Monthly Archives: April 2015

Taste testing women’s creations

The highlight of my visit to Nigeria was meeting with a women’s group in Bubakarawa village near Kano.

The women had cooked dishes to taste test, including traditional products like fura and kunnun, along with bread, biscuits, oil and cake. They were great examples of the nutritious food that can be made from crops such as millet, sorghum and groundnut.  The sorghum cookies were a big hit with Hakeem and me – the ladies gave a shout out for our two thumbs up on the taste of the cookies.

Have a look at the dishes the women cooked on the video I took.

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Dala Foods value-adding success

With the owners and staff of Dala Foods

With the owners and staff of Dala Foods

It was wonderful to see a local company making nutritious value-added ‘smart food’ products at the Dala Foods company factory.

I met with Managing Director Alh Ali Madugu and Executive Director Nura Maduga who are carrying on the family business started by their father back in 1970.

While the company first processed tea, they branched out into food products in 1998 and now produce instant and diet kunnun, instant fura, biski (couscous) from pearl millet based on Hausa and Fulani traditional values. Read more

Delivery partners for scaling up

Dr Bergvinson with staff of Catholic Relief Services an important partner for scaling up technology in Nigeria

Dr Bergvinson with staff of Catholic Relief Services an important partner for scaling up technology in Nigeria

Getting seeds of ICRISAT’s improved crop varieties into the hands of farmers is an important role played by Catholic Relief Services in Nigeria.

CRS expanded its focus from health and nutrition to include agriculture and livelihoods in 2012 and has since become a valuable ICRISAT partner. The agency has a strong community of seed producers and schemes in Sokoto and Kebi states which ICRISAT uses for its groundnut upscaling program. Read more

Challenges and opportunities in Ethiopian agriculture

meeting with Honorable State Minister of Agriculture Dr Mandefro (left)

meeting with Honorable State Minister of Agriculture Dr Mandefro (left)

It was wonderful to gain an overview of the progress being made, and the challenges faced in agriculture, from a wide range of partners in Ethiopia last week.

The Honorable State Minister for Agriculture, Dr Wondirad Mandefro, met with myself and ICRISAT Governing Board Chair, Dr Chandra Madramootoo.

He explained that while Ethiopia has made significant progress in the production and productivity of agriculture, the drylands are lagging behind and their development is extremely important for future food security of the country. Read more

Inspirational farmer – Temegnush Dhabi

With Temegnush Dhabi at the EIAR Melkassa Research Station

With Temegnush Dhabi at the EIAR Melkassa Research Station

Ethiopian farmer Temegnush Dhabi is an inspiration to me.  We first met in 2010 when I was program officer for the ICRISAT Tropical Legumes II project with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Temegnush had switched from growing the Ethiopian grain teff to high-yielding, drought-tolerant chickpea varieties that required fewer inputs. Through her hard work and by rotating the chickpea and wheat on her 2ha farm with the assistance of her son she prospered.

I was delighted to meet her again last week during my visit to Ethiopia. When I asked her how smallholder farmers smallholder farmers she was faring I was pleased to hear that growing the improved chickpea is still key to her income, but like most farmers she faces many challenges. Read more