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FG trains 28 Ex-militants In Fish Processing

A total of 28 ex-militants have been trained in fish processing and production by the Presidential Amnesty Programme, the coordinator of the programme, Mrs Oyintarela Umeri, has said.

Umeri said the Federal Government is determined to ensure that the ex-agitators are re-integrated fully into society.

She noted that the programme, which was held at Aquatech College of Agriculture and Technology in Ibadan, was part of the promises of the present administration to support the people of the Niger Delta in various sectors of economy.

According to her, about 30,000 young men and women had responded to the Presidential Amnesty declaration initiated by late President Umar Yar’Adua for the Niger Delta area in an attempt to restore peace to the region.

Cooperation Among Fish Farmers
Cooperation Among Fish Farmers

Umeri further revealed that out of the over 17,000 ex-militants trained in universities across the globe in various vocational skills, over 4,000 have been empowered through businesses set up in a variety of trade areas.

Umeri said: “President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration encourages agriculture, the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta decided to empower them in that line, so that they could have sustainable businesses which will in turn integrate them back into their community on a permanent basis and also contribute economically to their immediate family and the country in general.”

Speaking on funding, Umeri said “participants will be offered starter packs which would include land acquisition, marketing tools, fish processing tools, equipment and other features substantial enough to enable them start their small businesses on a sound note.”

How Neem Bio-pesticide Can Tackle Deadly Tomato Disease’

Mr Sani Bello, owner of Neem Agro Nigeria Limited, has been working on neem for more than 15 years. An electrical engineer by training, Bello in this interview, shares with us the benefits and prospects of neem production.

Tell us briefly what you do at Neem Agro Nigeria Limited?

I was able to formulate a lot of things from neem though, initially I was just expelling the seeds to get oil and cake. But after the success in extraction, I decided to add value to oil to get bio pesticides and some cosmetics like neem herbal soap. Then from the cake I was able to formulate organo-mineral fertiliser post-harvest storage powder for storing grains against pest attacks.

Are you an agrarian by training or you picked interest at a later stage?

I picked interest, my training was electrical engineering

I’m an entrepreneur by interest so I bought my first machine with the intention of extracting groundnut oil and suddenly in 2003, we were invited to the National Research Institute for Chemical Technology (NARICT) in Zaria for a workshop on neem processing and from there I converted my machine to neem oil extraction.

This even attracted me an award, local content award by Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC).

What is the capacity of production of your company presently?

Actually, we are still at the lower scale because, you know neem processing is a new field in Nigeria and we don’t have the capacity to propagate it and market it the way we should but we are trying our best. Neem oil is going everywhere now and even the pesticide, small scale farmers are using it.

There are a lot of neem pesticides, and there are a lot of ways to use it. Most people don’t even know how to use neem pesticide and the formulation. If you formulate neem pesticide and keep it on the shelf, it loses value after some time, so what we do is that we give you a kit consisting of neem oil and emulsifier to use on the farm. You prepare it on your farm and spray within eight hours of preparation or even less.

But the timing of spraying matters a lot. I work with a research institute, NARICT, and there, we are working in collaboration. And I remember some time in 2015 when the issue of Tuta absoluta first surfaced in Nigeria, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) sponsored some people to India and learn how to do bio-pesticides from neem. But by that time I’ve already done my research because I also worked with some Indian companies. I still work with the first Indian that introduced neem business in Nigeria.

When the Tuta absoluta pest first struck, I had started discussing with Dangote Tomato in Kano, I called the MD and discussed with him but he hasn’t reached back to me. Additionally, I even discussed with the Minister of Science and Technology regarding this issue.

I also wrote an introduction letter to the Kaduna state Government but before then they had sent some people to Kenya to learn how to tackle the same problem from a consultant. When they came back, the same consultant called me, collected my samples and went for a meeting with the Kaduna State Government and I’ve not heard anything from them.

I personally discussed with the past Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry, Kabir Mato, who is now the Commissioner of Local Government Affairs in Kaduna State and nothing came up.

How effective is the neem bio-pesticide against ‘Tuta absoluta’ disease?

It is very effective, it has been proven beyond reasonable doubt. The Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR), Zaria has carried out that research; though they didn’t use neem oil but neem cake and other neem extracts. But in India, it has been in use for over 20 years. It has been proven to be very effective against ‘Tuta absoluta’, American worm and so many things.

READ MORE: Edo Calls For Maize, Cassava, Rice Offtakers

The most critical thing that people don’t put into consideration is the time of use, because it is not like chemical pesticide. Neem on its own is ultra violet sensitive, so if you use it when there is sun rays it would not work for you.

When is the best time for application of the bio-pesticide?

The best time to use it is before sunrise and after sunset. And the concentration is, if you’re using one litre of water, between 10ml and 15ml of neem oil in addition to 10ml of emulsifier and you spray all over the plants.

There are a lot of active ingredients in neem, but the major one is Azadirachtin, the smell of the neem also repels pests. In neem there are a lot of properties that expel pests.

Could you shed more light on the usage of neem storage powder?

For every 100kg bag of cowpea, 250g of the powder should be divided into three parts; one part should be sprinkled at the bottom, another part in the middle and the last part should be sprinkled at the top.

It has been very effective; we have the results that have been analysed by IAR and it took them about a year to analyse as it passed through stages.

How about the organo-mineral fertiliser?

Yes, that is also been used in the country and there are a lot of us doing it, we have an association. It is an organic fertiliser but has advantages like;- it conditions the soil, it repels pests, and improves both the quality of the soil and the grains.

How profitable would you say neem processing is and what are the opportunities in the sector?

There are a lot of prospects and opportunities in this business, the only thing is that government needs to encourage more entrepreneurs otherwise nothing would come out of it.

Right now, we have registration with many agric cooperatives and associations that are ready to work with us, like the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), and we are working to see the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) on how they can slot us in on the Anchor Borrowers Programme.

There are a lot of prospects. Actually you know agric is the new thing in the country right now, so anything agric you are doing will definitely go a long way.

We started with oil extraction and then graduated to formulation of neem soap. So when we do a product, after sometime, we graduate to another product and some products are still in the development stage.

Are youths showing interest in this business and have you been offering training to them?

Mr Sani Bello, owner of Neem Agro Nigeria Limited
Mr Sani Bello, owner of Neem Agro Nigeria Limited

Last year we attempted to train people on food processing of organically grown foods. We are aware that foods that are grown organically are more expensive and healthier than conventionally produced foods, even outside the country.

We attempted to train people on how to do organic farming using organic methods of revitalising the soil, organic pesticide application and so many things like that unfortunately we couldn’t achieve that for one reason or the other.

The basic challenge we have is in the area of making fertiliser because we need pulveriser, granulators, dryers and mixers to produce standard fertiliser.

I want to appeal to government to patronise us, when we have patronage from government certainly we would grow bigger.

 

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Emir Urges National Assembly To Pass Right To Food Bill

The Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samai’la Muhammad Mera, has urged the National Assembly to pass the Right to Food Bill without further delay.

The traditional ruler made the plea while receiving the coalition of civil society groups promoting the right of every Nigerian to Food.

The Emir while responding to a presentation on the Right to Food Bill by the Chairman of Voices for Food Security (VFS), Prof. Gbolagade Ayoola, expressed surprise that Nigeria is yet to have food as a fundamental human right enshrined in the constitution.

Prof. Ayoola who is also the President of Farm and Infrastructure Foundation (FIF) earlier told the Emir that, the latest World Hunger Index published by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) indicates that as at last year (2017), with an index value of 25.5 Nigeria ranked 84th among 119 countries in the category of “Serious Hunger Prevalence”.

“This implies that about three quarter of its population (about 150 million people) presently suffers from acute adult malnutrition, child stunting, child wasting and child mortality, all linked to food insecurity of the country,” Ayoola said in a statement made available to Daily Trust.

According to him, the fact that the universality of the subject matter also exists in the number of countries of the world that have adopted the concept of food as a right or passed a right to food Bill as the basis for implementing food policies.

Emir Urges National Assembly To Pass Right To Food Bill
L-R: Ropo Egbeleke of Tree Initiative, Chairman of Voices for Food Security (VFS), Prof. Gbolagade Ayoola, Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samai”la Muhammad Mera and ‘Sola Kolawole of Tree Initiative during an advocacy visit to the Argungu Emirate on the Right to Food in Nigeria.

He said it was due to the need for a suitable legal environment for right to food to take a firm root in Nigeria, that the bill was introduced at the National Assembly as far as 2010 during the 6th Assembly.

He said, “The Bill, which has suffered a great setback during the Sixth Assembly (2007-2011), and also suffered a similar fate during the Seventh Assembly (2011-2015), is now at the Committee stage during this present Eighth Assembly (2015-2019), having passed the Second Reading at the Federal House of Representatives and the First Reading at the Senate as at June 2016.”

The Emir appreciated the right to food bill campaign coalition for the efforts at pushing the bill under such discouraging condition since its introduction.

He referred to the right to food bill campaign as a patriotic endeavour which is strategic to the growth of the agricultural sector and the survival of this nation. He noted that the bill will take care of almost 80 percent of the concerns surrounding food security.

He also assured the coalition of his unflinching support for the bill and his readiness to reach out to all critical stakeholders within his sphere of influence to mobilize support for the passage of the right to food bill by the 8th National Assembly without delay.

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Invest In Soya Beans Value Chain To Gain Financial Freedom

Soya beans farming is another agribusiness that has the potential to make you fantastically rich.

Soya bean or in the US parlance, soybean is a leguminous crop that originated from eastern Asia where it is an essential part of their diets, but was said to have been introduced to Ibadan, Nigeria in 1908.

Nigeria has since risen to be the largest producer of the crop in sub-Saharan Africa.

Soybean grows well in many states of the federation. It grows very well in states such as Benue, Taraba, Kaduna, Plateau, Niger, Nasarawa, Jigawa, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kwara, Abuja, Bauchi and Borno. It has also been found to do well in the South East, South South and South West regions of the country.

soya beans farming
soya beans farming

However, most of the soybeans producers in Nigeria are smallholder farmers. But in countries like South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, soya beans farming are cultivated on a large scale and in commercial quantity as well. They are also grown in other parts of the world especially in South and North Americas. The US accounts for 32 percent of world total production, Brazil 31 percent and Argentina 18 percent.

Soya bean is a very important global crop because of its chemical composition of over 36 percent protein, 30 percent carbohydrates, dietary fibre, vitamins and mineral salts.

It plays important role in fighting malnutrition, especially protein deficiency Africa where animal protein is hard to come by poor masses. Of all crops that are sources of protein, soybeans are the only one that provide cheap and high quality protein comparable to that of meat, poultry and eggs. Soya beans still have a number of other beneficial health effects such as prevention of breast and prostate cancers.

Uses (Soya Beans Farming)

Dry soya beans are used to produce flour and milk substitutes. The bean curds are fried and eaten as snacks or breakfast. Soybean meal is very important because it is fat-free, and a cheap source of protein to both humans and animals.

Soybean products are essential ingredients in meat and dairy products. They also contain significant dietary minerals and vitamins necessary for healthy living. Vegetable oil extracted from soya beans are used in industrial applications. It consists of 20 percent oil and so very useful in producing edible oil.

Varieties (Soya Beans Farming)

Soya bean is a crop with long domestication from wild species to modern variety and so has many cultivars. Each region has a particular species and used for a particular purpose. For instance, perennial soya bean which originated from Africa is widely used as pasture crops. Meanwhile, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture has developed high-yielding, rust-resistant, soil deficiency tolerant varieties.

One can seek expert advice in this regard. Soya bean crop bears a hairy pod that grows in clusters of between three and five with each pod containing two to four seeds.

The seeds have variety of sizes and colours such as brown, black, blue, green and yellow. The mature bean is hard and water-resistant. It protects the cotyledon from damage.

Cultivation (Soya Beans Farming)

Select soya beans seeds suitable to the climatic condition in your locality. If you are in the Northern region, go for variety that has short duration for maturity.

READ MORE: How To Set Up Soymilk Mini Factory

Clear the land and employ farm hands if you are not privileged to use tractor for planting. You can raise beds for your planting or you make ridges. Select good seeds for your planting. Note that seeds with cracks will not germinate.

Ensure that you weed at the appropriate time to get maximum yield. Apply fertilizer where necessary. Part of the problems of soya beans farming in this clime is low yields due to shortage of fertilizer. But, with the accelerated attention being given to agriculture now in the country, farming input such as fertilizer may soon be overcome.

Another problem that the IITA has addressed is high cost of cultivation and harvesting occasioned by manual labour. It has adapted some farming techniques and processing machines to reduce the drudgery involved in farming.

Consumption

Soya beans are eaten whole. The bean curd can be fried and eaten as a snack or breakfast food. Dry soybeans are used to produce milk substitutes and flour.

Nigeria is equally the largest consumer of soya beans in Sub-Sahara Africa followed by Uganda. Reports have it that worldwide consumption of soybean is nearly 11 million tons.

Disease and Pests

Many diseases attack soybeans. They are rust caused by fungus and attacks and destroys the plant leaves. Others are red leaf blotch, frog-eye leaf spot, bacterial pustule, bacterial blight and soybean mosaic virus. For pests, there are pod and foliage feeders, bean flies and nematodes.

The IITA has also developed species resistant to all these diseases and how best to tackle the pests. Make inquiries.

Harvesting

Soybean crop matures and can be harvested between 100 and 150 after planting, depending however, on the variety. Before harvesting, ensure that you have ready market for the produce. A little market research will aid you in your produce distribution and to determine where you will get good price for your produce.

Processing

Soybeans contain some toxic compounds that require prolonged soaking and cooking. However, in the western world, they are processed into a number of products such as soymilk, soy flour, soy sauce and soybean oil.

Apart from farming, you can invest in producing soymilk, soy flour or soybean oil. I bet you, it is a win-win situation for all of them. So go ahead and not only employ yourself but also others. The sky is your limit.

Profitability

The demand for soybeans has greatly increased because of the rapid growth in the poultry industry and therefore created a demand-supply gap that has to be filled by imports. Determined people can larch on this to go into commercial soybeans farming to fill the gap and make a lot of money for themselves.

Besides, one can go a step further and think big by expanding the farm to produce more for export to earn dollars and pounds sterling. Or you go into processing as discussed earlier. Join the pioneers of this revolution to export agro-allied products to diversify this import-dependent economy. Right on, you will succeed!

 

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Nigeria Earns $402m From Cashew In 2017- Faseru

Cashew The National President, National Cashew Association of Nigeria, (NCAN)

The National President, National Cashew Association of Nigeria, NCAN, Tola Faseru, has disclosed that the production of the commodity has increased from about 90,000 metric tonnes in 2011 to 220,000 metric tonnes at the end of 2017 translating to about $402million.

He said the cashew industry has made a lot of progress when compared to other commodities in the country.

Speaking with Agriculture journalists recently, Faseru said: “In 2011, our production was about 90,000 metric tonnes, today, as at the end of 2017, we have reached 220,000 metric tonnes. For us, that is a major breakthrough. That is more than doubled what the production was from 2011 to 2017. Barring all issues of climate change and all of that, for us, that is a major effort.”

He added “the earning has increased tremendously, the earnings in 2011 were about $48 to $50 million annually but as at 2017, we have reached $402 million. What it means is that the value of Nigerian cashew has increased.

“In 2011, we were talking of something in the region of between $300 and $500 per ton. Today, we are talking about $1800 and we have explored an upward trend in the marketability and acceptability of the Nigerian cashew across the world.”

Tola Faseru said the increased earning from cashew has impacted positively on the farmers. “In the past, a farmer was selling at the local price of N30,000 to N40, 000 per ton, but today, the farmer can sell at about N300,000 per ton.

“Thus, our farmers are now living a decent life; they provide shelter for themselves, have good cars and that had encouraged them to plant more. By and large, it has encouraged them to take good care of their farms.”

He said one of the reasons for the growth in the sector is the sensitisations and trainings given to the local farmers. “We have given farmers trainings on how to store their cashew properly, they are able to first of all put in best agricultural practices; they are able to do what they call proper harvesting which is critical to the yield and to the quality.

Cashew Association: Demands More EPZs To Boost Food Production

“Farmers are able to dry cashew properly; most importantly, they are able to package it well. When we came in, cashew nuts were usually packaged in polythene bags and we said this will kill the quality because the cashew will not have proper air to breathe because it will get heated up and what will happen is for the cashew to spoil.

“So, we said jute bags should be the way. Jute bags give way for air to flow in and out, the cashew farmers have imbibed that as well.”

He added that drying of cashew has now become something farmers now handle professionally and has become the norm across the value chain.

Americans Will Consume A Record Amount Of Meat In 2018

Americans are set to eat more meat in 2018 than ever before. According to data published by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), consumers are expected to eat 222.2 pounds (100.8 kilo) of red meat and poultry this year, up from 216.9 pounds per person in 2017. That will surpass the previous record of 221.9 pounds per person, set in 2004, Bloomberg reports.

Red Meat: Americans Will Consume A Record Amount Of Meat In 2018The predicted increase is ending a trend of falling meat consumption that began with the Great Recession in 2008. In 2014, the consumption of red meat and poultry was still down at 201.8 pounds per capita before it started to climb steadily, reaching 211.1 pounds in 2015 and 214.6 in 2016.

The figure predicted for 2018 corresponds to a meat intake of roughly 10 ounces (or 280 grams) per day, almost double the amount recommended by government nutritionists. According to USDA’s Choose MyPlate nutrition guidelines, adults should not eat more than 5 to 6 ounces of meat per day.

The popularity of dairy products, for example cheese and butter, has also increased to an all-time high, the USDA figures reveal. Domestic meat production is on the rise as well. The total production of red meat and poultry is expected to reach about 103.5 billion pounds in 2018, compared with 97.6 billion pounds in 2016. (ab)

 

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Ogbeh Did Not Shun US/Nigeria Investment Summit, Says FMARD

Ogbeh Did Not Shun US/Nigeria Investment Summit, Says FMARD

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has refute claims widely reported in the media that Audu Ogbeh, Minister of Agriculture & Rural Development failed to attend the recently held Nigeria-US Investment summit in Washington DC.

This was stated in a statement made available to BusinessDay by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The media report was attributed to Alhaji Lamido Sanusi, Emir of Kano who reportedly berated some ministers for not attending the Nigeria/US summit, which the Emir described as a negative pointer to potential investors.

Ogbeh Did Not Shun US/Nigeria Investment Summit, Says FMARD

The statement indicated that Ogbeh was not invited to the summit by the organisers, which did not necessitate the minister to be in attendance and seeking clearance from the presidency to attend.

“It is worth reiterating that Ogbeh was in Nigeria attending to his official duties and did not travel to Washington DC with the Federal Government delegation, as he is not one of the government officials that statutorily attend International Monetary Fund IMF meetings,” the statement signed by Tolu Makinde, director of information, FMARD states.

This explanation is necessary to reiterate the determination of the Ministry to attract foreign investment into the Nigerian agricultural sector in order to attain our national agricultural objectives, as well as correct any wrong perception of tardiness, lack of seriousness or dereliction of duty that the said story is capable of creating in the minds of the public,” Makinde added.

Commercialise Products To Generate Income, Lokpobiri Urges Research Institutes

Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, has advised research institutes to commercialise their research and agricultural products to boost Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

A statement by the Deputy Director in the ministry, Mrs Julie Osagie Jacobs in Abuja on Wednesday, said the minister made the call during a tour of research institutes at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Kaduna State.

Jacobs quoted Lokpobiri as saying “commercialisation of research products would ensure sustainability of institutes

He said government alone could not provide the required funding for the institutes, hence the need for them to commercialise their products.

The minister visited the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), National Agricultural Extension Research and Liaison Services (NAERLS) and the National Animal Production Research Institute (NAPRI) Zaria.Exporting plants

Lokpobiri urged the management of the institutes to partner donor agencies to support them in this regard, saying “if you don’t commercialise, you cannot maximise your potential.’’

The minister commended the achievements of the institutes despite challenges faced over the years.

He emphasised the need for further investment in research and manpower development to enable the country achieve self-sufficiency in food production.

He assured the people of Federal Government’s commitment to revitalise the agriculture sector and government’s continuous support to farmers through provision of fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides.

The Executive Director NAPRI, Prof. CAM Lakpini, on behalf of other directors of the institutes, informed the minister that plans were under way to partner the private sector to drive the commercialisation process.

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America Needs Nigeria To Make Africa Great Again – Gov Bello

America Needs Nigeria To Make Africa Great Again – Gov Bello

America Needs Nigeria To Make Africa Great Again – Gov Bello, Kogi State Governor, Alh. Yahaya Bello has hailed the renewed interest of the United States in the greatness of Nigeria, saying Nigeria’s economic renaissance is key to African prosperity.

Governor Bello made this known through a message a statement by his Director General of Media and Publicity, Kingsley Fanwo. He said the current working visit of President Buhari to the US will “unlock massive opportunities between the two giants”.

“Nigeria is the hope of Africa with her market, human and mineral resources. A super power like the United States will no doubt find in Nigeria, a viable partner to deepen Africa’s prosperity through technology and agriculture.

“For a long time, US has been pessimistic about Nigeria. Corruption has been one of the biggest barriers between the two nations. But with President Muhammadu Buhari at the helms of affairs of Africa’s biggest nation, America is beginning to see a partner in anti-corruption and fight against poverty”.

America Needs Nigeria To Make Africa Great Again – Gov Bello

Bello said Nigeria will reap massively from the “historic visit” of President Buhari, saying Kogi State is prepared to play host to some of the biggest players in the agricultural world.

His words: “It is interesting to note that Agriculture is one of the focal points of the President’s visit to the states. Kogi is a leading agricultural destination in Nigeria and our people are looking forward to the benefits of the visit as it concerns ensuring food security in Nigeria.

“Kogi is the mineral capital of Nigeria with many mineral resources. But we see Agriculture as the future of the state. Kogi will be prepared to play host to some of the biggest players in the Agric world to make the nation self-sufficient in food production”.

The Governor also urged the United States to help Nigeria in the fight against terror, saying Nigeria is committed to ensuring “global peace and security”.

Gov Bello to Kogi Workers: Thanks for accepting our reforms

……..promises better days ahead for workers

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has saluted the civil servants in the state for their “sacrificial understanding of the unwavering commitment of his administration to civil service reforms”, saying their “patriotic sacrifices is beginning to yield fruits”.

The Governor who stated this in a statement released through his Director General of Media and Publicity, Kingsley Fanwo said his administration “perfectly understands the place of labour in deepening democracy and development” and shall continue to “partner with labour to make Kogi State more prosperous and more generous to the destinies of future generations”.

Bello implored workers to continue to cooperate with his administration in its “avowed drive to make the state a better place for all”.

“The labour movement around the world has been an assured partner against corruption and human rights abuse. It is therefore understandable that labour keyed into our civil service reforms to rid the service of unintended beneficiaries who had deprived genuine workers of their rights to regular wages and salaries.

America Needs Nigeria To Make Africa Great Again – Gov Bello

“I have tremendous respect for labour because they are not only the most important contributor to our development agenda, but they are veritable partners in promoting excellence in governance. Good governance is enhanced and catalyzed by a well motivated labour.

“It is our hope that labour will continue to support our agenda of ensuring discipline and productivity in government work places to serve our people well and create wealth for our dear State”.

Governor Bello also assured labour of “pragmatic, beneficial programs that will rebound the morale of labour”, saying his administration will continue to “prioritize payment of salaries to boost the morale of workers and their confidence in the administration”.

He urged labour to continue to support the New Direction Agenda of Government in order to build a “virile, strong and better Kogi State”.

“The Kogi I am striving to build cannot be achieved without your unalloyed support and commitment to duty. I therefore urge all the Kogi workers to continue to support our administration”, he said.

The Governor said despite the drastic drop in revenue allocation to the State and the competing needs of the state, his administration has continued to its best in payment of salaries and pensions, assuring that he will continue to support the labour movement to play its role in helping his administration become the best ever in the history of the state.

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Benue Killings Threaten Nigeria’s Monthly 480Tonnes Yam Export

Benue Killings Threaten Nigeria Monthly 480Tonnes Yam Export, Nigeria’s monthly export target of 480tonnes of yam to the United States, Canada, United Arab Emirates, as well as key European countries is under threat by the rising insecurity in Benue state, in Nigeria, BusinessDay investigations has revealed.

Yam, a staple food virtually consumed by every household in Nigeria, is predominantly grown in the North Central region of Nigeria.

Nigeria flagged off campaign on yam export on June 29th 2017 aimed at generating additional foreign exchange revenue of $10 within four years. The country is the world’s largest producer of yams, with more than 25 million tonnes consumed entirely on the domestic market. Ghana, the second largest yam producer with 3.25 million tonnes, makes an average of $5 billion annually exporting yams.

Benue Killings Threaten Nigeria Monthly 480Tonnes Yam Export

Sadly, the country’s projection is now being threatened on the rising spate of insecurity forcing local farmers in Benue to seek refuge in Internally Displaced Peoples (IDP) camps, as Fulani herdsmen unleash mayhem on Nigeria’s Yam base and food belt region of Benue state.

The state has been under persistent attack through farmers-herders crisis ,as the situation has left the state with over a 100 000 Internally Displaced in the state many of whom are farmers.

Confirming this development to BusinessDay exclusively, Simon Irtwange, who heads the Federal Government’s Technical Committee on Yam export Programme said:”The farmers-herders clash has affected harvest and successful evacuation of yams into storage in Benue state.

Irtwange also confirmed that the yams in the farms are being destroyed, burnt and also used to feed cattle.

According to Irtwange, the Fulani herders call yams “indomie” for the cattle. The seed yams for the next planting season have also been destroyed along with the ware yams.

‎Istwange regrettably remarked that the development is already taking its toll on Nigeria’ s food sufficiency drive and increase in Nigeria’s non oil export with high hopes on Yam exports, while pointing out that,”Right now the farmers are in IDP camps and yam farming activities are at a standstill in the affected

Benue Killings Threaten Nigeria Monthly 480Tonnes Yam Export

‎‎Speaking on technical assistance of the Yam export committee to Yam exporters, Irtwange said:”The job of our technical committee on the Nigeria yam export programme is to assist persons who want to invest in the yam value chain with technical information and requirements.”

‎According to him,”We are therefore supporting members of the National Association of Yam Farmers, Processors and Marketers that are registered as aggregators with technical information for design of solar cooled warehouses for yam aggregation and storage for local consumption and export.

‎The Committee also assisted technically during the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) focused labs with entry point projects in the yam value chain to attain 5-star status, he noted.
Speaking further on the efforts of the key efforts of the committe, he said:”We have advocated the establishment of a national yam export pack house as a one-stop-shop with all the relevant regulatory bodies such as :The Nigeria Customs Service,National Qaurantine Service and the Nigeria Customs Service, under one roof as in the case of Ghana.

“We hope that with the designation of Ikorodu Lighter Terminal as export hub for agricultural produce in Nigeria by the Nigerian Ports Authority, space will be allocated for various exportable agricultural commodities for development of facilities for packing and export.”he said.‎

Relaying her export experience to BusinessDay,Elizabeth Olarenwaju Okonkwo‎ of Oklan Food LTD,a limited said,”what prompted us into yam export was because we see cartons with yam Produce of Ghana,Brtazil and other countries,while Nigeria a leading yam culticating nation is not maximising full benefits of export potentials.

Benue Killings Threaten Nigeria Monthly 480Tonnes Yam Export

On the export destination, she said,”Our destination is the United States of America,the United Kingdom and China.

“I had been contacted by USAID that the Minister of Agriculture is concerned of Yam because Nigerian diasporans have already indicated their interest on linking up with Nigeria Yam as he want to capitalise on the market there”

She informed of the collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture,IITA, on some level of assistance in standardising yam exports.

“The Oyo state farmers had met with IITA on the Yam export issue and were given 40 boxes of seedlings of plant.We have a staff of IITA working to ensure a standard procedure by teaching the farmers the perimeters to put in place.We are working in Osun state,and we have signed to aggregate all the Yam produced in Osun state.

‎Nigeria accounts for a total of 67% of Yam production,but is leapfrogging it’s West African neighbour Ghana,who are already making to the tune of $5bn annually from global Yam market share.Industry watchers say the federal government must stem the tide and ensure the issues bothering on farmers-herders clash are properly addressed to ensure improved export earnings from Yam.

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Buhari Harps On Agriculture, As American Companies Eye Nigeria Market

Buhari Harps On Agriculture, As American Companies Eye Nigeria Market, President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated his call on youths in Nigeria to seize opportunities in agriculture, a sector of the economy he said is already proving to be the bedrock of the nation’s new economy.

The President stated this at the Blair House, Washington DC, at a meeting attended by Chief Executive Officers of six American agricultural companies and their Nigerian counterparts including Aliko Dangote and John Coumantaros.

The President, while lamenting the challenges of the country’s youth bulge, with “sixty per cent of the population below 30 years.” , called for help for young people to enable them plan their future, even as he urged the youths to explore opportunities easily accessible in agriculture because, as he said, “agriculture is the future.”

He stressed the need to embrace planning in Nigeria , which he said must take into consideration the factors of climate and a bulging youth population.

President Buhari also promised the support of his administration in the promotion of skill development, innovation and entrepreneurship among the young population.

Buhari Harps On Agriculture, As American Companies Eye Nigeria Market
Buhari Harps On Agriculture, As American Companies Eye Nigeria Market

“We realized, rather belatedly that we ought to have been investing in agriculture. We are now aiming at food security because of our large population. Our youths, the ones who have gone to school and even those that have not, should go to the farm, to earn respect for themselves.

“Agriculture is providing jobs for millions of our citizens and we are doing well towards the attainment of food security and jobs. The media may not appreciate the work we are doing but we will shock them by the success we are recording.”

President Buhari welcomed the several investment proposals being put in place by the Americans and their Nigerian counterparts.

Among those brought up for discussions were the three million tons fertilizer by Dangote, the largest in Africa coming on stream in July, to be followed by another one to produce 1.4 million tons of the commodity; a large-scale modern seed production company, and weed and pest management and chemicals products companies by the Americans.

Buhari Harps On Agriculture, As American Companies Eye Nigeria Market
Buhari Harps On Agriculture, As American Companies Eye Nigeria Market

The Burger King food chain also hinted of plans to integrate local farmers in livestock production; the Heinz tomatoes production, with backward integration of Nigerian tomato farmers; while another company is coming to set up a local branch to facilitate merchandising of commodities, by establishing a link between the Nigerian producers and the global market.

A tractor manufacturing company, John Deer, also unfolded a plan for an assembly plant to produce 10,000 tractors in four years in Nigeria.

In a second business meeting same day, President Buhari brought together Nigerian businessmen and their American counterparts from the U.S Chamber of Commerce and the Corporate Council on Africa, (CCA.)

The U.S Chamber, on behalf of its three million member-companies which included General Electric, Chevron, Proctor and Gamble and Boeing aircraft manufacturers, expressed happiness with improved security in the Niger Delta, reforms in the economy leading to ease in doing business, and the war the administration is waging against corruption.

Several of the oncoming plans were disclosed to the President who demanded concrete plans and an aggressive timetable for their actualization.

He envisioned that the investment schemes will lead to a lot of new opportunities for the Nigerian youth.

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Niger Rice Cuts Imports, Says FADAMA

Niger Rice Cuts Imports, Says FADAMA, Niger State has contributed to the reduction of rice imports, the National Fadama Co-ordination Office has said.

Nigeria has been listed among the 16 top producers of rice with its local production valued at N684 billion ($1.9 billion).

Niger State produced 545,700 metric tonnes (MT) of rice to top the national production output for last year’s wet season.

The leader of the Technical Assistance Mission to the state, Dr. Samuel Alabi, who spoke during a visit to the Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development, Haruna Nuhu Dukku, in Minna, said the quantity of rice produced in the state with the contribution of the state Fadama Co-ordination Office during the wet and dry seasons had greatly increased.

Alabi praised the state Fadama Co-ordination Office, saying the state added value to what Fadama is achieving nationally as the office have become a focus laboratory where experience meet with result delivery.

“Niger State Coordination Office has become a learning centre where opportunity meets experience and experience meets with result delivery. The state has become Fadama learning centre. We are indebted to Niger State for adding colour to the performance of the national office,’’Alabi said.

Dukku assured Fadama of the state support of its programme as it has proved to be of immense benefit to the people, especially in the rural areas.

FADAMA Coordinator In Anambra Urges Youths To Engage In Agriculture

Anambra FADAMA Coordinator, Mr Chukwuka Egbueh, has called on the youth to engage in farming so as to support the government’s efforts to develop the agricultural sector.

Egbueh made the call on Monday in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka.

He stressed that government had made a lot of investments to overhaul and develop the agricultural sector.

“Nigeria did well in agriculture in the First Republic but I can tell you that at no time has the sector received more financial support from government than now.

Anambra FADAMA Coordinator
Anambra FADAMA Coordinator

“However, more efforts should be made to educate and mobilise our youths to develop a positive mindset towards agriculture. The youths should also be sensitised to fully appreciate the dignity of labour,’’ he said.

Egbueh noted that a major challenge facing efforts to develop the agricultural sector was the growing population of ageing farmers.

He, therefore, said that pragmatic efforts should be made to encourage the youth to take up farming as their profession.

“Youths should be encouraged to fill the gaps being created by our ageing farmers.

“Farming is a rewarding and lucrative profession; that is why the youth should be encouraged to engage in crop growing.

“However, there are lots of incentives by governments, in form of grants and loans, to encourage serious youths to go into farming,’’ he added.

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Wanted: Strategies To Boost Cassava Production

Strategies To Boost Cassava Production, Stakeholders have called for pragmatic strategies to improve Nigeria‘s position as a leading cassava producer, using innovation and technology.

Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century (GCP21) Director, Dr Claude Fauquet, who spoke at a briefing in Lagos, ahead of the group’s International Cassava Conference slated for June 11 to 15, in Cotonou, Benin Republic, said developing the cassava industry with innovation and technology would add value to products. GCP21 is a not-for-profit international alliance.

He said the demand for cassava by industries would increase mainly in the glue, paper, textile, sweetener, and pharmaceutical sectors.

Fauguet said though Nigeria was a big player in cassava production, but it had not yet met the cassava needs of Nigerians.

He said: “In comparison with what Africa and other countries produce, cassava productivity in Asia is more than 22 tonnes per hectare, a situation that gives Asia competitive advantage in global trade while Latin America produces 12 tonnes per hectare.

CBN To Deploy N60 Billion Intervention Fund In Vulnerable Sector

As part of efforts to stimulate economic activities, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele has disclosed plan by the central bank, in collaboration with the banks to deploy part of the Agri-business, SME Investment Scheme Fund (AGSMEIS) fund to the “vulnerable sector in the next few days.”

This is just as he put the present value of the country’s external reserves at $47 billion.
Emefiele said this in a keynote address he delivered after he received The Guardian “Economic Personality of the Year 2017” award in Lagos yesterday.

He also disclosed that by the middle of this year, the AGSMEIS fund, which was derived from an initiative by the banks to set aside five per cent of their profit after tax year, would have risen to N60 billion.

Emefiele explained: “In 2016, the banks came up with an initiative where they all agreed that they would contribute five per cent of their profit after tax, to support the development initiatives of governments in Nigeria.central bank, Central Bank of Nigeria

“By the middle of this year, the banks would have contributed N60 billion into the fund. I can assure you all that in the next few days, the CBN together with the banks would be unfolding the disbursement to the vulnerable sectors in Nigeria.”

Commenting on the central bank’s interventions in real sectors of the economy in recent time, the CBN Governor disclosed that N393.5 billion had been released to 478 large scale agricultural projects since inception in 2010.

Furthermore, in terms of the Real Sector Support Facility (RSSF), he said the CBN was poised to disburse up to N400 billion at only nine per cent.

This strategic initiative, according to him, targets projects in manufacturing and agriculture, given the mutual interdependence of both sectors for the complete industrialisation of agro-allied business.

“The CBN has also made efforts to finance agricultural value- chain activities through NIRSAL, which was established in 2011 and is now incorporated as a non-bank financial institution.

“Under NIRSAL, more than 224 projects valued at over N33 billion were guaranteed for the Federal Ministry of Agriculture’s Growth Enhancement Scheme.

“Also, under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), as we speak, domestic rice production has increased many folds and its imports have crashed substantially.

“While Kebbi State alone is expected to produce over two million metric tonnes of rice annually, employees at Labana Rice Mills are trying to keep pace with demand, processing 320 tons of rice a day, a 250 percent increase from the previous year.

As a result of this we have seen sharp drop in imports of rice from several countries,” he said.

Emefiele pointed out that the greatest challenge of the 17.3 million MSMEs in operation in the country presently remains poor access to affordable financing; leading to an estimated financing gap of about N9.6 trillion.

He noted the positive developments in the economy which has led to an improvement in most of the economic indicators.

“Most significantly we have seen a boost in Local Production. Due to our strategic development finance initiatives supported by the dogged implementation of our FX restriction on certain items, we have recorded spectacular improvements in domestic production of most of these items.

“As a result, many local manufacturers are reporting major boosts to their revenue and profit.
“But we must note that there remains much to be done. Nigeria remains significantly below its potential and I believe that a properly functioning financial system that channels credits to critical high impact productive real sector is a significant part of the reason.

“It is imperative that we all realise that we have got a role play. There is the need for a well-coordinated and effective public private partnership if we must achieve the desired balanced economic growth and development on a sustainable and inclusive level,” he said.

Boost Cassava Production (GCP21)

Boost Cassava Production (GCP21)

“Addressing the yield gap demands more funding for cassava research and development (R&D) from all stakeholders, if truly the world wants to help farmers towards ending hunger and poverty in Africa.”

 

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