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Agriculture

Anchor Borrower: 5, 814 rice farmers get inputs for 2019 dry farming season in Plateau

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Inputs
By Polycarp Auta Jos, Feb. 14, 2019 (NNN) CBN says 5, 814 rice farmers have been presented with various farm inputs under the Anchor Borrower programme of the Federal Government for the 2019 dry season rice farming in Plateau.

Mrs Helen Temsten, the Head, Development Finance Office (DFO) in the Jos office of the CBN, said this while presenting the inputs to the beneficiaries on Thursday in Jos.

According to Temsten, the gesture is aimed at boosting rice production in the state.

She said that the programme, which was brain of the CBN was for promoting the production and consumption of locally produced goods.

“A lot of goods that can be produce locally in Nigeria are being imported into the country and that has negatively affected our economy.

“So, the CBN thought it wise to develop a programme that will support farmers and boost local production and consumption as well as reduce importation.

“For this year’s dry season farming season, 5, 814 farmers will benefit from the programme,’’ she said.

She said that 612 farmers had benefitted from the prgramme for 2018 dry season farming and 5,388 farmers benefitted for the same year’s wet season.

Temsten said that the programme was a single digit loan granted to farmers payable after 18 months from the date of collection.

She urged the beneficiaries to put what was given them into good use and warned against defaulting.

Dr Hosea Finangwai, the Plateau Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural development, commended the Federal Government for the prgramme, adding that it would go a long way in boosting rice production in the country.

“With the efforts put in place to support rice farmers in the country, by 2020 we shall hit a production level of 10 million metric tonnes and that will totally end importation in the country,” he said.

Finangwai called on the beneficiaries to put the gesture into good use to boost rice production in the state and country at large.

Earlier, Mr Joshua Bitrus, the Chairman of Rice Farmers Association (RIFAN) thanked government for the gesture and assured that the association would ensure timely payment of the loan.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NNN) reports that some of the items presented were fertilisers, pumping machines, chemicals among others. (NNN)
AZA/GY
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Edited by Grace Yussuf

Entertainment

Career: Unilorin trains children on anchoring radio talk show

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The University of Ilorin management says its radio, 89.3FM has trained some Primary school pupils on methods of anchoring special live broadcasts on the radio.

According to the University of Ilorin Bulletin issued on Monday, the training is part of its sustained effort to promote the community service mandate of the University to its environment.

The publication stated that the children were drawn from various schools within the Tanke Community of Ilorin, the University’s immediate host community.

It stated that the pupils were trained and made to handle most of the routine programmes of the radio station for the day.

“Among the scheduled programmes handled by the pupils were the station’s daily newspaper review programme tagged “Top Highlight”, the various day’s news bulletins in English.

Also ‘Wednesday Give-away on Radio’ an audience phone-in programme in which callers win various gift items; as well as Children’s Variety, a discussion programme in which children-related issues were discussed”.

The publication said that at the end of the programmes, the children expressed satisfaction and happiness for having the opportunity to broadcast live on radio.

“They said that the opportunity has ignited the urge in some of them to pursue a career in the journalism profession, especially the broadcast aspect.

“Speaking on behalf of others, Samuel Jato of St. Joseph College, Ilorin, appreciated the management of Unilorin FM for the opportunity given to them to have first time and professional experience in broadcasting.

“Jato stated that his love for radio has increased while his inquisitiveness to know what is talking on radio means has also been satisfied,” it said.

The publication added that other children who also participated in the special Children’s Day broadcast were Olatundun Olawuyi from Hillspring Montessori School, Tanke; and Adekunle Quadri from C & S College, Sabo Oke, Ilorin.

“Addressing the children after their radio programmes, the Director of Corporate Affairs, University of Ilorin, Mr. Kunle Akogun, stated that the management of the radio station designed the special Children’s Day programme as part of its Corporate Social Responsibilities obligation to the University’s immediate host community.

“He added that this is to identify with the children who are the leaders of tomorrow.

“Akogun pointed out that the programme is also a means of identifying the talents of the kid-participants toward assisting them to make a viable career choice early in life,” it said.

Akogun also advised the children to face their studies squarely and plan adequately for their future.

“He also advised them to set realistic goals for themselves, a situation which he said will make them focus more on result oriented programmes on radio and television rather than just watching movies and listening to frivolous programmes.

“Also speaking, the Ag. Station Manager of Unilorin FM, Mr. Idris Alooma, appreciated the Director of Corporate Affairs, for his prompt approval of the special Children’s Day programme on the radio station when it was proposed to him.

“Alooma, however, advised primary and secondary schools in Kwara to establish press clubs in their various schools, which he said will enhance the student’s learning process and bring the positive aspect of the society closer to them in their various schools”.


Edited By: Remi Koleoso and Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)

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Economy

5 vessels laden with fuel, wheat await anchorage at Delta ports – NPA

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The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) says five vessels laden with fuel and Wheat are awaiting anchorage at the Delta Ports.

The NPA made this known in its daily report, Shipping Position, a copy of which was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Warri.

NPA said that the ships were awaiting anchorage at the Escravos, Koko anchorage and the Bennett Island.

It listed the vessels to include: Remi, MT St Ilhaam, MV Shark Island, Ocean Progress and Matrix Pride.

MT St Ilhaam, MV Shark Island, Ocean Progress laden with PMS, Wheat and Gas oil respectively are to discharge inward.

Matrix Pride conveying AGO is to discharge and Remi vessel is awaiting maintenance,” it stated.

It added that three ships laden with PMS and AGO were waiting at the Fair Bouy to discharge inward.

It also said that 17 vessels laden with bitumen, AGO, Containers, Tiles/Float glass among others were being expected at the Delta ports between May 23 and June 6.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Economy

3 vessels await anchorage at Delta ports — NPA

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The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on Thursday says three ships laden with Wheat, Butane gas and others are awaiting anchorage at the Delta Ports.

The NPA disclosed this in its daily publication, ‘shipping position’ a copy of which was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Warri.

According to the publication, the vessels were: Remi: MV African Jacaranda and MT LPG Laperouse and they are awaiting anchorage at the Escravos and Koko anchorage.

“Two of the vessels are to discharge Wheat and Butane gas at Escravos and Koko anchorage respectively, while the other is at the Escravos for maintenance,” the publication stated.

The Authority said that six ships laden with fuel and others were waiting at the Fair bouy to discharge products.

The publication also stated that nine vessels laden with fuel, bitumen, steel billet and other products were being expected at the Delta ports between May 22 and May 30.

NPA made three declarations on MT Matrix S Ilu, MT St Ilhaam and S L Aremu all laden with PMS on Thursday,” the authority stated.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Agriculture

COVID-19: Farmers call for review of anchor borrowers interest rate

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Maize Farmers Association of Nigeria (MAAN), has called for zero interest rate on the 2020 Anchor Borrowers loan to farmers by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to cushion the effect of Coronavirus (COVID-19), outbreak on farmers.

President of the Association, Dr. Bello Abubakar, made the call on Friday in Abuja, while speaking on the effect of the lockdown on agricultural activities.

Abubakar said the call followed the loss encountered by irrigation maize farmers and unavailability of inputs for the beginning of wet season farming.

He said delay in the start of wet season farming was due to the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown and restriction on movement in some parts of the country, which had made access to farms and inputs impossible for farmers.

“About the interest rate; because of this problem, our farmers have suffered, especially irrigation farmers and early planting farmers who have lost everything.

“We are pleading with the CBN to give us zero interest rate for this year’s Anchor Borrower programme, so that farmers will be encouraged to go to the farm, produce and meet our target,” he said.

He, however, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for releasing 70,000 metric tonnes of grains from silos in the country.

Abubakar said the move was  a commendable one as the whole 70,000 metric tonnes, excluding the ones that went to processors, were produced by local farmers.

The Federal Government directed the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to release food commodity from different silos to all the states of the federation, which is 70,000 metric tonnes.

“This large quantity was produced by our farmers here in Nigeria, apart from the ones already purchased by food commodity processors,” he said.

The MAAN president said government should liaise with the CBN to deal directly with commodity farmers on the Anchor Borrowers loan, instead of using contractors that often shortchanged them.

The CBN is giving our farmers loan to produce after which some off-takers will come and buy this produce from our farmers or our association at a very low price

The Federal Government can liaise with the government to off-take directly from the farmers and pay them, instead of paying N15, 000 per 100 kg to contractors, who in turn buy at N8, 500  from the farmers,” he added.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Nyisom Fiyigon Dore
(NAN)

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General news

I anchored my faith in God, says UCH MD as he relives COVID-19 experience

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The Chief Medical Director of University College Hospital(UCH), Ibadan,  Prof. Jesse Otegbayo, took to Twitter to speak about his experience with coronavirus, saying he anchored his faith in God during what he described as “the dark period.”

The UCH boss expressed gratitude to God for the pleasant turn of events in a series of tweets posted via his @UchCmd on Thursday night.

“It made the news on Sunday, the 29th of March, 2020, that I tested positive for Covid-19, with details of the result indicating that I had low viral load and high CT (immunity index).

“As recommended by NCDC, repeat tests were conducted on Tuesday 31st of March, 2020 and Monday, 6th of April, 2020 and I’m pleased to declare that they both returned NEGATIVE.

” Throughout the dark period, I anchored my faith in God and declared His words over my life while taking recommended medications.

“I am deeply grateful to GOD for the pleasant turn of events and I say a big thank you to everyone for the prayers, love, messages and support shown me during this trying period.

“I am especially grateful to my wife, children, my extended family, to the pastors of Vine Branch Church, staff of the University College Hospital, Ibadan, entire indigenes of Otan Ile, Committee of CMDs/CEOs of Tertiary hospitals, staff of the University of Ibadan, friends and well wishers across the globe, and all the healthcare workers who were involved in my care.

“I appreciate the sacrifices made and I pray that the good Lord will repay your kindness,” he tweeted.

Otegbayo advised Nigerians to  adhere to the safety guidelines stipulated by the NCDC while also ensuring that they eat healthy to boost their immunity.

“As we all continue to adhere to NCDC safety guidelines for containing this pandemic, let us please pay attention to our personal hygiene, eat healthy, take measures that will boost our immune system and get good rest.

” Be vigilant and please, stay safe,” he said.

(
Edited By: Mufutau Ojo)
(NAN)

 

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APO

Algeria’s main lab anchors COVID-19 response

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When a sample sent to the referral laboratory in the capital Algiers gave a positive result, the Ministry of Health announced Algeria’s first COVID-19 case on 26 February, becoming the second African country to confirm the virus. Since then, dozens of people have caught the infection. Unlike years past, it now takes just two hours to analyse such specimen. In addition to speed, the laboratory is also striving to ensure testing integrity – an important cog in the efforts to halt the spread of COVID-19.

Sample collection, transportation and analysis are critical steps in detecting the virus. To be effective, the collection of laboratory samples must be done in accordance with strict rules.  The diagnostic test consists of a swab — a long stick with a piece of cotton or gauze at the end — taken from the throat and nose of the suspect case. “When suspect cases are sent to referral hospitals and placed in isolation, the samples are sent to our laboratory to confirm if they have COVID-19. Once the sample arrives at the lab, it is logged and placed in a microbiological security station for analysis,” says Dr Fawzi Derrar, the acting director of the Institut Pasteur d’Alger (IPA).

The collection is just the start of the process. Subsequent steps are crucial, too. “There are cases where samples are declared inadmissible. For example, it’s only valid if it’s accompanied by the right documentation,” Dr Jonas Nsenda Nkongolo, a World Health Organization (WHO) expert on infectious diseases, said during a Rapid Response Team training course in Algiers in early March. 

“Correct documentation should ensure that the identity of the person is clearly and legibly stated. When this is not done properly, the test result will not be assigned to the right person and as a result any measures that follow, such as isolation or care, will be distorted,” he added.

Handle with care

The IPA is working to overcome other challenges including the proper handling and transportation of samples to the laboratory in Algiers. “According to common standards, for precise results, the samples must be handled with the utmost care. Unfortunately, we have come across cases where the officers who transport the material mishandle it,” Dr Derrar explains, adding that training is essential to tackle such obstacles.

“It is also important to respect the timeframe for transporting the sample, and in particular, to ensure that it is stored and transported at a temperature of 4°C, so in a refrigerated cooler, say. If it is placed outside this ideal temperature, it no longer conforms to the standard. It must also be transported correctly and not placed in a horizontal position or upside down. For this reason, it is important to place the samples in a rack that indicates the direction of storage with an arrow to keep them upright throughout the journey,” he says.

“Long before this outbreak, WHO had already supported us through staff training. The support of WHO has helped us to perform better and we can now meet the high demand resulting from the coronavirus epidemic,” says Dr Derrar.

“In recent years, we have put in place uniform procedures for the receipt of samples and laboratory analysis. WHO has provided us with sufficient laboratory equipment, diagnostic tests, means of transport and detection kits. This has made a notable difference. A few years ago, especially for the MERS coronavirus in 2014, it took us a full day to confirm a case. With COVID-19, we get the results in two hours.” Dr Derrar explained that now only 0.1% of the samples are invalid. Since the start of the outbreak the laboratory has received some 3000 samples of which 302 turned out positive for COVID-19 as of 25 March 2020.

Decentralizing

As the coronavirus epidemic was spreading in other regions, WHO was already stepping up its support to African countries, in particular by providing laboratories such as the one at the IPA with a large quantity of test kits to strengthen their diagnostic capacity. To accelerate its capacity to diagnose COVID-19 and overcome the obstacles posed by the long distances involved in transporting samples, four laboratories have been identified in other Algerian provinces to serve as referral laboratories under the supervision of the IPA lab.

Given its expertise and the current context, the IPA has become a key player in the response to coronavirus, routinely consulted and involved in decision-making. “When we confirmed the coronavirus and with the trend we observed, our technical advice was to instantly limit the movement of people and put an end to mass gatherings in order to stop the spread of the disease,” says Derrar.

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Politics

Reps to probe CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Scheme

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The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the Anchor Borrowers’ Scheme (ABS) of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over non-recovery of N81.5 billion from companies.

This was sequel to a unanimous adoption of a motion by Rep. Sergius Ogun (PDP-Edo) at plenary on Thursday.

Moving the motion, Ogun said that the CBN in line with its mandate, established the scheme  which was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2015.

He said that the idea was to create a link between anchor companies involved in processing and Small Holder Farmers (SHFs) of key agricultural commodities.

Ogun said that the thrust of the ABS was provision of loans to SHFs to boost production of key agricultural commodities like rice, maize, wheat, cotton, roots and tubers crops among others.

“Out of the N104.2 billion provided by CBN for the Scheme, a total of N86.6 billion was disbursed to the anchor companies and the sum of N81.5 billion is yet to be recovered from the defaulting anchor companies.

“With the non-recovery of the outstanding N81.5 billion other potential small holder farmers who will have been beneficiaries of the scheme are being denied the opportunity to benefit from the scheme,” he said.

The lawmaker said that the non-recovery of the said balance of the loan from the anchor companies was negatively affecting the overall objective of the scheme.

In his ruling, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila mandated the Committees on Agricultural Production and Services and Banking and Currency to investigative the issue and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.

Edited By: Cecilia Odey/Ali Baba-Inuwa
(NAN)

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Agriculture

Anchor borrowers: Farmers urge FG to investigate NIRSAL

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Coalition of farmers under the auspices of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) has urged the Federal Government to investigate the activities of the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL).

The association, which included Tomatoes Farmers Association, Maize Farmers Association, Farfajiya 1 Rice Farmers Cooperative Association among others made the call at a peaceful march on Wednesday in Abuja.

The associations were holding some placards with various inscriptions such as:

“NIRSAL is a fraud. NIRSAL is killing farmers”, “Anchor borrowers programme is a lie’’.

“CBN NIRSAL is diverting farmers’ money’’.

“NIRSAL sits on N200 billion seed funds among others”.

Mr Buhari Kura, member of AFAN, Kano State, who noted that NIRSAL under CBN was saddled with the responsibility of giving loans to farmers to boost their farming activities, however, alleged that the organisation had denied the farmers of loans.

He decried that members of the association that were supposed to be direct beneficiaries of the loans were not given, describing the problem as a big gap in the nation’s  bid to achieve food security.

“Our association engaged in dry season farming, wet season farming and all kinds of farming in tomatoes, rice, maize, cucumber among others but to our dismay the organisation is not doing what is supposed to do.

“NIRSAL is not taking care of the farmers, we that are supposed to be the direct beneficiaries of the organisation service do not even benefit from these loans and this is a serious challenge to our farming activities.

“We are calling on the concerned authorities to please investigate the activities of NIRSAL, and to please come to our aid and rescue our situation because the leadership of the organisation is almost collapsing.

“We want the National Assembly, the Speaker, House Committee on Agriculture, the Senate Committee on Agriculture and security agencies to please investigate the organisation’s activities if possible, government should change the leadership completely so that we can have what is due to us,” he said.

Mr Shehu Umar, member Tomatoes Farmers Association

frowned at the marginalisation of their members by NIRSAL.

Umar said that none of the association’s members had accessed the loan for the past three years.

He however urged the government to change the organisation’s leadership to actualise the purpose of establishing the organisation, adding that it was set up to meet the demands of active farmers.

Similarly, Abdullahi Ibrahim, Secretary, Small Holders Farmers Association, Kano State, said the essence of the march was to impress on government their demands.

Ibrahim said that some of the members including himself, had applied for the loan through the organisation two to three times but no response.

“We want to improve our agricultural production but no support. Up till now no help is given to farmers for over three years. ‘’

Mr Farfajiya Gambo, Farfajiya 1 Rice Farmers Cooperative Association said the peaceful march was for the association to exercise their constitutional rights.

Gambo said that it was to draw attention to the difficulties facing the agricultural sector and as well solicit government intervention.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that all efforts to get reactions of the Managing Director of NIRSAL proved abortive.

However, an official of the organisation in the Media Department, who did not want the name mentioned, told NAN that an official statement would be issued on the matter.

NIRSAL is a 500million dollars Non-Bank Financial Institution wholly-owned by the CBN, was created to redefine, measure, re-price and share agribusiness-related credit risks in Nigeria.

It was established in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and Nigerian Bankers’ Committee in 2013.

NIRSAL’s mandate is to stimulate the flow of affordable finance and investments into the agricultural sector by de-risking the agribusiness finance value chain, fixing agricultural value chains, building long-term capacity and institutionalising incentives for agricultural lending through its five strategic pillars.

The pillars are Risk Sharing, Insurance, Technical Assistance, Incentives and Rating.

Edited By: Grace Yussuf
(NAN)

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Metro

Ogun Govt. to employ additional 75,000 youths for CBN Anchor Programme

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Gov. Dapo Abiodun of Ogun says the state government will employ an additional 75,000 youths for the State Anchor Programme Scheme being supported by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Abiodun made this known to State House correspondents after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Thursday.

According to him, the state government has already employed 14,000 people when the scheme was inaugurated, saying the CBN has made Ogun the model for the South West.

“We also came to discuss with the President what we are doing in agriculture and the support that we need for that. We have gotten enough support today, we have attributed it to the President food security programme.

“We have launched the Anchor Programme Scheme, today the CBN has made Ogun State the model state for the South West, we have employed about 14,000 people last eight month in that programme between now and end of the year we hope to employ another 50,000 to 75,000 in that programme.

“You will agree with me that each person is about three other people by multiplying effect.

“So, we have come to solicit for support of the President with further needed support of the CBN and the federal government in the agricultural programme.

“These are the things that we came to discuss with Mr President and I am glad to say that we got a lot of attention; we got a lot of support and that we should be seeing that manifest in the next few weeks,’’ he added.

The governor further disclosed that he requested for the transfer of  Shagamu to Ikorodu road to Lagos and Ogun state governments for proper maintenance.

He said the call had become imperative in view of the socio-economic viability of the road, saying “it is in that road that we have the biggest NNPC depot.”

“There are so many factories on that road and most of these factories have gone moribund.

“Trucks drivers are also refusing to go and load on that road. If that road is transfer to both Lagos and Ogun state, we will commercialize it we will have these road rehabilitated, constructed and upgraded.’’

Abiodun revealed that already the two States had secured the necessary financial support for the reconstruction of the affected road, if released by the federal government.

He added: “On the 26thof this month by the grace of God, we will be turning the sword on the Ijebu-Ode to Epe road. This is a state road, Lagos state has done it to their border, we are completing the 14 kilometers between that border and Ogun state and that road will be completed in one year.

“But I believe that when that road is completed, people coming from the east, Ondo, Ijebu, Ibadan will have an option, they don’t have to go to Lagos – Ibadan expressway.

“This will ease the ability to do business in Ogun State. These are one of the things we came to discuss with Mr President.’’

Edited By: Felix Ajide

 

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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