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NIRSAL secures N3.5bn loan for 3,750 farmers to boost maize, soybean production

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The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) has secured a N3.5 billion loan commitment to boost maize and soybean production in the 2019 wet season.

The Managing Director, NIRSAL, Mr Aliyu Abdulhameed, disclosed this at the end of a two-day Preliminary Technical Session Roundtable Engagement with stakeholders for the Mapping for Markets (M2M) project in Abuja on Tuesday.

Abdulhameed stated that the loan would be disbursed to 3,750 farmers in three pilot states under the M2M project.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the M2M project is an initiative of NIRSAL to support maize and soybean farmers with fertilisers and seeds in Benue, Niger and Ekiti states.

According to Abulhameed, NIRSAL will be using these three states as its pilot scheme by providing the necessary support to smallholders maize and soybean farmers with quality inputs to increase their yields.

“It is interesting to note that under this single pilot project and as a result of our deliberations and interactions, we have been able to extract significant commitments to be executed in this 2019 wet season.

“Benue, Niger and Ekiti states have pledged about 3,750 hectares of brown-field farmland for this project.

“We were able to secured a loan commitment of N3.5 billion for smallholder farmers by Stanbic, Union Bank and Sterling Bank under the M2M initiative.

“The farmers will be supported across these three states and 107.5 metric tonnes of seeds worth approximately N65.5 million will be supplied by seed companies.

“Also, 2,062 metric tonnes of fertilisers worth about N290 million will be made available by the fertiliser companies,” he said.

The NIRSAL boss added that 33,250 litres of “crop protection products” worth N54.6 million had be committed to the project.

He said 8,750 metric tonnes of maize worth N744 million and 2,000 metric tonnes of soybean worth N208 million are expected to be produced and off taken under the pilot phase.

Abdulhameed said that the downstream actors present had committed to off-take the maize and soybean to be produced.

This, he explained, would generate an estimated revenue of N425,000 and N2260,000 for maize and soybean respectively.

He added that the M2M project would save the country about N1 billion via import substitution, adding that it would also create jobs and income opportunities to players along the two value chains.

Abdulhameed said that NIRSAL would not relent in its effort to ensure that standard fertilisers and improved seeds were supplied to farmers under this project to boost productivity.

He expressed hope that the M2M strategy would unlock the “immense potential across all agriculture value chains, the agriculture finance value chain and other agribusiness support sectors in Nigeria”.

Mr Tunde Faturoti, Managing Director, Agriseed Co Nigeria Limited, assured Nigerians that the seeds to be supplied under the M2M project were not Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) but hybrid.

“The seed we are promoting is not GMO, it’s hybrid and what hybrid does is that you have a predetermine period that will give you what you want like disease resistance.

“The seed we are promoting is a three way crop whereby you have a minimal of three parents. The first point is to get an hybrid, then we get the one for disease resistance.

“It has been adapted to our environment. It is adapted to all the stresses that we have around in the southern and Guinea Savannah were this can actually grow.

“This same varieties give two tonnes in Zimbabwe. But there, everybody look at the soil then fertiliser is used according to soil testing. We are not just providing seed but we will back it up with training, ” he said.

Mrs Tope Samuel-Odu, Regional Agribusiness Manager, Union Bank, quoted the NIRSAL MD as saying that, all structure would put put in place to ensure a win win situation at the end of the day.

‘If such is the case, then you don’t have to push financial institutions to lend. Financial institutions are there to lend.

“The money is there to give out but they are looking for bankable products, bankable projects that they can put their money towards. The transaction is right when we are making profit, ” she said.

On his part, Mr Richard Olafare, the President, Seed Entrepreneurs Association of Nigeria (SEEDAN) said that N65 million worth of seed to be committed to this project was a good one.

Olafare was represented by Prof. Johnson Onyibe, an Adviser to Seed Industry, thanked NIRSAL for this laudable project and called for it sustainability.

Edited by Felix Ajide

Agriculture

BSADP promotes grapevines cultivation in Bauchi state

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The Bauchi State Agricultural Development Programme (BSADP), said on Sunday that it had perfected plans to promote the cultivation of Grapevines as part of efforts at encouraging production of cash crops in the state.

The Director of Agriculture and Technical Services of the programme, Mr Luka Daniel, said this in Bauchi in an interview with Nigeria News Agency .

Daniel said that the effort would encourage farmers to engage in the venture to meet local demand and also conserve huge foreign exchange being spent on the importation of the commodity.

Daniel dispelled the belief by most Nigerians that grapevines could not be grown in the country.

“Any person who says that grapevines cannot be grown in the country may be ignorant and does not  know about  grapevine production.

“We have assisted many people who are interested in the cultivation of the crop, both within and outside the state.

“In the horticultural section of the Programme, we have various species of the seedlings;the fact of the matter is that grapevines are presently being produced in Nigeria.

“We started it in the BASDP in 2012 and had trained students, farmers, extension officers and people who are interested in the production of assorted tree crops and those who need to have seedlings.

“We currently have nurseries in Bauchi, Azare, Dutsin Kura, Toro and other locations, and had assisted individuals in setting up farms,” Daniel explained.

Edited by Saidu Adamu

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Agriculture

FG determined to boost tomato production – NIHORT

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‎The Executive Director, National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Dr Abayomi Olaniyan, says that the Federal Government has a robust plan to boost local production of tomato and create employment opportunities in the country.‎

Olaniyan said this at a workshop on tomato and ginger production, and value addition on Saturday in Kano.

The executive director, who said that tomato production in Nigeria was below demand, added that the production figure for fresh tomato was about 1.8 million tonnes while the annual demand was 2.3 million tonnes.‎

‎According to him, ‎the Federal Government’s tomato policy is to significantly reduce post–harvest losses of tomato fruits, boost production and attract investments into the entire value chain.

He said that the workshop had become imperative as a means of creating more awareness on the importance of the commodities in achieving food security, sustainable livelihood and economic empowerment.

“The training will cover important aspects of the commodities’ value chains such as nursery practices, production practices, value addition, economics of production, marketing and record keeping.

“The training will also cover tomato value addition and processing in order to reduce seasonal glut and inconsistent year round supply,” he explained.

Olaniyan further said that processing of tomato would reduce the quantity of tomato being imported into the country, especially during the lean season of supply.‎

“It is evident that improved production techniques and value addition must be taken seriously to attract ‎sustainable levels of investment and stakeholders’ interest in ginger,” he said.

‎The executive director said that Nigeria was the third largest exporter of ginger in the world after China and India.

According to him, Nigerian ginger verities are acclaimed to be of superior quality and outstanding flavour, adding that they were preferred products in the international market. ‎

‎He said that NIHORT had the mandate to conduct research into genetic improvement, production, processing, utilisation and marketing of fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants and spices.

Olaniyan then urged the participants to pay critical attention to all sessions in order to make the best use of the golden opportunity.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the participants were drawn from mainly tomato and ginger farming communities in Kano‎ and Kaduna States.

Some of the participants, who spoke with , commended NIHORT for the training and promised to extend the knowledge acquired to other farmers.

Edited by Franca Ofili and ‘Wale Sadeeq

 

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Agriculture

River basin to create farm settlement in Auchi for food sufficiency

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“Songhai farming is the best model of farming and I urge many Nigerians to embrace the model of agriculture from Auchi experience,” he said.

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Agriculture

YIIFSWA, IITA sensitise 50 Edo yam farmers on new technology

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The Yam Improvement for Income and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA ll) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) on Friday held a sensitisation forum on Aerophonics system of seed yam production for 50 yam farmers in Edo.

Mrs Perpetual Isiahon, Head of YIIFSWA, said that the programme was initiated to set a new tone for yam value chain in the state.

“Our task at this forum is to access the economic benefits of yam value chain, while using it as an initiative for the attainment of food security in Edo.

“The purpose of this forum is to sensitise participants on new technologies in producing seed yam and developing a better understanding of existing methods.

“It is also to expose participants to different products they can get from yam for income generation through its value chain,” she said.

Isiahon urged yam farmers in the state to key into the project and invest more on yam value chain for wealth creation.

She also called on the state government to assist in establishing new seed yam production companies in the state.

She said that a budget for yam in Edo would also encourage the production of yam.

She said that Abia, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Ogun states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, were currently producing seed yam, using the new technology

In a speech, the Commissioner for Wealth Creation, Cooperatives and Employment, Mr Felix Akhabue, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr Joe Edionwe, said that Nigeria had a high demand for yam as a staple food.

Edionwe regretted that yam production in Nigeria was not enough to meet the growing local and export demands, hence the need for new technologies in seed yam multiplication and production.

He said that the realisation of the goal would, no doubt, facilitate wealth creation and empowerment in the yam value chain.

Akhabue pledged government’s support to collaborate with critical stakeholders to ensure that yam farmers and Edo people benefited immensely from the project.

Mr Wellington Omoragbon, state Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), commended the initiative and urged the farmers to take the message to their communities.

Omoragbon said the one-day advocacy and sensitisation forum, tagged “Sustainable production of high quality seed yam for wealth creation and empowerment”, was organised by IITA, in collaboration with Root and Tuber Division of FMARD.

 

 

 

 

 

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Agriculture

1,300 rice farmers receive input for dry season farming in Delta–RIFAN

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Mr Anthony Umunna, Delta Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) said that no fewer than 1,300 registered members of the association in the state have received inputs for dry season farming.

The RIFAN chairman, who disclosed this in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Friday in Asaba, lamented the late arrival of the inputs for the year’s dry season farming season.

Umunna said though members received the inputs; paddy rice, herbicides, water pumps among others for the year’s dry season farming, they might not be able to plant until about September ending when the rains would have subsided.

He said that there was need for a review of the farming calendar between the northern and southern parts of Nigeria to enable timely release of inputs to farmers because of the difference in weather conditions.

According to Umunna, the quest for the release of the inputs have been on since to enable farmers in the south engage in this year’s dry season farming.

“As at today, 1,300 registered rice farmers in Delta have received paddy rice, herbicides, and water pumping machines among other inputs for 2019 dry season farming.

“In spite of our efforts, the inputs came late and as our farmers will have to wait till the end of September for the rains to subside before planting.

“This is why we are appealing to government for timely release of the inputs to enable our farmers work with the seasonal timetable and key into the dry season farming and that of the wet seasons farming appropriately,’’ he said.

He appealed to the farmers not to lose their patience as everything possible was being done by the association to ensure that all registered rice farmers benefited from the CBN-RIFAN Anchor Borrowers Scheme aimed at boosting rice production in Nigeria.

He also called on all the South-South governors to support the programme and ensure that farmers in the area got full benefits, adding that the programme would not only create jobs but also boost the economy and create wealth.

NAN reports that the programme is part of the CBN Anchor Borrowers Scheme in Partnership with RIFAN to boost rice production in the country.

 

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