CBN to push tomato, cocoa, palm oil production in 2018 – Emefiele


The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele has said that the Apex bank would push for the production of tomato, cocoa and palm oil across the country in 2018.

He stated this when he visited the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh in his office on Wednesday.

The CBN governor said that the move was aimed at supporting government’s effort to ensure self-sufficiency and reduce food importation.

He added that he was at the ministry with a view to work out strategies that would actualise President Buhari’s pronouncement that rice importation would end by 2018.

He stressed that “We will galvanise Nigerians, the private sector and big companies to join us in this assignment. We have supported cassava production in some southern states and we are going to aggressively push tomatoes this year. We are working with the South Western States and the ministry toward pushing cocoa this year.

“The Development Finance Department of CBN has concluded its framework for palm oil in the south eastern and mid-western parts of the country. These are the things we are going to roll out this year, and I am sure that the kind of success we will see this year will be better than ever seen.”

Commenting on farmers-herdsmen clashes across the country, Omefiele said it was important for Nigerians to work together. “What is important is that we are Nigerians and there is the need for us to co-exist, work together and live together’’.

Emefiele said that the bank was working to make access to finance easy for citizens, especially farmers.

While appreciating the Apex bank for its support to farmers across the country, Ogbeh added that without the CBN, the successes recorded in the ministry in the last two years would not have been made.

He assured that in collaboration with the Bank of Agriculture (BoA), would ensure that farmers who collected loans from CBN repaid them to enable others to benefit.

“The backing of the CBN is so crucial because we have to move forward. Our country has to survive. Once we end rice and eventually wheat importation, we will begin to drive other crops. We are going to re-launch cocoa this year in Ondo State, and revive the old trees with new fertiliser which has an inclusion of boron,’’ he said.


ARMTI trains 40 youths in cassava value chain


The Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI) in conjunction with McGeorge Consulting, Ilorin has trained 40 youths in cassava value chain in Ilofa, Oke-Ero local government area of Kwara state.

Aimed at boosting food security in the week long agripreneurship training, the Executive Director of the Institute, Dr. Olufemi Oladunni said on Wednesday that the empowerment scheme was designed to educate the youths on cassava production and processing.

Represented by the Head of Women and Youth Division, Mrs. Abigael Eyilade explained that the participants comprised of 32 males and eight females drawn from the 10 wards of the local council.

Oladunni stressed that the Institute poised to organise capacity building programmes for youths in the society in all sectors of the national economy.

“It is our hope that at the end of this intensive training, the participants would have gathered enough experience that would be profitable in their activities and wealth generation,’’ he said.

The Lead Consultant of McGeorge Consulting, Dr Olusola Ogunjirin said that the training was prompted by the desire to equip the youth with relevant skills in agribusiness development and management.

While describing the training as a platform to empower restive youths as well as reduce unemployment the country, he added that the skills were needed to develop and transform agriculture in the country.

The traditional ruler of Ilofa, Oba Samuel Dada urged the participants to take advantage of the training in order to become self-reliant.

The Chairman of Oke-Ero Local Government Council, Mr Joseph Oni commended the organisers of the training for their foresight.

Courses learned at the training include Concepts of Agricultural Commodity and Value Chain Development in Nigeria; Agripreneurship Skills Development; Agricultural Land Development for Increased Yield; Gender Mainstreaming in Cassava Value Chain Development and Cassava Production Techniques to obtain High and Sustainable Yield.


FADAMA commends Anambra state on food security programmes


The state Coordinator of FADAMA III Additional Financing (AFII) programme in Anambra, Chukwuka Egbueh has commended the state government for working on agricultural programmes targetted at boosting food security in the state.

He said in Awka on Wednesday that Governor Willie Obiano had embarked on progrannes that would impact positively on the people of the state.

“Governor Obiano has done well by promptly paying the state’s counterpart funds for the FADAMA III projects. This has been attested to by international donors,” he said.

Egbueh explained that the governor had compelted irrigation projects as well as construction of roads to connect rural areas in the state.

“First is the completion of the five irrigation projects at Ogboji, Ihiala 1, 2, Ogbaru and Ifite-Ogwari by the first quarter of this year to facilitate all-season farming and the construction of 44.5km roads to open up the rural areas.

“The second is the use of technology to revolutionalise agriculture and attain greater yield in the state, with the aid of standard laboratory facilities that are put in place,” he further said.

He disclosed that the state government was planning to disburse grants to 240 graduates already shortlisted to start various agricultural projects.

“240 graduates were shortlisted for financial support which will make them go into full-scale farming. These individuals were chosen from those that applied, after going through various stages of interview. So, their seriousness was not in doubt. They have been sent text messages, informing them to get ready for their financial mobilisation,” he said.

Agriculturist urges gradual implementation of open grazing law


The Manager of Yobe Pilot Livestock Development Programme, Dr Mustapha Gaidam has called for intensive sensitisation and mobilisation of stakeholders before the enforcement of the ban on open grazing.

Mustapha who gave the advice in Damaturu on Tuesday said, “There is the absolute need for dialogue, intensive education, sensitisation and mobilisation for both crop and livestock farmers to appreciate the advantages.

“So far, the anti-open grazing law enacted by Benue, Taraba, Ekiti and Edo states has failed to serve the purposes for which it was established, considering the unfortunate incidences in Benue and Taraba.

“The law was intended to provide solution to farmers/grazers conflicts but unfortunately, the two groups have lost many lives and property,” he said.

He suggested that the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and the ECOWAS protocol must be considered in the formulation and implementation of laws including the anti-open grazing law.

The manager argued that civil and traditional authorities must work towards establishing mutual trust and mutual agreement among stakeholders on systematic and gradual enforcement of the anti-open grazing law in the states contemplating the idea.

He expressed fear that the rising tension between farmers and herders in the affected states of the Federation will soon translate into low crop and livestock farming activities in the country with threat to food and protein security.

Mustapha also described the demarcation and protection of stock routes as“ imperative” to facilitate movement of cattle across the country, provision of health facilities and water points to avert encroachment on farmlands by the animals.

He explained that cattle-ranching has many advantages to both herders and farmers considering the peculiarities of the occupation of the two groups.

“In Yobe, we enjoy a very long peaceful co-existence between farmers and cattle breeders because government has provided incentives to livestock farmers just as it subsidises fertiliser and other inputs to farmers.

“Government has also demarcated over 1,500 kilometres of cattle routes, provided water points, mass vaccination of animals and food supplement among others and there was no conflict for close to 10 years, now,” Mustapha said. (NAN)

FADAMA III spends N437m on road construction, dams rehabilitation in Niger–Official


The FADAMA III Additional Financing (AF) Programme in Niger says it has spent N437 million on constructing a road and rehabilitating two dams in three local government areas of the state.

Alhaji Baba Shaba, the Communication Officer of FADAMA III (AF) Programme in Niger, said this known in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Minna on Tuesday.

He said that N270 million was spent on the nine- kilometre road in Edozhigi community of Gbako Local Government Area to facilitate the efforts of farmers to transport their produce to the markets.

“The newly constructed road covers about nine kilometres and each kilometre costs N30 million. This road is very important to farmers in the area, particularly because we are encouraging them to adopt all-year round farming. The irrigation dam is located along the road, hence the need to construct the road to make the dams accessible to the farmers,’’ he said.

Shaba appealed to farmers in the area to take due advantage of the road to increase their productivity, while shunning middlemen who were always interested in buying their crops at giveaway prices.

In a related development, the communication officer said that the FADAMA III (AF) programme had rehabilitated an irrigation dam in Edu, Lapai Local Government Area at the cost of N70 million.

Besides, Shaba said that N97 million was spent on construction of an irrigation dam in Loguma, Agaie Local Government Area of the state.

He said that the rehabilitation and construction of the irrigation dams were aimed at facilitating the efforts of the farmers to engage in dry-season farming and boost food security in the country. (NAN)

Farmers seek support for UN’s Zero Hunger Programme in Nigeria


Farmers in Nigeria under the Zero Hunger Commodity Associations, has urged governments at all levels to support the the Zero Hunger Nigeria Programme to achieve its targets and objectives particularly through farmer-friendly programmes.

The association, a subsidiary of the United Nations Committee – Zero Hunger Nigeria Forum – made the appeal in a communique issued to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ilorin on Sunday.

The communique came after its meeting held in Abuja.

It was signed by the National Coordinator of the association, Dr Tunde Arosanyin.

The farmers’ group sought a collaboration with the Commodity Exchange Market of Nigeria and the Nigeria Export and Import Bank (NEXIM) so as to guarantee good returns on farm produce locally and internationally.

It also urged that Research Institutions and Extension Services be adequately funded by the Federal Government and State Governments for effective performance of the Agricultural sector.

It said the meeting affirmed the association’s belief in the Agricultural Revolution Programmes of President Muhammadu Buhari through Green Alternative Roadmap as a veritable channel to improve agricultural production in Nigeria .

The association, however, resolved that government should encourage appropriate implementation strategy that would be all inclusive.

The body said that it appreciated the leadership qualities of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the Chairman of the Zero Hunger Nigeria Forum, toward the development of the agricultural sector of the country’s economy.

NAN reports that Zero Hunger programme is the brainchild of the United Nations toward actualising the Substainable Development Goals from 2016 – 2030. (NAN)

Kogi: Agriculture to generate 15% of income in 2018 – Gov. Bello


Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi on Monday said the state agricultural sector, through its Agricultural Revolution Programme (ARP), would generate about 15 per cent of the state internally generated income in 2018.

“Kogi is working hard to upstage its internally generated revenue from its exploits in agriculture to generate at least 15% of its income from the sector by the close of 2018,” Bello said.

Bello, who disclosed this in s state-wide broadcast to mark the New Year in Okene, said the state had made tremendous progress in agriculture as alternative income generation and employment for the teeming population.

He said the first harvest from the state experimental rice farm at Omi Dam was a huge success, against the backdrop that it was an initial effort.

“The first batch of Confluence Rice hit the market in December, 2017. This is a source of income we hope to nurture from domestic sales, and if there is a surplus, distribution to other parts of the country and even overseas export will be donr,” he said.

The governor said that the rice renaissance in the state was traceable to the Agricultural Revolution Programme (ARP) launched early in 2017 and on which the government had been working.

Bello said Cashew, cassava, sugarcane and sesame seeds were other crops the government was planning big time production.

“We have made advanced progress with possible investors to cultivate these on an industrial scale in 2018. By the end of year, we should be able to attribute at least 15 per cent of our income to earnings from the agricultural sector”, he said.

He added that the New Direction Blueprint of the government was programmed to start earning income for the state from direct investments in solid minerals.

“We have not neglected the potentials of this rich source of Internally Generated Revenue. Our state-owned solid minerals production company has been undergoing revitalisation to give it a corporate structure which is more responsive to the current realities.”

The governor stated that the company should be ready to handle transactions from early this year.

He noted that the government also created a programme for social welfare to touch many citizens at the grassroots level.

“While this may not have reached every person and every household, I am aware that it has reached every ward. This direct distribution of foodstuff, particularly rice, has put food on tables which would have otherwise be empty, especially during festive seasons.” he said.

The stressed that efforts would be intensified to grow the Food Direct Programme in 2018 and expand the scope to include other essential commodities like medicines.

Bello noted that the government owed the citizens and residents a sacred duty to provide good governance.

“It is therefore our unfailing duty in 2018 to do so by keeping pace with your yearnings and aspirations for Kogi state. There is hope in every new beginning, and every New Year’s Day is a new beginning, so today I celebrate hope with you. Hope for today, hope for the year and hope for the future beyond this year. Kogi is rising.” (NAN)

Association to engage 500,000 farmers in maize cultivation in 2018


The National President, Maize Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Bello Abubakar-Annur, says the union is planning to engage 500, 000 farmers in maize cultivation in the 2018 farming season across the country.

Abubakar-Annur told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Sokoto that the figure was part of the target set by the association to complement the efforts of the Buhari Administration at reviving agriculture for food security and employment.

He commended the Federal Government for facilitating different farmer support schemes which included the Anchor Borrower loan scheme, buying back and other incentives.

He described government’s intervention as a success as it aided mass cultivation and harvest in 2017.

“The association has received good reactions from benefiting farmers as inputs valued at about N123, 000 was allocated to farmers per each hectare of land and farmers obtained between 35 to 40 bags on each hectare cultivated.

“With the present situation, benefiting farmers can pay back loans with between 14 to 15 bags of maize.

“Our target to engage more farmers was set out in recognition of the success recorded in maize cultivation in 2017 and the appreciable price of the commodity is another motivation for real practicing farmers,’’ he said.

He said seeds would be provided to various categories of farmers suitable for climatic conditions of all the regions across the 36 states of the federation.

Abubakar-Annur said guides on inputs application modalities and other farming practices were designed by experts.

According to him, the association will partner with indigenous and foreign firms to provide small scale machines and other farming inputs at affordable prices that will argument farming activities. (NAN)

IFAD-CASP to support women, youths in 7 states in enterprise devept


Climate Adaptation and Agribusiness Support Programme (CASP), a programme of International Food and Agriculture Development (IFAD), says it will undertake enterprise development initiatives for women and youths in seven states.

Mr Abdullahi Surajo, the Communication Officer of IFAD-CASP, said this on Friday in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

He said that the programme would support women and youths in enterprise development projects, aimed at creating job opportunities in 727 rural communities across the seven participating states.

“We have organised the candidates’ screening to select the best beneficiaries, and two, out of the four candidates who were screened in each participating village, were selected.

“The successful candidates will be empowered with farm inputs and agricultural equipment, depending on the kind of enterprise which the individual would venture into, to boost agricultural production in their communities.

“The support will be focused on enterprises and activities that are linked to value addition in crop production, processing, packaging and marketing, while tackling constraints to production,’’ he said.

Surajo said that the enterprises that would be supported included village-based farm inputs supply enterprises, post-harvest handling enterprises, crop processing enterprises and produce marketing enterprises.

He said that the agricultural machinery that would be provided included land preparation and development machines such as tractors, power tillers, ox teams, crop processing machines for threshing and dehiscing and oil extractors.

“The farm inputs include seeds, fertilisers and agro-chemicals, while produce marketing materials include bags as well as sorting and grading machines. In addition to these, the programme will build the capacity of the beneficiaries in business plan development operations and management. The programme will also provide starter packs and working instruments to launch their businesses through matching grants,’’ he said.

NAN reports that the development objectives of IFAD-CASP include increased incomes, enhanced food security and reduced vulnerability for smallholder farmers, particularly women and youths, in the participating states.

Borno, Jigawa, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara are currently participating in the six-year programme, which started in 2015. (NAN)

NBMA, SON sign MoU on regulation of GMOs


The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) on proper regulation of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

According to a statement issued in Abuja, the Director-General of NBMA, Dr Rufus Ebegba said that there was the need for government agencies to work together to that GMOs are well analysed to ascertain that there is no risk to Nigerians or the Nigerian environment before they are commercialised.

He said NBMA was established to ensure that the practice of Modern Biotechnology that resulted in GMOs was safe for both humans and the environment.

“Risk assessment is a pillar of the agency and NBMA is interested in the gene of insert.

In his response, the Director-General, SON, Mr Osita Aboloma who was represented by the Director Legal Services, Mr Umaru Kawu, expressed happiness over the MoU, saying that SON is ready to partner with NBMA to actualise its mandate.

He stressed the need for government agencies to synergise in order to facilitate the set goals of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“This MoU is a good one and I am happy that NBMA has signed MoUs with other major government agencies that will contribute to the effectiveness of its mandate”.

This collaborative MOU is  fifth that NBMA signed with sister agencies in the bid to ensure that genetically modified products are safely deployed for the benefit of Nigerians. (NAN)wp-1479414238960.jpeg