Going beyond Soils; transforming the agribusiness value chain from the ground up.

The problems the grassroot farmers encounter, how  agriculture is the main source of survival and poverty alleviation in the rural community. Seeing these problems from the view of rural Tanzanian guinea pea farmers.
 

Azikel Refinery to commence operations in 2018


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Dr. Eruani Azibapu, a Nigerian businessman who signed into existence Azikel Refinery with Ventech Engineering LLC in Houston Texas, has expressed optimism that the project would come on stream in 2018. Eruani, who is the Group President of Azikel Group, signed on behalf of Azikel Petroleum Nig Ltd, alongside the Director of Investment and Strategy, Mr Richard Howarth. The Executive Director Operations, Mr Presley Asemota, the contract for the construction of a 12,000 BPSD Hydro-skyming Refinery with the world global leaders of Modular refinery construction/manufacturing, Ventech Engineering LLC in the United State of America. Azikel Refinery is among the recent 22 licensed Private refinery by President Mohammad Buhari in 2015, in line with his administration's goal of creating value for the Nigerian crude oil industry to achieve self-sufficiency in refined product and employment generation.

Azikel Refinery, situated adjacent the Gbarain-Ubi Gas Gathering Facility in Bayelsa State, in Obunagha-Gbarain, Bayelsa State. Observers believe the proximity of the Azikel Refinery to the feed stock from Shell has given it a very clear advantage to early start and completion towards meeting the planned commencement of operations in 2018.

For its part, Ventech Enginering LLC, the World leader in Modular Refinery construction, and has manufactured several refineries currently in operation in different parts of the world. At the contract signing ceremony in Houston, the President of Ventech, Ian Anderson, emphasised that the firm's usual high degree of professionalism would be deployed in the construction of the Azikel Refinery, to ensure that products specifications from the facility meet international standards. According to him, Azikel Refinery will produce high value variants of LPG, Petrol, Kerosene, Avaition Fuel, Diesel and Heavy Fuel Oil. The General Counsel Laura Hotard and The Busines Development Manager, Mr Brian Swientonioski. The event was witness by executives of international banks, Export Credit Agencies, US businessmen and organisations as well as the Nigerian community and friends of Azikel Group in the United States.

The funding for the refinery has been secured from Exim Bank, Export Credit Agencies and EPC Project Finance funding. Mr Dada a US based Nigerian, who has provided international funding of billions of US dollar into Africa was present at the event in Houston. According to him, securing the funding from international organisation is the key success factor for the refinery. Dada said the construction of the project will create immediate economic stimulus in the Nigerian economy, in addition to creating immediate employment during the construction phase and long term employment from its operation. Dada expressed optimism that export credit agencies funds would be available in the US, European and other parts of the world for viable project like Azikel Refinery and encourage more Nigerian businesses to follow suit.

Recall that Azikel Petroleum upon the award of the license to Establish (LTE) in 2015, demonstrated a strong zeal and focus towards the completion of the refinery. Among the 22 licenses approval during the period, Azikel Refinery has moved from the first stage licensing (LTE)to the second Stage licensing of Approval to Construct (ATC) at the 22 licenses given by government only four private refinery licenses have been able to secure the second license. Other licensed refineries include Amakpe International Refinery, Resources Petroleum & Petrochemicals, Hi Rev Oil LImited and Azikel Petroleum Limited.

Obtaining the ATC licensing is seen as measure of seriousness and commitment to the establishment of the refinery. Promoters of Azikel Refinery believe it is still in the lead of the four other companies, having completed land clearing/de-stumping of 50 Hectares of land for the refinery, a reclamation/ sand-filling campaign which lasted for over ten months.

Azikel Refinery plot been completely laid out, with secured fencing completed, roads and Utilities completes. At the operational site of Azikel Refinery, construction of Crude Oil feed stock tanks and refined products tanks have reached a 55% completion. The Execution now of the ISBL Unit, which is the main Modular Hydro-Skimming Refinery from Ventech, when completion of the construction and transportation to the site, will keep the project in tight schedule for operations in the 2018.

Azikel Group which is the sponsor of Azikel Refinery through Azikel Petroleum is committed to the creation of employment, industrialization of Nigerian and sustainability. Azikel Group has create several successful business in the dredging industry with Azikel Dredging Nigeria Ltd. Azikel Group is also a player in the Avaition Sector of the Nigerian economy, with operations of Helicopter Offshore Operations in the Oil and Gas Industry, Schedule and Unscheduled flights, with the Airline Operation Certificate(AOC) granted to Azikel Air, the company has created lots of employment. Also Azikel Group aims at sustaining infrastructural development with Energy sufficiency, the Group is also investing into power generation. The President Mohamend Buhari, administration licenses Azikel Power, which is part of Azikel Group, with on-grid Power generation license of 500MW. It is the hope of Azikel Group, that Nigeria will be self sufficient in petroleum products and Electricty Generation and Nigeria will occupy her prided place in the Committe of Nations in Development.

SOURCE: THE SUN

Sustainable Agribusiness & Food Value Chains

Small-scale producers provide over 70% of the world’s food needs, while agribusinesses are one of the main generators of employment and income worldwide. Improving the sustainability of food value chains can massively benefit the rural poor. Florence Tartanac, Senior Officer of the FAO Nutrition and Food Systems Division together with Eva Gálvez Nogales, Agribusiness Economist of the FAO Agricultural Development Economics Division explain the importance of Integrating smallholders into food value chains to reduce poverty and improve food security for millions of poor households in developing countries. They describe the FAO policy work, including key policy messages. This video forms part of a series of policy and governance videos being produced by FAO in 2016.

12 SIGNS YOU HAVE THE WRONG JOB

Having a job is different from enjoying what you do. Fulfilment should come with how you earn a living. You should be proud of yourself if you are doing what is right for you. Passion drives success, it’s easy to stay motivated and inspired if what you find yourself doing is right for you. There are few signs that could make you know if you have the wrong job and if you need to consider other options that could be right for you.
Health hazard: if your job affects your health or makes you sick all the time, you might need to consider an alternative.
Boredom: if you are constantly bored at work and you don’t find the process interesting or beneficial, you might need to consider other options.
Passion: if you are not passionate about the work you do and you always need an extra push to do the job right, your job is not right for you.
Unaligned goals: if your vision and that of your company are completely different or if you can’t relate to your company’s vision and set goals, you might need to reconsider your options.
Little wage: if what you are being paid is way lower than the work you do, you might also need to look for a better job.
Time consuming: if your job doesn’t give you enough time to do your own thing or spend time with your friends and family, you might need to quit your job for a better one.
Terrible boss: if you work for terrible bosses that always stress you out, quitting might not be the worst option.
Future plans: if your job doesn’t give you the opportunity to improve yourself or do some other life developing projects, you have a wrong job.
Underutilised skill: if your skill is being underutilised and you can do more than you are being asked to do, you can also consider other options.
Better opportunities: if you have better offers or opportunities coming your way, quitting your job is understandable.
Terrible environment: if your colleagues are bizarre and you find working with them mentally draining, it is a good reason to leave also.
Less motivation: if your job doesn’t motivate you and you feel you are not where you are meant to be. Quitting isn’t the worst thing either.
Staying on a wrong job is as worse than staying jobless. Be sure your job isn’t affecting you negatively and consider quitting if necessary.

5 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR BUSINESS

As time goes on, there would be need to improve your business and do some homework to take your business from your present level to the next level. There are several measures that can be put into consideration to improve your business and profitability.
BE ACTIVE: for a business to be successful, you have to be active and consistent. The people you want to do business with are impatient and there are many competitors out there who would gladly take your customer away from. Regular availability is a must if your business is going to keep improving.
OFFER QUALITY: people are particular about the quality of product and services they go for these days. If you are not willing to offer good quality services, there are competitors out there who are willing to give your customers the best services they require. Quality sets you apart in business. It distinguishes you and helps you keep your customer.
ADD VALUE: there are so many people who do the same thing that you do. This is why it is important for you to add value to your service and product. You need to be exceptional if you want people to keep coming back to you. You have to give them a reason not to go to your competitors.
MAKE IT EASY: adding opportunities or ways to your business that makes it easier for your customers is another direction to take. Be flexible, be dynamic. Delivery services, home services are some of the strategies you can adopt to improve your business.
OFFER DISCOUNT: as time goes on, when your business gets better and you make more money, you can consider offering discounts and different packages that can make your customers happier and that can earn you referrals.
You can improve your business and take your brand to the next level if you can adopt the above strategies.

The 3 Decisions That Will Change Your Financial Life

Tony Robbins shares insights from his just-published book, Money Master the Game, about how a trio of choices frame your outlook and influence your chances at success

4 STRATEGIES TO BEAT HARD TIMES

Being an entrepreneur is one of the toughest situations in the world. It comes with a lot of challenges and problems. So many decisions and risks have to be taken from time to time. You go through different emotions as a rising entrepreneur, happiness, stress, anxiety, fear and many more. It is almost difficult to stay consistent with your emotions. Facing challenges is a must for any entrepreneur especially in your start up days. Here are some strategies that can be adopted to go through difficult times without being swallowed up in it.
BE PURPOSEFUL: when you go through hard times as an entrepreneur, let your vision motivate you. Your end game and what you need to achieve should motivate you to keep going. There needs to be something you are working towards, this is your purpose and this is what you should hold on to when challenges come knocking.
BE SUPPORTED: having a support system is another way to go through hard times. Your friends, families, mentors are people you can talk to for advice and encouragement. Socialising with friends, going out more often, talking to people with experience can help you go through hard times. Just make sure your support system truly supports you.
TAKE A BREAK: it might look like you need to keep pushing or you need to keep searching for answers but at times, a break is all you need to get things figured. Take a break for work and engage your mind with other activities. Get refreshed and come back better.
DONT GIVE UP: tough times don’t last, tough people do. Your mindset is a crucial weapon for beating hard times. Remain optimistic and steadfast. Don’t let tough situations make you weak. Consistent efforts and perseverance always break through.
Challenges are inevitable in life, having the right attitudes and strategies to go through them is what determines the outcome.

Emerging African Entrepreneurs

Emerging African Entrepreneurs Paul Ndiho is a Ugandan – American video journalist/ executive producer, Africa Innovations & Technology based in Washington D.C with interests in innovation, technology and entrepreneurship in Africa. He is passionate about mentorship and developing the next generation of Africa’s young leaders.
 
 

Agric: Nigeria to achieve self-sufficiency in food production by 2017


Monday, October 31, 2016

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, is optimistic that the nation will achieve self sufficiency in food production by 2017.

Ogbeh, who was represented by a Permanent Secretary, Dr. Shehu Ahmed, last week at a roundtable meeting of Rice Supply Chain of the Agribusiness Supplier Development Programme (ASDP) jointly organised by the Ministry, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), said the Federal Government has banned the importation of rice and there is currently surplus across the country.

According to him, this means, it shows that the farmers and all government's policies are aiding agriculture produce, saying that there have been improvement in the production of food especially as strategic implementation of government programmes has helped in reducing post harvest losses in the country.

He added: "By 2017, Nigeria will be self-sufficient in rice production. We are getting close as there is improvement on what we have been getting before. This will boost our economy. The Federal Government had approved the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GES) for input supply to farmers and the Ministry was working with the African Development Bank (AfDB) to reposition the Staple Crop Processing Zone."

He hinted that rice value chain was topmost in the agenda in attracting both local and world class companies to invest in the sector, adding that the implementation of the Agribusiness Supplier Development Programme would lead to an increase availability of domestic agro-inputs supply, enhance production and reduce post harvest losses.

The minister reiterated the readiness of the Ministry to support and encourage the private sector to take the lead, giving assurance that government will provide the enabling environment through policy constituency, appropriate legislation and oversight to ensure effective diversification, import substitution and food security in the nation.

The Representative of the Country Director of the United Nations Development Programme, Dr. Robert Asogwa, said that there was renewed interest and priorization of rice production and processing by governments at the national and state levels.

He stated that rice and cassava are two crops with enormous comparative advantage across the country, which can generate economic multiplier benefits. Saying that improving productivity in agriculture required new strategies and creative solutions.

He said food self sufficiency, predictable foreign exchange earnings and stimulated industrial and manufacturing production would be achieved if the key supply constraints in the agricultural sector is addressed.

He maintained that the African Agribusiness Supplier Development Programme would improve the productivity of small holder farmers and link them to off-takers.

Meanwhile, the Niger State Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Aliyu Abdullahi, said the state government was working towards developing the entire rice value chain to boost the quality of rice cultivated locally.

He said the state was endowed with abundant land, water and human resources that could be harnessed for increased productivity of rice to satisfy local demand and for exportation.

SOURCE: THE SUN

DRIVING INNOVATIONS IN AGRICULTURE / EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES IN AGRI BUSINESS

Different agribusiness ideas, innovations directed towards poverty alleviation and economic sustainability.

5 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR CONSULTANCY BUSINESS


Pursing your passion is as important as helping other people to succeed in your line of business. Consultancy is often more than a business, it involves mentoring people to their fullest potentials and giving back to people when you did not necessarily get help yourself. There are few ways in which you can improve your consultancy business and make more money than you ordinarily would have thought of.

SPECIALIZATION IS REQUIRED: it is important for you to understand yourself and know what you are capable of giving people. You can’t be vague about the types of services you can offer if you want people to do business with you. Establishing professionalism is crucial. Know your area of expertises and don’t try to go beyond your limit while establishing your business. This will give you the opportunity to map out your target audience without wasting time.

ONLINE PRESENCE: in the world of today, the conventional way is no longer efficient to do business. Having a good website and developing online strategies needed to attract the types of audience you need is crucial if you are going to do business successfully. Coming up with good content and finding ways to demystify your information are strategies you need to adopt to place your business at the peak.

NETWORKING: this is a crucial factor for every type of business out there today. It is important to network if you want to increase your business potentials. Collaborating with experts in related fields and coming up with beneficial ideas are some of the ways one can network properly.

KEEP LEARNING: the world keeps changing, growth and development are inevitable. This implies that as a consultant, you have to be well informed. Keep learning and keep growing. You need to keep getting better at what you do and keep improving your knowledge and understanding. This will help you stay relevant and up to date in the business.

Consultancy business has its benefits, aside from making money, you get to help people and at the same time, develop yourself. Putting efforts into doing your business right guarantees you success and improvement.

How to Start A Business in Agriculture, in Nigeria.

Explore the endless possibilities in agriculture in Nigeria. Hear from the players in the industry and learn about available opportunities you can take advantage to start your agriculture business today.
 
 

4 STRATEGIES AGAINST BUSINESS DISTASTERS

Its okay to think your business cannot run down but then, terrible things do happen. No matter how much resources or efforts goes into starting up your business and running it effectively, something could always go run along the way. Here are few ideas on how to prepare for failure or business disasters and making sure you are not sinking at your first punch.
SAFETY PLANS: there should be plans in place in case of emergency situations. Every business or outlet should consider safety measures for lives and properties when setting out for business. Design your business in such a way that there are safety measures in place in case of emergency.
BACK UP PLANS: it is also important to have back up for your files, documents and all important programs. This ensures that you have something to fall back on when a disaster happens. This is mostly applicable for e business and e commerce set ups.
RE-EXAMINE AFFECTED ITEMS: amidst disaster, people get carried away that they completely ignore or neglect valuables. This shouldn’t be so, things might not be as bad as they seem. Items should be re examined to know if they are completely damaged or could be reprocessed.
DONT BE DISCOURAGED: challenges and problems are inevitable in life, it is important for you as an entrepreneur not to be discouraged. Brace yourself up, calculate your lose and find a way to come back. Ofcourse you have to learn from your mistakes and work on preventing future reoccurrence.
Disasters happen but it doesn’t have to kick you down. You can dust yourself up and keep on going. Success is never for the weak.

Yobe to flood Nigerian markets with vegetables - Agric. Commissioner

Sunday, October 30, 2016
The Yobe commissioner for agriculture, Mustapha Gajerima, on Sunday, said anticipated bumper harvest of vegetables from the state, would make vegetables available and affordable in Nigerian markets.
Gajerima in Dayama, Yobe, said that the state recorded increased irrigation farming of onions, pepper and tomatoes this season.
"This season looks very different and promising right from the flowering to the yields, there are indications of very good harvests.
"The other advantage we have this season, is that many people have engaged in irrigation farming, starting with vegetables after which they will go into crop cultivation.
"I have personally cultivated 11 hectares of onions, pepper and tomatoes here in Dayama which also provides training programme to youth with interest in farming.
"Some national legislators, members of the state assembly, my colleagues in the state executive council and elites have also engaged in irrigation farming to promote food security, job creation and revenue generation" he said.
Gajerima said the growing number of irrigation, livestock and fish farmers in the state would increase production to meet the food, beef, dairy and fish needs of Yobe and beyond.
"We will commence harvest of the vegetables this week. We are expecting two more harvests after which we will cultivate rice and wheat on the same farm under the irrigation scheme" the commissioner said.
He assured that government will encourage farmers with inputs to irrigate the basins along the 765 km Yobe river.
"Irrigation farming looks more promising here in the state, we will make good use of the available resources to ensure food security and diversify the economy" Gajerima said. (NAN)
SOURCE: VANGUARD

5 WAYS CONTENT DEVELOPMENT CAN IMPROVE YOUR BUSINESS

In the world of today, traditional marketing alone is no longer efficient for business success. Every business has to have an online presence and be ready to go digital. It is easy to assume going digital means developing a website. Yes, that is definitely a start but just having a website without consistent content marketing is not going to take your business to where your competitions are. Continuous content development is necessary for digital marketing. Here are few ways content marketing can improve your business.
GENERATING TRAFFIC: regular traffic on your website implies potential customers. This simply means that the more people that sees your content and visit your website, the higher the probability of them doing business with you. There are ofcourse other strategies you can put in place to convert your website traffic to paying customers.
BRAND AWARENESS: constant demystifying of your well developed contents is a prerequisite for brand awareness. It implies that people get to see you more often and they get attached to your brand and possibly what you do.
SALES INCREASE: the main aim of every business is profitability, the more content you put out about your business, the more people get to know you and the more they are likely to do business with you. Continues content development is an easy way to increase sales and make your brand more profitable.
YOU SPEND LESS: unlike the conventional way of advertising and creating brand awareness, you spend less in digital marketing. It is mostly cheap to stay on the internet these days and there is no limit to where your contents can get to because the internet is global.
BROADENS YOUR SCOPE: when you combine digital marketing and continuous content development with conventional marketing, there is an increase in the scope of your business. You are not limited to doing business within certain bounds or walls and you can go as far as you want in expanding yourself and making more money.
Content development is crucial to brand awareness and several advantages that goes into online and digitised marketing. Having a website is a start, developing contents and spreading the message about your brand is the best option to consider.

Planting Maize. Ploughing, cultivating and drilling

The use of mechanized farming equipment on farm sites. The ease and the time saved makes it worth considering.

4 SIGNS YOU LACK GOOD TEAM MEMBERSHIP CHARACTERISTICS

Entrepreneurship and setting up a business always require team effort, it is hardly impossible for someone to do it all alone. There is need for a team that shares the vision of a start up and who are ready to work relentlessly to achieve these set goals. Every member of a team is important. Everyone has to play their role if the mission is going to be accomplished. Certain characteristics are indications that a team member might not have what it takes to drive the team to success. Here are few of such characteristics.
MAKING EXCUSES: a team member or person that is always having reasons for not getting a task completed is a bad news for the team. Coming through is a must no matter how much it takes. If someone doesn’t have what it takes to get the job done by all means, this could be an indication that your team is bound to fail.
IRRESPONSIBILITY: not taking responsibility for certain task or action is another bad trait for a team member, for the growth of your team, you must be ready to take responsibility for your actions and be ready to own up when you make a mistake. This makes it easier for goals to be achieved and for examples to be set.
NOT IDENTIFYING OPPORTUNITIES: this is another way to spot a bad team member. People that cannot identify opportunities and seize them for the growth of a business are bad options of people to team up with. Every individual effort matters when trying to achieve a huge goal.
MISMANAGEMENT OF RESOURCES:  resources are not always easy to put together, so much effort goes into making resources available for every target. For profitability and growth, resources must be managed. A team member that doesn’t understand this fact might be a terrible option to consider. Management of resources is crucial to success and profitability in any venture.
Every team member must possess necessary characteristic to drive the business to success. Inability to possess these traits is an indication that you are not what the team needs to succeed.
 

ABC of Fish Farming. Fish Farming in Nigeria using earthen ponds.

A 30 minutes documentary on the basics of Cat Fish Farming in Nigeria using earthen ponds.

Core business skills every entrepreneur needs

Thursday, October 27, 2016
THANKS to the advancement of modern technology, becoming a business owner is more attainable now than it has ever been in the past. With a good measure of business savvy and the right product, an individual can see marginal success in a short amount of time.
However, for those looking for long-term success in business, there are some core skills and disciplines you'll need to learn in order to run your business efficiently.
Education
No matter what line of business you're going into, having some educational experience in the field can help you to operate your business successfully. At the core of basic entrepreneurial skills comes management. Knowing how to effectively manage the daily business operations along with staff (if applicable) will help to improve productivity. If business management isn't your strong suit, you can consider getting an MBA online.
There are plenty of affordable universities that offer business management courses and degrees online. You could take courses part time as you run your business and apply what you're learning to your business strategy for improved success.
Technological skills
It goes without saying that technology is transforming the world of business. From office applications to advanced software and computing devices, it is ideal for every entrepreneur to keep up with tech trends.
From learning how to utilise file management systems and cloud-based software to incorporating the most cutting edge means of communication, an entrepreneur must know which technological platforms are crucial to their success and meeting the needs of their customers.
Beefing up your tech skills is fairly simple these days. There are plenty of online tutorials that can show you step by step how to utilise certain technological platforms. If you're not great with tutorials you can also keep an eye out for local seminars in which training is offered.
Marketing
The success of your business will greatly depend on your ability to market your brand. There are many avenues for getting the word out about your business but as an entrepreneur, you will need to know which channels work best for your audience. From extreme measures like working with a celebrity or public figure to spread the word about your brand to more economically friendly gestures like free giveaways, coupons, and social media marketing, your ability to uniquely market your brand will determine the success of your products or services.
Professional marketing blogs or how to guides are inexpensive and convenient ways to learn some basic marketing and branding strategies. Some marketing professionals offer free or affordable online courses on various marketing trends including social media, email, video, and print marketing.
Sales
While marketing is what brings attention to your brand, possessing the ability to make a good sales pitch is ultimately what converts your visitors to customers. You must learn how to convey a message about your product or service in a way that resonates with your target audience. The pitch must be easy to comprehend, appealing and must also fulfil a need the audience has. Taking a sales training course would be ideal to improve this particular skill. The right set of courses will teach you how to engage the audience, tailor the message to their needs, as well as primary etiquette on how to close the deal.
Financial skills
An entrepreneur that doesn't know how to properly manage his/her money will ultimately find his/her business in shambles. Even if you intend to hire an accountant or bookkeeper, knowing the basics of accounting and business finances is pertinent to your overall success.
As an entrepreneur, you can never be too educated when it comes to business finances. Consider a course in business finance to help improve your understanding of how your company finances are holding up.
A few courses each semester can help you to improve cash flow, balance the books, prepare for potential growth, and make sound investment decisions.
Entrepreneurs wear many hats. Although it is recommended that you get help from other business professionals to make your vision complete, it is always a good idea to invest in your knowledge and skills. The aforementioned skills are at the very core of what it takes to run a successful business.
 SOURCE: VANGUARD

The morning habits of successful women

What makes successful women able to achieve their goals? I've interviewed many female entrepreneurs and many of them attribute a big part of their success to these morning habits.
 

 

Government plans buy-back from farmers to boost food security

Friday, October 28, 2016
The Federal Government has disclosed plans to commence buy-back from farmers at a guaranteed minimum price, to check rising prices of food items in the market.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, who disclosed this to journalists in Abuja said that on a daily basis, 700 trailer loads of grains left Nigerian markets for Mali, Mauritania, Niger Republic, Chad, and the Central Africa Republic.
Ogbeh explained that with the devaluation of the naira, it was cheaper to buy from the Nigerian markets and sell in other neighbouring countries.
To prevent hunger, the government has started buying and storing grains in silos with a plan to release them by February when farmers may have exhausted their stock.
"We are buying a lot of grains now because there is a surplus harvest in many states, including Kebbi, Niger Zamfara and Anambra. We also guarantee a minimum price that will be announced shortly, because up to 700 trucks daily are leaving Nigeria with grains heading for Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Chad and the Central Africa Republic. Everyday, everything goes there.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

How to Launch Your Own Business: Black Women Share Secrets to Success

CocoaFab attended the Women Doing it Big conference to hear how business owners are building their careers, branding their talents and taking their lives to the next level.

MAJOR NEEDS FOR YOUR ONLINE BRANDING

Lately, every business is going online. E-commerce is gradually taking the place of conventional business. Some people are coming in well inclined and well informed on what they need to do and how they need to brand themselves while some others have embraced the change but lack the basic understanding of what they need to take their brand to the peak.
RIGHT BRAND NAME: the internet is a large zone, unlike conventional marketing where your name is visible, coming up with the right brand name is important if you are going to be easily found and networked with.
SUSTAINABILITY: bringing your business online involves sustainability. You can’t start something you know won’t be relevant in the next few years. Consider how sustainable your business is and what you need to make it last lifetimes.
BE PROFESSIONAL: on the internet, your website is your reputation. Customers won’t see you or judge how competent or efficient you are. Your website is what is going to speak for you. Be professional with developing it and make your outlook genuine.
SEND CLEAR MESSAGES: be ready to make use of social platforms and ensure you send out clear messages and contents about your brand. Devise a strategy that would work for you and keep to it.
BELONG TO A COMMUNITY: ensure you stay up-to-date, associate with similar brands and don’t hesitate to partner up if it’s beneficial to your growth. Don’t be proud to ask for help and don’t be arrogant not to give back as you progress.
E-commerce has come to stay and if you are not ready to do business in the modern way and adopt necessary strategies, you might find yourself irrelevant even in your line of business over time.
 

The 5 Identities of an Entrepreneur

Have you ever met an overachiever -- someone that performs at a completely different level? Immediately you feel their presence! Do you know what I'm talking about?
You may wonder why they think the way they do, and why they have the level of energy they do.
A lot of people say that I'm different than a lot of people online and that I present things from a different perspective. They want to know who I look up to and admire, and who I get my inspiration from.
That's such a great question, so I decided to make a video on it.
In this video I cover the five identities of an entrepreneur.

OTHER ACTIVITIES FOR SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE

Most successful people are not workaholics contrary to what one would easily assume. Many of the well established entrepreneurs in the world who do their own thing or have something running have other beneficial activities they involve in. These activities are their other ways of adding values to their lives. Your activities off work have a lot to contribute to how productive and valuable you are even at your desk.
VOLUNTEER: successful people are volunteers, they find it easy to give and do things average people won’t dare to do. Either by giving back to the community, doing something beneficial to the society, they find a way to do something meaningful and impactful on their environment.
LEARN: successful people never stop learning, they find ways to improve themselves, associate with like minds and add even more value to their intellectual minds. This is one of the easiest strategies for staying successful. You never stop learning.
RELAX: wealth people know how important taking a break is for the mind. Either by taking vacations to countries they have never been to or by doing something that ease their mind completely off the stress and work. They know a relaxed and stress free mind is a productive mind.
READ: successful people know the values of knowledge and they always read anything good they lay their hands on. There are so many benefits attached to regular reading and this is one of the ways people improve their understanding and vocabulary.
THINK: successful people think before they act, they make plans after considering ideas critically and they make sure whatever they end up doing is what they consider best for themselves. Successful people don’t make huge decisions based on impulse and they don’t take meaningless risk without prior thoughts.
These activities can help improve the quality of life one lives.

Transforming cassava peels into animal feed

This video explains how cassava peels can be dried and converted into animal feed - reducing environmental waste, feeding animals and providing livelihoods.

Fire outbreak at Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) disrupts operations

Friday, October 28, 2016
Flight operations at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos were yesterday halted when fire broke out in the terminal.
The fire incident, due to electrical faults, engulfed the Avio Bridge E-54 wing, causing panic among the passengers and workers.
Firefighters of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) promptly responded to put off the fire before it caused major damage at Nigeria's busiest airport.
The outbreak disrupted flights in and out of the airport for close to an hour, with spiral effects still felt till the evening.
General Manager, FAAN Corporate Affairs Department, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu said the fire was caused by a spark at the Finger Main Distribution Board, E-Finger of the Airport.
Yakubu said electricity had been restored in the terminal shortly after the outbreak was extinguished, with engineers successfully correcting all defaults to restore normalcy in affected areas.
"While assuring airport users of safety and security at the airports, FAAN wishes to apologise to passengers, airlines and the general public for the inconvenience caused by this interruption," she said.
One ground sources, however, said that the outbreak might not be unconnected with the recent expansion of the terminal and alleged use of inferior cables by the contractor.
Last month, the D-wing Departure of the international airport was engulfed by fire.
Four days later, another fire broke out, which affected the Skye Bank office at the airport and other tenants at the terminal.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

Cassava Processing

Mr Peter Idaewor, Managing Director, Idaewor Foods Limited, one of the leading cassava flour processors in Edo State, discusses his product Cassalina and the state-of-the-art cassava processing factory that produces it.
 

IMPROVING YOUR BRAND


There are some steps that could go into brand improvement and solving of business problems from time to time. There are various ways in which these areas that needs to be worked on are identified. It could either be by keeping notes from clients suggestions or identification of areas in need of improvement by the staff. Either ways, it is necessary for a brand to stay continuously strategizing on how to be more efficient and productive as a brand.

Identification of issues: capturing of the shortcomings or concerns you hope to work on is the first step to solving the brands problems which is aimed at improving the brand itself. Every problem is crucial and important and they all have to be address in anticipation for solutions.

Identification of solvable issues: it’s possible for some problems to take more time and more effort than others and it is also possible that certain problems do not pose as much threat as others on the brand. Therefore crucial issues that need to be solved should be identified.

Identification of problem solving method: the next step is to identify how the problems are going to be solved. There could be need for selection of people for different tasks all directed towards improving the potentials of the brand at the long run.

Providing and implementation of solution: the next step involves brainstorming on the best ways possible to carry out the solutions to the problems and how to implement them into the brand.

Continuous repetition of the process: this process is expected to be done from time to time or at intervals if the brand is going to keep improving and stay top notch in the business world.

Growing Africa's Food Markets

African farmers could create a trillion-dollar market for their goods by 2030, if they can access more capital, better infrastructure and land.
 
 

Spain to set up manufacturing companies in Nigeria

Friday, October 21, 2016
The Government of Spain has revealed plans aimed at setting up Spanish manufacturing companies among other businesses in Nigeria, which is targeted at exploring economic potential and build business relations Nigeria.
This is even as an official trade delegation has scheduled a visit to Nigeria in May 2017.The delegation having discussions with government agencies and familiarizing itself with the business environment in Abuja between May 8 and 9, and meeting with private sector operators in Lagos on May 10, 2017 before leaving for their home country.
Spanish Ambassador to Nigeria, Alfonso Barnuevo Sebastian De Erico, on Wednesday, dropped this hint, when he paid a courtesy visit to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, in Abuja.
According to an official statement released by the Media Adviser to the minister, Akpandem James, and made available to journalists, the move is part of government efforts to attract foreign investment into the country to boost the economy.
De Erico said it was time the two countries looked into the future to find more ways of being mutually beneficial to each other, particularly now that the country has a government that is sold to good governance principles.
"We appreciate the effort of Nigeria in the area of transparency and fighting corruption. We appreciate also its economic policies; and these will take the country forward. We are very supportive of Nigeria and its policies", he added.
The Ambassador said Spain has been investing in Europe over time and now needs to move its focus to Africa, with Nigeria as a preferred destination because of the country's huge market potentials. "That is why we are bringing in Spanish companies to know the country and also explore investment opportunities available", he explained.
He said though the number of Spanish companies already doing business in Nigeria is increasing, the planned trip is very special as the focus would be on some very specific areas, including Construction, Energy and Environment and Water and Sanitation.
De Erico told the minister that he would appreciate the full involvement of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning and other relevant Federal Government agencies in facilitating the realization of the planned visit as it has enormous potentials of enhancing trade relations and economic growth between the two countries.
The ambassador stressed that Nigeria and Spain have enjoyed long lasting political and economic relations, adding that the time has come to deepen the relationship with further investments in some sectors of the Nigerian economy.
Udoma, while acknowledging the contributions of Spain to Nigeria's economy over the years, particularly in the oil and gas sector, said the Nigerian government is excited about the planned visit and assured it will be fully involved in ensuring its success.
"On the visit of Spanish companies to Nigeria, this is something that we will welcome. It is something we have been looking forward to; something that we are encouraging. We believe you have a lot to offer us and the Spanish companies will find Nigeria a convenient place to do business. We are improving our ease of doing business template and making sure that anybody who wants to do business in Nigeria has a much easier time.
"We are improving on our Visa system, to make it faster to get Visa. We are giving extra support to our Export Processing Zones in terms of infrastructure, to upgrade them so that they will be suitable and convenient places for companies in Spain that would want to go into manufacturing in Nigeria," he stated.
He pledged the readiness of the Ministry not only to support the proposal of bringing in the companies to Nigeria but to liaise with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, the Nigeria Investments Promotion Council (NIPC) and other relevant agencies of government to facilitate the project.
The Minister told the Spanish envoy that Nigeria is very interested in expanding its agricultural potentials, solid mineral exploitation and infrastructure development, particularly in the area of roads, rail and power. Concerning infrastructure, he informed that Nigeria is exploring the option of partnership with the private sector to speed up the realization of a massive infrastructure upgrade within the shortest possible time.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

African Small Farmers Documentary

African Farmers Service Center is an innovative initiative that aims to raise the standard of living of African farmers and contribute to global food security by providing training, loans and market access to small scale farmers.
 

HOW TO KEEP YOUR EMPLOYEES HAPPY

Employee satisfaction is effective on productivity, resource management and profitability at the long run. It is no news that happy staff means a progressive business. Most times, employers refuse to pay attention to the needs and concerns of the staff and this is why most problems remain unsolvable and evident progress can hardly be achieved. Here are few ways to ensure employees are treated rightly enough for their tasks.
CLARITY IN TASK: employers need to give adequate job description and ensure that there is clarity in task assigned. It is mostly ineffective to assume an employee should know what to do. Being communicative is a good way to ensure productivity is achieved.
AVOID MONOTONY: having to do the same thing every day in the same way can lead to brain drain. Jobs should be structured in a way that activities won’t be repetitive and brain drain would be prevented. There could be flexibility in work as such options like work from home, work on the field could be adopted.
FLEXIBILITY: this is another good way to keep workers encouraged and bright. Ideas as simple as opportunity for casual dress code can do so much in  improving workers attitude to work, opportunities to hold meetings outside the office is another way to keep work flexible.
TRANSPARENCY: this is another easy way to keep workers happy and make them feel like they belong. Sharing the vision and mission of the organisation and giving them a sense of belonging makes the work process easier and happier for them.
Work doesn’t always have to feel like work. One can derive happiness even in the work one does apart from the pay that comes from it.
 

Forbes Africa TV Ep5: The day Nigeria's Don Jazzy lost his multi million naira music empire

This episode of My Worst Day with Peace Hyde features Nigeria's most successful music producer Don Jazzy who shares on the day he lost the multi million naira music empire he built which led to catastrophic personal and professional consequences.
 

Shipping crimes drop in Nigeria, others


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

There is apparently a positive outlook in the fight against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and other hot spots across the globe, as reports confirmed relative peace being enjoyed in some maritime crime prone routes including Nigeria.

The Guradian reported recently that the nation's fight against piracy is yielding positive results. This has been further lent credence by new data released by the United Kingdom Maritime Intelligence and Operations Company, Dryad Maritime, which also showed that there has been a drastic reduction in the number of attacks in the Nigerian territorial waters.

Specifically, the Dryad report indicated that the Gulf of Guinea, South East Asia and The Indian Ocean High Risk Area (HRA) have all experienced significant reductions in reported maritime crimes throughout July, August and September this year.

It stated: "In the Gulf of Guinea and within Nigeria's Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ) there has been a decrease in the frequency of attacks with a total of just four attacks against commercial shipping at sea off the Niger Delta since early July, this compares to 36 in the first six months of the year,"

Chief Operating Officer, Dryad Maritime, Ian Millen, said: "We have cause for some optimism on piracy and maritime crime, with a generally stable and improving situation in some areas balanced against some serious cause for concern in others,"

He added that in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, Somali piracy remains broadly contained and in Southeast Asia, piracy is at its lowest level since 2009, with a 65 per cent reduction when compared to this time last year.

"The bad news, however, is that 81 people have been kidnapped, seven have been killed and 61 remain in captivity," Millen said.

Dryad Maritime also reported that beyond piracy and maritime crime, the maritime domain poses other threats.

Millen said that, from conflict situations ashore in Libya and Yemen, to the threat of anti-ship missiles in busy shipping lanes, as evidenced by recent incidents in the southern Red Sea, "seafarers continue to trade and transit in some dangerous waters," while the continuing humanitarian crisis of Mediterranean migration puts other pressures on the shipping industry and its seafarers.

The Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP) had recently revealed that incidences of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and the Horn of Africa, have been decreasing.

The OBP working group meeting noted that the upturn in kidnapping for ransom incidents in the Gulf of Guinea in the last quarter of 2015, and the first quarter of 2016 have reduced through a combination of increased patrols by the Nigerian Navy, increased use of contracted security and a refocus of attacks away from piracy at sea and more towards inland infrastructure.

Nigeria is estimated to be losing about $1.5 billion monthly to piracy, armed robbery at sea, smuggling, and fuel supply fraud as piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea.

The UN Security Council earlier said: "The absence of an effective maritime governance system, in particular, hampers freedom of movement in the region, disrupts trade and economic growth, and facilitates environmental crimes," she stressed.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN