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Stakeholders urge FG to review cassava policy to meet international standards



Mr Segun Adewumi, the National President, Nigeria Cassava Growers Association (NCGA), on Friday urged the Federal Government to review cassava policy  for the commodity’s value chain to penetrate the international market.

Adewumi made the call at the Abuja 2019 Cassava Investment Forum Organised by the Cassava Compact of Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), in collaboration with the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB).

He said that the cassava industry had gone beyond growing for consumption but if properly harnessed it would improve the economy of the nation better than crude oil.

He, however, urged the Federal Government and other stakeholders to take the issue of cassava seriously for Nigeria to  be at par with international markets.

Adewumi said a lot of players want to be involved in cassava farming but the environment had not been conducive due to the issue price.

“We need the Federal Government to make a policy that will favour the cassava growers.

“This will in turn encourage more people to get involved in the production of cassava either as farmers or processors.’’

Mrs Yemisi Iranloye, the Chief Executive Officer, Psaltry International Company, also called on the Federal Government to promote the cassava business and review its policy to meet international standards.

Psaltry, an indigenous agro allied company was established to develop farm, market and produce food grade starch from cassava.

She said that the present policy for cassava starch and cassava flour had been there since 2005, adding that since then, the policy had not been reviewed.

She said that the last policy was made when there were not many players buying cassava products in Nigeria and there was no standard in the cassava business.

“The policy had been in place when many big processors were not available and there was no standard, nobody to say what they want to buy,” she said.

Iranloye called for a review of cassava policy in Nigeria just as the cocoa, palm oil and other farm commodities policies were reviewed.

Iranloye said that the quality of starch that cassava produced could go into industries in need of them, adding that the starch industry had a lot of challenges to be able to compete with international market.

“Most times, when there is price drop in the international market, the multinationals often expect the price to also drop in Nigeria.’’

She, however, said the case was not always the same when the price goes up in the international market, adding that negotiation were ongoing to get to the desired destination.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) is a programme initiated by the African Development Bank (AfDB) as part of its Feed Africa Initiative.

The main objective of the programme is to improve the business of agriculture across Africa by raising agricultural productivity, mitigate risks and promote diversification and processing in 18 agricultural value chains within eight Priority Intervention Areas (PIA).


Expert warns of looming scarcity of honey in Nigeria



Dr Yusuf Madaki, Director, Animal Health, Yobe Livestock Development Programme, has warned that unregulated use of agro-chemicals was threatenening the existence of bees and honey production in Nigeria.

Madaki gave the warning on Wednesday in Damaturu while speaking with the Nigeria News Agency .

He said that Nigeria’s ecosystem had suffered grossly from unregulated use of agro-chemicals on farms with health implications on humans, animals and plants.

“Unfortunately, in spite of earlier warnings by concerned persons, there has been little or no effort to stem the tide of the abuse in usage of the chemicals,” Madaki lamented.

The director said that there was gross reduction in honey production across the country as “the bees are facing extinction by the activities of farmers”.

“Bee farming and honey production is becoming unattractive and unprofitable in the country.

“I am afraid the scarcity of honey will continue to be on the increase and the product will always be adulterated,” Madaki said.

He advised government at all levels to take stringent measures against flagrant abuse of agro-chemicals by crop farmers.

Edited by Razak Owolabi and Ephraims Sheyin

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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.



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I won’t tolerate indiscipline; Agric minister warns



Nigeria News Agency reports that the minister is expected to tour the 40 agencies and parastatals under the ministry to familiarise himself with their activities.


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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.


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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

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