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Kenaf can save Nigeria’s FOREX on importation paper bags – Expert

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Prof. Veronica Obatolu, the Executive Director, Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, says Kenaf can save Nigeria the huge foreign exchange used for to importation to produce paper bags.

Obatolu said Kenaf crop had proven potential for import substitution in the country’s packaging industry.

She described Kenaf as a multipurpose crop with numerous potential could be used to reposition the economy of Nigeria through diverse uses.

She said that bast and core fibres of the crop had been identified as good fibre source for paper production, building, automobile, pharmaceutical and numerous foods, feed industries.

Obatolu said that it had been used to improve the economy of farmers in some developed and developing countries including U.S., Indonesia, Bangladesh, India and Malaysia.

She said that with the renewed interest of the Federal Government in the crop, its popularity among farmers, processors, end-users, other stakeholders, there was traffic in the enterprise of Kenaf value chain.

She therefore underscored the need for corresponding production of quality Kenaf seeds to sustain supply of its raw materials.

Obatolu that IAR&T had national mandate on improvement of genetic, agronomic potentials of Kenaf as well as techniques for processing the produce into raw materials for onward transformation.

“Agricultural produce from Nigeria such as cotton, groundnuts, cocoa, have sometimes been rejected at the terminal markets primarily because of the use of improper packaging materials.

“Hence, for any agricultural export to thrive, fibre crop based industries must be active and strong, this should be taken as an indication of greater prospects for Kenaf production both now and in future,” she said.

The South-West Regional Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Joseph Ogunwale said that Kenaf was capable of contributing to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

Ogunwale said that economically, the crop could generate twice the revenue generated by the country from cocoa going by its wide range of usage.

He said that the Federal Government decided to promote the crop’s production and its use because of its numerous potential.

Ogunwale urged the farmers to take good advantage of the training by engaging in more production of Kenaf in the country.

He commended IAR&T for promoting the production of Kenaf in the country, while urging them to increase their effort in the production.

Also, the Programme Manager, Oyo State Agricultural Development Programme, Mrs Fadekemi Akande, advised the farmers to ensure they planted the Kenaf seeds to improve its production and achieve the goal of the organisers.

Akande thanked IAR&T and the Federal Government for supporting the farmers and organising the training.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that no fewer than 100 farmers from Osun and Oyo states, who participated in the training, were given bags of Kenaf seeds free by IAR&T.

Edited by Grace Yussuf

 

Agriculture

Agro business dealers decry multiple taxation by govt. agencies

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Mr Raufu Lawal, the Deputy National President of Agro dealers Association, has decried multiple taxation of the association by some government agencies.

Lawal, who spoke with the Nigeria News Agency on Wednesday in Abuja, noted that multiple taxation by government agencies was affecting the agro chemical business in Nigeria.

He urged the federal government to regulate all tariffs by different government agencies, saying that these agencies were claiming to have been assigned to carry out the same mandate.

“We find it difficult to bring all the contending parties together.

“NAFDAC has its regulating role, the Federal Ministry of Environment, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture as well as the Standard Organisation of Nigeria have theirs; everyone claims a right in this regulation,” he said.

“We have been finding it difficult to bear, so we appeal to the federal government to bring these parties together in order to relieve the suffering of our members.”

He called for a policy review that would spell out how to bring all these contending parties together and let them be on the same page, as agro dealers were currently the ones at the receiving end.

Lawal said the overlapping roles of government agencies could promote fake and adulterated products in Nigerian markets, and stressed the need to quicken the policy review in the interest of all stakeholders. .

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Agriculture

NGO to establish 4,000-hectare ranch in Kaduna state

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reports.

Mr Vincent Keteojo, the President of the organisation, made this known on Wednesday during a tour of the proposed site at Kurmin Dangana.

“We believe the ranch, upon completion, would improve the welfare of the people and ensure maximum utilisation of available human and natural resources.”

Keteojo disclosed that the cooperative had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria as joint partners for the project.

He explained that the partnership was to ensure smooth take-off of the project aimed at providing value chain benefits for farmers and herders in the community.

Mr Shunom Adinga, the Director, Human Resources of the organisation, said that a five-year intensive research with foreign partners from the Netherlands alongside professionals in Nigeria was undertaken to ensure that the ranch operations meet global best practices.

“The aim is to achieve organic products as so much is being wasted as pastoralists move from one place to the other.

“The consultants would therefore provide technology-based management for effective productivity,” he said.

Also, Mr Philemon Kure, a pioneer member of the project, said the venture was a Public-Private-Partnership aimed at mobilising members of the community and creating symbiotic relationship between farmers and pastoralists.

“The clashes between farmers and pastoralists had over time brought unrest for us as a nation, as it has claimed lives and property.

“This project would, therefore, mitigate what has hitherto been a national misfortune to a national fortune,” he said.

Earlier, officials of the cooperative had visited Mr Bawa Giwa, a stakeholder and former District Head of Kurmin Dangana, who assured them of the support and cooperation of the community.

“Our people are always open to projects that would add value to their well-being,” he added.

On his part, Mr Isha John, Secretary, Kurmin Dangana Development Association, described the move as“ timely” and prayed God to ensure its actualisation.

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Agriculture

Nasarawa: LG Chairman donates land to boost farming

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Mr Adamu Giza, the Chairman, Keana Local Government Area of Nasarawa State has promised to donate land to local farmers to boost farming activities in the area.

Giza said this while speaking to newsmen on Wednesday in Lafia.

According to him, the gesture is aimed at boosting agricultural production, creating more jobs and to enable youths engaged in agriculture in the state.

He said that there many fallow lands in Keana, hence the need for government to allocate such lands to interested farmers to put them to good use.

“Keana is an area dominated by farmers, yet we still have enough land that is left unused.

“In fact, the unused lands are far bigger than the lands used for farming in the area.

“So, I am inviting interested persons to come to Keana. If you don’t have land, come to me and I will provide land for you to start farming.

“We have so many virgin lands that have not been used for the past 30 to 40 years and we don’t need to use any chemical or fertilisers on them to have bumper harvest,” he said.

He assured that those who chose to farm in the locality would reap huge benefits, particularly in crops such as cassava, yam and guinea corn, among others.

Giza, however, appealed to the state government to construct roads within the locality to enable easy entry and exit by farmers.

Edited by Polycarp Auta/Grace Yussuf

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Gombe govt. cautions farmers, fishermen against attacking Hippopotamus

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Alhaji Sa’ad Hashidu, the Director, Forestry and Wildlife Management, Ministry of Environment, Gombe State, gave this warning during an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Gombe on Wednesday.

“It is very sympathetic to farmer that their livelihoods are being threatened by wild animals. However, from a conservation aspect, the Hippos, especially Pigmy hippo species that are multiplying in the Dadin-Kowa Dam are endangered.

“The species are highly endangered and needed to be conserved as they are threatened to extinction. It is not commonly found everywhere. They are only a few remaining species.

“It is because of the favourable habitats that they found in the reservoir around the dam that makes them to multiply. It is a gift to the communities and we must make efforts to conserve them.

“The consultant came to Bauchi State for the restructuring of the Yankari Game Reserve. Together with the consultant, we went to the site and engaged the traditional rulers and locals in the communities concerned.’’

“We sensitised them on the economic importance of conserving hippos when appropriate measures are put in place through the establishment of a Hippo colony which will be a source of revenue to the state and communities.

The director said the persistent attacks of hippos between  fishermen and farmers in Dadin-Kowa was a major concern for the ministry and temporary measures had been put in place to mitigate the attacks.

“As temporary measures, we engaged local fishermen to scare Hippos back to the river whenever they come out; but for sometimes now, we have not been giving them the stipends due to lack of funds.

“We hope to resume as soon as the financial situation improves. The ministry is using this opportunity to call on the state government in that regard.’’

“If this is done, it will go a long way in conserving the specie and serve as a source of employment for the communities and tourists attraction sites for the state,’’ he said.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that some farmers in the Dadin-Kowa Dam often complained that hippos graze on their crops while the fishermen often had their equipment destroyed by the animal.

Hippopotamus, referred to in ancient Greek as the ‘river horse’ which were largely herbivorous, do not eat while in water as they are not known to graze on aquatic plants but graze on land.

 

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NIRSAL partners Nasarawa govt. to boost agribusiness

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The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending, (NIRSAL) a subsidiary of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is partnering with Nasarawa government to boost agribusiness in the state.

The State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, disclosed this in Lafia on Tuesday, while receiving a team from NIRSAL, who were in the state to have a technical session with stakeholders to facilitate agribusiness financing for farmers and others in the agricultural value chain.

He said that NIRSAL intervention in the state would go a long way in encouraging the teaming unemployed youths in the state to venture into agriculture as a productive business.

“Nasarawa is one of the states in the country with vast arable land, but challenged with huge youth unemployment, who would have been gainfully engaged given the necessary boost,”Sule said.

The governor pointed out that the proximity of Nasarawa to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) coupled with the population has created ready market for agricultural production from the state.

He called on stakeholders, especially the youths in the state to take advantage of the opportunity for them to be gainfully engaged, and earn a living and be self reliant.

Mr Sheriff Salau, NIRSAL Head, Collaboration and Partnership said they were in the state to interface with stakeholders with a view to boost agribusiness in the state.

Salau explained that NIRSAL is a 500 million Dollar project established by the CBN with the mandate of de-risking agriculture and facilitating agribusiness in the country.

According to him, NIRSAL works as an intermediary between the various players in the agribusiness.

He disclosed that since its inception 5 years ago, NIRSAL had facilitated about N90 billion into the agricultural space.

Salau added that NIRSAL’s decision to intervene in Nasarawa was informed by the passion of the state governor to develop agriculture and create opportunity for the teeming youths to have a profitable means of livelihood.

Edited by Remi Koleoso, Rotimi Ijikanmi

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