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Attracting foreign investors key to solving unemployment, economic challenges – Stakeholders

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Some stakeholders on Tuesday said that attracting foreign investors was key to tackling the high rate of unemployment and economic challenges in the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that stakeholders spoke at the ongoing Food and Beverage West Africa Exhibition at Landmark Events Centre, in Lagos.

A former Ogun Commissioner for Commerce, Mr Bimbo Ashiru, told newsmen on the sidelines of the exhibition that government had no business doing business but to ensure ease of doing business.

Ashiru said that exhibitions were to create awareness and attract foreigners to come and invest in the Nigerian economy thereby creating employment.

“This exhibition clearly shows that we can integrate as a family globally. This is a country of about 200 million people and with the kind of exhibition we are seeing today with people from all over the world.

“If these over 100 exhibitions penetrate the Nigerian market, it will create thousands of jobs. One of the exhibitors has also said that their target is to employ 100,000 Nigerians.

“Just imagine these companies establishing in different locations in Nigeria. One thing I always say is, if you bring people into the country, what is key is the value chain benefits and to employ our people.

“The level of unemployment is high and the only way to do reduce this trend is to get foreign investors to come in and produce locally, they will get our local raw materials which will create jobs for our farmers, our unemployed graduates.

“At the same time, our graduates who want to start their businesses can consider farming,’’ he said.

Ashiru also noted that there was need to develop agricultural value chain that would lead to industrialisation.

According to him, Nigeria needs to start producing and growing what we consume like it is obtainable in other climes where they have farm access roads for easy transportation of raw materials to manufacturers.

“What we owe these exhibitors is to create an enabling environment.

“We are talking about ease of doing business, we have moved from 170 to 146 position and our target is to move to maybe 80 or 70 and we can do that if we create the environment,” he said.

Jamie Hill, Managing Director of the B to B Events, organisers of the exhibition said that the exhibition was to create partnership opportunities for Nigerian businesses.

Hill said that there was a growing demand for foreign manufacturers to penetrate the Nigerian market, known as the market hub of Africa.

“We created this platform to meet demand because everything is based on supply and demand, this exhibition will not be held if the international market did not request for such.

“It is an avenue for them to see the Nigerian economy and possibly work towards establishing their companies here in Africa’s largest economy.

“It is a simple decision to hold this exhibition here, the people are good, the facilities are good, and the business is great.

“I have been in Nigeria since 2012 but this is my first time organising this event. We are pleased to say we are hosting exhibitors from across the world and hoping for partnerships for Nigeria and international business.

“We want to support Nigerian businesses and help them grow and we want to attract international businesses to come here and invest in the Nigerian economy,’’ he said.

According to Hill, the long term goal is to partner local manufacturers because foreign investors will not just come from overseas to set up a manufacturing plant without doing a market study or finding a market partner to market their brand.

NAN reports that the Food and Beverage West Africa Exhibition is the first in its series that will showcase the latest international innovations, thousands of local and foreign products in the food and beverage industry.

NAN also reports that local exhibitors totalled over 40 per cent, while the over 50 per cent are foreign manufacturers. The event which opened today had about 1,000 visitors from across the country.

Agriculture

Masari plans to grow Katsina economy by investing in agric

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Gov. Aminu Masari of Katsina State has promised to boost the state economy and create wealth for the citizens by investing heavily in agriculture.

Masari who made the promise on Monday in Katsina while fielding questions from journalists said that government intended to achieve these by supporting famers with implements and fertiliser at subsidised rates.

“To boost the agricultural activities, the government already procured enough fertiliser for distribution to the farmers in the state.

“The fertilizer was procured very early and sold to the farmers at affordable prices.

“The government had also completed arrangements to provide support to the state farmers through the introduction of modern farming techniques,” he said.

The governor disclosed that his administration had rehabilitated Daberam dam in Daura Local Givernment, Masabil Dam in Ingawa, Ruwan Sanyi dam in Malumfaschi and Tafoki dam in Faskari Local Government to boost irrigation activities.

“These sort of efforts by the state government will continue in our present tenure and will include support to dry season farming and new programmes in collaboration with financial institutions and other relevant agencies.”

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Edited by Kola Adeyemi/Maharazu Ahmed

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Agriculture

Researcher calls for scientific approach to livestock management in Nigeria

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A researcher, Prof. Maduike Ezeibe, has called for a scientific approach in livestock management in order to put an end to grazing menace in the country.

Ezeibe, a professor of Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Virology at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, made the call in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Umuahia on Monday.

He called for the establishment of more livestock research centres in order to find solutions to emerging challenges confronting animal health and livestock industry in Nigeria.

He said: “When you move around with your livestock, that is not production.

“There is need to keep the animals in one place and monitor their production.

“Unless livestock rearing is handled scientifically, there will be no solution to the grazing challenge.”

Ezibe said that the poultry farming system adopted in the rearing of chicken should also be applied in cattle rearing.

He said this would not only make the farmer richer but also give him more dignity.

Ezeibe, who is the Dean of the college, said that the college planned to have a demonstration abattoir for processing food animals, such as goat, chicken, cattle, sheep, among others.

He said that the college was making efforts to own a cold storage facility to provide wholesome foods of animal origin for the university community.

“It will become additional source of internally generated revenue for the university, while demonstrating to our students how to become job creators,” he said.

 

 

 

 

 

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Agriculture

Forex ban on food imports will protect local producers — AgroNigeria Boss

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Mr Richard-Mark Mbaram, Managing Director, AgroNigeria, says that the Federal Government’s suggestion to divert forex to other profitable economic activities will provide protection for local producers of agro commodities.

Mbaram made the assertion while speaking with the Nigeria News Agency on Monday in Lagos against the backdrop of the Federal Government ’s suggestion to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stop forex to food importers.

He said that the most striking implication was that it was a positive move to create hurdles on the part of food and agro commodity importers.

“There are particularly wide ranging implications for agricultural productivity and development where the government decides to go tough on importation leveraging monetary policy tools at its disposal.

“The most striking implication is a positive one in that it basically creates a situation where hurdles are placed on the path of importers of food and other Agro commodities.

“This makes it more expensive for them to finance these imports. It must be kept in mind that these commodities are not in themselves banned, but that they are merely being handed hostile terms.

“The key benefit is that it provides some measure of protection for the local producers of such commodities and its derivatives,’’ Mbaram said.

He, however, called for more secure land borders as well as the entrenched corruption in the system through which these products find their way into the country to compromise the good intentions of government.

“To this end, I advocate for a review of the customs and excise regime in the country with a view to engaging all stakeholders in the private and public sector.

“The objective will be to ensure that those private entities that have capacity to weigh in and provide ideas on mitigating the problem of our porous land borders are leveraged and mainstreamed into a nationally coordinated effort,” he said.

According to Mbaram, infrastructure needs to be addressed holistically in order to create the needed ecosystem for Agribusiness in particular to thrive.

NAN reports that AgroNigeria is the organiser of the Feed Nigeria Summit 2019 (FNS2019), an annual programme bringing together stakeholders in the agriculture space to thinker on challenges impeding the sector and proffer solutions that will guide policies.

Mbaram told NAN that the FNS 2019, tagged “Unlocking Prosperity through Partnership’’ is scheduled to hold in between Aug. 27 and Aug. 28 in Abuja.

“In this regard, government’s embrace of the Africa Development Bank’s (AFDB) Special Agro-Industrial Zones Project is a massively good move as it seeks to enhance agro-industrialization through the provision of targeted infrastructure in locales of high agro-commodity production.

The SAPZ Programme is the fulcrum of this year’s Feed Nigeria Summit.

ITM/PDE

(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)

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Agriculture

Double-digit investment needed to transform agriculture in Nigeria-IITA DG

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Others are Godwin Atser, Digital Extension & Advisory Services Specialist; Toyin Oke, Manager, Resource Mobilisation, Protocol and External Liaison; Oludamilare Odusanya and Adetola Adenmosun, IITA Youth Agripreneur.

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Agriculture

Eko Coconut Bread: Bakers commend LASG, produce 900,000 loaves in 11 months

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Some premium bakers partnering with the Lagos State Government to produce “Eko Coconut Bread” have highlighted their successes since the production of the bread started in October 2018.

The bakers spoke with the Nigeria News Agency on Monday in Lagos during a monitoring visit to some of the bakeries by the Lagos State Coconut Development Authority (LASCODA).

NAN reports that on Oct. 16, 2018, the Lagos State Government announced a partnership with 10 bakeries for the production of coconut bread and gave them kiosks, tricycles and bread packages for the smooth running of the project.

The bakers, who commenced production at different times, said the initiative created more jobs and also impacted on the general acceptance of their brands across the state.

The Chief Executive Officer of Butter Burst Bakery, Mr Babajide Ladipo, said that the bakery started production of the bread three weeks ago due to some hiccups the bakery experienced.

“We started operations very recently because we had some issues which we have surmounted and production is in top gear.

“I must say that the response from our customers have been very fantastic in terms of the volume of the Eko Coconut Bread we put out every day, although it was a slow one but now, they have accepted the brand.

“I commend the government for the partnership because people are always drawn to the kiosk and the logo on the bread wraps and they are impressed and responsive.

“The partnership has positioned and given us a positive public image. Some bakeries around are even asking how to become a partner. We make at least a batch of 110 loaves of the bread daily and we sell all of them,’’ he said.

Ladipo said that the coconuts used for the bread were freshly done daily.

He, however, suggested that the government should consider a smaller size of between 200 and 250g; help bakers with promotional articles and direct customer linkages to help boost the bread.

When the team visited Regal Bakery, Gbagada, the Manager, Mr Agbaje Olaniyilokun, said that the Eko Coconut Bread had helped the bakery in several areas in terms of getting more hands and sales increase.

Olaniyilokun said: “Since we started in November 2018, we produce 3 batches of 85 loaves daily in both our Gbagada and Ikota branches. So, daily, we make almost 300 loaves.

“The tricycle and kiosk given to us have been very helpful in transporting the bread to our sales point and the brand has been accepted by residents.

“People accept our brand more now when they see the LASG logo and they are happy to buy the product. We increased labour with six direct staff and four indirect staff,’’ he said.

Olaniyilokun, however, requested that more kiosks should be given to bakeries to enable them meet more demand and be closer the people and also a smaller size of the bread.”

NAN reports that other bakeries visited included Monamour Confectioneries where Mrs Olusola Olayinka said that the daily production was 100 loaves and had created jobs for six people.

Also, Mrs Adeniran Olusola of Sollisy Food and Beverages Ltd said that 8 people had been added to the workforce so far and the bread was accepted, producing an average of 200 loaves daily.

Meanwhile, the Managing Director of LASCODA, Mr Dapo Olakulehin told NAN that the aim of the monitoring was to see firsthand, how the bakeries were faring since operations started and to note their challenges.

Olakulehin noted that it was the state government’s effort to build private sector partnership and the reports got from the bakeries, about one million loaves of the bread had been produced since November 2018.

“It was a public and private sector initiative by the state government to partner with 10 bakeries for coconut bread baking. To give Lagosians a healthy meal from a staple food, hence, we introduced the Eko Coconut Bread.

“We tried to make the environment very conducive for the bakers and so we gave them some empowerment in terms of tricycles, kiosks and bread wrappers to ease production and distribution of the bread.

“So far, so good, we have been getting good stories about the initiative and that is what informed this monitoring to converse with the bakers to know their challenges.

“Also to see how the state can help to improve the challenges and consumption of coconut bread. The partnership has also improved the image of the bakeries and people now see them as standard bakeries,’’ he said.

The general manager promised that the report would be given to the governor, while adequate response will get to the bakers on the smaller size.

NAN reports that the current size of the bread is 750g sold at N350. During the monitoring the bakers were advised to adhere strictly to the agreed weight and recipe of the bread to maintain standard.

ITM/PDE

(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)

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