All posts by Oluwabunmi Akinyemi

Agritourism — we should all visit farms

Agritourism is tourism that involves any agriculturally based operation or activity that brings visitors to a farm or ranch. It of course comes from the term ‘agriculture’. This is the science or practice of farming, including cultivation of the soil for the growing of crops and the rearing of animals to provide food, wool, and other products. (Hayley Stainton).

A further definition of agritourism by the North Carolina Agritourism Activity Liability Law states that it is: Any activity carried out on a farm or ranch that allows members of the general public, for recreational, entertainment, or educational purposes, to view or enjoy rural activities, including farming, ranching, historic, cultural, harvest-your-own activities, or natural activities and attractions.
It doesn’t necessarily have to include travelling abroad. A simple visit to a petting zoo or local farm definitely counts as agritourism!

Agritourism is a type of tourism that is increasing around the world. With the increasing popularity of niche tourism, coupled with a growth in the desire to make our travels more sustainable, it is no surprise that the agritourism industry has grown significantly in the last few years.

Agritourism is a type of experiential travel. It involves doing something on your trip or holiday, and therefore experiencing the country or destination more so (and more deeply) then if you simply visited on a relaxing holiday. More specifically, agritourism involves doing something that is related in some way to agriculture.

Here are a few examples.
  1. Wine/vineyard tours
  2. Glamping/camping
  3. Quad biking
  4. Horse riding
  5. Fruit/flower picking
  6. Animal farms parks/safari parks
  7. Wwoofing
  8. Staying in a home located on a farm
  9. Farm tours
  10. Educational visits
  11. Relaxation retreats
  12. Hunting trips
  13. Rural weddings/events
  14. Farmer’s markets
  15. Corn Mazes
  16. Bird and wildlife watching
  17. Nature centers

Agritourism comes with economic benefits for travelers and for other tourism stakeholders (farmers, ranch owners and so on). Scholars argue that it is In fact necessary for the survival of some small farms. It diversifies farmers’ income streams, meaning they are able to make money outside of their regular season. When farmers offer agritourism opportunities,  surrounding areas and local communities see an increase in people visiting or passing through. This of course means an economic boost for rural areas and is an example of a positive economic impact of tourism!

Types of Agritourism

There are typically 5 types of agritourism. The Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development labelled these as:

Direct-to-consumer sales
This includes farm stands and ‘pick your own’ experiences. A farm stand is, as the name suggests, somewhere you can visit to buy produce directly from a farm. A farmers’ market is similar to this. Farms also often have shops attached to them, selling produce as well as items from local crafters, makers and more. Farms also often have shops attached to them, selling produce as well as items from local crafters, makers and more. A good example is Ope Farms in Abeokuta, they attend Farmers market around Dolphin estate, Lagos Nigeria and they have retail outlets as well.

Farmers Market

Agricultural education
School trips to local farms fall under this category of agritourism. You might also, as an adult, visit a farm and enjoy a guided tour where a farmer or farm assistant explains different aspects of the farming industry to you. This would be a type of agritourism as well as a type of educational tourism, although it is just a small part of agricultural education as a whole. A great example of an operator in this space is Highsoles Farm Tours, operating as Farmtour2016 on Instagram.

Hospitality
In terms of agritourism as proper tourism, e.g. something which involves travelling outside of your hometown for a holiday, this category is where it starts. From family-friendly interactive farms to relaxing adult only retreats complete with hot tubs, there are various different farm stay options across the world.

WWOOF, or the Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, facilitate this globally. They connect travelers with farmers, and you can have a really affordable holiday this way. As long as you’re prepared to put the work in, that is! There are farms you can work on in Mexico, Portugal, Serbia, Myanmar and so many more incredible locations. We also have a great example in Abuja Nigeria – Almat Farms positions itself as a leisure and corporate getaway destination that allows you time away from all the bustling noise of the city life to relax, refresh and renew yourself.

Recreation
Hunting, horseback riding, meeting donkeys on the seafront… all of these are recreational types of agritourism. Whether you go on an organised hunt in a rural location or choose to ride a horse across the desert, these are types of agritourism. Hunting doesn’t just mean animals, either; you could go truffle hunting! Horseback riding is also something that is offered worldwide as a fairly standard tourist activity. Amlat Farms in Abuja also offers equestrian services.

Horse riding at Almat Farms Abuja, Nigeria

Entertainment
The final type of agritourism is entertainment. Although the above categories are entertaining in themselves, this is slightly different. The entertainment category includes hay rides, which are popular in the US especially and involve a hay-lined truck or tractor ride. Corn Festivals are also popular globally with 70 years plus of history. In 2020, a tour company named Travel Begins at Home also started the “Naija Corn Festival” as an Agritourism event to celebrate the versatility of Corn, educate Nigerians about Agritourism and increase youth participation in Farming.


Advantages of Agrotourism
Agritourism is a fantastic way for farmers to diversify their income and to make some extra cash. With increasing issues such as droughts or increased competition, farmers are often susceptible to financial loss should they have a bad season. However, agritourism can be a great way to compensate for this!

Disadvantages of Agritourism
Agritourism can have its disadvantages also. Tourists visiting farmland may have negative environmental consequences– trampling the ground or by frightening/displacing local wildlife. The introduction of agritourism can also take the attention away from traditional farm work.

Over dependence on tourism is a bit problem in many parts of the world, and it is important that farm owners do not entirely abandon their traditional methods of making money… because should something happen to discourage tourists from visiting (an illness, political unrest, a natural disaster etc.) then there would be no money coming in for the farmers. And if he has abandoned his primary assignment there will be trouble as crops don’t sprout and mature overnight save for Aaron’s rod.

After all has been said and done, Agritourism has come to stay and the earlier we adopt it mainstream the better for our nation. Then we can maximize the vast land mass we have and put sustainable food security measures in place.

According to Schumacher, “I am now fully convinced that farming and tourism create synergies, where the natural beauty of the region, its cultural richness and vibrant communities can blend with farm activities, especially when a variety of farm products are grown, and the emphasis is on biointensive farming and biodiversity”. (Henry J. Schumacher 2017)

If you watched wrestling in the 90’s

Growing up in the 90’s, the means of entertainment were very limited. Then the watching of VHS wrestling tapes presented itself. We took it , but I was not prepared for the terror felt at the mere sight of the Undertaker ! He dared to come to the boxing ring with a coffin and woe be the Man that ends up in it after a match. The ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan were the positive vibes guy and their entrance got me out of my seat jumping like a kid in a candy store.

Here is a list of some well known names from back then, most of them have long left the ring , some long dead. However you can still read a bit about them and see what they look like  years after the  game.

The Undertaker

Mark William Calaway made waves in the wrestling world under the name the Undertaker. He continues to compete in matches every now and then as a free agent. In the past, he won 17 titles and had been one of the most feared people in the industry. Wrestling aside, he has also gone into real estate! At the moment, he and his wife get to work with animals through the fund that they set up for this passion.

Kane

You might not recognize the name Glenn Thomas Jacobs, but you probably know Kane. Well, he is one of the most popular wrestlers in history. Did you know that he has also been an actor, politician, and businessman? He starred in See No Evil, which is a great place to watch him as an actor. In 2018, he also entered politics and won the mayoral seat of Knox County in the same year.

The Rock

See his beautiful smile, and dude has still not lost it, especially when he acts in a comedy. We are sure that you are familiar with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. You do not even have to be a fan of wrestling to know who he is! His acting career has even eclipsed his time in the ring. Times magazine once called him one of the most influential people in the world. Aside from being talented and good-looking, he is also charitable. He even started a foundation that helps children with terminal illnesses.

Hulk Hogan


You might also know Hulk Hogan even if you are not the biggest wrestling fan. Born Terre Gene Bollea, he has left a legacy on the industry. Outside of it, he has also worked as a TV personality, entrepreneur, musician, and actor. It is impressive to see how much he has achieved! Did you know that he has his own nutritional website and energy drink? In 2007, he hit a rough patch while going through a pasdivorce and losing nearly everything he owns. We are glad that he has managed to bounce back from then.

The Ultimate Warrior

James Brian Hellwig, who went by the name the Ultimate Warrior or Dingo Warrior, was adored by his fans. He loved wrestling so much that he legally changed his name to Warrior in 1993! There was a time when people claimed that he has passed away and was being impersonated by a different fighter. However, the truth was that he passed away from a heart attack at the age of 54 in 2014.

Macho Man

We do not think that it is possible to be unfamiliar with Macho Man Randy Savage! He enjoyed a career that went on for more than 32 years. He has also claimed 29 world titles. In the past, he has appeared in Baywatch, Spider-Man, and Ready to Rumble. In 2011, he died while on the road. People eventually found out that he had a heart condition, which led to his death

Chyna

Back in the ‘90s, Joan Marie Laurer made it big under the ring name Chyna. She was the first popular female wrestler! She deserves credit for paving the way for other women in the industry. The talented wrestler deserved the accolades and awards that she has received in the past. Apart from wrestling, she also started writing and released an autobiography. In 2016, however, she died after a drug overdose. RIP.

The Coach

Jonathan Coachman, also known as the Coach, no longer appears inside the ring, but he is still active in the industry.  Once a fine Man, now a finer man , black don’t crack. This time, he serves as the color commentator of the Raw brand. In 2018, he resigned from WWE and has made fans wonder whether he will return. He is now happily married and has two kids.

Yokozuna

Next, we have the first Samoan wrestler! Rodney Agatupa Anoa’i is better known as Yokozuna among wrestling fans. Did you know that he was the only one of Samoan descent to win the WWF World Heavyweight Championship? In 2000, his dead body was discovered in his hotel room after a tour at the age of 34. His cause of death was thought to be a heart attack, but it was pulmonary edema.

Jacqueline

Jacqueline DeLois Moore a wrestler, but she is a wrestling manager as well.  She is not only beautiful but among the only  three women to bag the Cruiserweight Championship, and she is one of them. Over the years, she has worked in movies, video games, and TV shows. She was a trainer in an MTV series called Tough Times. We are blown away when we realized that she is now in her 60s and still looks like that.

Shawn Michaels

Born Michael Shawn Hickenbottom, Shawn Michaels is a champion wrestler who is a familiar face on TV. Aside from acting, he also worked as a TV presenter! He is the main ambassador of WWE and the host of Shawn Michaels’ River Adventures. Over the years, he has been married twice! The most recent one would be his marriage to Rebecca. The two of them tied the knot in 1999 and have two kids.

Qatar is set to receive 6 million visitors per annum

The middle East Tourism has been dominated by Dubai as a top destination with all sorts of attractions. Visitors keep  coming back for more but today, Qatar is the new kid on the block.

For years, Qatar has been preparing to take that enviable position as number one. This is a drama series we are looking forward to as the Qatari people do not give half measures.  If you have  been to the Qatar Airport then you will know they are in pursuit of excellence , the opulence and grandeur is unrivaled . The National carrier Qatar Airways,  is the only airline to be voted World’s Best Airline six times by Skytrax. This is further complimented by the airline’s home and hub, Hamad International Airport, which got the vote World’s Best Airport in 2021 by Skytrax.

Hamad International Airport, Qatar

Qatar Tourism has launched a new campaign to promote the destination with the tagline, “Experience a World Beyond”, and a new website has been launched to this effect , www.visitqatar.qa

It is available in five languages and supported by a recently launched Personalised Travel Companion mobile app, designed to showcase the world-leading destination. The campaign features nine unique, engaging key chain characters  to introduce travelers to the destination, which will roll out across 15 international core markets. We are not sure Africa has an invite to the party yet.

Experience the culture and play local games
Dates are regular features in the middle east -Dates are the first agricultural export product of Qatar, amounting up to 16,500 metric tons per year in 2003 but the local fruit production has declined steeply over the past decade.
Middle East scents in a jar

Destination Knowledge

To aid knowledge and development for travel agents, Qatar Tourism’s travel agency training platform, TAWASH, has also been refreshed with a new interface design, content and training modules. The training platform supports Qatar’s mission to become a leader in Service Excellence. The design offers an improved learning experience, the upgrade in programme functionality includes features such as interactive maps and knowledge check quizzes, alongside a new module structure to deliver an agile learning solution.

 

Agents can receive a ‘Qatar Expert’ certificate, which can be upgraded to ‘Qatar Specialist’ through completion of additional elective options. Learners who have already completed the former programme will automatically receive the ‘Qatar Expert’ level.

Infrastructure and Attractions 

With the goal of raising tourism to 12% of GDP by 2030, Qatar will grow and improve assets and attractions, including the addition of 105 new hotels and serviced apartments to its extensive growing portfolio. The strategy will enhance the end-to-end customer experience and deploy a tailored marketing strategy to target point-to-point and stopover visitors.  The country will also be hosting the FIFA world cup 2022.

International travelers are welcome  to experience Qatar’s rich cultural heritage, unique hotels and resorts, incredible outdoor activities, beaches and multi-cultural culinary scene. In Qatar, visitors will truly Experience a World Beyond.” This also includes the National Museum with a grand architecture – a complex form of the desert rose, found in Qatar’s arid desert regions which  inspired the striking design of the new museum building, conceived by French architect Jean Nouvel.

 

Bénin is set to get on the world map as a tourist destination

The Republic of Benin is from north to south a long stretched country in West Africa, situated east of Togo and west of Nigeria and Cotonou, the capital city of Benin. It is bordered to the north by Burkina Faso and Niger, in south by the the Bight of Benin, in the Gulf of Guinea, that part of the tropical North Atlantic Ocean which is roughly south of West Africa. Benin’s coastline is just 121 km (75 mi) long.

The people of Benin are referred to as Beninese with a population of 10 millions at 2013 with about 42 ethnic groups, most important being Fon, Adja, Yoruba, and Bariba.  Our spotlight is on Benin as a result of proximity to Nigeria, trade relations and we share a common indigenous popular language “Yoruba”. Citizens of both countries are quiet friendly and today we have locals who currently  live in Nigeria and all over the world.

Djimon Hounson, an actor in Hollywood hails from Cotonou the capital of Benin.
Djimon Hounsou (with his son)Kenzo Lee Hounsou in his village in Benin Republic. Photo taken in 2018 (Source PMnews Nigeria)

More Statistics on Benin.

Religions: Indigenous beliefs (animist) 50%, Christian 30%, Muslim 20%.
Languages: French (official), Fon and Yoruba in the south; Nagot, Bariba and Dendi in the north.
Literacy: Total population 39%; men 53%, women 25%.

Recently they launched the National Agency for the promotion  of Heritage and development of Tourism to transform Benin into a flagship destination in West Africa. The private sector will play a crucial role in executing the project with the Agency providing continuous  technical and financial support to its partners.

Project Highlights

  • Transform the Pendjari/W into West Africa’s leading wildlife park.

  •  Revitalise the lacustrian  town of Ganviè (Village on a Lake ).

  •      Build a thematic museum inspired by the activities of the Abomey Kings.
Abomey King , source – Punchnewspaper
  •    Build a museum of voodoo art , civilisation and culture in the area around Port – Nov0.
  •    Reconstruct the historical city of Ouidah in its original and redevelop its historical trails.

A popular Tourist site – Door of No Return, Ouidah

The Agency and private sector sure have a lot on their plate right now while Nigerians as good neighbors can and should benefit form this if well positioned.

The Benin -Cotonou route has been an age long smuggling path to Nigeria for all sorts of goods ranging from Cars to clothes, Jewelries, Groundnut oil, rice and even frozen Turkey. This will  open up new roads, opportunities and a lot more in terms of Tourism exchange for both nations and all over the world

Feel free to also add this to our list of visa free countries.

 

 

The $100,000,000 Travel and Leisure deal

What is in a name ?

Despite contrary opinions and actions in today’s world, a good name is sure better and can eventually translate to riches, opens doors and makes room to be admired, respected and the list is endless.

The Travel +Leisure magazine is a 50+ year old media brand which has been recently acquired by Orlando,Fla based timeshare company Wyndham Destinations.  The company was originally launched in 1937 as U.S. Camera & Travel, the magazine became Travel + Leisure after American Express purchased it for its publication division in 1968. It was later acquired by Time Inc. and was part of that company’s purchase by Meredith.

Travel+Leisure magazine,Jan 2021 cover special To the Register/Meredith Corporation

The sale comes at an uncertain time for the tourism industry which has a ripple effect on the entire industry . The industry is currently facing disappointments, cancellations and resort closures during the COVID-19 pandemic, even the buyer Wyndham Destinations reported a loss of $258 million through the first nine months of 2020 and laid off or furloughed 9,000 workers at one point.

Then things changed for good as at the end of September, company executives told shareholders, Wyndham Destinations had rehired about 3,300 of those workers.

Meredith Corp. announced Wednesday that it is selling the flagship travel magazine to the timeshare giant Wyndham Destinations for $100,000,000million but the buyer isn’t concerned with the magazine so much as the title on its cover, the brand and legacy name.

All the hard work Travel + Leisure editors have been doing for 50 years led us to this point because Wyndham Destinations wants to create this whole new company centered around our brand and legacy and name, so I’m thrilled about that, said Jacqueline Gifford, editor-in-chief of Travel + Leisure.

As a result of the sale, Wyndham Destinations will rename itself Travel + Leisure Co. next month. The company (buyer) will lease the actual magazine back to Meredith (seller) as part of a 30-year-agreement, allowing the publisher to continue to produce and sell the publication. It could not be juicer nor more interesting. Just like Moses Mother, you are allowed to nurse the baby you let go and still benefit from the deal.

In addition to the $100 million cash purchase, Wyndham Destinations agreed to buy $30 million worth of ads in Meredith publications over the next five years, Meredith CEO Tom Harty said Wednesday during the Citi 2021 Global TMT West Virtual Conference. Now that is one heck of a deal !

 

“We believe there’s tremendous value in our brands that we don’t get value for,” he said. “And you have these opportunities. You can either sell or you can partner.”

Tom Harty Meredith Corporation’s newly announced CEO is pictured here. Contributed Photo/Special To The Register.

The Why 

Who is Wyndham Destinations ?

Wyndam is a rentals and Time share giant with 4 million members in its timeshare network and manages 230 resorts. They make money by selling timeshare contracts, managing resorts and helping members book vacations at a network of hotels and homes owned by other companies.

The company made this move in a bid to appeal to a generation of younger and aspirational clients/travelers.Their client base is older and time share is soon fading (story for another day) as people are more spontaneous in recent times. Their purchase interest was locked on Travel +Leisure members and followers and the circulation of the magazine was not a major concern.

Travel +Leisure has 2 membership travel clubs in existence with tens of thousands of members.

Top African Countries to visit in 2021

Do you still have plans to travel in 2020 ? Or have you stored your passport away anticipating the coming year.

Experts around the world have highlighted about 20 countries in the world that will be a top destination in 2021. This article will focus on the African countries that made the list.

Kenya

Kenya is in East Africa with her capital in Nairobi  and on a trip you should  expect to enjoy the wildlife safari, the pristine beaches and the culture of the people.The wildlife Safaris are the major attraction and every visitor sure has this on their to do list. Moreover your visit to Kenya is not complete without saying hi to the wildlife. Word on the street says you need to visit these places listed to qualify as a good tourist .

Nairobi National park, Maldini Marine National park which is a gem with clean water beaches and colorful aquatic habitation. Mount Kenya, Samburu National Reserve, Lamu Island which is very off the usual trail and reserved for discerning tourists who want an out of the box experience, the essence of the old and the past.

On a trip there, a lot of things are priced in dollars so be ready to part with a few.

Source – CNN Travel

Rwanda

Rwanda is in east-central Africa with its capital in Kigali, known for beautiful scenery and hills. The hub of sustainable Tourism and named the cleanest city in 2017 by the World Economic Forum. If you are looking for a budget  friendly location this will be your best bet. However some of the activities are expensive so you need to plan ahead and also set a priority of sites to visit. There are lots of lakes including volcanic ones, rivers,nature area, wildlife, hot springs, waterfalls etc. In summary if you are in sync with the outdoors and nature then this is your ideal spot.

             

Egypt

The first thought about Egypt is usually pyramids Mummies as in Mummy movies and pharaoh , Nefertiti youth like feeling. However there is much more to see and do with pretty beaches and swimming high on your list with at least 12 choices to choose from.

Egypt is the country where you can experience a range of activities from relaxation to adventure and the culture making the perfect mix and experience. There are temples, tombs,, historic sites,deserts e.g. The Nile river , mount Sinai, artifacts in Luxor and Cairo the capital has all the city effects.

Source 360.com
Source : Plantware.com, El-Gouna Beach
Source Planetware.com , Taba Beach

Tunisia

Tunisia is located in the far North of Africa and one of it’s tourist attractions is the cosmopolitan capital city of Tunis. As Tunisia is located on the shores of the Mediterranean sea, it offers some of the most beautiful beaches found in North Africa. According to The New York Times, Tunisia is “known for its golden beaches, sunny weather and affordable luxuries.” Visiting this country is a unique cultural experience and you get to visit the archaeological site of Carthage, the Sahara dessert and the star wars filming location among others.

Source- World Travel Guide
Source – Tunisiatourisminfo.com

South Africa

From Capetown to Johannesburg ,Durban, Pretoria and Port Elizabeth, you will be wowed and won over with lots of beautiful sites, adventure, fun activities and a general sense of well being. Activities include surfing,Vineyards, Lagoons,beaches, apartheid museum and a host of others.

Location highly recommended for the adrenaline junkie who derives pleasure in a host of activities and always ready to explore and hit the roads. A trip to South Africa requires you to please come prepared to spend the money.

Source – Africabriefng.org
Source – Jakartapost.com

 

And something happened

Tuesday 20th of October dawned like every other day and seems to be just yet another day. However for me I was a little disappointed for my little man who was looking forward to sharing a cake with his mates in school (schools were closed due to road blocks from protests)  as it is his birthday. I had to do a lot of creative explanation why he can not go to school then promised to invite next door neighbors to celebrate with him. In no time, his enthusiasm and excitement rubbed on me and I was in a mini party mood to make his day fun.

Towards evening, we still had our buddies around then someone called our attention to DJ-Switch’s live on Instagram. Suddenly, the atmosphere in the house changed, like terror, fear, hopelessness and despair was released Into the atmosphere, I was on the brink of something dark, sad and kind of laughing at the same time as it seems unreal, tummy revolting already. By this time there were 11 thousand plus people on the live video then the number kept increasing until there were about 155 thousand people. At this point we were all talking at the same time, everyone left for their house and the cake long forgotten.

Finally we were left all alone but the terror was so real, we eventually had a restless sleep in the living room safe for the children. I could not bear sleeping on a bed while our brothers and sisters were out there, fighting to live, fighting to safe a limb or arm, the sight of blood, it was unbearable. The restless nap I had on the chair was in tatters and riddled with nightmares, waking up to pray at intervals etc. up till 2 days after.

The protest was hijacked by hoodlums and sponsored thugs( the love of money is the root of all evil ) I believe and the obviously real lazy Nigerian youths. They were never a part of the protests, they are not on social media rather they are thieves and opportunists looking for chaotic situation to cash in on to go on a rampage and wanton destruction of communal properties, peoples toil and sweat. I believe in a just God who will not leave the guilty unpunished so everyone will get what they rightfully deserve in right proportions.

Source -Corruption reporter website

The Covid palliatives is even another issue that gave me serious headache and some states response feels so awkward like ”we are expecting the rice component” ! Places like Ilorin found 3 locations and God knows how many are still undiscovered in bigger urban cities . I do not support break ins, (even if it was meant for you but denied you in the first place )looting, violence and injustice of any kind but how did we even get here in the first place as honest and hardworking citizens.

On the Lekki shootings, personally there were too many fishy and unhealthy co-incidences which does not settle well in my spirit .Something is revolting and crying out on why the scanner or  CCTV or whatever they say it is  should be taken away for whatever. Lights off, a bill board never going off now chooses that day to go off because of curfew, Internet down on several networks, ambulances turned back ! I scarce can’t take it in on such spiral of co-incidences, probably the god of co-incidences was passing through town. Then press statement started flying around to Shalaye (explain) , ok I have heard but I don’t understand nor accept. The cup of injustice and oppressions is full in the land, o God of creation arise in your justice and mercy over our land until every wrong is made right and righteousness is exalted in our land.

I remember being on  radiolive interview on the 6th and was asked about security in the interview which I responded not seeing it as a major deterrent to Tourism in Nigeria. I said this based on my previous research where roads, infrastructure and adequate information was higher on the list . However, today I have only security of lives and properties on my list.

If a Nigerian does not feel secured in her fatherland, how do we attract the paying foreign visitors ? The ones that will bring foreign investments and a steady flow of visitors in the midst of so much chaos. The Hospitality. Leisure, Travel and Tourism (HLTT) industry , please brace up for the upcoming lash on our dear industry. The December influx for detty December will not be what it used to be , lets begin to prepare for innovative solutions. Rather there will probably be a long queue of white December enthusiasts, travel ticket requests etc. Also Tour operators , watch who you take on a trip so they do not abscond and taint your reputation.

On this note ,I sense deeply something has changed and moved in the spirit and physical realm for Nigeria and we will never remain the same again.

I pray for peace, comfort and consolation to everyone who has lost a child, a friend, a sibling and for honest hardworking Nigerians who have lost means of livelihood, properties and things you can not measure with any weight.

Independence day — National Owanbe day

On the 1st October 1960,my dear Fatherland gained independence and became a sovereign nation,Nigeria, I hail and doff my hat for you.

Today,this giant clocks 60 years old and I really want to say a happy birthday to this great nation.

Oh great Nigeria, I call you thus as so much greatness lies within even thought your steps falter and your tongue stutters,you still remain a giant.

In a bid to attract foreign visitors to our dear nation, I have a strong feeling we should re -christen this day our national owanbe day. This I believe will attract more visitors and the international media will put a spotlight on us which will keep the world smiling in the face of so much gloom as a result of the recent pandemic. The world sure needs a time of refreshing and something to smile about.

Model- Queen Mo the Diva on Instagram

World over and even for Nigerians in diaspora, we are known for our lavish partying and over the top celebrations. Nigerians have been known to spend fortunes on weddings  or burials, amounts that could easily buy a house or set one up for life. We are the go lucky happy kid, who always finds something to laugh about even in the worst of cases, turn up memes with national issues and even start selling customized merchandize for such events. So why can we not just turn this to a national treasure ? Instead of having propaganda agendas, unending meetings, anniversary committees and what nots, lets just have a giant party nation wide. Customized Nigeria at 60 Ankara and lace made available and delivered to our houses. Then maybe this will help us know the actual number of people who got the Covid-19 relief materials. Imagine, this can even shed light on how well the national cake is going round by the number of selfies we see popping up. The Yoruba people of Nigeria will say “ko wo ankara ko je semo ” (No uniform Ankara for the party, no food for you ).

Model – k_thepsalmist on Instagram

Lets us have one giant party in states and local governments, estates and streets with each region celebrating their local talents, local Mama put/eateries given government money to make delicacies for citizens to walk in and eat. Nigerians are hospitable and we have amazing delicacies worth trying.

Independence inspired meal

How else can we celebrate this day and touch the life of Nigerians, make the masses happy, break records and get the attention of the whole world ?

Source – loveweddingsng

Where did this crazy idea come from ?

Every year on the 1st of October, I see a lot of pictures popping up on social media with Nigerians dressed in GREEN and WHITE, with a lot of efforts and creativity in place. Even schools are not left out, requesting preschoolers up to secondary schools to dress in national colours . Thus why not turn this day to a national treasure/man made festival to greatly promote tourism with awards for most creative dressing etc and over the years, nations of the world will travel to join the party and eventually visit other attractions. Something irresistible must surely draw them here.

In the spirit of a true Nigerian and love for my Father land, I say have a restful holiday, happy Independence day, your path will  shine brightly and long live Nigeria.

 

 

 

 

The rain Corn

In the build up to Naija Corn Fest 2020, we had a series of educative posts about corn, why it is important as a staple food, Africa still importing corn from developed countries and also the economic value reffered to as “Yellow Gold” in developed countries. 

Barely a week after, a CBN circular spread like wild fire saying form M (form M is a mandatory statutory document to be completed by all importers for importation of goods into Nigeria )has been banned for all importation of Corn/Maize. This means no form M,no official (cheap ,regulated) rates for buying dollars for foreign exchange.

The CBN circular stopping form M

This invariably means no regulated funds for buying corn. i.e it is an outright ban on importation of Corn. It is also worthy to note that Corn has been on the export prohibited  list before now, meaning we do not have enough so we can not sell out. All importation and exportation of corn/maize and seeds are now prohibited.

How ordinary people will be affected

Imported corn will probably still be available at the mercy of merchants who dare to smuggle in the produce. This means Corn importation has now been declared a contraband/prohibited item just like the status of imported rice into the country. In the long run, everybody feels the heat as everything we use corn for gets to increase in price. However it still feels lopsided as other processed corn items/derivatives importation have not been banned e.g corn starch etc.

As a result of the ban, the Animal feed industry was the first to cry out, according to Dr. Folarin Afelumo, President of  Feed Industry Practitioners Association of Nigeria, FIPAN said “the scarcity of grains (maize), if not urgently tackled, spells doom for the industry which is worth over N500 billion”.

Animal feeds

Speaking with a chicken poultry farmer, a measure of feed usually goes for #96 now goes for #185 and it is still rising which will push up the eventual cost of chickens they raise. Egg sellers have added money and its only a matter of time for baked goods to go up.

The question is how then do we increase our production as a country to become self sustainable.

The real issue and what can be done

According to a report by IITA, Africa imports 28% of its required maize grain from countries outside the continent as most of the maize production in Africa is done under rain-fed conditions. Irregular rainfall can trigger shortages and famines during occasional droughts. Today, a certain percent of required maize by Nigeria is lost as a result of importation ban, another percent lost as a result of sketchy rainfall in cities within Nigeria where the maize/corn is grown, yet another loss as a result of poor farming methods and all the youths gone to the city for the white collar jobs. And to top it all, we are still missing some as an aftermath of Covid-19 .What percentage of required corn do we have left for the teeming population?

To bring our corn production to speed as a nation, we need to start massive mechanized farming, irrigation and definitely more than one corn planting season in a year by rotating all the vast expanse of land we have as a nation. There is no better time to plant and invest in corn production.

Naija Corn Festival 2020

We planned to host the First naija corn festival on the 4th July 2020 but Covid-19 happened.
In place of that we decided to host a CSR programme bringing corn to our community for free and we urged people to post their corn eating pictures with #naijacornfest on social media to join our e-corn party. Most people did not post the pictures directly, rather they sent them to us to post and till date ,we have some yet to make it to the gram.

Some of the pictures on Instagram tagged #naijacornfest

The 4th of July 2020 dawned as a rainy day yet my spirits refused to be down, I was optimistic and excited as getting to plan the day itself was a leap of faith .Thus the rain was no discouragement, we were ready to take it on plus God blessed us with amazing set of people who stepped out of their comfort zone to be a part of the event. Though we started later than planned we were able to touch locations within Surulere, and Kilo as our final bus- stop.

Amazing crew braving the rain to share Corn

Courtesy of the rain, we could not do as much video as we would have loved to, plus we totally forgot about the instgram live promise due to the downpour. see here with no sound  the short clip on Instagram live which would have been great content for the video but our video recorder battery had shut down by then. Below is the event re-cap.

 

 

We stopped by at some amazing peoples house like Ajala Nene and  Devee Apparels to give them corn and by this time I was soaked to my shoes , I had to beg for tea (black) to get a bit of warmth. Our final stop was Yakoyo eatery on Ogunlana for take – out hot Amala. By the time I got home, I was already sneezing and my nose was blocked. For the next 2 days, I upped my intake of Vit C to 2000gms and by the third day was as fit as a fiddle.

A big shout out to all our friends,family and people who came across the adverts and registered, to those who went out of their way to cook /buy corn that day ,we celebrate you specially. Up till the 14th of July, we were still receiving pictures with people joining from all over Nigeria, the UK and the US.

While preparing for the Corn  Festival, I met a young man who printed on the packaging used for the corn,he supported us by posting about the event and recently also celebrating this hardworking and diligent Corn seller who is his Mother.

We celebrate you hardworking Mother for all that you do.

The Corn conversation is just getting started.

Have a Corntastic day !