Agricultural input providers under the FADAMA III Additional Financing (AF) in Enugu State have protested the non-payment of N87.6 million being the cost of ploughing and harrowing of rice farms for clusters in the state.
The input providers under the auspices of Association of FADAMA III AF Tractor Services Providers said that the failure of the National FADAMA Coordinating Office to pay had put them at daggers-drawn with their creditors.
Chief Mathias Omeh, the leader of the group, said this in a statement made available to newsmen on Friday in Enugu.
He said that the debts were incurred in 2017 farming season.
Omeh said that members of the association within the period were requested to provide tractorisation services to FADAMA III AF enrollees.
He said that the debt was expected to be settled from the 50 per cent International Donor Agency Fund for the ploughing and harrowing of rice farms for beneficiaries of the scheme.
“At the beginning of 2017 farming season, we were requested to provide tractorisation services to farmers due to a sharp increase in the number of enrollees in FADAMA III AF.
“We worked hard to assist the Federal Government agricultural programme and we individually hired more tractors from local government councils even in challenging conditions.
“We are disappointed by the deliberate refusal to pay us,” he said.
Omeh said that part of their overhead costs had yet to be covered, adding “our creditors have been on our neck for the money we borrowed to plough the rice farms.
“We are, therefore, shocked that the money that rightfully belongs to us has not been paid,” he said.
He blamed the failure of the FADAMA Project in the state on the national coordinating office inability to work effectively with input providers.
Omeh said that the project was not implemented in the state in 2018 and 2019 which he noted had affected rice production in the area.
When contacted, Oredipe said that it was not within his brief to know the people that were owed by the managers of the project.
“I represent the World Bank in this project. Those at the national office should know better,” Oredipe said.
However, an official of the national office who pleaded anonymity described the failure of the project in the state as a ‘national embarrassment’.
The official said that the state government as well as the managers of the project in the state did not do what were expected of them.
The source blamed the state government for the non-payment of counterpart funds that amounted to several millions of naira accumulated over four years.
The national officer said that the managers of the project in the state claimed to have spent several millions of naira which they expected the national office to offset.
“Some of the payments which had adequate documentation have been sorted out. There are no funds anywhere to make further payment and the project will be ending by December 2019,” the source said.
Edited by Maureen Atuonwu
Agro business dealers decry multiple taxation by govt. agencies
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. .
NGO to establish 4,000-hectare ranch in Kaduna state
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.
Nasarawa: LG Chairman donates land to boost farming
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
Gombe govt. cautions farmers, fishermen against attacking Hippopotamus
“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.
NIRSAL partners Nasarawa govt. to boost agribusiness
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