Building Food Nests in Developing Countries to Ensure Food Security and Environmental Sustainability
Building Food Nests that links urban and rural settlers in a manner that empowers rural people, mitigates urbanization,ensures food security cum environmental sustainability.
Summary of Idea
Building Food Nests that links urban and rural settlers in a manner that engenders economic empowerment for rural people, mitigates urbanization, and ensures food security cum environmental sustainability.
Description of the Idea
Building Food Nests is by far the surest way out of rural poverty and a definitive approach to mitigating urbanization, ensuring food security and guaranteeing environmental sustainability in developing countries. The Food Nest is an economic and green revolutionary initiative aimed at ensuring long term sustainable development of rural communities.
A Food Nest means a looped valuable chain of sustainable agro-based socioeconomic activities that links rural and urban dwellers in a symbiotic manner with potential for growth, initiated and driven by a visionary private firm. The Food Nest mitigates urbanization by creating socio economic and employment opportunities at rural levels. It creates wealth from wastes for the rural people by engaging them in recycling urban wastes into new products, which also improves on the quality of the environment. It ensures food security by bringing back large numbers of young people to engage in agricultural production in rural communities. It empowers rural farmers by linking them to urban markets where increase in food price results in increase in their income.
The concept of the 'FOOD NEST' is to develop a semi-urban community based on wastes recycling and agricultural production operations in rural areas. This rural economy is being fuelled by wealth created from wastes gathered from urban centers by rural dwellers and also by money exchanged for food supplied to urban areas from the rural areas. The Food Nest when fully developed and integrated into the rural communities would affords rural people (mostly poor farmers, youths and women ) with access to cottage clinics, internet facilities, small-scale factories and agricultural extension services. This enhanced farming operation brings the realization that farming and waste recycling is a sustainable and lucrative enterprise. Thus eventually engendering and sustaining food security cum environmental bandwagon. The Food Nest can be adopted and replicated all over the world. This would definitely ensure food security, alleviate poverty, mitigates urbanization and improves on the quality of the environment.
A typical Food Nest could cost about $25,000 to $400,000 depending on site specific situations and size.
Seven Key Features of a Food Nest
- There must be a private firm imbued with the Food Nest vision to show leadership and drive the entire processes. This may be a profit or not for profit firm.
- There must be an established partnership agreement that clearly defines the role of the rural people, the private firm or firms, the public and the local government.
- Sustainable and knowledge based agriculture must be pursued and practiced at all levels while ensuring that every link is self-sustaining and profitable.
- Wastes recycling and agricultural production (animal and or crop production) sites must be situated in the rural areas with power generation at the sites.
- The market centers must be situated at Urban Centers and operated in such a manner that increase in food price at the urban centers result in increase in income for the farmers at the rural areas.
- The Food Nest must be adaptable to the culture and natural disposition of the people, thereby enhancing sociocultural and economic integration of the people within their localities.
- There must be an established closed chain of socioeconomic activities which can be evaluated at each link starting from raw material sourcing to production, to finished product consumption back to production, thus enabling growth and preservation of the entire value chain.
The Food Nest Going Beyond an Idea
Currently, work is in progress towards building a Model Food Nest in northern Edo State of Nigeria. The Project is undertaken by a Non-Governmental Organization in association with three private limited liability companies. Their roles are as follows:
1. Nsisuk O. Ekanem Initiative Foundation – Initiator and Vision Bearer of the Food Nest.
2. Nosmek Green Technology Limited – In charge of all raw materials and food processing operations.
3. Africa Green Revolution Farms Limited – In charge of all farming operations both animal and crop production.
4. Global Green Solutions and Agricultural Limited – In charge of Communications, green enterprise development, logistics, market linkages and performance evaluation.
A Brief on the Model Food Nest in Edo State of Nigeria
With the rapid urbanization of Nigeria fuelled by earnings from export of crude oil and natural gas, millions of farmers and young people have moved from rural areas to the large cities for work and better living conditions. The consequences of these behaviors have been massive importation of food products from oversees lowering the Gross National Product (GNP). Also, only the elderly, who are very few and weak do subsistence and sparingly semi-commercial farming in the rural areas. This means feeding more people at urban centers who are not involved in Agriculture. This shortage in domestic food supplies causes a corresponding rise in food price in urban areas. Furthermore, carrying food from rural to urban centers, transfers plant nutrients from rural areas into urban centers and concentrates them in refuse dump sites and sewages. This provokes concern regarding plant nutrient losses, health, safety and environment pollution. According to the United Nations' World Population Prospects report; the world population is currently growing by approximately 74 million people per year. Current United Nations predictions estimate that the world population will reach 9.0 billion around 2050, assuming a decrease in average fertility rate from 2.5 down to 2.0. Farmland required to feed this future population will pose serious challenge without high yield farming given the climatic change challenge and the increasing need to conserve resource and safeguard the environment. Thus, high yield farming is necessary to avert famine given the population explosion in developing countries and the high rate of urbanization. Yet high yield farming requires fertilizers; potassium is a principle element in the production of N:P:K fertilizers. Presently, there are no factories that produce potassium in West Africa. Most importantly, the net cost of energy required to formulate chemical fertilizers for example urea or ammonium fertilizers from natural gas is very high, which results in very high farm gate price (about 35USD per 50kg on the average without subsidy). The future of high yield farming will thus, rely upon affordable, accessible, and dependable hybrid fertilizers.
Mr. Nsisuk Ekanem has invented a process for the mass production of Potassium (Potash) from Oil Palm Husks, a renewable resource, which is a byproduct of Oil Palm production. Annually, multi million tons each of oil palm husks, poultry litter and animal bones are generated as agro-wastes in Nigeria. The patented process is called “Nsisuk’s Agro-wastes-derived Fertilizer Process (NAF Process)’’Patent No. RP.15230 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The process produces a branded product called “NAF Hybrid N:P:K Plus Fertilizers.” (N:P:K Plus means Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium and Micro-nutrients). This product has the combined advantages of organic and chemical fertilizers. Associated with this product is a byproduct called biogas (a renewable energy resource for domestic cooking and electricity generation). This total process is done in-country and decentralized to specific rural communities. The technical feasibility and workability of the ‘NAF Process’ has been demonstrated. The 'NAF Process' is the engine of the first working model of the 'FOOD NEST'.
To build and operate a working model of the Food Nest to obtain field data for study, evaluation, reviews, scale-up and subsequent replication in other parts of the state, country, Sub- Saharan Africa and beyond as deemed appropriate.
Short Term Objectives
1. To convert bio-degradable wastes into high quality environment friendly fertilizers and deliver same to rural farmers at their farm gates at an affordable unsubsidized price fixed at 10USD per 50Kg for the next 5 years, starting with a plant of capacity: 5 metric tons/stream day of NAF Hybrid N.P.K. Plus fertilizers.
2. To empower rural women through a guided venture into farming, so as to secure nutritious food for their children and income to pay for their education, healthcare and welfare.
3. To create sustainable employment for teeming unemployed youths and bring them back to rural areas to support the few elderly men and women to engage in commercial agriculture.
4. To eliminate middle men who are not farmers from ripping off profits from rural farmers, by enabling rural farmers to sell their farm produce directly at the urban markets, where increase in food price result in increase in income for the farmer. A financially empowered rural farmer can afford to buy fertilizers to improve yield and make even more profits.
5. To bring to bear high productivity in farming at rural levels by creating access to improved farm inputs and knowledge of best cultural practices through our feeder centers extension services.
6. To kick start the full commercial exploitation of the novel invention titled ‘’Nsisuk’s Agro-wastes-derived Fertilizer Process’’ (NAF Process) Patent No. RP.15230 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
7. To recycle and reuse biodegradable wastes in the most environment friendly manner possible and sensitize people to protect, preserve, conserve and improve our natural environment.
Long Term Objective
To roll out the Food Nest vision, in a manner that creates tremendous impact and triggers an agricultural based economic revolution in sub-Sahara Africa and beyond before 2025, by channeling wealth realized from the petroleum industry in Nigeria into strategic investments in agriculture and commercialization of green initiatives and innovations for the well-being of the world people.
1. Incorporating a company and an NGO that will host and obtain all licenses/permits relevant to the project.
1. Engaging rural poor people to track and gather rural and urban wastes (biomass) that are rich in fertilizer value within Edo.
2. Setting up strategic Feeder Centers and a Central Processing Center to recycle urban biodegradable wastes to proprietary hybrid fertilizers.
3. Engaging and training rural people to recycle these wastes themselves in the central processing center built in their community.
4. Partnering with local farmers and training them to use these homemade fertilizers with other improved farm inputs and methods to cultivate strategic food and cash crops.
5. Linking the rural farmers to the urban markets where increase in food price results in increase in their income.
6. Monitoring and growing the value chain through the Public Private People Partnership Agreement (PPPA) instrument. Evaluating the Food Nest model for eventual Scale-up and replication in other states and nations of the world.
Budget and Progress Report
The building of the model Food Nest in Edo State Nigeria commenced in July 2011 and is expected to be completed in September 2012. The sum of Three Hundred and Eighty Three Thousand US Dollars was budget for the establishment of a Central Food Processing Center in a rural area, Thirty Six Feeder Centers in 36 rural communities and a Market Place at the urban center. Since inception One Hundred and Five Thousand US Dollars has been secured and Two Hundred and Seventy Seven Thousand US Dollars in needed to complete the model Food Nest. Please see attached files for details on budget, timings and projected employment and impact chart.
Building Food Nests is by far the surest way out of rural poverty and a definitive approach to mitigating urbanization, ensuring food security and guaranteeing environmental sustainability in developing countries. Time is now for this economic and green revolutionary initiative to be fully explioted for the betterment of the lot of rural people. We hereby solicit for your support and collaboration. Thank you.
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