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Delta govt. reaffirms commitment to boost fish production



Mr Julius Egbedi, Delta Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, has reaffirmed the state government’s commitment to boost fish production in the state.

Egbedi said this on Wednesday, while declaring open a two-day workshop for fish farmers tagged, “Fisher Folks Training”.

The workshop was organised by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) in collaboration with Delta Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (DARDA), Ibusa.

He assured the trainees of the state government’s readiness to provide the enabling environment to enable them to produce enough fish to meet local demand and export.

According to the commissioner,  “it is unfortunate that we are still importing ‘iced Fish’, even when we are into both aquaculture and artesian fish farming.

“Fish farming is an interesting aspect of agriculture and the state government will always support our farmers by creating an environment that will make it possible for you to produce enough for local consumption.

“We shall assist you to have maximum production, create wealth for yourselves and jobs for others, but you must be committed to this training and put it into practice to grow the state economy and that of the country.”

Egbedi charged the farmers to explore other funding opportunities to grow their business, particularly the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) loans for farmers.

He said that the CBN loan was a revolving one, adding that the commitment to repay would encourage government to do more so that more funds would be made available to other farmers in the country.

He said that the private sector had been identified to be the driver of any economy in the world. He therefore advised the participants to ensure that they met the expectations of government, which had committed the resources to train them.

The commissioner thanked the federal government for committing resources to train the farmers in the state and solicited more collaboration in other areas.

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, FMARD, Dr Abdulkadir Mu’azu, represented by the state Director in the ministry, Mr Felix Kehis, said the training would offer farmers the opportunity to explore the fish value chain and create wealth from fish farming as a business.

He expressed the hope that the farmers would become better informed at the end of the training.

He said that the federal government particularly targeted the youths in order to empower them, with a view to reducing unemployment and restiveness in society.

Mr Dickson Oki, who spoke on behalf of other participants, lauded the government for initiating such programmes and pledged their commitment to the training and fish production as a business.

He, however, called for government’s funding and more training to sustain the programme and grow it to meet international production standard.

“This training will no doubt empower the youths and reduce restiveness and cultism, but I want the government to also expand the programme to cover more youths in the state,” he said.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the training, which was initially slated for 50 youths, had no fewer than 100 persons in attendance.


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



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



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.


(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)

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Lagos trains 955 in aquaculture to harness opportunities in agric value chain



The Lagos State Government says it has trained 953 persons in aquaculture as a step towards upscaling fish production and to harness the economic opportunities in the agriculture value chain.

The Permanent Secretary, Dr Olayiwole Onasanya made the disclosure at the closing ceremony of the 15th Annual Executive Weekend Training on Investment Opportunities in Fish Farming organised by the ministry.

Onasanya said that such programmes and projects had significantly increased fish production, created jobs and stimulated economic activities in the state.

He identified the programmes and projects to include fish farm estates development; fish cage culture system; capacity building programmes, agricultural value chains empowerment and artisanal fisheries development among others.

“Fish is a major source of protein that is low in cholesterol compared with beef, hence, its consumption is healthy and the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a per capita consumption of 17kg of fish per annum.

“Lagos State with a population of 22 million people is structured to have a fish demand of 374,000 tons per annum as against the current fish production figure of 155,262 tons per annum,” he said in a statement by Mr Jide Lawal, Assistant Director, Public Affairs of the state Ministry of Agriculture and made available to the Nigeria News Agency

“The deficit in supply is being met through importation which gulps enormous foreign exchange which the Federal Ministry of Agriculture has estimated at a total sum of one billion dollars.

“Very wide investment opportunities exist within the agricultural value chain both within the country and internationally, especially now that there is the need to increase export of non-oil commodities to earn foreign exchange for the financing of the nation’s economy.”

According to Onasanya, the four-day training is carefully structured to equip participants that include aspiring fish farmers and retiring executives both in the private and public sectors among others with relevant knowledge of best practices in aquaculture.

It is aimed at broadening their practical experience in fish juvenile and feed production as well as expose the participants to investment opportunities available in the fish farming, he said.

“The training programme has a special focus on the overview of fisheries development in Lagos State; Fish Culture System and Management, Water Quality Management and Disease Control.

“Prospect of Cage and Pen Culture System in Lagos State; Hatchery Management and Fingerlings Production and Fish Feed Formulation and Nutrition.

“Fish Farming Insurance and Fish Preservation, Processing, Packaging, Marketing and Export Potential,” he said.

The permanent secretary noted that the goal of the state was to be self-sufficient in fish production as he called for collaborative efforts between the private sector and government in the development of agricultural value-chain.

NAN reports that although 43 persons participated in the training, a total of 912 people had been trained so far since the programme started in 2005 bringing to total 955 beneficiaries.

(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)

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IITA boss calls for double-digit budget allocation to accelerate agric transformation



The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan on Sunday called for double-digit budget investment in agriculture backed by a vibrant rural infrastructure to help states accelerate transformation in the sector.

A statement issued in Lagos by the Communication Officer of IITA, Mr Godwin Atser, quoted the Director-General of IITA, Dr Nteranya Sanginga, to have made the call when he visisted Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo state.

Sanginga was quoted as saying that “no matter the good intentions, there will not be any meaningful transformation in agriculture, if the nation continues to invest less than 10 per cent of its budget in the sector.

He recalled that in 2003, African heads of state in Maputo made a commitment to invest at least 10 per cent of their annual budgets in agriculture.

“Sixteen years after the declaration, only a few countries have implemented that declaration.

“One of the countries that has fulfilled the commitment is Ethiopia.

“Ethiopia is today investing more than 10 per cent and that country is witnessing a rapid transformation in agriculture,” Sanginga said.

He made reference to the Oyo state agricultural policy framework and its investment in agriculture which, he noted, had nosedived from about seven per cent to two per cent from 1995 to 2017.

Sanginga further urged the government to pay serious attention to rehabilitation of rural roads (feeder roads) to help in transporting agricultural produce from the farm to the market.

He decried the deterioration of infrastructure in several farm settlements and called for ways to involve youths in agriculture.

The IITA boss opined that youth inclusiveness was imperative for sustainable agricultural development agenda of the state.

Responding, the governor pledged the commitment of his administration to work with IITA to achieve agricultural transformation.

He said that the state government had identified four pillars, including education, rural infrastructure, economic development (agriculture), and security to help drive development.

Makinde said that for the state to attain economic development, agriculture must be transformed.

“This is because most of our people depend on agriculture for their livelihoods.

“Besides, through agricultural transformation, we will be able to provide the needed jobs for our youths,” he added.

On infrastructure, he promised that construction would soon begin on one of the major agricultural roads from Moniya to Iseyin.

“On completion, the road would ease the movement of farm produce to the market,” he said.

He also said that discussions were in top gear with the Federal Government to rehabilitate the Oyo town-Iseyin Road.

(Edited by Tayo Ikujuni/Sam Oditah)






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Poultry farmers in Plateau decry high price of feed



Poultry farmers in Plateau  have decried the continued increase in the prices of chicken feed in the country.

Mr John Dasar, Chairman, Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), in the state made this known in an interview with Nigeria News Agency on Sunday in Jos.

Dasar lamented that the high prices of feed and other cost of production put together in poultry farming did not enable farmers to break even in the poultry business.

The chairman explained that a bag of maize now goes for between N5,000 and N7, 000, as against the old price of N14,000.

According to him, the drastic reduction in the price of maize should naturally crash the price of the feeds as well.

“Generally, the cost of production in the poultry industry is high but the price of feed is particularly higher.

“Before now a bag of maize went for N14,000, but it is currently being sold between N5,000 and N7, 000.

“So, now that the cost of maize is low, it is expected that the price of feed should also come down.

“If you put the cost of feeds and other inputs together, farmers can’t break even,” he added.

Dasar called on the state government to make deliberate effort in supporting poultry farmers with incentives in order to make the industry lucrative.

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