President Muhammadu Buhari says the directive to the Central Bank of Nigeria to stop providing foreign exchange for food importation was to improve agricultural production and attain full food security.
Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s spokesman in a statement, said Buhari stated this when he hosted All Progressives Congress (APC) governors to Eid-el-Kabir lunch at his country home in Daura, Katsina state on Tuesday.
According to the president, the foreign reserve will be used strictly for diversification of the economy and not for encouraging more dependence on foreign food.
“Don’t give a cent to anybody to import food into the country,’’ he said.
He, therefore, urged more states to plug into the ongoing revolution to feed the nation.
“We have achieved food security, and for physical security we are not doing badly,’’ he said.
Buhari said he was particularly delighted that young Nigerians, including graduates, had started exploring agric-business and entrepreneurship, with many posting testimonies of good returns on their investments.
He said the incoming ministers would be guided to meet the targets of the APC-led government for the people.
The president added that regular monitoring of their performances and scaling up of targets would be done by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
Buhari gave the assurance of attending the Presidential Policy Retreat organized for the ministers by the OSFG.
He insisted on compliance with laid down targets on key sectors of the economy that would directly impact on the livelihood of Nigerians.
He said the challenges faced by states “were enormous’’, but the governors had remained undaunted, assuring the President of strong support and “the very best effort’’ to overcome the obstacles.
The Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi, appreciated the President for the unique leadership style of maintaining a healthy relationship with governors on individual and collective basis.
He stressed that they had been “energized’’ to do more in their states.
The governor commended the President for making bold and courageous efforts to reposition the economy for majority of Nigerians through inclusive policies.
“The country is more secure than in 2015, and the country is more prosperous than in 2015 because you are working for the majority of the people,’’ he added.
Bagudu said the party had been repositioned, after the 2019 elections, to work for the benefit of the majority of Nigerians, noting that “there will two elections this year and we need to work towards winning the two states.’’
BSADP promotes grapevines cultivation in Bauchi state
The Bauchi State Agricultural Development Programme (BSADP), said on Sunday that it had perfected plans to promote the cultivation of Grapevines as part of efforts at encouraging production of cash crops in the state.
The Director of Agriculture and Technical Services of the programme, Mr Luka Daniel, said this in Bauchi in an interview with Nigeria News Agency .
Daniel said that the effort would encourage farmers to engage in the venture to meet local demand and also conserve huge foreign exchange being spent on the importation of the commodity.
Daniel dispelled the belief by most Nigerians that grapevines could not be grown in the country.
“Any person who says that grapevines cannot be grown in the country may be ignorant and does not know about grapevine production.
“We have assisted many people who are interested in the cultivation of the crop, both within and outside the state.
“In the horticultural section of the Programme, we have various species of the seedlings;the fact of the matter is that grapevines are presently being produced in Nigeria.
“We started it in the BASDP in 2012 and had trained students, farmers, extension officers and people who are interested in the production of assorted tree crops and those who need to have seedlings.
“We currently have nurseries in Bauchi, Azare, Dutsin Kura, Toro and other locations, and had assisted individuals in setting up farms,” Daniel explained.
Edited by Saidu Adamu
FG determined to boost tomato production – NIHORT
The Executive Director, National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Dr Abayomi Olaniyan, says that the Federal Government has a robust plan to boost local production of tomato and create employment opportunities in the country.
Olaniyan said this at a workshop on tomato and ginger production, and value addition on Saturday in Kano.
The executive director, who said that tomato production in Nigeria was below demand, added that the production figure for fresh tomato was about 1.8 million tonnes while the annual demand was 2.3 million tonnes.
According to him, the Federal Government’s tomato policy is to significantly reduce post–harvest losses of tomato fruits, boost production and attract investments into the entire value chain.
He said that the workshop had become imperative as a means of creating more awareness on the importance of the commodities in achieving food security, sustainable livelihood and economic empowerment.
“The training will cover important aspects of the commodities’ value chains such as nursery practices, production practices, value addition, economics of production, marketing and record keeping.
“The training will also cover tomato value addition and processing in order to reduce seasonal glut and inconsistent year round supply,” he explained.
Olaniyan further said that processing of tomato would reduce the quantity of tomato being imported into the country, especially during the lean season of supply.
“It is evident that improved production techniques and value addition must be taken seriously to attract sustainable levels of investment and stakeholders’ interest in ginger,” he said.
The executive director said that Nigeria was the third largest exporter of ginger in the world after China and India.
According to him, Nigerian ginger verities are acclaimed to be of superior quality and outstanding flavour, adding that they were preferred products in the international market.
He said that NIHORT had the mandate to conduct research into genetic improvement, production, processing, utilisation and marketing of fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants and spices.
Olaniyan then urged the participants to pay critical attention to all sessions in order to make the best use of the golden opportunity.
Some of the participants, who spoke with , commended NIHORT for the training and promised to extend the knowledge acquired to other farmers.
Edited by Franca Ofili and ‘Wale Sadeeq
River basin to create farm settlement in Auchi for food sufficiency
“Songhai farming is the best model of farming and I urge many Nigerians to embrace the model of agriculture from Auchi experience,” he said.
YIIFSWA, IITA sensitise 50 Edo yam farmers on new technology
The Yam Improvement for Income and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA ll) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) on Friday held a sensitisation forum on Aerophonics system of seed yam production for 50 yam farmers in Edo.
Mrs Perpetual Isiahon, Head of YIIFSWA, said that the programme was initiated to set a new tone for yam value chain in the state.
“Our task at this forum is to access the economic benefits of yam value chain, while using it as an initiative for the attainment of food security in Edo.
“The purpose of this forum is to sensitise participants on new technologies in producing seed yam and developing a better understanding of existing methods.
“It is also to expose participants to different products they can get from yam for income generation through its value chain,” she said.
Isiahon urged yam farmers in the state to key into the project and invest more on yam value chain for wealth creation.
She also called on the state government to assist in establishing new seed yam production companies in the state.
She said that a budget for yam in Edo would also encourage the production of yam.
In a speech, the Commissioner for Wealth Creation, Cooperatives and Employment, Mr Felix Akhabue, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr Joe Edionwe, said that Nigeria had a high demand for yam as a staple food.
Edionwe regretted that yam production in Nigeria was not enough to meet the growing local and export demands, hence the need for new technologies in seed yam multiplication and production.
He said that the realisation of the goal would, no doubt, facilitate wealth creation and empowerment in the yam value chain.
Akhabue pledged government’s support to collaborate with critical stakeholders to ensure that yam farmers and Edo people benefited immensely from the project.
Mr Wellington Omoragbon, state Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), commended the initiative and urged the farmers to take the message to their communities.
Omoragbon said the one-day advocacy and sensitisation forum, tagged “Sustainable production of high quality seed yam for wealth creation and empowerment”, was organised by IITA, in collaboration with Root and Tuber Division of FMARD.
1,300 rice farmers receive input for dry season farming in Delta–RIFAN
Mr Anthony Umunna, Delta Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) said that no fewer than 1,300 registered members of the association in the state have received inputs for dry season farming.
Umunna said though members received the inputs; paddy rice, herbicides, water pumps among others for the year’s dry season farming, they might not be able to plant until about September ending when the rains would have subsided.
He said that there was need for a review of the farming calendar between the northern and southern parts of Nigeria to enable timely release of inputs to farmers because of the difference in weather conditions.
According to Umunna, the quest for the release of the inputs have been on since to enable farmers in the south engage in this year’s dry season farming.
“As at today, 1,300 registered rice farmers in Delta have received paddy rice, herbicides, and water pumping machines among other inputs for 2019 dry season farming.
“In spite of our efforts, the inputs came late and as our farmers will have to wait till the end of September for the rains to subside before planting.
“This is why we are appealing to government for timely release of the inputs to enable our farmers work with the seasonal timetable and key into the dry season farming and that of the wet seasons farming appropriately,’’ he said.
He appealed to the farmers not to lose their patience as everything possible was being done by the association to ensure that all registered rice farmers benefited from the CBN-RIFAN Anchor Borrowers Scheme aimed at boosting rice production in Nigeria.
He also called on all the South-South governors to support the programme and ensure that farmers in the area got full benefits, adding that the programme would not only create jobs but also boost the economy and create wealth.
NAN reports that the programme is part of the CBN Anchor Borrowers Scheme in Partnership with RIFAN to boost rice production in the country.