Sweet potato is tropical herbaceous plant which, by the nature of its temperature requirement, can be grown throughout Nigeria. States like Kaduna, Kano, Zamfara, and Sokoto in the North-west are currently leading in its production in the country.
A renowned agronomist with the Institute for Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Prof. Bashir Ahmad Babaji, said sweet potato requires soil that is moderately fertile, because high fertility leads to excessive vegetative growth at the expense of tuber formation.
“It requires a soil that is sandy loam; a soil a little bit high in organic matter but that has sand. Because it is a tuber crop, it requires a soil where the tuber can easily grow very well in the soil. Under heavy soil, it may be very difficult for the tubers to grow,” he explained.
On planting season, the agronomist noted that sweet potato can be grown both during the dry season and the rainy season, adding, however, that when temperature is very low, it is not advisable to plant because it may not do well.
two nodes, and placed on a ridge of 30cm to 50cm at a depth of 2cm to 3cm.
“Sweet potato does not withstand weed competition during the early crop’s life, therefore, keep the field weed free during the first six weeks after planting. Pre-planting herbicides such as Roundup or Floumeturon at 5 litres per hectare can be applied,” he added.
On storage, Prof. Babaji advised that sweet potatoes can be left underground, because it has a short shelf life and harvested when the need arises. He, however, pointed out that the Bokolo’ cattle can smell potatoes under the soil, dig it out and consume it.
The don noted that some common local varieties found in Northern Nigeria now are the ‘Dan izala’, and ‘Manja’ which are a newly introduced variety with high vitamin A content. They are also known as the orange-fleshed sweet potato.
“Most varieties that farmers now use take from three to four months to be ready for harvest. After harvest, sweet potato has a shelf life of about three months,” he said.
Again, he stated that to avoid spoilage, the potatoes can be cut and dried, which some women use in making a local drink, ‘kunun zaki’.
On fertiliser requirement, Prof. Babaji recommended that 40kg of nitrogen, 40kg to 60kg of phosphorus and up to 100kg potassium be applied per hectare.
He outlined that soils in the savanna areas of the country are mostly rich in potassium, so only farms that have long term cultivation need to apply potassium fertiliser.
Speaking on its diseases, Prof. Babaji said some common diseases affecting sweet potato are the internal cork disease caused by a virus carried by aphids, controlled only by using resistant varieties, and black rot, which can be controlled also by planting resistant varieties, crop rotation and early storage.
He added that in case of fungal disease, a fungicide like Benlace, Dithane or M-45 may be used.
“Other pests affecting sweet potato are weevil (larvae) which bore into the tuber. In this case, you need to get improved varieties and employ crop rotation also,” he advised.
On the health benefits of eating sweet potato, Dr. Chris Isokpunwu, Head of Nutrition, Federal Ministry of Health, said it was largely rich in carbohydrates, and also rich in vitamins C, E, A and minerals like zinc and iron.
He said the orange-fleshed which is a newer variety has been bio-fortified with vitamin A and is orange in colour.
Dr. Chris explained that sweet potato can be eaten raw, fried, made into chips and flakes or flour used for making buns, pap and pudding.
“It is a very good source of energy and the fibre level is equally very high which ensures easy digestion, bowel movement and helps in weight control because when there is high fibre in the diet it gives a filling effect and so you don’t have to eat much,” he noted.
The President of the Potato Farmers Association, Chief Daniel Okafor, however, expressed worry that government has not been supportive of sweet potato propagation in recent times.
“The struggle is too much, there are a lot of challenges, and farmers need to be supported if they actually want to boost production and make it worth their effort,” he said.
Speaking about the prospects, he said there was a special starch extracted from sweet potato whose price is very high in the international market.
No immediate response was received from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture when our reporter visited yesterday but a source there said there was no specific policy on sweet potato farming by the ministry this year.
He, however, said potato farmers would benefit from other government incentives like fertilizers and other agro inputs.
Joachim von Amsberg, AIIB Vice-President for Policy and Strategy, and Charles Boamah, African Development Bank Senior Vice-President, at the MoU signing ceremony in Washington, DC.
A Memorandum of Understanding to enhance collaboration on sustainable economic development was signed on April 18 by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the African Development Bank and formalized during the World Bank-International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings in Washington, DC.
The mandates and comparative advantages of the two institutions converge around infrastructure development, particularly energy and power, transportation and communication. These key activity areas will provide a framework to foster collaboration in developing programs, co-financing, and other forms of financial assistance, knowledge and staff exchange.
Joachim von Amsberg, AIIB Vice-President for Policy and Strategy, remarked, “Today’s MoU with the African Development Bank reflects a strong partnership between two institutions with the same vision to promote sustainable economic development. It enables more effective cooperation between the two multilateral development banks and allows us to complement each other with our respective capabilities. In particular, it allows AIIB to benefit from AfDB’s rich experience in financing infrastructure projects in Africa.” Egypt, Ethiopia, Madagascar, South Africa and Sudan have all joined or been approved to join the AIIB as non-regional members.
African Development Bank Senior Vice-President Charles Boamah stressed, “This partnership will benefit the Bank by leveraging additional resources for the continent, which are critical to the achievement of its High 5 development priorities.” He said it is key for the Bank to cooperate with new development players like AIIB and to join forces in raising the voice of developing and emerging economies in the global policy landscape.
AIIB and AfDB will maintain a working relationship to achieve their common objectives of assisting developing countries in their development efforts.
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a multilateral development bank with a mission to improve social and economic outcomes in Asia and beyond. Headquartered in Beijing, we commenced operations in January 2016 and have now grown to 84 approved members from around the world. By investing in sustainable infrastructure and other productive sectors today, we will better connect people, services and markets that over time will impact the lives of billions and build a better future.
The overarching objective of the African Development Bank Group is to spur sustainable economic development and social progress in its regional member countries, thus contributing to poverty reduction. To do so, the Bank mobilizes and allocates resources for investment in African countries and provides policy advice and technical assistance to support development efforts.
African Development Bank organizes Workshop on Strengthening Role of Parliament in Combating Illicit Financial Flows from Africa
The African Development Bank will hold a Workshop on Strengthening the Role of Parliament in Combating Illicit Financial Flows from Africa (IFFs) from 24 to 26 April 2018 in Abuja.
Since the approval of the Bank Group’s Policy on the Prevention of Illicit Financial Flows and its accompanying Strategic Framework and Action Plan in April 2017, the Bank has organized and/or participated in a number of Conferences and Workshops aimed at building the capacity of regional stakeholders to combat illicit financial flows.
The workshop will address the challenges and difficulties faced, and the good practices adopted, by experts and practitioners in African countries in their fight against illicit financial flows and in recovering the proceeds of crime from criminals, and the role that parliamentarians can play in facilitating the work of the practitioners.
Participants at the workshop will include Parliamentarians from the Bank’s regional member countries (RMCs), as well as national and international experts and practitioners in the field of taxation, financial crimes, and Financial Intelligence Units, among others, who are central to the Bank’s work on illicit financial flows.
The workshop’s expected outcomes include widespread awareness among parliamentarians on (i) their role in combating Illicit Financial Flows from Africa; (ii) the role which they can play in translating the key recommendations of the HLP Report on Illicit Financial Flows into laws that respond to specific needs of their countries; and (iii) generation of ideas on how to initiate and/or deepen cooperation and synergies among parliamentarians on IFFs in the Banks RMCs.
What: Workshop on Strengthening Role of Parliament in Combating Illicit Financial Flows from Africa
The European Investment Bank and the African Development Bank have agreed to support the creation of the new Development Bank of Nigeria to strengthen lending for business and agriculture investment in the country. The European Investment Bank has finalized a US $20-million equity stake in the new financing institution, alongside US $50-million equity participation from the African Development Bank.
The Development Bank of Nigeria has been created by the Federal Government of Nigeria to address financing challenges hindering private sector investment in the country. The Bank is called to play an important and catalytic role in providing funding and risk sharing facilities to micro, small and medium enterprises as well as small corporates.
“The Development Bank of Nigeria will overcome the funding gap in the micro-, small- and medium-scale enterprises space and help businesses unlock opportunities across Nigeria. DBN’s ambition is strengthened by the financial and technical support of international partners, including the European Investment Bank and African Development Bank. The new institution builds on international experience and uses a business model that has demonstrated proven success to enhance private-sector investment across Africa and around the world where other financing options are inadequate or absent,” said Tony Okpanachi, Managing Director of the Development Bank of Nigeria.
“Private sector businesses are critical to the development of the Nigerian economy as they possess huge potential for employment generation and output diversification. Nevertheless, there has been under-performance of these businesses and this has undermined their contribution to economic growth. Among the issues affecting their performance, the shortage of finance, particularly investment finance, occupies a very central position. The Development Bank of Nigeria is expected to contribute to mobilizing significant long-term financing to an important yet underserved sector with high development potential,” said Stefan Nalletamby, Director of the Financial Sector Development Department at the African Development Bank.
“New private sector investment is crucial to create jobs and enable business to expand and limited access to long-term financing holds back economic growth. The European Investment Bank is pleased to support the new Development Bank of Nigeria to strengthen private-sector investment in Africa’s largest economy. We look forward to continued close cooperation with Nigerian and international partners to ensure that once fully operational the new Development Bank of Nigeria can help harness the country’s economic potential,” said Ambroise Fayolle, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB).
“The European Union is committed to supporting private-sector investment in Nigeria. The new backing for the Development Bank of Nigeria by both the European Investment Bank, the bank of the European Union and the African Development Bank, with 13 EU member state shareholders, will make a clear contribution to tackling the lack of access to credit by entrepreneurs and businesses across the country. With more investment, we hope to promote a vibrant economy and stimulate growth, employment and increase opportunities, especially for youth,” said Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, Head of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Addressing the investment gap holding back private-sector investment
At present, new investment essential for companies to expand and create jobs is hindered by limited access to commercial banks. It is estimated by the Development Bank of Nigeria that only 5% of the 37 million entrepreneurs and small businesses in Nigeria that contribute to 50% of GDP can access credit in the financial system.
Building on broad international support
Other international financial institutions including the World Bank, Germany’s KfW and the French Agence française de développement (AFD) will also support the new bank alongside backing from the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.
The African Development Bank is a development finance institution whose overarching objective is to spur sustainable economic development and social progress in its regional member countries, thus contributing to poverty reduction. It aims to achieve this objective by mobilizing and allocating resources for investment in regional member countries and providing policy advice and technical assistance to support development efforts.
The third West African Forum for Climate and Clean Energy Financing (WAFCCEF-3) was held on Thursday, April 12 in the Babacar Ndiaye Auditorium at the African Development Bank in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Representatives of international organisations, private developers and energy experts, and many academics and students attended.
In his opening remarks, Wale Shonibare, the Director of the Bank’s Energy Financial Solutions, Regulation and Policy, emphasized the stakes of access to energy in Africa and then urged participants to think about the levers that might help the continent to catch up in this sector. “There is no development without access to energy. Having understood that energy is a development issue, the Bank has made the sector one of its five strategic priorities, or High 5s. The Light up and power Africa initiative aims to provide access to energy for as many Africans as possible,” he observed.
Peter Storey, the PFAN Global Coordinator, saw the forum as an excellent platform for bringing together entrepreneurs involved in the struggle for an energy transition, recognized sectorial experts, and potential investors in the climate and clean energy.
A five-member jury then judged the presentations of 10 projects seeking finance. The Masada Waste Transformers and Solar Era Holdings, two projects from Sierra Leone, won the first two prizes. The first winning project is a private enterprise that recovers and transforms household waste, and the second is a solar energy producing undertaking. The jury also selected runners-up and second runners-up.
Storey observed, “We will be working with the winners, finalists and semi-finalists to help them complete the financing needed to implement their projects. Our goal is to help them get these 5 projects completely financed so that they can be implemented. He emphasized that, “It is always good for a project to have gone through PFAN because its stamp of approval considerably increases the project’s chances of securing financing from other funders.”
In addition to project presentations, the third Forum included an important interactive session between PFAN’s professional coaches and participants. Discussions focused on strategies for developing bankable projects, on determining available finance mechanisms, and on the ways of involving universities and young people in a dialogue on renewable energy.
African Development Bank, African Institute of Mathematics and Science to transform industry-led research in Africa
The African Development Bank and the African Institute of Mathematics and Sciences (AIMS) have initiated a landmark relationship aimed at building an industry-led research institution in the league of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, led a delegation of the High-Level Advisory Council of AIMS to a meeting with the African Development Bank in Abidjan, where a 10-year partnership proposal was made to build mathematical and scientific capacity in Africa, strengthen industry linkages, and create a competitive industrial and innovative space.
Obasanjo, the Patron of the High-Level Advisory Council for AIMS’ Next Einstein Initiative, with former Ghanaian President John Kufuor as Vice-Chair, described the visit as a huge opportunity for the Bank and AIMS to forge an extraordinary partnership to support African countries in the expansion of mathematical science education, training and research. He commended Bank President Akinwumi Adesina for championing Africa’s development and assured that the proposed partnership is critical for the continent’s future. “If we are going to make substantial progress in industrialization within the next decade, be truly visible in the rapidly unfolding fourth industrial revolution and rise effectively to the challenge of creating decent and sustainable jobs for our youths, the continent must produce well motivated and well trained young innovators.”
Adesina stressed the need for Africa to develop with pride and pledged the Bank’s commitment to build a partnership with AIMS that would allow the continent to compete with the rest of the world. “We must recognize that the world is moving fast. Consequently, how can Africa position itself in a rapidly changing world so that it doesn’t become disadvantaged? We are a knowledge-driven Bank and think our partnership will help us build quantum knowledge for growth. We are excited about the focus on young people. We also like the regional integration dimension of the work that AIMS does.”
The Bank President promised to convene a meeting of donors to discuss AIMS’ funding request, but stressed the need for greater participation by the private sector, particularly key industries that benefit from the institution’s research and work in science, technology and innovation.
He described the involvement of industry-led research as the driving force of the Silicon Valley. He also made a case for venture capital and private equity funds to support research outputs from the continent.
Neil Turok, the Founder of AIMS, described the Bank as a leading institution in Africa and said the Institute is excited about the prospect of a partnership. “I was trained to believe in Africa. I can tell you AIMS is the most exciting and dynamic science and educational institution in the world. What has driven the institution are the young students from Africa.”
Turok said AIMS’ research and industry-led capacity development aligns with the Bank’s High 5s, including its regional integration targets. “What we are doing at AIMS is to transform Africa is by giving opportunities to the youth. AIMS is African-owned, African-run, African-operated, but it hosts the best scientists in the world to give African young scientists the stuff they need.”
He went on to say, “Our goal is to be the MIT for Africa. We know the impact MIT has on U.S. industry. We want to create the same for Africa, but we struggle with sustainable funding. We want to work with the African Development Bank to develop sustainable funding.”
The aim of the partnership program is to ensure that each of the 54 African countries has an additional 100-250 world-class specialists in mathematical sciences by 2020 to lead research and innovation in various fields. The total cost of the partnership program is projected at US $54.685 million.
AIMS is seeking bridging finance of $5 million to build mathematical capacity in Africa and called for the Bank’s support to establish the African Presidential Resource Center. AIMS’ President, Thierry Zomahoun, explained, “Bridging finance is needed to build upon and sustain the momentum in AIMS’ ongoing expansion of mathematical sciences education, training, research and industry initiative on the continent.
“With the generous support of donors since 2003, AIMS has been able to mobilize and commit more than $60 million in support of fully funded scholarships for the brightest young African scholars to obtain master’s and PhD education and training in the mathematical sciences and to implement an industry initiative.”
Adesina commended Obasanjo for establishing the Nigerian Trust Fund, hosted by the African Development Bank in 1976, when he was the Nigerian Head of State. “We want to ensure that Africa is not left behind in the 4th industrial revolution. That is why we, as a Bank, are very happy that you are leading the AIMS delegation to push for the strengthening of mathematical sciences.”
How to Grow Carrot or Carrot Farming, Carrots are very easy to grow as long as you appropriately prepare the soil before planting, your carrots will thrive in almost any climate. Carrot takes between 70 to 80 days mature.
Choose a variety: There are varieties of carrots that contain several types, which farmers buy.
Chantenay: Chantenay carrots grow five to six inches into the soil and can be grown in most soil types, though they prefer rich, heavy soil conditions.
Ball-type: Also known as “Thumbelina,” Ball-type carrots are extremely similar to Chantenay, though they do not grow quite as long.
Danvers: Danvers carrots are large block-shaped carrots that need heavy, nutrient-rich soil in order to thrive. The soil does not have to be deep, however.
Nantes: Originally from France, Nantes carrots are cylindrical carrots with rounded tips that grow between six and nine inches deep.
Amsterdam: These are a small variety, about 3 inches (76 mm) long, which makes them ideal for shallow soil or poorer soil conditions. They can also be harvested earlier.
READ MORE: How To Start An Organic Farm
Site choice: Though full sun is best, carrots can handle some shade as they are a cool weather crop.
Loosen the soil: The most important factor when it comes to growing carrots is making sure that the soil is well-loosened. Remove any rocks or hard, clumpy soil from the area.
Check soil PH level
Carrots like a slightly acidic soil with a pH between 5.8 and 6.8.
Fertilize: Mix in about four inches of organic compost into your soil. This will help the seeds germinate in the soil and encourage a hardy production.
Planting and spacing: If planting in rows, space the seeds about 1–2 inches (2.5–5.1 cm) apart in a shallow trench, no more than 1⁄2 inch (1.3 cm) deep. Space each row of carrots 8–10 inches (20–25 cm) apart from each other.
Harvesting: The bigger and longer they grow, the sweeter and juicier they become
Africa crafts message of sustainability for international climate negotiations
Action on climate change and sustainable development together is the way forward for Africa. That is the top-line message that regional, public and private sector delegates will carry to international climate negotiations after a week of deliberations in the Kenyan capital.
Some 800 delegates from 59 countries, including ministers and other high-level government and international officials, together with non-state delegates, offered their insights into the challenges and possible responses to climate change, and harvested those insights for consideration in the official international climate negotiation process.
The collecting of views – under the banner of the year-long Talanoa Dialogue launched at negotiations in Bonn, Germany, in November 2017 – was a key part of Africa Climate Week that just concluded in Nairobi.
At the first regional Talanoa event since the launch in Bonn, delegates distilled their deliberations into key messages:
Finance – Public finance must be instrumental in unlocking private finance
Markets – Carbon markets are about doing more together, and doing more with less
Energy – Energy is a high priority, affecting everything. Financial instruments should be put in place to de-risk investment and enhance involvement in smaller and medium-sized enterprises
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – Achieving the SDGs, including the climate one is the only way forward
Technology – Businesses are ready to pick up new technology solutions, provided there is a good business case. The voice of the private sector is needed now more than ever.
The top-line message of delegates, that action on climate change is essential for sustainable development, was echoed in remarks by Erik Solheim, Executive Director, UN Environment, at the closing of the first Africa Climate Week, and of the Week’s cornerstone event, the 10th Africa Carbon Forum.
“We are engaged across most of the Sustainable Development Goals and clearly focusing on how to create synergy between the different goals and especially with the climate goal, which is essential for achievement of all the other goals,” said Solheim.
The UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda details 17 global goals covering poverty, hunger, health, education, climate change, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, urbanization, environment and social justice.
“Africa can, should and will be the leader of ambitious climate change action in the world,” said David On’are, a Director at Kenya’s National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), citing a key message coming out of regional ministerial discussions that took place this week in Nairobi. “There is the need to raise ambition, interest, innovation and mobilize the necessary means of implementation to address climate change.”
Countries agreed in Paris in December 2015 to limit global average temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius and work toward a safer 1.5-degree goal. In coming to their agreement in Paris, countries also recognized that success will require broad-based climate action by all sectors of society, both public and private, and by individuals.
“To achieve our goals, we need more ambition and action. Not just by national governments – they cannot do it on their own – but by all levels of government, business, investors and everyday people working together,” said Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary, UN Climate Change, at a high-level session on Thursday. “The good news is that momentum is picking up and we’re beginning to see the transformational shifts we need.”
Africa Climate Week, April 9-13, was hosted and supported by the Government of Kenya and organized by the Nairobi Framework Partnership (NFP), together with NEMA. The NFP is celebrating this year its 10th anniversary, as is the Africa Carbon Forum, which was launched by NFP to spur investment in climate action through carbon markets, mechanisms and finance.
“The African Development Bank believes that Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are an opportunity for African countries to put sustainability at the center of their long-term development.” stated Al Hamdou Dorsouma, Manager for Climate and Green Growth Division, African Development Bank. “The dialogue at this first Africa Climate Week demonstrated the ambition and determination by both state and non-state actors, as well as development partners, to push for expanding green and resilient investments, which enable Africa to leapfrog to high impact and clean technologies in productive sectors. The African Development Bank fully supports this ambition through its High 5 priorities, that, when fully implemented, will help Africa to achieve about 90% of its Sustainable Development Goals and 90% of its Agenda 2063.”
The NFP members include: the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, International Emissions Trading Association, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), UNEP DTU Partnership, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, United Nations Development Programme, UN Climate Change, and World Bank Group. Cooperating organizations include: Africa Low Emission Development Partnership, Climate Markets and Investment Association, Development Bank of Latin America, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Inter-American Development Bank, Latin American Energy Organization and West African Development Bank.
Agribusiness: Corporate farmers International (CFI) during the week launched an agriculture innovative platform to create a wider and larger platform for the agribusiness industry.
According to Akin Alabi, Managing Partner of CFI in a chat with newsmen in Lagos disclosed that the mobile App is a 24 hours agribusiness radio called ‘agrotainment radio which is aimed to provide avenue where farmers across Nigeria, Africa and other parts of the world to connect to each other under one roof and platform using the media.
According to him, the platform will give Nigeria and Africa farmers a voice to speak and be heard and that it will provide a platform to link sellers of agricultural product in Nigeria and Africa to buyers in any country in the world.
“The mobile app gives you an opportunity to showcase your product and services, provide an opportunity to get firsthand information on sponsors or grants for your agricultural project.
“It is also a platform to further grow Nigeria and Africa agricultural extension services and provide a 24 hours knowledge sharing platform on various agricultural enterprise and value chain.
Ade Ajayi, National Coordinator of CFI said that the app was more tilted towards the youths who would later incorporate the older farmers in the rural farming communities.
“We know not all farmers have an android phone but we are hoping that the youths in farming will pass the message to their
older counterparts. We are using the younger ones to get the older ones.
“Farmers voices need to be heard and we are also using this platform to reach out to wider audience and also grow the agric extension services,” he added.
Dr. Olufemi Adebayo, Director of CFI noted that the future of the African continent is here for everyone to take advantage of every opportunity and make people express themselves and showcase themselves to the world.
He said that the app is available on Google Play Store for android mobile phone users.
Zero Hunger: Members States Urged to Set Up Mechanisms for Farmers to Assess Agric Machinery
Farmers to Assess Agric Machinery, In a Communique jointly signed and issued by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the Former President of Nigeria who is also the Chairman, Nigeria Zero Hunger Forum and Alhaji Kashim Shettima, the Executive Governor of Borno State on Friday night, 09 March 2018 at the end of the Nigeria Zero Hunger Forum in Maiduguri, Borno State from 8-9 March 2018, said based on the information gained from the presentations and site visits, members of the Forum commended the Borno State government for hosting the meeting, and made the following observations, resolutions, and recommendations:
The Forum commended the presentations from all the States on the progress being embarked on towards the attainment of Zero Hunger, and the steps being taken by Ebonyi State in addressing the issues raised by the Forum during the previous meeting.
The Forum emphasised the need for States to focus on crops/livestock where they have comparative advantage. States were encouraged to select at most 3 crops and one livestock for which they should give priority.
Farm mechanisation: The Federal Government has affirmed that efforts are been made to modernise the agricultural sector through farm mechanisation and use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) to target and encourage youth participation in agriculture.
Bukar Hassan, the Permanent Secretary, FMARD who was represented by Karima Babangida, the Director-Federal Department of Extension, made this known during a courtesy visit by Students of United States of America War College to the ministry.
He reiterated the commitment of the ministry in developing agriculture with a view to attaining national food security and provision of gainful employment for its teeming youth population.
He said the ministry in its effort to boost export is working with organisations such as the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council to ensure safety standard of food, maintenance of international quality standards and safety requirements.
Aisha Mohammed, Head Projects Coordinating unit, during an interactive session, explained to the group that government is committed to changing the narrative of being a major importer of agricultural produce, especially rice to becoming a major exporter of rice, cassava, cocoa, and other produce.
She noted that importation of rice has dropped tremendously as Nigeria is now engaged in local production of the product.
Osagie Aimiuwu, USAID Nigeria, said his organisation has developed a programme on integrated agriculture that will focus on the North East, saying his agency will collaborate with officials of the ministry to implement the programme.
Cornell Charlett Woodaid, leader of the delegation disclosed that the mission to the Ministry of Agric is to interact with USAID desk officers, deepen exchange of knowledge that are sector specific and have first-hand knowledge of projects being implemented by the ministry.
Workers In Food, Beverage Sector Suspend Strike As Labour Ministry Wades In
Striking workers in the Food and Beverage sector of the nation’s economy, yesterday suspended their three day old nationwide strike following intervention by the Lagos office of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.
The workers on the aegis of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Senior Staff Association, FOBTOB, had on Monday, December 11, began a nationwide strike over a breakdown of negotiation between FOBTOB and the employers’ federation; Asssociation of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employers, AFBTE, on a new collective agreement to among others review upward their salaries and other fringe benefits.
But a statement by the General Secretary of FOBTOB, Solomon Iji, announcing the suspension of the strike, said: “This is to inform you that our indefinite strike which commenced on Monday 11th December, 2017 at 12:00 am is with immediate effect suspended. This is to allow both FOBTOB and AFBTE to go back and negotiate in good faith after the conciliatory meeting held under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.
The principle of “no work no pay” will not be applied against the employees. That negotiations should conclude between 14th – 17th December, 2017. Failure to agree would result in POBTOB and AFBTE returning to the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment by Monday December 18, 2017.”
Livestock: The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has called on livestock owners in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), to take advantage of the ongoing mass vaccination and treatment exercise, for livestock in FCT, and bring their cattle, goats and sheep for vaccination.
Speaking when he flagged off the 2018 FCT mass vaccination and treatment exercise in Gwagwalada-Abuja yesterday, FCT minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, explained that the exercise would enable them breed healthier livestock, that would produce more milk and healthier offspring.
Bello added that the exercise was part of the administration’s effort to ensure food safety and prevent the outbreak and spread of livestock-borne diseases in the territory.
Represented by the secretary, FCTA Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat (ARDS), Hon Stanley Ifeanyichukwu Nzekwe, the minister reiterated the commitment of the administration towards ensuring that only healthy livestock, safe for consumption, are available in FCT markets.
He commended the area councils for their support and assured that the administration was very passionate about the agricultural sector, hence the approval for all the necessary logistics for the success of the exercise, adding that no livestock should be left out in the exercise.
Earlier in his welcome address, the chairman of Gwagwalada area council, Alhaji Mustapha Adamu Danze, had assured that the council would mobilize its agricultural officers to ensure the success of the exercise.
Making Millions From Snail Farming
Making Millions From Snail Farming, Once upon a long time ago, not much was thought of snails and the financial gains that could be derived from breeding them.
In those days, it was not uncommon to find Nigerians, young and old alike, going through bushes and wet vegetation, especially at dawn, to find snails for consumption. With time, however, people began to discover that snails could be reared for profit.
Some studies argue that West African countries, such as Nigeria, boast of the best types of snails for rearing and consumption. Some researchers have even proved that one can make as much as over N2 million annually from snail farming.
Interestingly, almost anybody can start a snail farm, depending on the commitment, time and resources one is willing to dedicate to the venture. Various factors should be considered when breeding snails. According to Agronigeria Online, there are some steps to follow to set up a profitable snail farm:
Snails need a moist environment to survive. To get the right snails for breeding, pick them raw from the bush by attracting them with fruits such as pineapples, plantain, pawpaw, among others – getting them from the market may not be very advisable as they would have been exposed to sunlight, which reduces their fertility. You can also opt for getting their eggs for breeding, provided you have the right environment and soil type to handle their fast reproductive level.
To build the right house for the snails, referred to as snailery, remember that snails can only function properly with the right soil, yet, note that they should be protected from large and small pests such as snakes, rats, ants and termites.
Depending on the type of snails you choose to breed, feeding them shouldn’t break the bank. Snails can be fed with leaves of okro, cabbage, cocoyam, pawpaw, among others. They can also be fed with certain kinds of fruits or specially prepared feed available in stores.
Agronigeria Online highlights various advantages of snail farming to include: minimum capital requirement for investment; high demand, which will result in huge profit; snail as an export commodity to improve Nigeria’ foreign exchange market; ease of practicability, among others.
“Snail farming in Nigeria requires small capital and the running cost is very low, hence their feeds are very local. If your start-up capital is N100,000 you can generate the sum of N1 million in one year. You can conveniently earn income higher than your present earning. You can keep your present job and do this on part-time since it doesn’t require much time,” it said.
According to www.jovanafarms.com, “snail meat is a good source of protein. It is rich in iron and calcium, but low in fat and cholesterol compared to other animal protein sources. They are environmental-friendly because, unlike pigs and poultry, neither the snail nor its droppings smell offensively. Snails can also be reared in the backyard.”
Jovana Farms, which also breeds and raises snails naturally on pasture/free range method to produce high quality snail meat, offers 18-month-old snail breeders suitable for people who would like to start their own snail farms.
Snails also have various nutritional benefits. According to assistant professor with the Programme for Public Health at Michigan State University, United States, Natalie Stein, the dietary importance of eating snails is beneficial, depending on how they are prepared.
Snails are good for persons who wish to control their weight as “a 100-gramme serving size of snails has only 90 calories. This serving provides 16 grammes of protein, which is a filling nutrient. Snails may fit into a low-carbohydrate diet plan, since they only have two grammes total carbohydrates per serving,” and also provide healthy sources of fat, potassium, sodium and other nutrients.
According to Stein, Making Millions From Snail Farming, while those watching their cholesterol levels should minimise their quantity of snail intake, “you need iron for healthy red blood cells, and snails provide 3.5 milligrammes of iron, or nearly 20 per cent of the daily value. The iron in snails is in the heme form, which is easier for your body to absorb than iron from plant-based sources. Other essential nutrients in snails are vitamin B-12 and magnesium.”
NBMA: The Chairman and board members of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) have assured staff of the preparedness of the board to work with the agency to ensure that it attains its mandate.
Hon. Dasuki Nakande, Chairman of the board said at the inaugural meeting which held (today Tuesday) in Abuja, that the board recognized the fact that the agency was established to regulate a very controversial and volatile sector of the economy.
“As soon as my name was announced as the Chairman of the board, I started getting petitions from members of the public. This is to show that the agency is working. If you are not working nobody bothers about you. The fact that people are petitioning the agency alone shows that you are making progress,” he said.
He said that the board was constituted to ensure that the agency functions effectively without hindrance and distraction, acknowledging that since he was sworn in as chairman of the board he has undertaken some measures to address the immediate challenges facing the agency especially the issue of accommodation.
He charged the management and staff of the agency to be above board in their dealings and ensure that the health and safety of Nigerians remained paramount in the discharge their duties.
Prof. Ben Ubi, a member of the board, also commended the agency for its doggedness in the regulation of GMOs in the country. “Having gone through the GMO Detection and Analysis Laboratory and seen the kind of work that is being carried out, I feel proud to be associated with the agency.”
The board assured that it would work with relevant organs of government to provide the political support needed by the NBMA to actualize its mandate.
Katsina To Register 10,000 Youths For Agricultural Programme
No fewer than 10,000 youths in Katsina State will be enrolled in the Federal Government’s Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS) to reduce unemployment in the state.
Alhaji Ibrahim Shehu, Managing Director, Katsina State Agricultural Development Authority (KTARDA), made this known in Katsina on Friday at the closing ceremony of Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) training organised for NYSC members.
He said that the AADS was aimed at providing employment opportunities to unemployed youths nationwide.
He said that the engagement of the youths in the programme would boost agricultural production and enable the country to attain food security.
Shehu said that under the programme, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) would give loans to the beneficiaries in each of the 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He said that state governments were expected to provide one hectare of land for each of the beneficiaries to enable them to cultivate selected crops in which the states had a comparative advantage.
According to him, Katsina State had selected cotton and maize for cultivation by the beneficiaries.
“The state government will start with 1,000 youths as a case study, so as to identify the perceptible challenges which should be rectified,’’ he said.
Shehu said that programme would start during this year’s dry season.
“As you all know, white-collar jobs are no longer available but with the SAED programme, beneficiaries would acquire different skills to establish their own businesses which will improve their economic well-being,’’ she said.
Sanda said that over 60 per cent of the ex-corps members had established businesses within and outside the state, with the support of the CBN.
She said he NYSC in Katsina State had trained corps members to acquire skills in 22 viable ventures.
Cassava Production: Africa needs to double her cassava production to avert a major food crisis by 2050, says the Director for the Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century (GCP21), Dr. Claude Fauquet in Lagos.
Addressing a world press conference in Lagos, Dr. Fauquet described the low root yields of cassava in Africa as unacceptable and called on member nations to adequately invest in the crop to change the current yield per hectare.
Though accounting for 55 percent of global cassava root production, Africa’s yield per hectare is the lowest in the world with about 10 tons per ha as opposed to Asia where average yield is 21 tons per hectare—or double the yield in Africa.
Dr. Fauquet, whose speech comes ahead of the Forth International Cassava Conference in Cotonou, Republic of Benin in 11-15 June 2018, said a do-nothing approach would hurt the continent as it would have to contend with more people to feed, and changes in climate that would become more unpredictable.
He argued that to reverse the current trajectory would demand deliberate steps including greater investment in research and innovations, provisions of a favorable policy framework, accessibility of loans to farmers at single digit rates, and mechanization across the value chain.
According to him, Africa needs to scale out proven technologies including the recommendations on weed control being developed by the Cassava Weed Management Project, improved cassava varieties, and best-bet agronomic practices such as appropriate fertilizer application.
“If we do these, then to double cassava yield will not be a dream but a possibility,” he said.
Dr. Fauquet said while technologies existed to transform cassava, not many policy makers were aware of such technologies, adding that the forthcoming Global Conference on Cassava with the theme “Cassava Transformation in Africa” was a unique opportunity that would create an environment for exchange of technical, scientific, agricultural, industrial and economic information about cassava among strategic stakeholders like scientists, farmers, processors, end-users, researchers, the private sector, and donor agencies.
According to him, 300 participants including policymakers, scientists, farmers, processors, end-users, researchers, the private sector, and donor agencies would be participating in the conference on 11-15 June 2018.
He reiterated that the aim of the Conference was to raise awareness on the importance of cassava in the world, reviewing recent scientific progress, identifying and setting priorities for new opportunities and challenges while charting a course to seek Research and Development (R&D) support for areas where it is currently inadequate.
The Director Designate of GCP21, Professor Malachy Akoroda noted that the Conference would provide an opportunity for African countries to tap the best, current, and most innovative technologies that would transform cassava value chains across Africa.
“This Conference is a shining opportunity for Africa,” he added.
Founded in 2003, GCP21 is a not-for-profit international alliance of 45 organizations and coordinated by Drs. Fauquet and Joe Tohme of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).
It aims to fill gaps in cassava research and development towards unlocking the potential of cassava for food security and wealth creation for farmers, processors, transporters, marketers, and packaging enterprises.
The 2018 Global Cassava Conference is supported by several major institutions including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), CGIAR Roots Tubers and Banana, African Development Bank (AfDB), French Institute in Benin, French Embassy, CORAF, Forum for Agriculture Research in Africa (FARA), INRAB – Institut National Agronomique du Benin, and FAS-UAC – Faculté des Sciences Agronomiques de l’Université Abomey – Calavi, Republic of Benin.
A larger number of organizations will join the Conference, sponsoring special events, travel grants, workshops, satellite meetings, as well as private companies from the different parts of the world that will have the possibility to show-case their products at exhibition booths. The Conference will welcome as many as plan to attend.