scene in the digital sector of developing and emerging countries together with (primarily) European technology companies, start-ups, associations, research & science and non-governmental organizations. IBM joined the Make-IT Alliance in 2017 as part of its #GoodTechIBM program.

“Small farmers are the backbone of Africa’s food supply and their success and quality of life depends upon having reliable weather forecast data and insights,” said Florian Scheil, Account Executive Public Sector, IBM.

“We’re proud to provide African farmers with weather information and services access to help them better manage and improve their crop production.”

Three-stage training expands skills of agricultural start-ups

Experts from GIZ and IBM Services have been working together on the project for about three years and have developed a digital coaching concept for start-ups offering agricultural services to African farmers.

The high-resolution weather data, which serves as a basis, is provided by The Weather Company.

To achieve this, IBM Services and GIZ have created a three-stage, interactive training concept consisting of individual e-learning, workshops on business modelling, interoperability and data analytics and detailed materials with tips and suggestions for future projects.

The virtual training lasted several weeks and showed the participants how to use high-resolution weather data and up-to-date alerts to help smallholders grow their products more sustainably and healthily.

Reading tea leaves in the digital age

In the workshop, participants were able to analyse historical data about a tea plantation – crop size, temperature, rainfall, etc. – and determine whether there is, for example, a correlation between weather conditions and yields.

“The next step was to use the results for the future. If you discover a pattern, you can plan future harvest phases accordingly and thus increase yields in the long term,” explains Silas Macharia, trainer at D4Ag’s Capacity Development Workshop.

Overall, the use of weather data can make our food healthier: if a farmer adapts the use of fertilisers to the weather, he can reduce the amount of fertiliser needed.

Consumers benefit from healthy products, while farmers can get a better price for high quality products. This can be tracked – right up to the supermarket shelf – by block-chain-based platforms such as FoodTrust.

Access to information from the industry enables start-ups to establish themselves successfully on the market in the long term, thus ensuring more jobs in the region and stable growth.

In the first edition of the training sessions, more than 36 start-ups from 13 countries such as Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Zimbabwe in Africa took part. The participants overwhelmingly realized a positive outcome and look optimistically into the future.

“This course came at exactly the right time for my company. We are currently considering integration into a larger digital platform and this week has really opened my eyes,” says Fred Zamblé of Seekewa, an Agrifintech that identifies promising agricultural projects and promotes them with the help of third parties.

 

 


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University. Dear Reader, Your support matters. But we believe that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. That is why, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and finance and how they affect lives. Our incisive and analytical view of how technology news affects the daily life help individuals and organizations make up their minds. Quality journalism costs money. Today, we're asking that you support us to do more. Kindly support our effort to deliver technology and finance journalism to everyone in the world. Donate as little as N1,000. Bank transfers can be made to: UBA Plc 1017156876 Communication Week Media Ltd

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FG, World Bank Plans 3.5m Electricity Meters Roll out

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The Federal Government Monday, said it has had discussions with the World Bank on plans to roll out 3.5 million electricity meters to support the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, NESI.

A statement by the Director, Information and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mohammed Manga said the government at a meeting with a delegation from the World Bank reaffirmed its commitment to driving economic growth and development through a strategic partnership with the World Bank to boost power sector investment.

At the meeting with World Bank delegates, led by Dr. Ndiamé Diop, Country Director for Nigeria, and Ms. Olu Verheijen, Special Adviser to the President on Energy, in Abuja, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr Wale Edun, reaffirmed President Bola Ahmed Tinubu Administration’s commitment to repositioning the economy for the future of Nigeria.

“In its renewed determination to drive economic growth and development in the country, the Federal Government has continued to engage with relevant stakeholders with a view to boosting power sector investment as a major priority area for achieving the desired objective”, the statement added.

He stated that the meeting was held to discuss innovative ways to drive Nigeria’s power sector forward

Edun informed that the meeting focused on World Bank-supported initiatives, including the Power Sector Recovery Operation, PSRO, and the Distribution Sector Recovery Programme, DISREP, aimed at improving power distribution and management systems in order to ensure economic growth and development in the nation.

The Ministry listed key highlights from the meeting to include: Plans to roll out 3.5 million meters to enhance power distribution; $50 million funding for state solar plant pilots and infrastructure upgrades; Measures to support tariff frameworks, market reforms, and co-financing the Transmission Company of Nigeria’s Performance Improvement Plan.

The government said the collaboration “aims at strengthening Nigeria’s power sector, enhancing energy access, promoting economic growth and development, improving job creation as well as poverty alleviation in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of the present administration”.


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Police Suspends eMotor Registry Enforcement Following Outcries

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Kayode Egbetokun, inspector general of police, has announced the suspension of the the enforcement of electronic central motor registry registration otherwise e-CMR for vehicle owners in the country.

Police Suspends eMotor Registry Enforcement Following Outcries

Muyiwa Adejobi, force spokesperson, had on Saturday said the IG ordered that the enforcement of the e-CMR should commence on July 29.

The enforcement order sparked an outcry from Nigerians, who accused the police of creating an opportunity to extort vehicle owners.

John Aikpokpo-Martins, chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Section on Public Interest and Development Law, said the directive by Egbetokun to begin enforcing the digitised Central Motor Registry was a blatant disregard for the rule of law.

But in a statement on Sunday, Adejobi announced that the IG has suspended the enforcement of the e-CMR.

He added that there was the need to sensitise the citizens on the initiative, which he said was designed to secure vehicles.

He said, “Following the reconfiguration and commencement of the electronic central motor registry registration process the Police have deemed it necessary to highlight the benefits and effectiveness of the e-CMR initiative which is designed to ensure the safety and security of all types of vehicles including motorcycles by collating data imputed into the system by vehicle owners and acting on such to flag the vehicles if reported stolen.

“The e-CMR will provide a firsthand database to the Force for curbing vehicular crimes as dedicated officers can access real-time comprehensive data of every vehicle on their tablets.

“Similarly, the e-CMR will prevent multiple registrations of vehicles and serve as a database to collate biometric and other data of vehicle owners and individuals, adding value to the national database and incident report portal generated from other Ministries, Departments and Agencies towards general security.”

Adejobi denied that the e-CMR was a revenue-generating platform.

He said, “Furthermore, contrary to news making the rounds and insinuations about the e-CMR, the NPF wishes to state categorically that the e-CMR is not a revenue-generating platform but an initiative to digitalize policing for effectiveness and general safety of lives and property of Nigeria residents. “

Adejobi said the IG ordered the immediate suspension he had earlier given.

He stated, “The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Kayode Egbetokun has ordered an immediate suspension of the proposed enforcement of the e-CMR initially scheduled to commence on the 29th of July, 2024. This is to give ample opportunity for mass enlightenment and education of all citizens and residents on the process, benefits and effectiveness in solving the challenge of vehicle-related crimes, and protection of individual and corporate vehicle ownership.”

Adejobi sought the understanding of the citizens and key into the initiative.


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Osagie Okunbor, Shell Nigeria MD Honoured for Exemplary Leadership

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Osagie Okunbor, managing director, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, and country chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, has been recognised for his “Invaluable contributions to the  Nigerian energy sector and his service to humanity.”

Osagie Okunbor, Shell Nigeria MD Honoured for Exemplary Leadership

Former Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, and Director, Heritage for Life Foundation, Tunde Lemo (left), presenting the Foundation’s  Award for Exemplary Leadership and Service to Humanity to the Managing Director, Shell Petroleum Development Company and Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Osagie Okunbor, at a ceremony in Lagos on Thursday.

Osagie received the Award for Exemplary Leadership and Service to Humanity from a Lagos-based NGO, Heritage for Life Foundation, at a ceremony held in Lagos.

Tunde Lemo, director of the Foundation, and former deputy governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), handed out the award which he said was instituted to promote “moral qualities and attitudes pivotal to the growth of a stable and functional society” by recognising individuals who exbibit the virtues.

An elated Okunbor said: “I’m pleased at this recognition which calls for greater commitment to the highest standards of leadership and service to humanity. With the support of my colleagues and other stakeholders, I hope to continue to  contribute to the development of our country.”

The award from the foundation was the second bestowed on the longest serving Country Chair of Shell companies in Nigeria in the past month.

At the 60th anniversary of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Okunbor was conferred with the Diamond Ambassador of Brand Nigeria as part of NIPR’s Diamond Jubilee National Awards.

Presenting the award, Dr. Ike Neliaku, president and chairman of Council, NIPR noted that Okunbor earned the award having demonstrated exceptional leadership as Chairman of the largest energy company in Nigeria that had made significant contributions to the socio-economic development of Nigeria in more than seven decades.

Okunbor’s contributions to the energy sector are the highlights of a career in Shell which has seen him serve in Nigeria, the UK, Brunei and the Netherlands before his appointment as Managing Director, SPDC and Country Chair in 2015.

In May, the executive council of the Nigerian Gas Association recognised Okunbor for “outstanding contributions towards the advancement of Nigeria’s gas sector.”

 

 

 

 

 


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