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.


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.


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.


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


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.



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


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.


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)