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Best Ways To Farm Sweet Potato, By Expert
April 20, 2018
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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.

Sweet potatoes

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.

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How To Grow Carrot in Nigeria
April 20, 2018
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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.

Grow Carrot, Carrot Farming
Grow Carrot, Carrot Farming

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.

Grow Carrot, Carrot Farming
Grow Carrot, Carrot Farming

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

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.

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Group Launches Apps To Promote Agribusiness
April 20, 2018
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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.Agribusiness

“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

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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.

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Neymar gives condition for Real Madrid transfer
April 19, 2018
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Neymar gives condition for Real Madrid transfer

Neymar has told Real Madrid to raid Manchester United and Liverpool before a potential move to the Bernabeu, reports say.

Neymar is on Real Madrid’s radar with the PSG star disillusioned with life at the Parc des Princes.

But Spanish outlet Don Balon report that any move to Real Madrid hinges on who else they promise to bring in.

Liverpool star Mohamed Salah is reportedly one of the players Neymar would like to see sign.

And Don Balon say he also wants Real to sign Manchester United’s David De Gea.

Arsenal to bid €40m for Real Madrid’s Benzema

Arsenal to bid €40m for Real Madrid's Benzema

Arsenal are prepared to offer €40 million for Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, claims Diario Gol.

The 30-year-old Frenchman has endured a difficult season in Madrid, and the report states that Sergio Ramos has told club president Florentino Perez to sell the forward.

However, Perez is holding out for €80m in exchange for the striker, which could put the brakes on any potential deal.

Arsenal have been an admirer of the forward for many years and they could finally get their man this time.

New York City coach to replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal

New York City coach to replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal

 

Patrick Vieira is a serious contender to return to Arsenal as manager.

The London club are looking for candidates to replace Arsene Wenger, who has endured a difficult season.

A Premier League top-four place is out of reach and victory in the Europa League, where Arsenal face favourites Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals, is the only path into the Champions League.

There is growing disaffection among fans and the indications are that Wenger will step down after 22 years at the club.

Legendary former midfielder Vieira, 41, is currently boss at New York City and could potentially have a long-term future with the City Football Group, who also own Manchester City.

His appointment would thrill many Arsenal fans. He won three Premier League titles and three FA Cups before moving to Juventus, Inter Milan and Manchester City where he won the FA Cup again in 2011.

He went into management and worked for two years at City in charge of the development squad, before taking the step into senior management in 2016 when he took over at New York City in the MLS.

There would be no need for mass changes to the Arsenal coaching staff if he returned to the club. Vieira already knows assistant manager Steve Bould and coaches Gerry Peyton, Neil Banfield and Jens Lehmann.

Wenger, though, will not be sacked even if Arsenal were to lose in the Europa League.

The 68-year-old signed a two-year contract to stay on at the Emirates after last season’s FA Cup win over Chelsea and any decision to leave will be his.

He has an excellent relationship with the club’s majority shareholder, American billionaire Stan Kroenke, and dismissal is out of the question.

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Farmers Stare At Huge Losses As Armyworm Marches On
April 17, 2018
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Armyworm: Cereals growers in North Rift region, the country’s grain basket, are staring at heavy losses due to the re-emergence of the Fall armyworm.

The worm invasion has increased production costs and also threatens farm yields.

Several counties in the region are racing against time to contain the spread of the deadly pest, with agricultural experts warning of a looming national food disaster unless the outbreak is contained.

The worm has been reported in Trans Nzoia, Nandi, Uasin Gishu, Kericho, Nyamira, Bungoma, and Busia counties.

80 PLANTS

It is blamed for the loss of nearly 20 per cent of the two million bags of maize, which was to be last season’s harvest.

The pest found its way into the country from Uganda after an earlier outbreak in Ghana and South Africa. It was first reported in North and South America.

Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation director general Eliud Kireger said the worm’s larvae – caterpillars – cause severe damage to more than 80 plant species, including maize, sorghum, rice, millet, wheat and barley.

It also attacks fodder crops such as Bermuda and Napier grasses, sugarcane and cotton.

Other susceptible crops, include kales, cabbages, legumes, bananas, tomatoes, capsicum, ginger, spinach, onions, sugar beet, citrus, cucumber and sunflower.

PESTICIDES

“The infestation in maize plantations signals a tough season for farmers since they did not factor the cost of fighting the pests into their budgets,” said Mr William Kimosong, the Trans Nzoia branch chairman of the Kenya National Farmers Federation (Kenaff).

Mr Kimosong said a broad spectrum of pesticides recommended by the Ministry of Agriculture was very expensive, with the cheapest selling at Sh20,000 a litre but only sprays one acre.

“This spells doom for us, coupled with the high cost of farm inputs, the drought in some parts of the region and the unstable maize market,” said Mr Andrew Rotich, a farmer from Cherangany, Trans Nzoia County.

42 COUNTIES

Kenya Seed Company managing director Azariah Soi said the vicious pest was tolerant to most pesticides.

“Unlike the African armyworm, the Fall armyworm, which is dispersed by wind, burrows inside maize stems and cobs, making it difficult to detect. It can lay up to six generations of up to 50 eggs in one location, leading to rapid destruction,” said Mr Soi in a previous interview.

Mr Johnston Irungu, the director of crops in the Ministry of Agriculture, said a technical team had been sent to the affected 42 counties to combat the spread of the destructive pest.

He also revealed that some local experts had been sent to Brazil to learn how the country has managed to deal with the menace.

Obaseki Bans Grazing For Three Months, Sets Up Special Task Force

As an interim measure to forestall further killings and destruction of farmlands by suspected herdsmen, Governor Godwin Obaseki yesterday announced the banning of grazing of any sort in the vast forests and farmlands around Odighi, Owan, Odigwete communities in Ovia North East local council area.

Besides, the governor also banned all illegal cattle markets in the state.

Obaseki announced the ban during a meeting with members of Odighi, Owan and Odigwuetue communities at the palace of the Enogie of Odighi Community in Ovia North East Local Government Council of the state.

The governor said the ban became necessary to stop further killings as the duty of his administration is to protect lives and property of the people of the state.

Obaseki was accompanied by the Commissioner of Police, Johnson Kokumo, Director, Department of State Security (DSS), his Chief of Staff, Taiwo Akerele and other political appointees to Odighi where early this month, suspected herdsmen killed a Pastor of the Church of God Mission, Pius Eromosele in his farm after they allegedly demanded a ransom of N4 million.Godwin Obaseki- Edo Merge Agric Institutes

Within the period, the governor said a special task force made up of personnel from the police, army, DSS and local vigilante groups in the area would comb the forests to identify and take statistics of the camps and all herdsmen operating in the area and thereafter there would be designated areas where edible grasses for cattle would be grown and the herdsmen and their herds confined to the areas.

“We have set up a special taskforce made up of the Army, Police, State Security Service, hunters and vigilante groups to comb the bushes and dislodge squatter camps of killer herdsmen and ensure no grazing takes place in Odighi, Odiguetue communities and environs”.

It was a tale of woe and anguish as the indigenes of the communities at the meeting recalled various sad stories and experiences. They lamented that they have abandoned their farms and many of their sons and daughters are drifting to the state capital to become labourers just as they lamented their women either go to fetch water or their farms in groups or escorted by hunters and men from the community.

The governor who had earlier attended the Sunday service at St Stephens Anglican Church said; “You have lived in these communities with herdsmen be they Hausa, Fulani, Chadians over the years, the issue now is what has happened and why has this relationship deteriorated, as the president said, this is part of a major security challenge we have faced on the continent and in particular Nigeria.

Grazing

“But as a government, it is our responsibility to face any challenge that comes our way. Part of this is to destabilise us either by directly attacking and also to create confusion and communal clashes amongst us even within the country.

“What we see now are not herdsmen the way we use to see them, these are criminals and these are militants and we don’t want you to mix them with those who live with us peacefully so we want to separate them from those who are criminals.

There are two things they are doing, they are doing cattle rustling and they come here to look for market to sell them so they will go to the farm, they will eat whatever they can find so that they can fatten the cows so the first thing we have done is to ban illegal cow markets so anybody who is going to sell cows, we know the market and where the cows are coming from.

“I cannot accept the situation in these communities any further so for the next 90 days, we ban grazing in these communities. “

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Why NIA, DSS, EFCC will continue to clash – NSA
April 17, 2018
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Why NIA, DSS, EFCC will continue to clash – NSA

The National Security Adviser (NSA) Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd) said the country’s intelligence agencies would continue to clash unless the National Security Agencies Decree 1986 is amended.

Monguno was quoted in a report of the Senate ad-hoc committee that probed the clash between officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Department of State Service (DSS) and Nigeria Intelligence Agency (NIA) last year.

The agencies clashed last year when EFCC operatives attempted to arrest Mr Ayodele Oke, a former DG of NIA and Mr Ita Ekpeyong, a former DG of the DSS.

The NSA while expressing concern over the lack of unity and cooperation among intelligence agencies in the country said the situation has led to, “The current state of disjointedness and disharmony amongst sister agencies. This resulted due to the National Security Agencies Decree 1986; Cap 278, Cap 278 LFN section 14 01-2 which has stripped the NSA of the power to check the other Security Agencies that have now become independent of his office due to their now ‘easy’ access to the President. Thus, there is a desperate need to streamline the Agencies and make them answerable to the NSA.”

Monguno told senators that the President was aware of the state of things and also presented evidences of instances where his duties were usurped due to lack of discipline exhibited by Security Agencies.

He disclosed that he was not aware of the EFCC chairman’s move to arrest any of the former intelligence chiefs until after the media reports and that the resistance made by the Security Agencies during the arrest cast some aspersions.

The Senate had while considering the report of the panel chaired by Senator Francis Alimikhena (APC, Edo) resolved to initiate the amendment of the act with a view to giving powers of control to the Coordinator on National Security over these agencies on behalf of the President.

TANZANIA: At least 9 dead in floods in commercial capital

TANZANIA: At least 9 dead in floods in commercial capital

At least nine people in Tanzania’s commercial capital died after heavy rains flooded homes and roads, authorities said on Monday. Police chief Lazaro Mambosasa told journalists the people died as a result of heavy rainfall over the past three days.

Television footage showed residents seeking shelter on rooftops. Authorities ordered schools to be closed for two days starting on Tuesday to assess infrastructure damage.

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Gombe to prosecute IG Wala over N3.8m contract fraud
April 17, 2018
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Gombe State Government said it has concluded arrangement to prosecute Mr Ibrahim Garba Wala, the managing director of Wala One 2Man Media Ltd for failure to execute a N3.8 million computer training contracts awarded to him five years ago.

A Permanent Secretary at the Gombe State Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Mr Adamu Kala told Daily Trust that Mr Wala’s (popularly known as IG Wala) firm is yet to return the N3,795,000 paid to him on September 8, 2012, for a scheduled computer training that was not conducted.

Official documents showed that IG Wala wrote a quotation to the ministry on June 29, 2012, urging the ministry to purchase forms for 300 youths for three- month ICT training skills.

In a letter dated October 4, 2012, and signed by Alhaji Bappayo Yahaya (permanent secretary), the ministry for local governments and community development, conveyed Governor Ibrahim Dankwambos’ approval to the caretaker chairmen of the 11 local governments of N345,000 per LG, totalling N3,795,000, for sponsorship of the training.

The training which was scheduled to commence on January 23, and end on January 30, 2013, didn’t commence when ministry officials paid unscheduled visits to the proposed training centres in Gombe, Mr Kala said.

“After the contract was approved by the then commissioner in the ministry, Alhaji Mijinyawa Sani Labaran, the sum of N3.8 million was released to the company, Wala One, through its proprietor, Ibrahim Garba Wala,” the permanent secretary said.

“However, after the fund was released to him, he failed to conduct the training and also refused to return the money paid to him,” he said.

“We have written to him, but for about five years now after the said agreement, he neither return the money nor conduct the training he was given the money in the first place,” he said.

He said due to Wala’s failure, the ministry came under intense pressure from prospective trainees and their guardians. In a letter to the firm dated January 31, 2013, and signed by the then commissioner in the ministry, Umar B. Abubakar, the ministry asked IG Wala to appear before it on February 5, 2013, “otherwise the ministry will be left with no option than to take appropriate measures against you (IG Wala) and the company.”

“We compiled the reports with all the evidence and relevant documents which we now forwarded to the office of the state Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Barrister Abdulhamid Ibrahim for further action,” the permanent secretary said.

In his reaction, IG Wala told Daily Trust last night that he never collected a dime directly from the state government. “You will agree with me that any money paid by prospective candidates in the process of application are non-refundable, so it is not correct for the government to claim that they gave me money,” he said. He said the programme failed because “The government failed to provide the necessary logistic as agreed that will facilitate the smooth running of the programme, hence the training could not hold.”

Researchers record breakthrough with new technique of gene-editing

Researchers record breakthrough with new technique of gene-editing

Researcher  have discovered a new technique which vastly improves the accuracy of gene-editing technology.

Gene-editing medicine envisions  utting a guided biomachine into the body to seek out defective gene sequences in each cell and to edit in the correct information with accuracy

Researchers from the University of Alberta carried out the study published in Nature Communications, and funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.They discovered a way to greatly improve the accuracy of gene-editing technology by replacing the natural guide molecule it uses with a synthetic one called a bridged nucleic acid, or BNA.

The study promises to bring the technology much closer to therapeutic reality and applications to patients.Basil Hubbard, Canada Research Chair in Molecular Therapeutics and an assistant professor in the U of A’s Department of Pharmacology, who led the study said: “We’ve discovered a way to greatly improve the accuracy of gene-editing technology by replacing the natural guide molecule it uses with a synthetic one called a bridged nucleic acid, or BNA.”

He and his team have filed a patent on their discovery and are hoping to partner with the pharmaceutical industry to incorporate it into a therapeutic.

Interest in gene-editing technology has been rapidly rising since the discovery of CRISPR/Cas9. This system is naturally present in bacteria, which use it for protection against their natural predators, called bacteriophages.

“What researchers have realized is that this system can be programmed to cut a specific DNA sequence in a human cell also, allowing us to edit our genes. One of the main issues, however, is that the system is not perfectly specific — sometimes it cuts a similar but incorrect gene.”

Even though gene-editing technology still has several obstacles to overcome, including how to deliver it effectively into the human body, it may someday be used to treat a wide variety of genetic diseases, from muscular dystrophy to hemophilia and various cancers

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Concerns as FG cuts completion date for Lagos-Ibadan rail project
April 16, 2018
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Concerns as FG cuts completion date for Lagos-Ibadan rail project

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the contractor handling the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail project, CCECC, should begin laying the rail tracks this month, several months after the original scheduled time.

The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, had in March 2018 during his monthly inspection of the construction site and the meeting of the Project Steering Committee with the contractor handling the project, China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC), at Papalanto in Ogun State, told journalists that the tracks laying must commence April 2018.

With possible commencement of the laying of tracks for the project, Mr. Amaechi expressed confidence that the project will be delivered by December 2018 – within the compressed time.

Speaking further, the minister said his earlier doubt about delivering the project in December, 2018 was fading, noting that the speed of work on the project by CCECC had greatly increased compared to last year when he gave the revised completion date.

“I am very impressed, the speed has increased. The doubt I had before on whether we could achieve this project by the end of the year appears to be clearing,” Amaechi said.

He told the contactor to work day and night to complete the work. Thus, the night schedule scope of work got introduced by CCECC when the contract completion time was compressed from about three years to one and half years.

The project, was originally billed to be completed in May, 2020, but was reversed to March 31, 2019 based on pressures from the Federal Government. The Minster of Transportation, Amaechi further reduced the completion date to December 2018 and told CCECC to deliver without fail, an order by which the contractor is almost being stretched beyond its limit.

Our correspondent had visited

I would have joined SDP ‘Youth Vanguard’ if… – IBB

I would have joined SDP ‘Youth Vanguard’ if… – IBB

A former military President, Ibrahim Babangida, said he was impressed by the kind of personalities that make up the Social Democratic Party (SDP), describing it as a party for the future.

Speaking at the weekend when the leadership of the party  led by its chairman, Chief Olu Falae, visited him at his hill-top mansion in Minna, IBB said, “If I hadn’t been too old, I would have loved to join the Youths vanguard of your party”.

Babangida, who said he has faith in the political party, added that it was pleasing to hear that SDP has people like Chief Olu Falae, Professor Jerry Gana, and Professor Adeniran.

“I said this party is real because most of the names are names that I have known and I have worked with and for the sake of this country, so, I said the party is smart to convince all these gentlemen to come and join them,” he also said.

Babangida, who said the vision he had for the country is the same vision shared by those driving the SDP, added that, “the security and wellbeing of Nigerians is very important and you have identified this in your programme. So, Nigerians must rally round you and support you to ensure that this is realizable”.

He said he has not openly endorsed any political party of recent, but “I can tell you that the party has people who have contributed a lot to this country, people whose contributions to Nigeria are legendary.”

Speaking, the SDP National Chairman, Chief Olu Falae said the party’s executive were in Minna to solicit for the former leader’s support and wise counselling.

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Rice City To Be Ready In Few Weeks -Ayade, As Installation Of Equipment Commence
April 16, 2018
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The ultra modern Cross River rice seedling centre will be ready in a matter of few weeks, Governor Ben Ayade has disclosed.

The centre which is presently installing equipment from China, is expected produce rice seedlings to support the ongoing rice revolution in the country.

The plant is expected to supply rice farmers with high yield vitaminized rice seedlings for. cultivation

 

African Development Bank and Portuguese Government plan to unlock growth opportunities in Africa’s Lusophone countries

To help unlock economic growth, the African Development Bank is coordinating the implementation of an integrated development strategy for Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa.

In preparation for the rollout of this initiative, the Bank and the Government of Portugal have signed an agreement to provide language training to African Development Bank staff interested in learning Portuguese, as well as professional conference translation services.

The language-learning cooperation agreement, signed by the Institute for Cooperation and the Portuguese Language (Camões – Instituto da Cooperação e da Língua, I.P.) and the Bank at the African Development Bank headquarters in Abidjan, also provides conditions for the translation and dissemination of the Bank’s standard project procurement and financial management documents into Portuguese.

“The Lusophone countries are not one contiguous group. What we are talking about here has a cultural, linguistic, political and economic perspective. I believe Portugal will play a key role in bringing about greater integration,” Bank President Akinwumi Adesina told the visiting Portuguese delegation led by Teresa Ribeiro, Portugal’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.

“As a Bank, we are committed to this. We are also delighted about the Portuguese training agreement we have signed,” Adesina said.

Teresa Ribeiro commended President Adesina for his vision and the Bank’s support to Lusophone countries. She welcomed the possibility of a compact that could respond to challenges facing the Portuguese-speaking countries.

“What we want to achieve with the African Development Bank is a very ambitious programme that responds to critical issues. The countries need the compact to enable investors,” she said.

As part of the Bank’s catalytic role, it is relying on the historical, cultural and language bonds that unite Africa’s Portuguese-speaking countries with Portugal and Brazil, to help stimulate greater economic ties, private-sector business growth and trade opportunities.

The Bank has also initiated a Compact for Development for the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) with the Government of Portugal to help unlock growth opportunities, develop the potential of untapped natural resources and create local capacity to design and manage projects.

The compact is expected to be signed at the Bank’s Annual Meetings, taking place from May 21-25, 2018 in Busan, Korea.

President Adesina spoke about the planned introduction of de-risking instruments to help attract private investors to Portuguese-speaking African countries. He thanked the Government of Portugal for its support and for the deposit of its paid subscriptions to the African Development Fund, the Bank’s concessional window.

The President stressed the crucial role the private sector could play in enhancing growth, and described the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) as the Bank’s strategy to leverage capital, global pension funds, and capital funds to invest in Africa in a very smart way.

The Bank is planning to have a special session for Lusophone investors at the inaugural Africa Investment Forum, scheduled for November 7-9, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Adesina underscored the importance of the Portuguese Technical Cooperation Fund, which Portugal has put in place for the Bank’s use. The Fund, he said, has been instrumental in enabling the Bank to provide technical support to Lusophone countries on the continent.

The Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) of Africa include Angola, Cabo Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé and Príncipe.

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Dangote Flour, Others Boost Wheat Production, Donate Threshing Machines To Farmers
April 16, 2018
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As part of measures to boost the country’s self-sufficiency in wheat production, Flour Milling Association of Nigeria (FMAN), comprising Dangote Flour Mills, Flour Mills of Nigeria (FMN), Honeywell Flour, Dufil, and Life Flour, has donated 50 units of multi-crop thresher machine worth N70 million to wheat farmers in the country.

Speaking at the presentation of the machines in Lagos, the Group Managing Director of Dangote Flour Mills, Mr. Thabo Mabe, said the equipment would deepen mechanised farming in wheat production, increase volume of wheat produced and reduce cost of wheat in the market.

He, however, lamented that 70 per cent of wheat used by flour millers is imported despite the huge potential of the country’s wheat sector, adding that the multi-crop threshers would enhance yield, empower more farmers and save foreign exchange.

“The important thing on our engagement is to try to assist Nigeria start developing wheat farming in large quantity and to ensure sustainability in terms of wheat farming,” he said.

Also, the Chairman of FMAN, Mr. John Coumantaros, who was represented by Group Managing Director, FMN Plc, Mr. Paul Gbededo, said the presentation was a demonstration of the association’s commitment to continuously support wheat farmers and Federal Government’s agriculture promotion agenda.

“There is no gainsaying that self-sufficiency in wheat production in Nigeria will have an unprecedented impact on the Nigerian economy through attainment of food security, poverty reduction and of course save the much needed foreign exchange,” he said.

He said FMAN signed an MoU with Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria (WFAN) in 2016 to purchase all available wheat grain produced by farmers in line with agreed quality parameters and prevailing market prices.

“In 2017, FMAN fulfilled its promise by purchasing over 2,400 metric tonnes of wheat valued at N469 million and in 2018. Even before the start of harvest, we have purchased over 1600 metric tonnes of wheat valued at N237 million.

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