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Bauchi rice farmers to adopt modern technologies – Official



The Bauchi State chapter, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) on Monday said it would continue to adopt modern farming technologies to boost production.

Dr Yahya Yusuf, the Chairman of the Association in the state, made this known in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Bauchi.

Yusuf said that the flooding experienced in the state recently had affected the farmlands of members of the association in 20 local government areas of the state.

“The state RIFAN will continue to employ modern farming technologies to ensure that healthy and high quality rice are produced in the state,” Yusuf said.

According to him, the association has toured the 20 local government areas to inspect the affected farmlands to compile the facts and figures of the areas submerged by the floods.

He said that the association would collect and analyse data on the flooded farmlands to quantify the loss.

Yusuf said that the disaster would not affect the expected quality of yields.

He said that the association had procured adequate and affordable fertiliser to rice farmers in the state to enable them to have a good harvest in spite of the disaster.



Edited by Folorunso Poroye/Grace Yussuf


Lagos Govt inaugurates reform to end sales of unwholesome red meat



The Lagos State Government on Thursday inaugurated a three-pronged reform to sanitise the red meat value chain, end its unwholesome sales and ensure consumption of healthy meat.

Prince Gbolahan Lawal, State Commissioner for Agriculture, said at the occasion that the state government was committed to sanitising the value chain.

Lawal, flagging off the pilot scheme of the reform at Ita Faji Market in Lagos Island, said this would be done by embarking on three-pronged strategies with the acronym A.T.M: Abattoir, Transportation and Market.

The commissioner said that the reform was in conformity with Section 4 of the Cap M3 Meat Inspection Law of Lagos State and the Forth Schedule (Regulation 33) of the Law.

He added that the reform would not only ensure the consumption of wholesome meat by the people, but it would also facilitate export of red meat to other countries.

Lawal said that the reform would be piloted in four local governments including: Lagos Island, Ita Faji Market; Ikorodu, Igando and Badagry axis.

He said the reform would go live across the 20 local government areas and 37 LCDA on Jan. 5, 2020.

“The pilot of the A.T.M reform starts today and it will last one month; thereafter, we will begin full implementation across the state on Jan. 5.

“The three-strategies, which is Abattoir, Transport and Market is to guarantee the safety and health of the populace by ensuring that only certified animals are slaughtered and wholesome beef is available in our markets.

“This will also boost the international recognition of beef from the state, thus opening up an export portal which will be a source of foreign exchange to the state government,” he said.

Lawal wondered why some African countries like Botswana, Namibia, Ethiopia and Kenya could export meats to Europe, Saudi Arabia and other developed countries and Nigeria, a naturally endowed and big country, could not do same.

“Botswana alone exports about 9,000 tons of meat to Europe and 10,000 tons to Saudi Arabia, and also enjoys unlimited preferential market access to the European Union, competing with meat exporting countries like Brazil.

“So, rather than only producing meat for local consumption, Botswana exports meat that is hygienically tested and proven to meet the European market standard.

“In the same vein, Namibia also exports meats to about 18 European countries and China.

“Its meat exports industry is quite lucrative and a sure revenue generator for the country.

“The question is: how did our brother African countries are able to do this while naturally endowed and big country like Nigeria is not able to do this?

“The answer is solely because of the reforms they have been able to carry out in their red meat value chains which enable their red meat to meet the international standard,” he said.

Lawal said that it was important for the state government to raise the standard of slaughtering, processing and marketing of red meat for hygienic reason.

He said the reform would also bring activities in the value chain to international best practices, particularly as the government was committed to becoming a 21st century economy.

The commissioner said that series of engagements were held with critical stakeholders like the Butchers Association in the state, Market women and men, concessionaires and franchises, among others.

“Today, after about 12 stakeholders’ engagement, starting on the Sept. 11, the stakeholders in the red meat value chain agreed with the ministry.

“That it is of great importance for us to reform the red meat value chain in order to boost the profitability and productivity of the value chain.

“In time past, the processing of the animals has been a major challenge for the government of Lagos State.

“Often times, we have had to engage law enforcement officers to clean up the system by clamping down on illegal abattoirs.

“But, we still discover that they continue to spring up; the best way of attacking the challenge is for us to wait for them in the market.

“If we make sure that they do not have access to the market, with that, they will be forced to work with us in line with the law of the land.

“That is why we decided to embark on the reform A.T.M,” he said.

Also, Dr Henrietta Ojuri, Chief Veterinary Officer in the ministry, explained that with the new reform, all butchers were henceforth expected to patronise only registered abattoirs and obtain a receipt.

Ojuri said that butchers were not allowed to transport meat in any other vehicles apart from the Eko Refrigerated meat van and they should wear white coat with cloves and a cutting table with net.

Commenting, Mr Kamal Salau-Bashua, Chairman, Lagos Island East Local Government, commended the state government for introducing the reform.

Also, Alhaji Wasiu Akande, Chairman, Butchers Association, Lagos Island, said that many opportunities were embedded in the new reform, urging his members to embrace it.

Edited & Vetted By: Olagoke Olatoye

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Minister tasks research institutes on agric. sector development



The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, on Thursday stressed the need for research to be taken seriously in view of its importance to agricultural development.

Nanono made this known when members of boards of the National Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (NARIS), federal colleges of agriculture (FCA), and National Agricultural Institutes (ARCN) paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.

In a statement signed by the Assistant Director of Information in the ministry, Mrs Eno Olotu, the minister said that no agricultural revolution could take place without research.

He emphasised the need for the various agricultural research institutes in the country to focus on developing the agricultural sector through their work.

Nanono noted that the institutes remained the engine of growth in the sector.

“The research institutes remain invaluable in any revolution that will turn around the fortune of a nation.

“There is the need for synergy to address issues affecting the institutes, because they are very strategic in the next level agenda of this administration.

“This government has come to develop the agricultural sector.

“So, I want to be very serious with the research institutes; the aim is for them to focus their research on improved seeds that will be suitable to our environment for maximum yield.”

The minister noted that enormous opportunities abounded in the sector, and called on Nigerians to focus on making agriculture the hub of economic growth in the country.

Mr Adetunji Ajagbe, the Chairman of the Board of NARIs, ARCN and the FCA, expressed satisfaction with the minister’s interest in research.

Ajagbe further lauded the minister’s vision for agricultural transformation for national prosperity.

He pledged, on behalf of all the stakeholders, that efforts would be made to improve the capacity of the institutes in order to reinvigorate the sector for maximum production.

Edited & Vetted By: Oluyinka Fadare/Nyisom Fiyigon Dore

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Kebbi State Govt. to monitor agric equipment against diversion



The Kebbi State Government said it had set up a committee to monitor possible diversion of agricultural equipment distributed to 630 farmers in the state.

Alhaji Muhammad Lawal, the Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Agriculture made this known while briefing newsmen in Birnin Kebbi on Thursday.

He said that the committee was set up in collaboration with Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) and authorities of the 21 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state.

“You will recall that Gov. Atiku Bagudu recently launched distribution of agricultural equipment like power tillers, rippers and threshers to farmers with the sole aim of assisting them to reduce cost of production.

“Over 630 farmers were trained for 45 days on the use and maintenance of the equipment in order to serve as service providers within their respective localities in the 21 LGAs to reduce unemployment among youths.

“But to our dismay, information has reached us that some of the beneficiaries were planning to sell the equipment, hence we deemed it necessary to ensure that those equipment were not sold out to anybody as they were meant for the development of the state,” Lawal said.

According to him, the ministry reserves the right to revoke any sale and take possession of government property when the agreement and purpose of distributing of the equipment is violated.

He also warned that any person caught in the act of bargaining for such equipment, would be dealt with decisively.

“Any beneficiary who doesn’t want to utilise the equipment should bring it to the ministry for onward redistribution to those farmers in need in the state,” he said.

The state government had on Nov. 28, distributed 50 power tillers, 30 rippers and 80 threshers to youths and women cooperative groups drawn from the 21 LGAs of the state.

Edited & Vetted By: Ali Baba -Inuwa

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Nutritionist advises people to prepare meals using natural condiments



A nutritionist, Mrs Ezinne Njoku-Obi, has advised Nigerians to embrace healthier and natural alternatives and condiments  while preparing  their meals and stews.

The chef told the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos that Nigerians should be seasoning their meals, stews and soups with aromatic herbs such as: ginger, garlic, turmeric and the likes.

She said that they should desist from using processed stock cubes and other artificial seasonings or condiments for them to sustain their healthy eating habits.

“When you talk about healthy alternatives for cooking, you have to start with the foundation of the food and you can achieve that by using what we call flavourful foundation.

“This is the use of aromatic herbs and the particular bones for the type of protein you want to develop in your body system.

“If it is chicken you use, chicken bone; if it is fish or beef, you use the bones.

“If you are not allowed to take protein, you use aromatic vegetables and that form the foundation of your food.’’

She said that by doing that you would be automatically adding flavours to your food.

She said, “You do not need to add a lot of salt or processed stock cubes and all that into your meal or sauce.’’

The nutritionist said that it was possible to make meals without adding artificial condiments noting, that “healthy eating is a choice’’.

“There is a recipe for every meal; if you follow the recipe, you will get the same taste,’’ she said.

The nutritionist said that she had begun to create awareness on healthy alternatives in preparing meals and that she was doing it in a one-reach-one approach.

She said that if you should educate them on it using the social media platforms, they would always say that they still believed in their street food.

She said that through physical contact, she had been able to convince many and changed their perceptions.

“I am not against street food, I have friends that sell food and I tell them that they can prepare such food differently.

“Some people have changed but they still insist on using processed stock cubes,’’ she said.

Njoku-Obi also advised people against the consumption of excess cooking oil and urged them to start shifting to healthier cooking by using small quantity or not none at all.

“I am reaching out more to the younger generation. I train school leavers and they have begun to embrace the concept.’’

She said that some of them had also started to experiment what she had taught them at home for their parents to see.

She said that some parents that used to complain before that foods prepared by their children without adding stock cubes were beginning to embrace the change.

The nutritionist said that such parents had begun to find such meals tasty and delicious.

She said that by preaching the change from one person to another, some members of the public were gradually changing from their old ways of doing things.

“That is why we call it healthy living, it is a choice and a journey, not a destination.

“It is something you do until you die.

“Every day too, I am discovering new things, and better ways of cooking.’’

Njoku-Obi also said that on some occasions when people cook their stews, they might not need to add the cooking oil.

The nutritionist advised those who eat their chickens without removing their skins not to always add cooking oil to such stews.

She said, “I tell them that they do not need to add cooking oil as the skin of the chicken will generate enough cooking oil for such a stew.

“You notice that after making your stew with chicken that has its skin on, the amount of cooking oil in your stew becomes excessive.’’

She said that wives would be saving their cooking oil by restricting themselves to the quantity generated from the skins of their chickens.

“So, you take it one step at a time until you get to where you can convince people to always remove the skins of  chickens before cooking,’’ she said.

Edited & Vetted By: Abdulfatah Babatunde/ Peter Dada

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Stakeholders advocate effective implementation of agric policies



Stakeholders in the agricultural sector have called for effective implementation of agricultural policies for national development.

The stakeholders made the call in a communiqué issued on Wednesday in Ilorin at the close of the two-day programme tagged “Farm2Fork Dialogue”.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the programme with the theme, ”Eliminating the Economic Impediments to a Prosperous Commodity Agrobusiness”, was organized by AgroNigeria, a communication outfit.

In the communiqué, the stakeholders noted that the problem confronting the agriculture sector was lack of implementation of policies.

They said if policies in the agricultural sphere were well implemented by the government, the country would move progressively.

“Following the bold decisive step to close our borders, the people have to be culturally reoriented and support this approach by addressing our prodigal culture, providing a way to tap into Nigeria’s jail free card, which is Agriculture.

“The government should tackle the problem of late loans so agricultural produce will be available for every loan raised; and equally the government should provide good quality seedlings

“The government should create proactive policies at the grassroots that will benefit farmers in order to create jobs for the teeming Nigerian populace”, the communiqué added.

It also noted that the African Development Bank (AfDB) had resolved to partner with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) to promote the special agro-industrial processing zones (SAPZs) project targeted at increasing food production capacity and promoting local, regional and international trade.

“Research, policy and practice must converge to deliver value added agriculture where there will be increase in employment and a stable job creation for the youths in the country.

“The government should execute training programmes for youths to inculcate the knowledge of agriculture in youths for them to appreciate the potentials and advantages embedded in it.

“The government should partner with the private sector and ensure we eat what we grow and grow what we eat”, the stakeholders urged,” he said.

The forum also observed that planning should henceforth be approached from the grassroots and not only at the top level because farmers are the voice of the voiceless in the community.

It also advocated for a reduction in interest on government loans to farm ers to a maximum of not more than five per cent.

According to it, there is need for the introduction of structural marketing and contract farmers to enable farmers know who buys from them and at what price, quantity and quality they are buying the agro-commodities.

It urged stakeholders to pay more attention to the fourth revolution, where technology would be used to improve distribution and production efficiency.

It canvassed for a deliberate effort to develop the value chains whereby Nigeria’s potential in agriculture could be fully exploredn

This, it said,would address the issue of unemployment, poverty and provide a viable alternative to oil in foreign exchange earnings for the country.

It further stressed the need for the stakeholders to be more practical, more engaged and effectively take redundancies out of the production chain and value chain of agriculture in Nigeria.

Edited & Vetted By: Wale Ojetimi

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NGO wants youths exposed to opportunities in agribusiness



The Agricultural and Entrepreneurial Skills Development Initiative for Women and Youths (AESDIWY) has called for robust exposure of the youth to the great opportunities in agribusiness and agricultural value chains in the country.

Dr Modupe Ogunniyi, AESDIWY National Coordinator, made the call in Ilorin on Wednesday in her presentation at the Farm2Fork dialogue organised by AgroNigeria, a communication outfit.

Ogunniyi asserted that for government to succeed in its agricultural policies, there was a need for deeper engagement with Non-Governmental Organsiations (NGOs) and Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) who were closer to the grassroots.

“My NGO, in engagement with the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), have discovered that Nigerian youths are ready to take the lead, if provided the right knowledge, tools and enabling environment,” Ogunniyi said.

On food security and job creation, she said some NGOs and CBOs were already helping in that direction through “Master-Trainer Scheme”, a platform where young women and girls are trained based on their passions in agribusiness and agric value chains.

These areas, she said, included fish processing and marketing, catering services and running efficient restaurants among others after which they would be attached to successful entrepreneurs.

Edited & Vetted By: Wale Ojetimi

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