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Boost for Cocoa Entrepreneurs

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Cocoa farm
  • Boost for Cocoa Entrepreneurs

A new cocoa economy may be on the horizon as an international organisation, German International Cooperation (GIZ), is teaching agro entrepreneurs to explore new income possibilities across the cocoa industry. DANIEL ESSIET reports.

An international organisation, German International Cooperation (GIZ), is giving agro entrepreneurs the tools they need to turn cocoa production into a viable business.

With so much money declared by international chocolate makers yearly, the organisation is determined to lift smallholder farmers out of poverty.

Cocoa production accounts for 10 percent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and supports 10 million people, which translates to about 30 per cent of Nigeria ’s population.

GTZ’s long-term aim is to help the farmers become independent members of an agricultural “value chain”.

Across Ondo State, 18,648 cocoa farmers, made up of 7,449 women and 11,199 men in 648 groups across 10 local government areas, have received the Farmer Business School (FBS) training supported by the German Development Cooperation-Sustainable Smallholder Agribusiness (GIZ-SSAB) programme. The core curriculum covers business, good agricultural practice and cooperative skills.

According to GIZ Country Director, Dr. Thomas Kirsch, “the FBS has succeeded in changing the orientation of farmers, who now see farming as a business enterprise that needs to be well planned, to reap the highest returns from the enterprise”.

Farmers have also recorded increase income, production and yield, and group sales and purchases of input.

Speaking at the inauguration of the FBS Farmers Cooperative Multipurpose Union in Akure, Kirsch said the partnership between the organisation and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has brought business skills training to 89,040 cocoa farmers in six states – Abia, Cross River, Edo, Ekiti, Ondo and Osun.

The trained farmers are coordinating the groups in each local government of the states. The apex body known as Ondo State FBS Farmers’ Cooperative Multipurpose Union Ltd has been inaugurated.

Ondo State FBS Farmers Cooperative Multipurpose Union Chairman, High Chief Ebenezer Adenisimi, said the FBS training had helped farmers to adopt business skills in their farms.

These, he noted, include record keeping of input and output, savings in banks, group purchase of farm input in large scale, group sales of farm produce to off-takers, diversification of production to generate additional income, organising and registering of groups as cooperative societies, accessing financial services from banks, keeping of farm records and putting to use good agricultural practices.

An FBS-trained farmer and leader of Igba-Otun FBS Cooperative Society, Awopeju Village, Mr. Julius Urom, noted that the group has invested in cocoa nursery, fish farming, poultry and piggery to augment their cocoa income.

He said 23 members of the society, who invested in the business with about N20,000, have increased their income base to over N100,000 inone year.

Ondo State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, lauded GIZ for the training which, according to him, led to the formation of the Cooperative Union.

He said: “The farmers’ organisation we are about to inaugurate is a product of intervention from a Development Partner – GIZ, an outfit of the Federal Ministry of Economic Co-operation and Development of Germany.”

The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Mr. Agboola Ajayi, praised the farmers for forming the cooperative society.

This, according to the governor, was “to enable them own the programme and become self-sustaining financially as producer groups and become less dependent on the government”.

The governor announced the donation of N25.75 million for the expansion of the Farmers Business School programme.

He said this was in fulfillment of his pledge to “work with genuine stakeholders in the development of the state”.

The Regional Director, GIZ-SSAB Programme, Dr. Annemarie Matthess, said FBS is innovative. “It fosters the business mind and skills of agricultural producers, be it men or women. After Farmer Business School, the majority of farmer graduates invest in cocoa and food production for more income,” she noted.

Matthess, represented by Ayo Akinola, a Senior Technical Advisor to GIZ-SSAB, said the FBS’s success story in five cocoa producing countries, including Nigeria, informed the expansion of FBS into 15 African countries to reach cocoa, coffee, cassava, rice, cotton, pineapple, milk, olives and tomatoes producers.

She added that the registration of new cooperatives and multipurpose cooperatives unions is “a particular achievement in Nigeria compared to our other partner-countries”.

She noted that of the 95 new multipurpose cooperatives registered between 2011 and 2016 in Ondo, 84 have embedded the acronym “FBS” in their names to show where they come from and what drives them;, adding that networking among the cooperatives and support provided by the state ADP led to the registration of the FBS Farmers Cooperative Multipurpose Union Ltd.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Global Oil Drops as Coronavirus Infections Rises in India and Other Nations

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Crude oil

Oil prices declined on Monday during the Asian trading session amid rising concerns that the surge in coronavirus in India and other nations could force regulators to enforce stronger measures at curbing its spread and eventually affect economic activity and drag on demand for commodities like crude oil.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, declined by 22 cents or 0.33 percent to $66.55 per barrel at 8:19 am Nigerian time on Monday, following a 6 percent surge last week.

The US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) declined by 18 cents or 0.29 percent to $62.95 per barrel, after it gained 6.4 percent last week.

The decline was after India reported 261,500 new coronavirus infections on Sunday, taking the country’s total cases to almost 14.8 million, second to only the United States that has reported over 31 million coronavirus infections.

“With … a resurgence of virus cases in India and Japan, topside ambitions continue to run into walls of profit-taking,” said Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at Axi.

Businesses in Japan believed the world’s third-largest economy will experience a fourth round of coronavirus infections, with many bracing for an additional slow down in economic activity.

While Japan has had fewer COVID-19 cases when compared with other major economies, concerns about a new wave of infections are fast rising, according to responses in Reuters poll.

On Tuesday, April 20, 2020, Hong Kong will suspend all from India, Pakistan and the Philippines because of imported coronavirus infections, authorities stated in a statement released on Sunday.

India’s COVID-19 death rose by a record 1,501 to hit 177,150.

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Global Markets Near Record Peaks and Will Get Stronger: deVere CEO

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Stocks

As the FTSE 100 hits 7,000 points for the first time since the Covid pandemic, global stock markets are poised to “get even stronger”, says the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organisations.

The observation from Nigel Green, the chief executive and founder of deVere Group, comes as London’s index jumped over the important threshold in early trading in London, gaining over 0.5% to 7024 points.

Mr Green notes: “London’s blue-chip index is up 40% since the worst lows of the pandemic.

“This landmark moment represents the wider optimistic sentiment gripping global markets which are near record peaks.

“We can expect global stock markets to get even stronger as investors look to seize the opportunities from economies reopening.

“They are looking towards economies rebounding in a post-pandemic era due to the monetary and fiscal stimulus, pent-up cash and demand, and strong corporate earnings.

“The current ultra-low interest rate environment and the under-performance of bonds will also act as a catalyst for stock markets.”

However, the CEO’s bullish comments also come with a warning.

“I would urge investors to proceed with caution as there are some headwinds on the horizon, including relations between the U.S. and China, the world’s two largest economies, which could be coming to a tipping point in coming weeks.

“As such, in order to capitalise on the opportunities and mitigate risks, investors must ensure proper portfolio diversification.”

Mr Green concludes: “A variety of factors are going to drive global stock markets. Investors will not want to miss out and should work with a good fund manager to judiciously top-up their portfolios.”

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Refinitiv Expands Economic Data Coverage Across Africa

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Building on its commitment to drive positive change through its data and insights, Refinitiv today announced the expansion of its economic data coverage of Africa. The new data set allows investment managers, central bankers, economists, and research teams to use Refinitiv Datasteam analytical data for detailed exploration of economic relationships and investment opportunities among data series covering the African continent.

Securing reliable, detailed, timely, locally sourced content has not been easy for economists who have in the past had to use international sources which often can take many months to update and opportunities to monitor the market can be missed. Because Africa is a diverse continent, economists and strategists need more timely access to country-specific data via national sources to create tailored business, policy, trading and investment strategies to meet specific goals.

Africa continues to develop critical infrastructure, telecommunications, digital technology and access to financial services for its 1.3bn people. The World Bank estimates that over 50% of African inhabitants will be under 25 by 2050. This presents substantial opportunities for investors who can spot important trends and make informed decisions based on robust and timely economic data.

Stuart Brown, Group Head of Enterprise Data Solutions, Refinitiv, said: “Africa’s growing, dynamic and fast evolving economies makes it a focal point for financial markets today and in the coming decades.  As part of LSEG’s commitment to empowering the global markets with accurate and timely data, we are excited about making these unique datasets available via the Refinitiv Data Platform. Our economic data coverage of Africa will provide our customers with deeper and broader inputs for macroeconomic analyses and enable more effective investment strategies and economic research.”

Refinitiv Africa economic data coverage:

  • Africa economics content comprises around 500,000 nationally sourced time series data covering 54 African nations
  • Content is sourced from national statistical offices, central banks and other key national institutions
  • The full breadth of economics categories in Datastream including national accounts, money and finance, prices, surveys, labor market, consumer, industry, government and external sectors
  • International sources including OECD, World Bank, IMF, African Development Bank, Oxford Economics & more provide comparable data & forecasts across the continent

Refinitiv® Datastream® has global macroeconomics coverage to analyze virtually any macro environment, and better understand economic cycles to uncover trends and forecast market conditions. With over 14.2 million economic times series map trends, customers can validate ideas and identify opportunities using Refinitiv Datastream. Access its powerful charting tools, 9,000 pre-built chart templates and chart studies for commonly used valuation, performance, and technical and fundamental analysis.

 Refinitiv continually grows available data – the China expansion in 2019 covered a unique combination of economic and financial indicators. Refinitiv plans to expand Southeast Asia covering Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and Malaysia with delivery expected in 2021. This ensures that Refinitiv will have much needed emerging market economic content.

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