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Agriculture: Kano adopts new ways of tackling tomato post-harvest losses

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basket of tomatoes sold at N2,069 and similarly in 2020 emerging prices is N2,970 at the onset of the season has remained fairly stable too,” Gawuna revealed.


He maintained that during these periods, the state did not record any major pest and diseases outbreak, stressing that the state promoted the use of post-harvest technologies such as zero energy cool chamber and reusable plastic crates to improve small farmers productivity.

Gawuna, who doubles as the State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, disclosed that the present administration under the leadership of Gov. Abdullahi  Ganduje is committed in training and retraining farmers at all levels aimed at enhancing higher productivity.

He described the forum as timely and assured of the government’s continued support for the sustainance of the programme considering its importance in enhancing agricultural production.

“I want to assure you that our policies will continue to create more impacts on the agricultural production right from cultivation up to the stage of processing and marketing,” he said.

The Deputy Country Director of Technoserve Nigeria, Mrs Ayokanmi Ayuba, explained that the discussion was organised to address the issue of post-harvest loss reduction in the tomato value-chain.

“The goal of YieldWise Project is to reduce post-harvest loss by 50 per cent throughout the tomato supply chain and increase average tomato income for 45,000 participating farmers by 50 per cent.

“The project will include farmers in the ‘tomato triangle’ region, including Kano, Jigawa,  Katsina, Kaduna and Plateau  States,” Ayokanmi explained.

She acknowledged the tremendous contributions of Kano state government to the progress of the programme and urged that the tempo be sustained.

MNT / MST

Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola



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Mohammed Nur: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Agriculture

Borno Govt to resettle 28 displaced communities

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The Borno Government on Sunday said it would resettle 28 displaced communities from Lake Alau back to their homes following the return of relative peace.


Gov. Babagana Zulum disclosed this during a working visit to Alau village near Maiduguri.

Zulum said that his trip to the agrarian communities was to explore how irrigation activities can be restored in order to create means of livelihoods for the people, when they fully returned.

”We are purposely here to look into ways we can bring back irrigation activities along the shores of this lake Alau.

“As we know, 28 communities were displaced, and we will look into the possibility of resettling our brothers and sisters.

“The military is very committed, we will liaise with them to ensure sustained security of lives and property.

“We are looking at the possibility to dig trenches to surround all the communities while the government of Borno state with partner with the security to strengthen protection to build their confidence when they returned.

“Military, police, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Civilian JTF and the hunters are very important; we will provide logistics to them but most importantly key into their plans to enable people start their social economic life,” Zulum said.

The governor said that resettling of the IDPs became imperative in view of their growing numbers which remain a burden on the government.

“We have a population of over three million people in Maiduguri. Life without food is not possible. We are aware of the challenges following the outbreak of the COVID-19, but we are having a bigger COVID-19, which is hunger.”

Zulum commended President Muhammadu Buhari for providing irrigation equipments to the state, adding that the government will also provide more tools like water pumps and fishing equipment.

NAN reports that the governor also inspected Alau Water Pump, Station and Maiduguri water treatment plant to access the level of rehabilitation carried out in the facilities.

Zulum said he was delighted by the quality of work undertaken by the management and staff of the ministry of water resources.

“I am happy with what I have seen here, you have done a very good job. Sustainable, potable water remains critical to our administration,” Zulum said.

Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola
(NAN)



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Lockdown: Lagos Govt assures residents of adequate food supply at temporary markets

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The Lagos State Government on Sunday assured residents of adequate food supply in all the 27 designated COVID-19 Temporary Emergency Food Markets at farm gate prices.


The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Gbolahan Lawal, gave the assurance while monitoring the exercise at the Sam Ethnan Air Force Base, Ikeja, Opebi Primary School, Ikeja and Ogudu Nursery and Primary School, Ojota.

Lawal explained that the temporary emergency markets were created to cushion the effects of 14 days lockdown directive by the Federal Government to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

The commissioner said that more farmers would be deployed to the various markets at the next market day on April 9 to ensure enough supply of farm produce and perishables to meet the demands of shoppers.

He added that the state government was collaborating with all relevant stakeholders to ensure adequate food supply at  various emergency markets during the lockdown by the next market day.

The commissioner, however, stressed the need for shoppers to comply with the social distancing  as well as observe the personal hygiene rules while shopping.

“We have seen the huge turnout in some of the markets and the demand for more farm produce.

“We will improve on it and bring in more farmers so as to ensure adequate food supply at affordable and competitive prices.

“We will continue to provide all necessary logistics to our farmers as well as increase the number of markets in the days ahead,” he said.

Lawal said the state government would support  farmers with logistics to enable them to mobilise their farm produce to various designated emergency markets easily and faster.

He also said the state government would scale-up the number of  markets, based on demands from different communities, adding that the markets were part of the palliative measures adopted by the government.

The commissioner said the state government and farmers would not take advantage of the situation to exploit residents of the state,  adding that items were being sold at the farm gate prices.

“We underestimated the population here at the base, and we promise to improve on it in the coming days.

“This is a very good opportunity for our farmers and considering the situation that we are in, the COVID-19 pandemic to sell their produce at affordable prices.

“We want to assure the Nigerian Air Force base of whatever they may also need, because we are in discussion on how we can improve the skill set of some of youths in the base.

“We want to give them agricultural skills through the ongoing state government agripreneurship programme.

“Aside from this market, we will also partner on the training of youths within the barrack.

“The base, I am told, has a population of about 20,000; this is a good opportunity for us and we hope to have good partnership between the state government and the base,” Lawal.

He said the COVID-19 emergency food market was set up to as a palliative measure to cushion the effect of the pandemic.

The commissioner said: “The Eko City farmers’ market and the makeshift farmers market are food markets that we have introduced.

“What we promised the citizenry is every other day but considering the logistics, we have shifted it to every three days in all the designated makeshift markets in the state.”

Earlier, the Air Officer Commanding, Logistics Command, Nigerian Air Force, Ikeja, AVM Lawal Alao, commended the state government for setting up a COVID-19 emergency food market in the base.

Alao said the gesture would go a long way in helping the over 16,000 residents shops for their daily needs during the lockdown period.

He said the base had already conformed to the lockdown, adding that nobody was allowed to come into or outside the base.

“For us, we have already conformed to the lockdown directive given by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“That means in this base that has population of about 16,000, nobody goes out and nobody comes in.

“We have a hospital here which carters for the medical needs of our personnel.

“We have a functional mammy market and we have restricted them to selling only food items and pharmaceutical products to compliment what we have in the hospital.

“This gesture of the farmers’ markets by the Lagos State Government is very welcome.

“We thank the government immensely for it, because you can see by the numbers, if you go round. People have been here since about 10:00a.m and are still trooping in to buy produce.

“They are buying things like tomatoes, onions, pepper, fish, eggs and many more to meet home supply.

“We expect that those who stocked up their houses with some perishable items in the past three to four days would have used them up or the produce must have already gone bad.

“So, this market will meet the demands of people during this  period of lockdown,” he said.

Alao urged the state government to deploy more farmers to the market in order to cater for the food demands of the population in the base.

“We are very appreciative of the state government, and we hope that subsequently, they will come out with more items, maybe they underestimated the population here.

“I believe that today is the first day, this is like a test run, the population was underestimated.

“So far, we are very appreciative of the gesture,” he said.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Olagoke Olatoye
(NAN)



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Agriculture

COVID-19: FG set to release 70,000 metric tonnes of grains

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President Muhammadu Buhari has granted approval to Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to release 70,000 metric tonnes of assorted food items from the National Strategic Grains Reserve.


Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, made this known in a statement by the Director of Information, Mr Theodore Ogaziechi, on Thursday in Abuja.

Nanono said the move followed the lockdown across some states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) owing to Covid-19.

According to him, the measure was taken to cushion the effect of the lockdown on Nigerians, particularly the poor.

He noted that of the 70,000 metric tonnes, 5,000 metric tonnes of cassava chips, popularly called garri, was available for immediate release.

Nanomo further noted that “the bagging of  grains is ongoing for further urgent release through the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

According to the minister, the food items will be released from the six Silo Complexes across the country.

He said 10,000 metric tonnes of maize and 2,500 metric tonnes of garri would be released from Minna Silo and 5,000 metric tonnes of millet and 1,500 metric tonnes of garri from Lafia Silo in Nasarswa State.

The minister said 12,500 metric tonnes of maize and 5,000 metric tonnes of sorghum would be released from Dustin-ma Silo in Katsina State.

He also explained that 12,500metric tonnes of  maize and 5,000 metric tonnes of sorghum would be released from Yola Silo, Adamawa State.

Nanono explained that 15,000 metric tonnes of sorghum would be released from Gusau Silo, Zamfara State and 1,000 metric tonnes of garri from Ilesha Silo in Osun State .

He assured that  measures would be put in place by the Presidential Task Force to ensure that the food items got to beneficiaries directly.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Maureen Atuonwu
(NAN)



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AFAN chairman urges Enugu farmers to begin land preparation

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Mr Romanus Eze, the Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Enugu chapter, has advised farmers in the state to start preparing their farmlands for the 2020 farming season.


Eze gave the advice in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Enugu on Friday against the backdrop of the recent rainfall in the state.

While calling on the farmers to start preparing their lands, he, however, said they should not rush into crop production without monitoring the consistency of the rainfall.

”All have been waiting for the early rainfall, and we have had rainfall that covered some areas in the state.

”My advice to the farmers is to start preparing their farmland, while they monitor consistency of the rainfall before embarking on crop production.

”Therefore, I suggest that they do not rush into planting because if the rain stops, the whole land will dry up; then it will affect their crops.

”It is better for farmers to wait till around the second week of the month of April, when the real position of the rain may have been ascertained,” he said.

On how the COVID-19 pandemic may affect the planting season, Eze urged farmers to go about their normal businesses, saying that the coronavirus would affect the current farming season.

”Well, coronavirus is a national pandemic that is effecting everybody and it involves the suspension of large gathering.

”I think that individual farmers can go to their farm as they are not going there in multitude.

”In the areas where we have clusters of farmland, the farmers have been scattered more than five meters apart,” the chairman said.

According to him, with all these measures, the farmers are free to farm as they do not know when the ravaging global pandemic will end.

”If we keep waiting to see the end of the pandemic, it may be too late for farming and that will cause food scarcity in the state.

”Prepare your farmland and watch out for consistency of the rainfall before planting to avoid waste of resources,” Eze advised.

Edited By: Moses Solanke/Grace Yussuf
(NAN)



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Food Security: Farmer calls for fertiliser subsidy

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A farmers’ leader in Rivers has pleaded with the Federal Government to subsidise fertilisers and other agro inputs to enhance agricultural activities in the 2020 farming season.


Mr Godwin Akandu, the President, Etche Farmers’ Cooperative Union said subsidising fertilisers and other inputs would enhance productivities during this year’s farming season.

Akandu told the Nigeria News Agency on Friday in Port Harcourt that the impact of coronavirus pandemic might cause food shortage and hunger.

He said that government should think ahead by ensuring that agro inputs and fertilisers were massively provided ahead of the planting season.

“I commend the government for proactive steps taken towards containing the coronavirus disease so far.

“My candid suggestion is that measures should also be put in place to ensure fertilisers and other inputs are made available to ensure we have foods on our tables.

“Lack of access to fertilisers and agro chemicals would definitely affect food sufficiency not only in the state but the country in general,’’ he said.

Akandu stressed the need for law enforcement agents to abide by the directive to allow food processing outlets to provide foods to Nigerians amidst the restriction of movement due coronavirus.

According to him, the activities of security operatives have adversely affected the processing and supply chain, especially in the processing and selling of agro products such as garri and other cassava value chain.

“A huge percentage of our buyers hardly come to our local markets due to the sit-at-home directive by government.

“Presently, we have been harvesting and processing cassava and these produce and other by-products have very short storage period since we do not have advance technology of storage facilities yet,” he said.

He urged government to further enforce its e-wallet and Growth Enhancement Programs (GES) system where farmers usually got there fertilisers via digital distribution platforms.

Edited By: Francis Onyeukwu/Grace Yussuf
(NAN)



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COVID-19: Assocition lauds FG on release of grains, calls for equitable distribution

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Dr Tunde Arosanyin, National Technical Adviser, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), has commended  President Muhammadu Buhari on the  release of 70,000 metric tons of grains from the National Grains Reserve as palliative to cushion the effect of the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Arosanyin who lauded the Federal Government in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Friday in Abuja, noted that the palliative measure put in place by the president was a welcome development by farmers.

Arosanyin, who is also the National Coordinator, Zero Hunger Commodity Association, said that the  grains was to be distributed to the poor and vulnerable in the country.

According to him, this is a step in the right direction to advance agriculture despite the economic lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that the fear of many Nigerians was the distribution channels and methods in view of the poor database of the vulnerable in the country.

“ It is argued that many people living outside IDP camps are vulnerable, the disabled are vulnerable, there are people below the poverty line that live in both rural and urban slums who may not be reached .

He also commended Mr President for the reduction in  pump price of PMS (petrol) from N145 per liter to N125 per liter initially and now to N123.50 per liter saying,  “These are great efforts no doubt by the Federal Government.”

He, however, urged the government to  ensure compliance to the new pump price by distributors and retailers of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) to the public through monitoring and availability .

Arosanyin added  that  that is the only way the effort of government would have a positive impact on the citizens.

NAN recalls that president Muhammadu Buhari, had approved the release of 70,000 metric tons of grains from the National Strategic Reserve for distribution to vulnerable Nigerians to cushion the effect of the lockdown.

 The first tranche of about 6,000 metric tons would go to Lagos, Ogun and the FCT, while the remaining would  go to other frontline states in the fight against COVID-19 .

Edited By: Modupe Adeloye and Isaac Ukpoju
(NAN)



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Lockdown: Poultry association demands palliative for producers of egg, day old chicks

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The Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) says government at all levels should consider granting some palliatives to Egg, Day Old Chicks (DOCs) and feed producers unable to sell produce due to lockdown measures adopted by governments.


Mr Ezekiel Ibrahim, the President of the association, made the appeal in a statement on Friday in Abuja,.

He said that such palliative would cushion the effect of the lockdown on the producers.

According to him, the input suppliers and other category  of  farm service providers who are  critical to the food security    survival of the country should as well be considered in the palliative measures.

Ibrahim identified the poultry industry as the worst hit with lockdown measures taken by various state governments in  restricting inter-state transportation to curtail further spread of Coronavirus pandemic.

He added that it had deterred the farmers from marketing their products.

The PAN president further noted that the restrictions on inter-state  movement of vehicles by the various states governments would worsen the food and protein supply situation in the country.

This, he maintained, was especially that ‘FOOD’ is  considered as very essential items for human health and survival.

He described the situation of the poultry products market as unstable at the moment.

“If urgent steps are not taken to remove the restriction on vehicles conveying such critical poultry like DOCs, meat, eggs, feeds and drugs, daily needed by all Nigerians.

“The poultry industry “which is on the part of becoming the mainstay of the Nigerian livestock industry might be completely destroyed.

“lt is the prayers of the members of the National Executive Council and the entire membership of PAN that government at all levels should consider the plight of poultry farmers at the moment.

“Their considerations should be by relaxing the movement of  vehicles regulation for all means of transportation carrying Day-Old-Chicks, Eggs, Poultry feeds.

“This should also affect input and any other production inputs like  Maize, Soyabeans and Offals for the continued production of poultry products.

“As poultry is food and therefore should be considered as essential items and services.

“It is important to relax and make flexible the rules that restrict  movement of all kinds of vehicles.

“I am appealing to government at all levels to adjust the regulations to allow transports – trucks and buses carrying inbound supplies or outbound products of food, chicken and DOCs and other

products to be allowed to operate to ensure supplies continuity of essential products.

“These trucks must have means of identification to enable law  enforcement agencies identify them easily,” Ibrahim said.

The president decried that all the populace were at the moment  facing the most difficult period of our national lives with the  outbreak of the dreaded Coronavirus.

He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the wisdom to initiate the policy of producing locally what we eat and consume as a nation.

Ibrahim, however, noted that without such initiative the food security of the country could have been threatened with the complete lockdown of the country as a result of COVID-19 outbreak.

“We should all imagine what the situation could be today if we are to rely on import of basic food items when the major source of our revenue Petroleum Product Price have collapsed and the entire world system in chaos, confusion and disarray.

“As an association of poultry producers, we are fully in support of the Federal Government on all measures taken so far to improve the health and economy of the nation and to curtail further spread of the deadly virus.

“We are in support of the closure of all the airports and the land  borders,” he said.

Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Muhammad Suleiman Tola
(NAN)



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NAFDAC uncovers establishment selling expired Agro-chemical inputs in Borno

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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) said it had uncovered an establishment engaged in alleged illegal sale of unwholesome and expired agro-chemical inputs in Maiduguri.


Malam Nasiru Mato, the agency’s Zonal Director, disclosed Thursday in an interview with  Nigeria News Agency in Maiduguri.

He said  the agency made the discovery during mop-up activities at the Maiduguri Central market following intelligence report.

Mato said various expired and unregistered products worth over N25 million, were seized during the raid.

He listed some of the products to include; glycel, agrosyler micronutrients fertiliser, NPK gel fertiliser, fel fertilzers with urea and geidvap insect killer, among others.

“The Agency’s mandate for zero-tolerance and fight against unwholesome substandard regulated products must be sustained.

“The Agency cannot close its eyes and watch unpatriotic citizens continue to do harm and damage to the health of the people.

“We are calling on marketers of agro-allied inputs to play the game by the rule by keying into laid-down procedures as stipulated in NAFDAC Act CAP N1 LFN 2004 and accompanying regulations and guidelines,” he said.

Mato emphasised that unregistered and expired agro-chemicals could have possible detrimental effect on the environment and toxic to users too.

He called on the public not to hesitate furnishing NAFDAC with credible information that would assist the agency in fishing out violators, adding that the long arm of the law would not leave any act of sabotage go unpunished.

Edited By: Yakubu Uba
(NAN)

 



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COVID-19, threat to food security-Experts

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Prof. Veronica Obatolu, the Executive Director, Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, says Covid-19 remains a threat to food security due to the negative effects on production and research.


Obatolu told the Nigeria News Agency on Thursday in Ibadan that the pandemic was raging at a time the country was entering the new cropping season.

She said the effects on production would be immediate as manifested in reduction in supply with an increase in demand and subsequent increase in cost and reduced accessibility due to limited poor crop production plan and execution.

Obatolu said agriculture as a labour-intensive enterprise involves various stakeholders who were now negatively impacted on by the lockdown.

“Markets also are closed down while the effect on research may not be noticed now although there is serious negative effect on the agricultural value chain system.

“Agricultural research is time set, requires constant periodic observations and support services such as constant power supply among other conditions.

“In the absence of any of the required conditions at any point, the validity and accuracy of the result of such research if not terminated cannot be guaranteed, resulting in loss of time and resources and reduction in research output.

“The longer the scourge of the pandemic, the longer the curtailment strategies and the greater the negative impact on research activities and research output of the period,” she said.

She further said that the consequences of these were food scarcity, high cost as well as poor distribution.

” Based on these, food crisis looms in Nigeria unless immediate measures are taken to keep food supply chain active to reduce the effects of the pandemic across the food production system,” she said.

While commending efforts to contain the spread of the virus, Obatolu urged government at all levels to provide facilities and equipment for personnel involved in containing the pandemic.

Also speaking, Dr Idris Badiru, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development at the University of Ibadan, said the effect of the lockdown on the agricultural sector could vary from one enterprise to the other.

“It will definitely have a negative effect on food security.

“The gravity will however depend on the enterprise, this is definitely not the time to hoard produce in a bid to make excessive profits,” he said.

Badiru called on all stakeholders to see the lockdown as a trying period and therefore strive to be more patriotic.

To survive the pandemic, he said the agricultural sector must have access to a fair share of the economic stimulus package of the Federal Government.

“Agricultural loans need to be restructured in line with the realities of the time and mass mediated extension services needed to be fully deployed now to reduce physical contact with the farmers among other strategies.

“Farmers should endeavor to practise social distancing as much as possible whenever they are meeting with their clients; we should develop online marketing channels this time for produce to reduce physical contacts in future.

“The agric sector will be affected negatively because some inputs may not be readily available as they were before the outbreak due to logistic constraints.

“We appreciate the government’s efforts in containing the spread of the pandemic so far.

” It means that they are taking the livelihood of the people into consideration.

” We should all cooperate to survive this trying time,” he said.

(
Edited By: Mufutau Ojo)
(NAN)



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