When Blogging Meets Agriculture!

#Akure has been home to me for the last two days. I am excited to share with my colleagues on the 2SCALE platform who work in Nigeria on the dynamics of blogging and social media especially as it concerns agriculture.


It’s the 3rd session of its kind that I will be having with various groups in the last two months. However, something worked better here especially since the idea was to make them do and not just know why they need to do! Sounds rhythmic. I was excited to hear them share that now they know twitter is ‘not a place for noise makers and gossips’. I was also happy to see almost all of them set up their blogs and make their first blog entry. It is usually a long step but then it begins with the first step.

Mousier Toure, the IFDC‘s communication’s specialist based in Mali and Thompson Ogunsanmi’s input in designing how the sessions should go made a lot of difference in the overall out. I look forward to Toure’s session on Communication Plan today and also eager to hear from the coaches and actors from the BSS and clusters what their new expereinces trying to work on their blogs are.

It’s an interesting time to be alive. Enjoy the sights from the training session.

#HappyDevelopment Worker. #AgricBlogging #Blogging ForDevelopment #TheBigIdea




Mousieur Toure making a point 


Starting 2016!

The year started on full throttle. It was even hard to think a new year had started until I needed to write a cheque and it was returned because of the error in date. I returned from Lome on the last day of the year at night and only woke up to the faint sound of fireworks. A new year had dawned while I slept. I prayed and thought through all the plan I had hatched for the year. Across the settee was Josh, my family’s new addition, stretching his little hands and yawning.

Reports, action plans, modules, feature articles are some of the deadlines dragging me by the waistline. The last week has been spent helping in putting together a training module for maize and soyabeans cluster actors on economic analysis and options for reduction of cost handling. I’m in Akure, Ondo State at the moment for the review and capitalisation of the Soyabeans partnership on the 2SCALE project. It’s my first outing as a trainer on the ICRA/2SCALE end of the partnership and it has been revealing working from the inside. The experience has been different from my previous work as a coach on the IFDC/2SCALE end of the partnership.

I’m co-facilitating and listening to cluster actors bring up various issues on their activities for the previous year. Lessons learnt are being reviewed, new ideas are coming to fore and these all validates the fact that agriculture must become agribusiness if progress must be made. Changes have also captured and how they connect with various external influences among others. Inoculum, single super phosphate, capacity strengthening, impact, inclusive business, market are some of the words flying across the room. Their is also a soybeans planter in the room that was used by the Oke-Oyi Soya Cluster for demonstration trails. It makes planting faster, gender friendly and well spaced at 5cm to lead to increase in plant population.

I’ll share pictures and more notes later. Happy 2016 and have a great year.

It’s another Christmas


Some call it is the biggest birthday celebration on earth. Some say it is the day to celebrate the birth of the messiah. Others say it is a mere creation of mortals. What do you say it is? It’s the mass of Christ! Most countries have it as an holiday and like a number of festivals, both christians and non-christians celebrate the season.

#Jesus Christ – born in a manger – is the reason for this age long season. The three wise men brought gifts to him. Ours is to share gifts for those around us, especially the needy. It’s the whole essence of the season.

I was at the market with my partner to get a bag of rice to share with the men who man the estate housing my office. Done and set to leave, we thought to apportion the rice into nylons for onward delivery. By the time I sunk the scooping bowl into the bag the sixth time, what I had was a mould. The rice was bad. It was easier to get a replacement since we were still at the shop. We were happy we decided to share, otherwise we would have found out about a month later that the rice was mouldy and it certainly will be impossible to claim a replacement.

Lesson learnt – each time you give, you also give to yourself. Here’s a wish of a Merry Christmas from my end. Do not celebrate the season without plastering a smile on a face out there.

Sagay Interview: Is this Tribune’s Last Breath?

NewspaperYou probably read the interview. For a few seconds imagine it was Prof. Itse Sagay who actually said those words. It will have been weighty and punchy. But then, Sagay says ‘it wasn’t me’, just like Shaggy! Tribune offers an apology. Nigerians bash the newspaper given its recent inglorious past. Taiwo Olakunle, the reporter who allegedly cooked up the interview loses his job. Nigeria goes on like a ship on a long sail.

Let me start with Taiwo whose narrative seems to have a number of holes. I’m forced to assume he is the cannon fodder for this costly mistake. In his shoes however, I will simply have released the audio recording he had with the man who had hitherto disguised as Prof. Sagay and was also due to be at his wedding. That will have cleared the air for him. The problem however goes beyond Taiwo. It is also about his platform – the Tribune – Nigeria’s oldest newspaper. Nigerians apparently did not forget the side the newspaper took during the 2015 presidential election. More recently, the allegation that the newspaper also shared part of the #DasukiGate loot did not put the newspaper on good footing with the public. Sagay’s thought are heavy and it will have done a heavy damage to Mr. President’s anti-corruption war had the details of that purported interview stood.

It is for the discerning public to know that not everything published in the public space is correct. As a freelance writer, my lesson from this is in two fold – always crosscheck your source and never fail to keep a proof handy in case things go awry. If Taiwo’s claim is true, then he will do well to pick up his career and trudge on even as I hope he or any of his relatives won’t be superstitious to say the new wife brought in her left leg. It’s one of life’s uneventful happenings! The number of citizen journalists out there makes the profession even tougher.

For the sake of the late patersfamilia of the Tribune, the newspaper ought to rebrand itself. It owes papa and mama this memory. I read a copy of Unfinished Greatness last month. It will be a disservice to papa’s colourful memory if the newspaper goes down this way. It can jerk itself back to life and serve as the informative newspaper it was designed to be when it was first published in 1949. It is an interesting time to be alive to see this unthinkable unfold.


Agriculture is tough business


About five months ago, I started what I thought will be an easy project. I was with a friend on this project and our intention was to have a sneak peep into the possibilities in agriculture like it has always been bandied around in several formal and informal quarters. It turned out that they had all been one sided. They all seem to say – Agriculture is profitable. What they leave out is the most important component; the fact that it is perhaps one of the toughest ventures out there.

I am not giving up anytime soon though. Mistakes have been made. Contacts have increased. I have had to dine with the locals in several locations. I have been in several middle of nowheres. Often, I ask myself – what in God’s name are you doing here? A bee stung me on one of those occasions. It comes with the search of a goldmine in the heart of the bush.

We are getting closer by the day but it is amazing the volume of plans that has to go into not getting it wrong. Agriculture will never be attractive to our young people if it is the model they see is that presently being practised by our fathers. Theirs is to a large extent just for sustenance purpose and not business. The figures for now look good but the process is daunting. Having to arrange for labour from neighbouring countries is annoying especially when the unemployment figure for unskilled labour in the country is still high. Needing to provide almost all infrastructure without assistance is also saddening. More disheartening is the absence of any organised information about agribusiness in Nigeria. There are no figures about market prices throughout the year; there is no information about soil type and weather in organised form. You wonder exactly what the website of the Ministry of Agriculture is meant to archive especially when you compare it with this.

If you are not ready to fail, fail and then succeed, do not waste your time trying to get into the agribusiness space. One of the most profound thoughts I have read on agriculture put it aptly  – If you want to fail in Agriculture start big, but if you want to succeed, start small. Nevertheless, it is an interesting time to be alive.


It’s a Good Time to be Alive …

2015 was the year things began to morph into solid shape. I had blood on my hands. It was the type one does not get arrested for. A child came knocking asking that he calls me daddy. I gladly obliged. 2015 was the year I squeezed ideas in my hands, formed them into rough balls and did some practice shooting into the waste bin. It was the year I also went back to scavenge through the refuse to see what I could find and recycle into desirable form.

It’s not a year I will forget in a jiffy. There were many firsts there. This blog is one of such and I guess I owe Paul a drink for arguing out why this needed to be available for public consumption asides from what I had hoped for. Time will tell if he was right with his suggestion and if I did the right thing embracing it.

Right now, I hear a loud thud in my heart. 2016 is the year my risk appetite rises again. I’m excited at what is capable of happening especially since I understand that it’s ultimately about the decisions we make and how we execute them.

It’s a good time to be alive.