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Put the Culinary Skills to Use
October 29, 2018
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My son graduated from culinary school and he should really be working as a chef. Hopefully in the near future I’ll be able to hire my one of my sons. Developed skills should be used so that there’s the hands on there’s more learning when the chef is in the kitchen using the taught skills. The career “description” could scare some away there certainly is a lot of work in such a career. There will be long hours standing in the kitchen and working on holidays. Chefs spend a lot of their time working in and around the kitchen as well as working “events.”

My son has worked many events in which he was compensated immediately after working the events. Chef Christopher is what I’ve decided to call him. He’s gained lots of experience and is certified. I Tanikka Paulk was so proud of him when he graduated from culinary school. There were many visitations to other schools but he was able to finish school close to “home.” Receiving the certifications is such a rewarding feeling. To watch my oldest son go up on stage and receive is diploma and also his certifications was exciting.

Perhaps soon he will be working all sorts of events. There’s a lot of avenues within the culinary arts. He’s also experienced with pastry. Baking, making his own icing, three layer cakes. Soon he can create specialty wedding cakes. Wow! Isn’t it exciting when children become adults and obtain the skills in order to set off on their careers? Indeed. To be able to witness and capture photos of certain events is so delightful. Thank goodness for cameras. They’re able “to capture” precious moments.

To build careers, to be apart of career development, to obtain the necessary skills in order to reach certain heights is blessed filled. i’m so grateful to have been able to witness the events and to see my oldest grow and soon he will become a bit older. The age of 23. October 31, 1995 is his date of birth. The memories some captured and some embedded within my memory bank. I’m able to recall the certain events. Blessed to see my sons develop into young men.

He’s continuing to make some headway. There is still room to grow. There is the focus on making sure that they attempt to obtain a stable future. There is the time when we’ll have to send “the children” on their own ways in order to become what they’re capable of becoming. I’ve overcome most of the adversities and have witnessed the storms, sunshine, and rainy seasons but God has allowed “Mother” mama to spend precious moments with the sons. How blessed is thee? i’m truly blessed can’t buy “love.”

Career paths should be the focus. There are so many students and youth wanting to set off on their careers but need the appropriate guidance. There should be stronger mentors. Mentoring is what the youth need. Positive role models. Persons willing to help guide the youth on their projected paths. Education is so very important and hiring “qualified” teachers will assist students in the positive directions. More funding is needed in order to create more careers, more jobs, and better education.

 

Chef Christopher

Chef Christopher’s Mother

Images Belong to Tanikka Paulk

Featured Image Belongs to Tanikka Paulk

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A Few Cake Decorating Ideas
July 25, 2018
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Did you know that the first cakes baked in America where small loaves of sweet bread? Look how far we have come. Home bakers should not be intimidated by the elaborate cakes being made today. You do not need to be a pastry chef to make beautiful cakes, you just need the know-how and practice. Of course the right tools will go a long way in your cake decorating endeavors. Here are a few ideas you might like to try.

Every cake worth merit starts with a smooth icing. The cake needs to cool completely before they are iced and decorated. To keep crumbs from ending up in your icing and ruining the look of your cake, start with a thin base coat of frosting that is not quite as stiff as the regular layer will be. Once this coat is on, set the cake in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. This will set the icing and any crumbs will be caught in this first layer. Now you can spread a regular layer of icing without worrying about crumbs.

Use an icing spatula to apply and smooth the second coat of icing. Once the icing is on the cake, start smoothing on the sides by running the spatula around the perimeter of the cake. One trick for smoothing the frosting is to dip the metal icing spatula in cold water, this will aid in smoothing the frosting. To smooth the top, dip the spatula in cold water and holding it horizontally over the top of the cake. Start at the point farthest from you, holding the spatula in both hands, skim the top of the icing by bringing the spatula straight toward you.

Simple Designs

Some cake decorators say learning to smooth the icing is the hardest part of cake decorating. Practice will make you a pro in not time. Once you have it down, show it off, even a cake without many decorations that is clean and smooth will make an perfectly elegant offering.

Instead of icing, cake tops can be dusted with powdered sugar. You can choose to use a stencil for a more decorated appearance, or just the powdered sugar for a clean look.

Edible decorations are a beautiful yet simple cake decorating technique. The use of sprinkles, candy, nuts, and coconut pressed into the icing before it sets, will make your cake stand out.

To apply a textured look for your cake decorating, use a small cardboard comb, available in baking supply stores.

Piping is achieved by using a pastry bag fitted with a metal tip that is held on by a coupler. This is your most important tool for cake decorating. You can make lines, words, shells, flowers, and many other designs on the top or sides of the cake. Fill the bag with no more than 1 cup of icing at a time, twist the top of the bag and keep steady pressure when piping the design. Use your other hand to guide the tip. It is wise to find out everything you can about piping before you begin.

Fondant a smooth white paste, is used in complicated cake decorating. Fondant is kneaded and rolled to cover cakes with a sleek smooth layer of icing. It is also used to make designs that are 3-D. It is less tasty than buttercream, but the cake will look sleek and elegant.

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Potato chips were never patented
July 9, 2018
2

The man who invented potato chips was George Crum, who was both African-American and Native American, and a chef employed as a chef at Moon Lake Lodge –an elegant resort in Saratoga Springs, New York. And getting complaints from a customer about thick, soggy fried potatoes, Crum wanted to teach the patron a lesson, so he sliced a new batch of potatoes as thin as he possibly could, and then fried them until they were hard and crunchy. Finally, to top them off, he added a generous helping of salt. To Crum’s surprise, the dish ended up being a hit with the patron and a new snack was born.

Crum found success with his invention and even opened his own restaurant in 1860, called “Crumbs House.” Served on each table was, of course, a basket of potato chips –which was a hit with his upscale clientele.  But in those days, people of color were not allowed to take out patents on their inventions and Crum never attempted to patent potato chips. The snack was eventually mass-produced sold in the bag without giving him any credit.

Fun Facts: Flavors Around The World!

  • In Britain, potato chips are called “crisps” (and they say “chips” when they mean fries!)
  • In Germany the most popular flavor is Paprika
  • Indian chips are often exotic spices used in curries, like Masala, Coriander, and Red Chili
  • In Indonesia, they make chips from Cassava
  • In Greece, Oregano is the most popular flavor
  • Japanese chip-eaters enjoy Seaweed, Wasabi, and Soy Sauce & Butter Chips!
  • Potato Past

    Rumor has it potato chips date all the way back to 1853, where a hotel chef in Saratoga Springs, New York, George Crum, set his mind to figuring out how to please a difficult patron who constantly sent back his fried potatoes for being too soggy. Crum decided to slice the potatoes as thin as possible and deep fry them until they were extra crispy. His new potatoes instantly became a smash hit and were added as a regular feature on the hotel menu as “Saratoga Chips.”

    Crunch Creation

    By the 20th century,, chips had gone from fine dining delicacy to stay-at-home snack. Ohio-based business Mike-Sells Potato Chips was founded in 1910 and claims it is the “oldest potato chip company in the United States” although there are a couple other companies who claim they got there first. People would buy chips in tins or have the amount they wanted scooped out from a glass storefront at the market, but this left the chips at the bottom of the tins to get stale very quickly, until California businesswoman and chip innovator Laura Scudder came up with the idea of packaging them in wax paper and ironing both ends shut, creating the first bag of chips! With the invention of the chip bag, it became easier to mass produce the popular snack, while keeping the crispiness and flavor fresh.

 

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5 Ideas For Fun Custom Bobbleheads
Bobble Head Basketball Referee holding basketball on white background

A doll with a head that bobbles: that is the classic bobblehead doll. And that could very well be the end of the story.

But it’s not.

The fun begins when bobblehead dolls are customized to represent something or someone in particular. A custom bobblehead doll is the perfect blend of art and laughter.

But before the fun begins, you have to decide what or who your custom bobblehead doll is supposed to represent. You will never run out of ideas for custom bobbleheads.

Here are 5 to get you started:

1. Your Favorite Pet

Who says bobbleheads have to be modeled after humans. Pets are people too. If not, at least they are great subjects for custom bobbleheads.

Make this gift card out to yourself.

You likely can’t take your favorite pet with you to the office. But you could put a bobblehead of her on your desk.

It will be like she’s right there with you, except without all the barking, territory marking, and… You get the idea.

2. Bobblehead Selfie

All of the power, science, chemistry and engineering that goes into smartphones these days has been reduced to one thing by the masses, taking selfies.

If you are going to take selfies, why not take them to the next level?

A custom bobblehead selfie is a great gift that reminds friends, family, spouses and other domestic partners that you are always there for them. So don’t hesitate to give the gift of yourself.

3. Confidence Boosters

If you think self-esteem is tough for adults, try being a kid again. It is harder than ever to navigate the grade school social highway with your ego intact.

Parents can give the gift of self-confidence by presenting a child with a bobblehead of themselves as their favorite superhero. It can be a reward for good grades on an exam, or politeness, or neatness, or any good thing that can be called out in a special way.

Because it is a custom bobblehead, your child’s likeness could be them ripping open their shirt to reveal a superhero emblem underneath.

Just know that some places charge extra to customize the body. There will also likely be a separate charge for glasses, masks, and head gear. When pricing your custom bobblehead, be very specific about what you want.

4. Sales Incentives

Sales rooms are powered by egos and incentives. Custom Bobbleheads of your sales team can help you tap into both.

The winner of your weekly contests can be represented by their triumphant bobblehead prominently displayed.

5. Bobblehead Family

As the old saying goes, the family that bobbles together… Well, you get the idea.

Next time, instead of a family portrait, why not try something a little different?

Why not do family bobbleheads every few years. The kids will love them, the grandkids will adore them. And for the first time, the Joneses will want to keep up with you.

There is no end to the creative ways to customize and utilize bobblehead dolls. If you are an out of the box thinker, give one firm bobble for “yes!”

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Confined Field Trial Of Transgenic Cassava Is Completely Safe, Says IITA Scientist

The Confined Field Trial (CFT) currently being carried out on transgenic cassava at an IITA site has been described as “completely safe with absolutely no risk of contamination to local cassava varieties.” Dr Anna Carluccio, a scientist on the research team at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), said this in an interview in which she also noted that there is no cover of secrecy surrounding this research on transgenic cassava.

Last year, IITA’s application to carry out the CFT on genetically modified cassava in collaboration with ETH Plant Biotechnology Lab in Zurich was approved by the National Biosafety Management Agency. This research is a response to one of Africa’s biggest agricultural challenges, namely the high level of postharvest loss of cassava caused by rapid deterioration of its starch-rich roots, which occurs naturally and begins immediately after harvest. This causes a 40% reduction in the postharvest value of cassava and therefore has a huge negative impact on the income of farmers.

Tackling this challenge will have a tangible effect of increasing cassava yields, which will in turn positively impact food security and transform the socioeconomic status of cassava farmers.

The main purpose of this research is to support cassava productivity by breeding for robustly high-yielding plants, as this strategy is the most economically viable for smallholder farmers. “Compared to other crop plants, however, little is known about cassava source-to-sink relations, which are major determinants of final crop yield,” said Carluccio. The purpose of the research therefore, is to raise the level of understanding of cassava physiology to a level comparable with other major crop plants.

At an earlier stage of this research, genetically modified cassava plants were generated to evaluate the activity of the enzyme which hinders the process of rapid deterioration of cassava roots shortly after harvest. Such cassava lines will be able to store their starch in stable forms even long after the tubers have been harvest. The gene construct used was developed at ETH Zurich in the laboratory of Prof Samuel C. Zeeman and extensive testing was carried out in greenhouses in Switzerland over a three-year period.

According to Carluccio, “The aim of this confined field trial is to evaluate the effect of a reduced α-amylase activity in the storage roots of the transgenic cassava under a local field condition in Nigeria to confirm results obtained in greenhouses at the ETH lab in Zurich.”

The necessity of carrying out the CFT was explained by Prof Samuel C. Zeema who said, “Our greenhouse experiments were an important first step, but they cannot substitute for genuine field conditions. Hence, it is necessary to grow the plants in a tropical climate such as that of Nigeria.”
“IITA is an excellently equipped and well-staffed institute at which to perform such a confined field trial,” he added.

Carluccio reiterated IITA’s readiness to carry out this trial amidst the highest biosafety standards which include the protection of test plants with anti-aphid mesh to prevent insect entry and guard against cross pollination. Furthermore, flower buds from the cassava plants are removed weekly in addition to the removal of any male or female flowers, which will be carried out during the entire duration of the experiment, to prevent pollen dispersal.

The CFT site permits access to only authorized personnel and a minimum isolation distance of 100 meters is maintained between it and any plants capable of hybridizing with cassava. The site also has an incinerator that is used to safely burn waste from the site, including packaging and periodically uprooted volunteer plants.

Confined Field Trial Of Transgenic Cassava Is Completely Safe, Says IITA Scientist
Confined Field Trial Of Transgenic Cassava Is Completely Safe, Says IITA Scientist

When asked about the timeline for expected adoption of this transgenic cassava variety, Carluccio stressed that there is no plan to adopt this variety as the experiment is purely a scientific experiment to know what happens in the plants after harvesting. “We hope to understand which protein is involved in starch degradation and this result could help us to select plants with these characteristics,” she said.

Though this experimental cassava variety is not planned for commercial release, it is destined to transform lives. As Carluccio notes, “I know that smallholder farmers have this big problem and if we can reduce the rate of starch degradation, even if by only two days, farmers’ income would increase.”

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How To Tackle Seasonal Fluctuation, Price Of Pepper

Most Nigerian homes, especially in the Southwest region, who consume good quantity of pepper, may have to endure the current high price of the commodity in the market.

For now, according to The Guardian survey, scarcity is the factor contributing to the current price increase.

The fact that pepper is a major spice used in foods makes it an essential commodity across the country. There is hardly a complete meal without use of at least one variety of pepper.

Pepper, according to study, has several usages. It is used as spice in many dishes and as decoration in food, to add flavour and colour. It is also used to provide relief for several ailments. It can be found in topical creams that are intended to reduce muscle pain, inflammation and itching.

Shambo Pepper
Shambo Pepper

It acts as a heart stimulant, which regulates blood flow and strengthens the arteries, possibly reducing heart attacks. It has soothing effects on the digestive system, offers relief from symptoms of colds, sore throats and fevers, circulation, especially for cold hands and feet, and as a hangover remedy.

Fresh peppers, as gathered are an excellent source of calcium and vitamin. It can be used to regulate blood sugar. Experts claim hot chilly peppers might help fight prostate cancer.

Though it comes in different varieties, but the ones commonly produced in Nigeria include: Bird peppers-Atawere, a very hot variety of pepper, it is short in length. Both ripe and unripe of this variety are used for preparing sauce; Cayenne or red pepper—Sombo, a very long and thin variety. It is a bit mild as regards to its hotness.

Capsicum annum-Atarodo, it is the most common variety in the market. The smaller sized type taste hotter than the bigger size; and Capsicum annum-Tatase, usually very mild in taste and very red in colour.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) statistics, it estimated world production of capsicum peppers in 2001 to be 21.3 million tonnes, from a harvested area of 1.6 million hectares (ha) (average yield 13.4 t/ha); with China emerging as the largest producer with 10 million tonnes, followed by Mexico-1.9 million tonnes and Turkey-1.5 million tonnes.

Production in tropical Africa is estimated at one million tonnes, with Nigeria producing 715,000 tonnes from 90,000 ha and Ghana producing 270,000 tonnes from 75,000 ha, as the largest producers.

A farmer, James Ogah told The Guardian that domestic demand for pepper has increased over time, as decline in production persists, which has resulted in perennial scarcity.

He noted that the development has drastically affected exportation of quantity of pepper being exported, as the country continues to lose foreign exchange that should have accrued from the pepper value-chain. “This signifies that there is need for increase in the supply of pepper to make up for the increase in the domestic demand and to also give room for export.”

The Guardian learnt that rising domestic demand, coupled with drop in export, continues to set the trend for the pepper market. Currently, the main suppliers of the commodity to the global market are Vietnam, India, Indonesia and Brazil; while the major destinations are the US, Europe, Japan and Australia.

Investigations show that the price of pepper in Nigeria is subjected to seasonal fluctuation. For instance, in the Southwest, pepper is brought in from the North, despite the fact that it is also grown in the Southwest, but by few farmers.

The insurgency in parts of the north, which displaced farmers, coupled with climate change and cost of transportation also add to rising cost of pepper.

Ogah hinted that despite the country’s pepper production level, the huge demand gap has forced the country to rely on importation to fill the gap.

A pepper seller, Abubakar Duru, confirmed the price increase. He said though they still maintain the least price of N50 for the smallest module of pepper, they have been forced to reduce the quantity, in order not to run at a loss.

Though he attested to the fact that scarcity due to displacement of farmers in the north, coupled with cost of transportation, is reason for the price increase, he however, said pests and diseases are also affecting pepper cultivation.

It was learnt that pests like Scales and mealy bugs; Coratitis capitata; and Borers are still ravaging farms, while diseases like Bacterial wilt; Fruit rot; and Virus, are responsible for stunted growth, which invariably lead to poor harvest.

Duru advocates government support to farmers in the area of sensitisation, input and financial support to enhance cultivation of the commodity in every part of the country, so that the issue of seasonal fluctuation can be permanently addressed.

But another farmer, Jelili Ahmed opposed Duru’s position, noting that pepper cannot just be cultivated on any soil like cassava, yam, maize and other crops that can thrive, irrespective of soil types.

He said pepper has soil requirements, which must be strictly adhered to if the farmer is willing to make any gain from the plantation. He said pepper thrives well in warm climate and requires well-drained silt or clay soil and favourable climatic condition.

Ahmed said planting on water logged and alkaline soil must also be avoided, adding that pepper grows well on highly nutritive soil with optimum soil moisture.

How To Tackle Seasonal Fluctuation, Price Of Pepper
How To Tackle Seasonal Fluctuation, Price Of Pepper

One other area he mentioned, which he said farmers are yet to find solution, is the area of storage. He said pepper lasts for only few days after harvest before it gets rotten and with this, “We only get half or quarter of what we harvest. That is the reason why most farmers are abandoning pepper farming for other profitable crops.”

 

Ogah said the country has the capacity to almost double present pepper output, saying there is no need to increase the acreage. “We can use the same area we are planting, with improved technology so that we can double the yield per unit area.

“If we double the production, for me, the perennial price fluctuation will be eradicated, as there will be enough to meet local demand on one hand, and to gain in export markets.

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El-Rufai Tasks Investors On Kaduna’s Agric Opportunities

El-Rufai Tasks Investors On Kaduna Agric Opportunities: Kaduna State Governor, Mallam El-Rufai has called on prospective investors to explore the state’s numerous opportunities to improve the state’s vibrant economy.

He stated this during the commissioning of the Ramindra Tractor Assembly Plant, Industrial Estate, Kaduna, a joint investment of the Springfield Agro Ltd., aimed at consolidating the over 14 years of partnership, to boost the country’s economy, more importantly, in the mechanised agricultural sector.

While saluting the company’s efforts in the state, he enjoined them and other prospective investors not to relent in such regard; but to firmly believe in their genuine intentions to partner the state’s for the realisation of their agelong dreams.

El-Rufai expressed the state appreciation to the Kewalram Chanrai Group for the confidence reposed in the nation’s economy, especially, the Kaduna State government with its numerous huge investments, especially the Sunseep Feed Mills, the Kewalram Chanrai Foundation Hospital all in Zaria, as well as other laudable programmes freely executed to cushion the suffering of the teeming masses and efforts in food production.

The state’s Commissioner for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Dr. Manzo Maigari and the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Abdulkadir Kassim, extolled the conglomerate’s sterling virtues, assuring of the state’s cooperation to provide continued improved food production at pocket friendly price. He also promised joint cooperation to adequately subsidise such farm inputs, to further enhance, improved mechanised agricultural production.

In his welcome address, the Springfield Agro Ltd CEO, Mr. Tarun K. Das, expressed profound gratitude to the state with the additional investment of more than $200m, to provide over 200 jobs to the residents when the Mahindra Tractor Assembly Plant is fully in operation.

Kaduna Agog as Maiden Agriculture, Agro-allied and Technology Exhibition Kick-start

The much awaited Opening ceremony of the maiden edition of the ECOWAS Agriculture, Agro-allied and Technology Exhibition taking place here in Kaduna State, Northern Nigeria kicks-off on a good note.

The event which was earlier scheduled for Friday, October 7 th, 2016, was shifted till today due to logistical issues. In a chat with agrobusinesngr.com, one of the director, local organizing committee, Mr Osamen, disclosed, the move was to ensure a seamless experience for participants at the event proper.

In attendance, representing the Minister for Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, is Mr Aderemi o. Abioye, also representing the First Lady Aishat Buhari is Hajiyah Maimuna, while the State Governor Mallam Nasir El- Rufai was duly represented by Dr. Mamzo Maigari, the Honourable commissioner for Agriculture in Kaduna State.

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Experts Harp On Nutritional Value Of Soya Beans

Nutritional Value Soya Beans: Experts have described soya bean as one of the most consumed legumes in the world, due to its essential nutrients that maintain and improves human health.

Soya bean is revered as a good meal source for people who are on diet. Its protein content enhances metabolic functions in the body and thus helps to improve human health, ensuring that human cells are well repaired. It also helps with weight reduction and protects people from diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

According to Mr. Monjanrin Sunday, RSM (Edible South West), Grand Cereals, Soya bean also contains vitamins like; vitamin c, vitamin k, riboflavin, folate, vitamin B6 and thiamin. Potassium, calcium, copper, phosphorous, manganese, selenium and zinc, which are some of the other minerals that can be derived from it.

“Regular intake of soya beans helps in the prevention of cancer due to its high level of antioxidants. Its protein content makes it a choice meal that spreads around various markets across Nigeria.

Nutritional Value Soya Beans: Experts Harp On Nutritional Value Of Soya Beans
Nutritional Value Soya Beans: Experts Harp On Nutritional Value Of Soya Beans

“Its high vitamin and mineral content ensures healthy bones even during old age. Another benefit of soya beans is its effectiveness in aiding the functioning of the heart by lowering the total cholesterol level in the body thus preventing heart attack or stroke. With its fibre content, soya beans also helps in boosting digestion and aids metabolism. Soya bean seed can be used in making different foods; including soy milk, textured vegetable protein and soya bean oil,” he said.

Sunday, said since oil is a staple ingredient for the preparation of meals, it is advisable to cook with oil made from soya bean for the prevention of heart disease and for low cholesterol intake

CAVA II Identifies Inconsistency In Raw Materials As Bane Of Cassava Production

The Country Manager of Cassava Adding Value for Africa II (CAVA II) (Nigeria), Prof. Later Sanni has identified inconsistency in the supply of raw materials as a major and critical point for the survival of large-scale industries in the country.

CAVA II Identifies Inconsistency In Raw Materials As Bane Of Cassava Production Sanni, who stated this during the facilitation and communication skills training programme for Development Programmes (ADPs) extension officers and procurement staff of large-scale cassava producers, said sourcing for raw materials of between 250 and 450 tonnes of cassava required quite a lot of work.

“We are aware that you have different locations where you source for raw materials but at present, there are some issues we have itemised in the last two years-right quality, right quantity and right time of supply – which should be urgently addressed.

“The major problem is that the farmers themselves have informed us that some of the extension officers or procurement officers are delaying their payments, which is attitudinal and that’s why we felt its better we bring in a consultant that will interact with you on facilitation, communication and sustainable engagement,” he said.

In his welcome address, the Vice-Chancellor of FUNAAB, Professor Felix Salako said the nation should move away from its over-dependence on oil resources and embrace agriculture, as a sustainable route to national development.

“We are having new generation of extension officers. All of you sitting here are young, seeing your faces; I think we are meeting new generation of extension officers. And I hope you are really going to be the catalyst that would push the nation forward in terms of using agriculture as an alternative to crude oil export. It is dawning on everybody now – whether we like it or not – we are running into trouble with oil. Reviving The Cocoa Industry In Nigeria

What may even make oil to be useless is the fact that people are already thinking of alternative sources of energy, even for running cars? The training could not have come at a better time than now.

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Stakeholders Express Concern Over Increasing Loss Of Forest Land To Agriculture

As the Federal Government continues the campaign for more Nigerians to embrace agriculture, stakeholders are however concerned over the alarming loss of forest land to agricultural purposes.

This comes against the backdrop of a recent forest inventory report taken in Cross River State that revealed a whooping 167,382 hectares of forest land was lost to agriculture between 2007 and 2014, and over 23,911 hectares lost to other purposes.

Specifically, they are worried that in Cross River, degradation of the forest is increasing at an average of 5,071 hectares lost annually repressing 0.67 per cent.

These formed part of the findings at a high level sensitisation workshop on, National Forest Inventory, organised by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), in Abuja.

A Community Engagement Specialist for the UN REDD+ programme, Martins Egot, in a paper presentation on, the Drivers of Deforestation and Forest Degradation (Cross River State experience), pointed out that agriculture is a major driver of forest loss in Nigeria.

Stakeholders Express Concern Over Increasing Loss Of Forest Land To Agriculture
Stakeholders Express Concern Over Increasing Loss Of Forest Land To Agriculture

He identified other drivers to include forestry like timber exploitation, logging, infrastructure development – construction of roads, mining, and quarrying, adding that the locals also exploit the forest for fuel wood and charcoal.

The Forestry expert noted that the forest is the major source of livelihood of most rural communities, and their food, water, and economy is dependent on it, unfortunately, most of them are into farming, and this in turn leads to loss of forest land.

The lead consultant for the UN REDD+ programme, Tony Attah, who also expressed worry over the massive forest degradation, stressed the need for regeneration, saying, in as much as many hectares of land have been lost to agriculture, government should embark on regeneration to reclaim the forest.

He also identified the importance of taking stock of the forest to include climate change effect, erosion control, lamenting that Nigeria is losing the forest more than it can control, and forest inventory would help take holistic steps to ensure sustainability.

Attah said: “We need to have an inventory of our forest in all the states so that it would be well managed and be protected from indiscriminate degradation.”

He argued that forest degradation affect the natural water source, and food system, as the land would loses its fertility and also result in erosion problem. “The impact of the forest cannot be ruled out because man survival is dependent on the forest,” he added.

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Herdsmen/Farmers Clash: Nigeria May Suffer Food Scarcity Soon

Herdsmen/Farmers Clash: The conflicts between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria have grown, spread and intensified over the past decade and today pose a threat to national survival.

So many people have been killed, communities have been destroyed and so thousands of farmers and pastoralists have lost their lives and property in an extended act of killings and destruction. The ungodly act is not only continuously destroying livelihoods but is also affecting national unity.

The deadly attacks have scared farmers away from their farms. So many farms have been abandoned as a result of fear of being killed and raped because most of these farmers are women. It was reported that most women were being raped, molested and killed by herdsmen during attacks.

Therefore, stakeholders in the agricultural space have expressed worries over the incessant killing of farmers by herdsmen in the agrarian states, which they say, may lead to food scarcity very soon if no drastic action is taken to resolve the crisis.

Herdsmen/Farmers Clash: Nigeria May Suffer Food Scarcity Soon
Herdsmen/Farmers Clash: Nigeria May Suffer Food Scarcity Soon

Already, some states in the northern part of the country are facing hunger as a result of activities of herdsmen/Boko Haram who dislodged farmers from their farmlands. Experts opined that the conflicts will not only lead to hunger but will have economic implications on the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

In 2017, some graduate commercial farmers at Oke Ako-Ipao axis of Ekiti State protested the alleged destruction of crops worth N35 million by suspected herdsmen grazing their cattle in their farm. They lamented that herdsmen operating in the Oke Ako-Ipao axis, had destroyed their maize plantation covering over 30 hectares of land and cassava planted on an expansive land of over 20 hectares.

The rate at which the herdsmen committing these crimes have increased exponentially and the crimes are thwarting the country’s economic development to an enormous extent. Farms are destroyed, crops lost and the incentive to plant anew dwindles with each attack. Yet, the Federal Government is not really addressing the economic implications of the widespread conflicts.

Daily Sun learnt that the ongoing conflict between farmers and herdsmen across the North-Central is costing Nigeria at least $14 billion in potential revenues annually.

Daily Sun investigation revealed that the average household affected by conflict today could see income increase by at least 67 per cent and potentially 220 per cent or higher, if conflicts were resolved.

Herdsmen/Farmers Clash: Nigeria May Suffer Food Scarcity Soon
Herdsmen/Farmers Clash: Nigeria May Suffer Food Scarcity Soon

Already, states like Benue, Nasarawa, Kogi, Taraba, Bauchi and Kaduna experience 40 per cent decrease in grains production. Over 35 per cent of grains’ local farmers abandoned their farms for herdsmen in the region, death rate increased in Benue, Kaduna, Kogi, Nasarawa and Kaduna with 27 per cent.

Benue State seems to be the hardest hit in recent times. In January, 73 people were killed during the violent attacks on Logo and Guma in Benue State on January 1, 2018, which the Federal Government proposed cattle colony as a way to end incessant clashes between farmers and herdsmen. But stakeholders have kicked against the proposal, saying only ranches can resolve the issues.

The 73 victims of the attacks were interred in a mass burial in a village near Makurdi, the state capital. In April, within a space of three days, no fewer than 24 persons were allegedly killed by suspected herdsmen in different communities in Benue State.
Apparently, it is high time the Federal Government reviewed all the recommendations, suggestions and solutions being proffered by stakeholders and international communities to resolve the conflicts.

Herdsmen/Farmers Clash: Nigeria May Suffer Food Scarcity Soon
Herdsmen/Farmers Clash: Nigeria May Suffer Food Scarcity Soon

Speaking with Daily Sun, President, Federation of Agricultural Commodities Association Nigeria (FACAN), Dr. Victor Iyama, said for Nigeria to experience food shortage soon is a statement of fact if the activities herdsmen are not curtailed.
Iyama said there was no way Nigeria won’t experience food scarcity because people who ought to farm and produce food are running away from the farms, adding, “why should you be in your farm and you will be looking left, right and centre. That is the case but I strongly believe things have to be done better. With the way they are going, I am one of those who don’t believe these people are herdsmen and that is the way I see it. Some of our farms have been attacked but in my opinion, I will not call them herdsmen. They are just a group of bandits with some ulterior motives using cow as false cover and that is the way I see it.

In order to avert food scarcity, there is need to mount security everywhere so that farmers can farm without fear of molestation, fear of being raped, fear of being killed. By the time our women get scared to go to farm, there is a problem because majority of those in the farms are women even if men own the farms. So when it gets to a stage where women cannot go to farm, I expect that extra security should be provided. But I hope it doesn’t get to that stage.”

The Deputy Managing Director of Peniel Gerar International Limited, Ojiefoh Enahoro Martins, said that factors projected to increase high cost of food by 2019 include Fulani herdsmen activities, increase in farmers’ death, outbreak of pests and diseases, shortage and uneven distribution of rain fall, artificial migration, low turnout of investors in the sector due to activities of Fulani herdsmen and epileptic and unfruitful government policies.
He hinted that some major crops that will be source of food scarcity in the country include cassava, sesame seeds, soybeans, yam, maize, tomatoes, pepper and onions.

Herdsmen/Farmers Clash: Nigeria May Suffer Food Scarcity Soon
Herdsmen/Farmers Clash: Nigeria May Suffer Food Scarcity Soon (Herdsmen/Farmers Clash)

According to him, the price of imported rice would go up while the price of local rice would crash. He added that price of tomato and onions would increase with 40 per cent while price of local maize is expected to go up by 38 per cent.

Speaking on the way forward, he urged the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, to abolish open grazing by herdsmen while putting in place an alternative mode of grazing to stop the crisis.
He said the Minister should introduce communal farming system alongside farm settlements to encourage local farmers and reduce tension.

The Peniel Gerar International Limited boss said as matter of urgency, the Federal Government, through the Agric Minister, should revisit and revamp some silos and encourage storage while stakeholders must mobilise local farmers and encourage cooperative structure. He added that with farm settlement and communal farming system, security is sure.

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