Some agriculture experts have identified lack of storage facilities such as silo in Lagos state as a major factor hampering food sufficiency.
A News Agency of Nigeria nation-wide survey on the state of silos in the country reveals that in Lagos State, there is currently no silo for storage of grains or other food produce.
Mr Wale Oyekoya, the Managing Director of Bama Farms Ltd., said that it was unfortunate that Lagos State had no storage facility, especially as it prides itself as top in agriculture.
According to Oyekoya, who is also a commercial farmer, the state is the commercial nerve centre of the country, and consumes a high percentage of food produced in the country.
“Unfortunately, we do not have storage facilities in Lagos. As big and commercial as Lagos State is, we do not have a single storage facility and this is a state that prides itself to be one of the top states in agriculture.
“How do you produce food without storage facility and that is why post-harvest loses is very rampant in the state.
“Had it been there are storage facilities, all these food items coming from the North and other states will be stored to reduce the mess in Mile 12, Ketu, Oshodi and Mile 2 Markets.
“These are what the government at all levels should be looking at. They should be able to influence the Independent Power Producer (IPP) for states to be able to generate power.
“That way, we will be able to store produce because we need electricity to store some of these things like vegetables.’’
Oyekoya, who is the immediate past Chairman of the Agriculture Trade Group of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) said that storage facility was key to the preservation of grains meant for the animal feed sub-sector.
“Especially, most of the animal feed mills around Lagos are suffering because there is no storage facility for the grains like maize, sorghum and soya beans. This is very pathetic.
“For the Federal Government facilities, we have about 33 silos located in the six geo-political zones, but most of them are not working.
“After we pressure the government some time ago, they were able to privatise 18 of those silos.
“Bureaucracy, people-oriented policies and political will is always a problem in the country. So, without storage facility, we are not going to forge ahead in our agriculture sector,’’ he noted.
Oyekoya, however, called for proactive measures to tackle impending food crisis, as a result of poor storage regime in the sector.
He noted that most countries were already taking steps to reduce adverse effects of climate change to their nation’s food sufficiency and security.
He urged for a more sensitive approach to store produce for the rainy days.
Also, Mr Akintunde Sawyerr, the Founder, Agricultural Fresh Produce Growers and Exporters Association of Nigeria (AFGEAN), said there were 33 silos and 10 conditioning centres in the country.
Sawyerr said that the facilities were more of commercial considerations than their original uses for food availability and stabilisation.
“There are indeed some strategic storage facilities in the country. A decade or so ago, the government invested in the construction of about 75 warehouses, 33 silos and 10 conditioning centres across the nation.
“I do not believe that they are all functional. Some may have been privatised or concession to private companies; and may therefore, be in a functional state.
“The functionality of these silos is, however, in commercial rather than food availability, stabilisation or food security for national interest in its correct use.
“It is also possible that the World Food Programme and other NGOs may have some functional storage to serve emergency and acute food shortages that may arise in the sub-region,’’ he said.
He called for more utilisation of storage facilities for its purpose of food security and sufficiency for future purposes.
Mrs Titi Andrew, a vegetable farmer in Ojo Area of Lagos State, said that the government should also consider cold-chain storage facilities too to service vegetable and fruit producers.
Andrew said that she had not been aware of any storage facility which had limited production and also caused a huge loss to farmers across the state.
“We produce a lot of vegetables in Lagos, but it is sad that most of what we produce go bad because there is no storage for them.
“One of the reasons why our vegetables and fruits are expensive is because once we produce; we go straight to the market, which is not supposed to be.
“We should have something to fall back on in the future, now that there is insufficient rainfall and unstable government policies,’’ she said.
NAN reports that while some South Western states Like Oyo, Ekiti and Ondo have silo complexes, none is currently in Lagos State.
Lebanese gov’t to inject 400 mln USD to support industry, agriculture
Lebanese Industry Minister Imad Hoballah said on Friday that the government will inject 400 million United States dollars to support the country’s industry and agriculture, the National News Agency (NNA) reported.
This support will come in cooperation with the Investment Development Authority of Lebanon, NNA said.
Lebanon’s economy has for long been dependent on services sectors such as tourism and the banking sector, causing problems to the country that has to rely on importing foreign products for consumption.
The government’s new strategy focuses on supporting productive sectors to create more job opportunities for the Lebanese and encourage consumption of local goods.
Thai agriculture ministry to join hands with Chinese e-commerce giant to tap into international online market
Thailand’s Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives on Thursday told the media that it is in discussions with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group to tap into its online market, aiming to woo 260 million customers from 190 countries and regions.
“The ministry is coordinating with Alibaba company for the development of small and medium-sized agricultural entrepreneurship, farmers’ institutions and farmers to do business and sell Thai agricultural products to foreign markets on the Alibaba platform,” said Alongkorn Ponlaboot, the Ministry‘s advisor.
Alongkorn said the ministry and Alibaba had earlier named the project “Thai Agriculture going Forward to the World Market with Alibaba.com.”
He said there are hundreds of successful Thai entrepreneurs using the Alibaba platform as a channel to sell Thai products to the world market.
More than half of the Thai entrepreneurs launch their agricultural products onto the Alibaba platform. The agricultural products include cassava, rice, black garlic, pineapple, corn, as well as processed agricultural products from black garlic and sugar.
According to Stephen Kuo, Asia-Pacific head at Alibaba.com, more than 170,000 products from Thailand are already on the platform.
“And many more new Thai entrepreneurs also express interest to showcase their products on Alibaba platform,” Stephen Kuo said.
Buhari’s agricultural revolution to create 5m jobs, inject $10bn into economy
The President Muhammadu Buhari’s agriculture revolution programme tagged “The Green Imperative’’ will create about five million jobs and inject over 10 billion US Dollar (about N3.8 trillion) into the economy within 10 years.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this on Thursday at a media briefing to set the stage for the implementation of the mechanised farming programme.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the briefing was jointly addressed by Mohammed and the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono.
He said funding for the programme would come from the Development Bank of Brazil (BNDES) and Deutsche Bank.
The minister added that insurance was provided by Brazilian Guarantees and Fund Managements Agency (ABGF) and the Islamic Corporation for Insurance of Export Credit (ICIEC) of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), and coordinated by Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV).
Explaining how the programme would revolutionise agriculture, the minister said six motor assembly plants would be reactivated in the six-geopolitical zones of the country for assemblying of tractors and other implements.
He said 632 mechanisation service centres would also be established to support primary production in the 774 Local Government Areas and the Federal Capital Territory.
“This will create 774 service centers nationwide to mechanise our farming methods and process or add value to farm produce locally.
“It will lead to efficiency and eliminate post-harvest losses, thereby cutting down cost of food all year round.
The minister disclosed that private sector operators would operate and manage all the service centres and the assembly plants.
He said no fewer than 100,000 extension workers would be trained within three years and the programme would impact over 35 million persons nutritionally and economically.
The minister said The Green Imperative dated back to June 6, 2016, when the country decided to enrol in Brazil’s Government-to-Government More Food International Programme (MFIP).
He recalled that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo launched the programme officially on January 17, 2019, in the presence of the representatives of Brazil, Deutsche Bank as well as Brazilian and Nigerian private sector.
For his part, Nanono gave the assurance that the programme would not be hijacked by politicians and that it would be private sector driven while government would only provide the policy framework.
He said participation would be through limited liability companies, cooperative societies and farmers’ associations.
“People must take this programme very serious; they should take the opportunity by beginning to form cooperative societies and farmers’ associations,’’ he said.
The minister said that the youths would be the major target of the mechanised farming programme and would-be participants should not be discouraged by the challenge of insecurity, now being addressed by government.
Post- COVID-19: Farmers’ chair calls for revamp of Agriculture sector
The South-West Chairman of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Mr Segun Atho, has called for the revamping of the Nigerian agricultural sector as part of post COVID-19 efforts to aid economic growth.
Atho made this call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Lagos.
He said that if the challenges posed by the pandemic could be harnessed properly, they would become assets that would enhance the development of all sectors concerned.
“If our agricultural sector is robust, it will also help us to create jobs in the country. It is most likely that after the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of companies are still going to retrench some of their staff.
Atho called for an inward retrospection as a nation and less dependence on other countries for agricultural produce.
In addition, he called for government support at all levels.
“Do we still continue to rely on imported food and agricultural products? No, we have to continue to look within and rely on ourselves.
“The problem we are facing as a nation today is primarily because we are too dependent on other nations. Let us develop the spirit of ‘Yes we can’ in our culture.
“Let all hands be on deck to produce sufficient and abundant agricultural produce for our people to consume,” Atho said.
Atho also appealed to the government to come to farmers’ aid in financing, adding that if one-tenth of the money donated by private individuals to fight COVID-19 is ploughed into agriculture , there would be boom.
“In terms of rice production, we are at present on course.
Embrace agriculture to ease effect of COVID-19- Expert tells Nigerians
The expert said that the aftermath of the global pandemic of Coronavirus and the economic lockdown that followed it, would be acute food shortage.
He said that every family should own a farm no matter how small and called on state governments to roll out incentive to encourage the people.
He said that engaging in food production, did not require people to travel far distance to get to their farms hence the need to embrace it.
According to him, the lockdown period is not the time to stay at home and be idle.
“People should engage the empty land nearest to them, those who don’t have land should rent.
“There is going to be serious food crisis and the best way to forestall it is to go into massive food production.
“Government should encourage people by providing soft loans, affordable and improved inputs, equipment as well as prizes for any individual who cultivated the largest expanse of land.
“They should also provide security for the farms from herdsmen by mobilising community vigillannce team to ensure that these farms are not destroyed, we can’t stop farming because of cattle menace,” he said.
Ezenagu, who supported the partial easing of the lockdown, agreed with the argument that interstate borders should still be restricted to reduce spread of COVID-19 but decried the non effectiveness of the closures.
According to him, the borders should be closed for as long as it is safe to open but unfortunately people are still finding their ways across the states because of the porous policing of the borders.
Union urges dialogue between Agric Ministry, contractors over contract liability
The Nigeria Civil Service Union, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, has called on contractors protesting non-payment of projects executed in 2018 to embrace dialogue.
The chairman of the union, Mr Leon Esebanme, made the call at the Joint Mediation Council meeting on Wednesday in Abuja.
Esebanme at the meeting, which comprised six trade unions in the ministry, said there was no disputing the fact that there was contractual liability accruing from projects executed in 2018.
He, however, urged the contractors not to resort to disruption of official activities by picketing the ministry, saying it would not solve the problem.
He said from interactions with management of the ministry, measures were already in place to ensure that the debt was cleared.
According to him, picketing the ministry and stopping members of staff from accessing their offices would only prolong the process.
“We are here because we are a responsive body represented by six trade unions and we are here today to help find solution to the conflict between management and the contractors.
“We cannot be here and allow things go wrong. We know that the contractors, who have been supporting the ministry to grow have been agitating for payment due since 2018.
“We understand their plight because some of them have been with us for a long time and were always duly paid.
“We also know that some of the contractors took credit facilities from financial institutions and are finding it difficult to meet their obligations.
“We have approached management on resolving the matter and machineries to effect payment is in progress.
“We all know the management cannot sign documents without studying them because the debt was not incurred by the present management.
“It is unfortunate that this is happening now and it shows there is no perfect system anywhere in the world and when it happens understanding is necessary.
“Unfortunately, the agitation has taken a new turn, leading to security concerns. We see strange faces at the premises every day in the name of agitation for payment.
“Some days ago, workers were scampering for safety because the strange faces were scaling fences.
“We therefore appeal to both parties to sit at a roundtable to settle the matter and we are sure that this government is responsive and focused on delivering on their mandate,” he said.
Esebanme, while calling for peace, patience and understanding, said the
outcome of the meeting would be conveyed to the contractors and management.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that contractors executing projects for the ministry, had recently staged protests at the ministry, demanding payment for contracts executed.
The contractors, who alleged that they were being owed to the tune of N17billion from projects executed in 2018, said the payment was overdue.
Meanwhile, the Director Information, Mr Theodore Ogaziechi in a recent statement on behalf of the ministry, noted that it was not unmindful of the outstanding liabilities owed contractors.
“The ministers and Permanent Secretary inherited these liabilities and are in the process of compiling and verifying all outstanding contract liabilities,” he said.
He appealed for patience, understanding and cooperation those concerned to enable the ministry complete the process to forward outcome to Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning for further action.
Protest: Ebonyi govt. says military in to secure protesters at federal college of agriculture Ishiagu
The Ebonyi government on Tuesday defended the presence of the Nigerian Army and Police at the Federal College of Agriculture Ishiagu (FECAI) as its worker’s protest entered second day.
News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the insttution’s unions on Monday staged a peaceful protest at the institution’s premises and shut its gates over allegations of financial impropriety against some staff members.
Dr Kelechi Igwe, Ebonyi Deputy Governor, while addressing the union members on Tuesday, said the army and police’s presence was to check the movement and activities of hoodlums.
Igwe said that there were possibilities of the protesters being attacked as some people would flare with ‘external’ spirits possessing them and misbehave.
“You may think that you are in control of the situation.
“But when the “war”songs assume high tempo some people who have other spirits leading them from their homes will start behaving uncontrollably.
“It will at the point become the sin of one on the leader; that you did not ask him to do it but you are leading the protest and will be held responsible,” he said.
The deputy governor assured that the security agencies would not molest or violate the rights of the protesters but would ensure their safety.
“No security man will attack you as long you conduct yourselves within the limits of the protest and we are happy that you have not killed, stoned or destroyed property,” he said.
He, however, warned that the government would not condone their presence constituting a threat on the road which passed from the institution unto Ishiagu community as it might heighten the tension.
“When people see you chanting war songs they will feel that an uncontrollable crisis will occur although you may feel that it is an innocent protest.
“You should make a report to the state government.
“Although we don’t have administrative jurisdiction over you as a federal institution, we will liaise with the relevant authorities to solve the problems,” he said.
Mr Bamidele Adekunle, Chairman of the institution’s branch of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), and leader of the protesters, decried the presence of the army and police over ‘an innocent’ protest.
“We are simply protesting that the administration of the institution’s Provost, Dr Wilfred Nwangwu, has been hijacked by three ‘cronies’ who take management decisions and generally run the institution.
“These people have been embezzling huge funds of the institution.
“The provost failed to handle the situation and we have duly petitioned the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria over this.
“The three staff members in the junior cadre have allotted official vehicles to themselves and eroded the legacies of the immediate past Provost, Prof. Justina Mgbada,” he alleged.
GDP: Expert urges FG to prioritise mechanised agriculture, electricity to boost growth
Ogubunka, who is a former Executive Secretary of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN),gave the advice in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Tuesday.
“This is as agriculture is one of the most reliable means of generating employment and empowering youths in the hinterland,” he said.
He, however, said that the federal government should sustain its investment in key infrastructure in order to stimulate growth in the economy.
“ The various electricity projects should be completed at the nick of time so as to accelerate industrialisation of the country.
“All the railway reconstruction should be intensified to support the non oil sector, “ he said.
New KWASU VC repositions varsity on agriculture
Prof. Muhammad Mustapha-Akanbi (SAN), the new Vice-Chancellor, Kwara University (KWASU), Malete, on Monday pledged to make the institution a major player in agro-allied businesses.
He stated this at a media briefing at Malete, which coincided with a month of his assumption of office as the second vice-chancellor of the institution.
According to him, the university will support Kwara and Nigeria to become self-sufficient in food production by eliminating poverty and hunger in the society.
The vice-chancellor noted that the Faculty of Agriculture’s Demonstration Farms at the main campus would be given the necessary logistics to meet the intended purpose.
“Our universities must be big players in ensuring food sufficiency in the country.
“We have established KWASU Investments and Consultancy Unit with the mandate to ensure that our institution becomes a big player in agro-allied businesses.
“We have land and the expertise. We shall be producing day-old chicks in such quantity that will be difficult to match,” he said.
The don pledged to improve on the existing collaborative efforts he met on ground with a view to making the university a world class institution.
“I met a lot of collaborative efforts. I already have a solid footing. I shall build on this.
“We will think global and act local in ensuring that KWASU becomes a first class institution,” he promised.
Mustapha-Akanbi, who disclosed that the university’s Law programme had been accr
Edited By: the (NAN) National Universities Commission(NUC), noted that the institution was only awaiting accreditation by the Legal Education Council.
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