Prof. Felix Salako, the Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, has commended the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), for its support to improved cassava production in Nigeria and Africa at large.
Salako gave the commendation on the sidelines of a two day Nigeria’s first Cassava Investment Forum in Abuja on Friday.
The forum is the Cassava Compact of Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT)” a programme initiated by the African Development Bank (AfDB) as part of its Feed Africa Initiative.
The programme is in collaboration with the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB) and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
“With AfDB, IITA and FUNAAB being involved in the programme, it is going to be live abundance for cassava farmers and everyone involved in the value chain process.
“There is something good about focusing on a commodity crop and working on it for years. There is a lot of experience in terms of cassava research.
“Many of our researchers have been involved over the years in cassava processing and for more than a decade now our researchers have been involved in what is called cassava added value for Africa.
“For us as an institution, we have been involved in processing and aside that we now have a big cassava factory where high quality cassava flour is produced apart from other by-products.
“For other by-products like cassava root use for ethanol, we pass to those involved in it because everything is about value chain,” he said.
AfDB’s Feed Africa strategy is aimed at harnessing elite scientific research, technologies among others.
“It is also meant to improve the business of agriculture across Africa by raising agricultural productivity, mitigating risks and promoting diversification and processing in 18 agricultural value chains within eight Priority Intervention Areas (PIA).
Meanwhile, the two day forum is aimed at reviewing the role of government institutions in facilitating the growth and financial sustainability of cassava investments in Nigeria.
Other objectives of the forum are analysing key elements of a successful cassava investment; what it takes to make investments easy and successful for the intending entrepreneurs and the youth.
Climate change, most crucial development challenge – ministry of environment
The Federal Ministry of Environment says unpredictable climate change is the most important development challenge currently and external climate finance is key to fast tracking Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Mrs Ibukun Odusote, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment said this on Wednesday in Abuja during a workshop on Promoting Climate Finance for Agriculture in West and Central Africa organised by the ECOWAS commission.
Odusote said Global Green House Gas (GHG) emissions was a threat to agricultural gains and there was an urgent need to reduce global emissions.
“Toward this path, countries have made resolute commitments to emission reduction targets through national legislation, policies and regulations, regional and sub-national actions combined with a new binding agreement,’’ she said.
Odusote said that with the adoption of the Paris Agreement, Nigeria pledged through its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to reduce its emission unconditionally by 20 per cent and conditionally up to 45 per cent by 2023.
She said that effective implementation of the Paris Agreement and its components would depend greatly on the combined efforts at international, regional, national, sub-national and private sectors.
“So far, Nigeria has deepened the understanding of relevant national stakeholders on the concept of a low carbon and climate resilient development and the green economy,’’ Odusote said.
She said another milestone Nigeria achieved in this regard was the development of sectoral action plans for the implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributors.
The Permanent Secretary said agriculture was an indispensable indicator of growth in the economy of every country, not just for provision of food, but it connected other development sectors.
Dr Oluyede Ajayi, Lead Specialist, leading agriculture and climate change at the Technical Climate for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation, said the workshop was to promote climate finance to support agricultural resilience.
Ajayi said most countries depended on agriculture and food security, and small holder farmers were at the receiving end in climate change because they had very low adaptability.
“One way of addressing this is to promote adaptation and help farmers to be resilient, and a lot of money and resources have been channeled globally into climate financing in respect to climate change.
“Out of this, less than 10 per cent goes into agriculture and less than five per cent goes to small holder farmers,’’ he said.
Ajayi noted that a slight change in rainfall pattern had implications which might be able to wreck havoc on farm practices.
He said the essence of the meeting was to strategise on how to increase financial support for climate change activities in agriculture with regards to small holder agriculture in West and Central African countries.
“We have conducted studies in some countries and now we are synthesising to look at the key issues with options to promote reinvestment in climate actions to support small holder farmers,’’ Ajayi said.
The first day of workshop witnessed presentations from African countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Mali, Cameroun, Chad and representatives of other countries.
I won’t tolerate indiscipline; Agric minister warns
Biotechnology crops have contributed to global food security – Expert
“Let’s get this technology out as fast as possible; let government create the enabling environment that will make those developing the project to quickly expedite action and get the products out to the farmers who need the technology,” Oikeh said.
Kaduna agric agency partners research institutes to offer new technologies to farmers
The Kaduna State Agricultural Development Agency (KADA) is collaborating with research institutes to extend new technologies to farmers across the state.
Alhaji Ya’u Kasimu, Director Extension Services, KADA, made the disclosure in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Zaria, Kaduna State on Wednesday.
NAN reports that Kasimu spoke on the sideline of a meeting with specialists from four Agricultural Zonal Offices of the state.
The Director said: “All the Agricultural Development Agencies (ADPs) are collaborating with research institutes because, research institutes are a basket or a store of knowledge that come up with new technologies, because we cannot develop technologies ourselves.
“Therefore, we have to collaborate with the research institutes for us to get the technologies, which at the end we train our extension agents so that they can take such technologies to our farmers for agricultural improvement.”
Kasimu expressed concern over the inadequate ratio of extension agents in Kaduna State in particular and Nigeria as a whole.
“The Food Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations says one extension agent is to oversee the activities of 800 farmers that means one extension agent to 800 farmers.
“When they saw the number of farmers are multiplying, they shift it to one extension agent to 1,000 farmers but today, Bureau of Statistics reports that in Nigeria, one extension agent is attending to 9,650 farmers.
“The ratio is so big, indicating that the number of extension agents is grossly inadequate and that is why we are using the media to see how we can extend the massage on the new improved technologies to farmers,” he noted.
According to him, the meeting was to raise awareness of the participants on the need to educate farmers to take farming as a business instead of tradition or hobby.
“We want the farmers to see how they can analyse their activities to know how much they have spent, what value are they getting from each value chain, be it maize, rice or whatever crop they are growing, we want to put them through.
“We want them to be keeping records of what they are producing, to understand the nature of rainfall, weather happening, so that they will not be victims of circumstances or victims of weather situations.
“We also want to see that women farmers are being carried along. We are trying to see how women farmers will be going together, know the happening just like their male counterparts,” he said.
Kasimu encouraged women to redouble efforts and participate more in farming business to gain the benefits therein.
He lauded their commitments in engaging in agricultural value-chain especially in the aspect of processing, livestock and cereal crops among others.
The Director appealed to farmers generally to learn and understand what agriculture is all about.
“Farmers must understand that there is science aspect of agriculture and art aspect of agriculture, you cannot just go for one aspect to achieve what you want to achieve.
“You have to combine the two to be able to get to where you want to go, by combining the two aspects, sky will be your limit,” he said.
Kasimu attributed the loan repayment challenges being encountered in CBN’s Ancho-Borrower programme to lack of involvement of extension agents in the scheme, assuring that extension agents knew the real farmers.
He said most of the loans were disbursed to political farmers instead of real farmers due to inability of those in-charge of the programme to identify actual farmers.
Edited by Maharazu Ahmed
FAO donates inputs to 247 tomato farmers in Kaduna
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has distributed farm inputs and implements to 247 farmers in Kaduna State.
This is contained in a statement issued by Malam Dahiru Abdullah, Information Officer of the State Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and made available to the Nigeria News Agency on Wednesday in Kaduna.
Abdullahi said the UN agency donated the inputs and implements to the farmers based on their high rating for adopting global best practices in food production.
“Farmers in the state were chosen for engaging in the best agricultural practices, in line with Global standards that ensures improved livelihood of farmers.
“Dr Hadiza Balarabe, led the farmers to receive the items on behalf of Gov. Nasiru Ahmad El –Rufai and the state government expressed gratitude to FAO pledging to partner with the agency to transform the sector.
“The FAO has assisted farmers in the state for more than a decade.
“The government will continue to partner with the organization to transform the Agricultural sector into Agri-business moving away from subsistence farming,” the statement said.
It added that El-Rufai urged the benefiting farmers to use the intervention maximally to create jobs for the teaming unemployed youths in the state.
He also urged them to ensure the maintenance of the implements and effective use of the seeds and insecticides distributed to them.
El-Rufai reminded the farmers to use the proceeds from their farm produce to send their wards to school.
Amb. Sufiyan Koroma who represented FAO, while presenting the donation, said the Agency had been supporting Nigeria since 1978 for food sufficiency in the country.
Koroma said FAO would continue to commit more resources to improve agriculture in the state to ensure food sufficiency and growth of agriculture businesses.
He encouraged the benefiting farmers to use the items to improve their livelihood and that of their families to reduce poverty.
Also, the General Manager, Kaduna State Agricultural Development Agency, Mallam Sabi’u Ismaila said the 247 farmers who benefitted from the FAO gesture were drawn from Jere in Kagarko Local Government of the state.
Ismaila said the farmers were trained on Agriculture Production, Processing and Marketing with emphasis on Tomatoes.
He commended the UN agency for improving the lives of farmers in the state through trainings and workshops on food production, processing and marketing.
“Farmers in the state had gradually adopted the culture of global best practices in production and KADA will ensure effective monitoring for judicious use of the items by the benefiting farmers,’’ he said.
Inputs and Implements distributed to the farmers included; Improved Seeds, Agrochemicals, Water Pumps, Wheel-barrows, Watering-cans, Rakes, Plastic- Crates, and Pesticides to reduce the impact of insects on crops.