Chemical engineers call for policies to promote smart agricultural value chain



The Nigeria Society of Chemical Engneers, on Wednesday called for the formulation and implementation of policies that would promote smart agricultural value chain in the country.

The National President of the Society, Engr. Onochie Anyaoku, made the call at a press briefing ahead of their  49th annual conference, in Kaduna.

The theme of the conference is Enhancement of Agricultural value chin for economic development: the role of chemical engineering.

“Farmers should be taught on the use of ICT in value chain operation, provision of interest free loans, provision of physical infrastructures and formation and execution of good implementatable policies.”

Anyaoku further states that the chemical engineering sector could enhance agricultural value chain through production of better fertilizers and herbicides for increased yield and protection from pest and weeds.

“The chemical engineering sector can also engage in processing of agricultural raw materials into semi-finished products, packaging of finished products, enhancing the taste, looks and appeal of food”, he said.

Anyaoku said that the conference was aimed at bringing together policy markers, industrialists, the academia, research institutes, the private and public sectors among others to discuss and proffer solutions to agricultural and economic development.

He noted that the agricultural sector in the 1960s had contributed 85 percent of the Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings, 90 percent employment and about 80 percent of to Gross Domestic Product.

“Since the discovery of oil, agriculture has faced neglect; even though it’s no longer the leading foreign exchange earner, it remains the dominant economic activity in terms of employment.”

Anyaoku said chemical engineering, known for its role in oil and gas industry, could improve the agricultural sector through conversion of any primary material into immediate or end product like sugar.

He further said that materials and foods such as flour, beverages,vegetable oil, cement, fertilizers among other could also be chipped into the chemical process industry for better economic values.

Proffering solutions to the agricultural values chain, Anyaoku said that farmers should be linked to markets and adequate funds provided for inputs to improve efficiency.

NAN reports that the conference would hold from Nov. 14-16, in Kaduna.


Edited by Maharazu Ahmed


Maize farmers seek support on infrastructure, storage facilities



Maize growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPMAN) has pleaded with the federal and state governments to provide infrastructural and storage facilities to boost farmers’ output.

The association’s National President Edwin Uche made this appeal in an interview with Nigeria News Agency on Friday in Abuja.

Uche urged governments at the federal and state level to come to the aid of rural farmers by providing infrastructure, saying this would also ease the suffering of rural farmers.

“ Infrastructure is another key to agriculture because of the difficulties involved in moving agricultural produce from the rural to urban area.

“It is a herculean task if the challenge of infrastructure is not addressed, couple with the increase cost of production.

“We are therefore appealing to government to help by intervening in such critical area so that movement of inputs, goods and services can be easier for farmers,’’ he said.

The MAGPMAN president also appealed for intervention in storage facilities for farmers, saying storage was another big challenge confronting rural maize farmers.

“We are also advocating that government should make its silos flexible for associations to make use of these silos through those who have the benefit of getting the silos,’’ Uche said.

He added that if the cost of these silos were cheaper, associations could comfortably enjoin their members to store and make food available all year round.

“Government should please support us with storage facilities,’’ the MAGPMAN national president said.

Uche said MAGPMAN “is the apex body that drives maize value chain in Nigeria and addressing issues and challenges confronting maize farming in Nigeria”.

According to him, the association is highly positioned with the necessary capacity to drive home their objectives and deliver values to farmers and all stakeholders.

“We have the MAGPMAN dry season support scheme for specific states that have access to irrigation and water.

“The scheme is designed to advance farm inputs to our farmers at a low credit of 10 per cent interest rate for six months, the idea is for them to grow within six months,’’ he said.

He disclosed this came with an off taker infrastructure they had created, which makes it easier for them to absorb what the farmers had grown, ensuring the end value for growing those commodities.

Uche also said that to achieve this they had developed partnership with quality input service providers.

“Many seed companies are already working with the association, we are also working with agro-chemical organisation that will help advance quality agro-chemical that are fully tailored to the growth of maize in Nigeria.

“This partnership is important to ensure that we have enough maize, not just for the industrial sector but also for local consumption,” he said.

Edited by: Kayode Olaitan


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Nigeria can feed other African countries through FG’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme – Institute



Dr Ayobami Omotoso, President, Chartered Institute of Export and Commodity Brokers of Nigeria (CIECOBON), says that Nigeria will feed its citizens and other African countries with the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) of the Federal Government.

Omotoso made the assertion during the 2019 Award Presentation Ceremony held at the Institute’s Secretariat in Lagos on Thursday.

According to him, the Federal Government is readily available to assist farmers through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme and other windows through which money was released by Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) Plc.

According to him, NIRSAL is an organ of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that renders financial assistance to farmers, small and medium enterprises.

NIRSAL also has the mandate to stimulate the flow of affordable finance and investments into the agricultural sector by de-risking the agribusiness finance value chain and institutionalising incentives for agricultural lending through its five strategic pillars, namely: Risk Sharing, Insurance, Technical Assistance, Incentives and Rating.

With the support of government, Nigeria can now feed herself and even Africa as a whole. What we just need to do is to retrace our steps back to farm, process the commodities and make good gains.

The era of white collar job has come and gone. We need more entrepreneurs to grow our commodities for the local industries that will give employment to Nigerians and sell at international markets.

We appreciate the effort of the present administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari for closing the borders which is now of more benefits and gains to Nigeria,” Omotoso said.

He urged members to be ready to serve to improve the standard of the institute.

Omotoso appealed to stakeholders for support to enable the institute pay the N2. 5 million loan used in renting another befitting secretariat, saying that the institute also needed 1million to furnish the secretariat.

He said that the institute honoured five founders with meritorious award; seven with Associates; 13 people with full membership; and 28 people with Fellows.

One of the awardees, His Royal Majesty, Oba Ezekiel Oladele, Olupole of Ipole Iloro Ekiti, commended the government’s effort which had yielded success in farming business in the state.

The monarch said that the people of Ekiti had been exporting cocoa and cashew, saying that presently he had been encouraging the people to start exporting yams.

Oladele said that Ekiti State had improved in farming of quality rice, to be available for export in future.

He commended the efforts of the management of the institute for extending an award to him and promised to support the association with advice.

The Director-General, Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association, Mr Hamma Kwajaffa, who represented Mr Umar Goni-Iya-Ahmed, urged Nigerian farmers to improve on their farming to enable them have reserve for export which he said would boost the foreign reserve of Nigeria Economy.

He called on the regulatory authorities to provide adequate laboratory to examine the commodities in order to stop the rejection of exportable products.

One of the beneficiaries of CIECOBON’s awards, Mrs Oluwakemi Adeyiga, said she would support other members to contact as many countries as possible to find out what the farmers were doing wrong that caused constant rejection of expert commodities.

Edited by: Josephine Obute/Adeleye Ajayi


The Registrar of CIECOBON, Mr Samuel Adenuga; a Fellow, Paul Adiwu; President, Chartered Institute of Export and Commodity Brokers of Nigeria (CIECOBON), Dr Ayobami Omotoso, while presenting certificate of Fellow of the institute to Adiwu, during the 2019 Award Presentation Ceremony held at the institute’s secretariat in Lagos on Thursday.


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Wheat, rice production: NGO trains farmers on irrigation, water management



Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation-Water Enabler Compact (TAAT-WEC) has trained some farmers in Kano on Improved irrigation and water management in wheat and rice production.

The National Coordinator of TAAT-WEC, Prof. Henry Igbadun in his remarks at the workshop on Thursday, said the training was aimed at boosting wheat and rice production in Kano and the country at large.

According to him, the workshop will give the farmers the opportunity to acquire knowledge on the new dry season water management in wheat and rice production.

He said, “TAAT-WEC project scaled out tools , technological solutions and innovations in irrigation and agricultural water management to increase productivity and production of wheat, rice and sorghum.

“We also build the capacity of a cadre of trainers, including innovation platform facilitatiors, extention agents, champion farmers and youths in the proper use of irrigation and water management technologies and implementation of good irrigation management practices,” he said.

According to him, the new technology will also attract investment from public and sector sources into irrigated agricultural production of wheat, rice and sorghum through the demonstration of viability and profitability of irrigation technologies.

Igbadun added that the TAAT-WEC project had also distributed wheat seeds and fertilizer to selected farmers in Kadawa and Alkamawa communities of the state to motivate them to cultivate wheat in the 2018/2019 season.

This will serve as control plots to the TAAT-WEC demonstration fields in the two locations, aimed at comparing the yields from their fields with that of the TAAT-WEC fields to assess the effect of the new technology.

The technology has yielded good results with increased in wheat yield by 15 to 15.5 per cent in check basins and 26 to 37.2 per cent in raised-bed strips when compared with farmers’ fields.

High values were recorded in Alkamawa compared to Kadawa. Our development objective is to rapidly expand access of smallholder farmers to high yielding agricultural technologies to improve food production, assure food security and raise rural incomes”, he explained.

According to Igbadun, the technoogy also recorded reduction in water conveyance losses by 90 per cent with the use of PVC pipes to distribute water, reduce cost of production and increase profit.

He added that Farmers’ field are no longer flooded due to breached canal walls when spiles with control valves are used.

Igbadun said that the project was funded by the African Development Bank (ADB) through the collaboration of International Water Management Institute and the Institue of Agricultural Research (IAR) Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

In his remarks, the Kano State Deputy Governor, Dr Nasiru Gawuna commended the TAAT-WEC for the workshop, saying it will go along way in complementing the efforts of the state government on agriculture.

Gawuna, who was represented by the Director of Administration, Ministry of Agriculture, Hajiya Zarah Suleiman said the state government was ready to give the project all the necessary support.

He said the workshop will contribute in enhancing the knowledge of the farmers on the modern farming technology and called on them to adopt the new technology.

Edited by: Tukur Muntari.

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Women farmers soon to access funding opportunities – official



The challenge of access to funding by women in Agribusiness will soon be a thing of the past as the Nigeria Agribusiness Register is partnering stakeholders to discuss practicable means of accessing credit facilities.

The Project Coordinator of the Nigeria Agribusiness Register, Mr Odiba Nathanial, made this known in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency, in Abuja on Thursday.

Nathaniel said that the organisation had hosted a maiden edition of Women in Agribusiness Networking Summit to find solution to the problem of funding which was militating against women in agribusiness in the country.

According to him, the summit, with the theme: “Bridging the Gender Gap in the Agricultural Landscape”, examined ways to link agribusiness promoters with farmers and other stakeholders for affordable funding, among others.

We are creating a platform to see how we can link agribusiness project promoters for affordable funding, to boost domestic and export market and technical support for agro business to thrive and create more jobs for the Nigerian population.

He said that the organisation was keen about their projects having impact on the primary beneficiaries.

We are tired of people attending events and they do not have any development impact.

So, this is our strategy, we do not want people to talk and nothing happens. We have decided to create a solution to funding which is one big challenge agribusiness project promoters face.

We are going to set up a steering committee that will follow up and develop a strategy that will actualise the women agribusiness fund.

In a separate interview, Ms Ana Vinambres, Senior Adviser on Innovative Financial Services for Value Chains, from Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbgarment(GIZ), a German corporation, said that it was focusing on four value chains in Nigeria.

According to him, the corporation is focusing on increasing competitiveness in tomato, ginger, chili, leather and garment value chains.

She further said that the corporation was focusing on three major pillars – the technical pillar, the pillar that focused on policies, and access to finance.

Vinambres said that women were at the core of their intervention, adding that “we have done a specific gender analysis to identify the gaps and challenges that women in Agriculture in Nigeria face.

The major challenges include social factors, cultural aspects and low literacy rate. We are trying to propose mitigation factors.

For example, in many cases women do not have an ID card and may not be able to open a bank account.

So, we are trying to encourage the financial institutions to reduce their requirement and we are also trying to contemplate different options for collateral.

Like right now in Nigeria, there is collateral registry where movable assets may be registered.

Women may not own land but maybe they own movable assets that can be registered,” she said.

Dr Yusuf Mohammed, who was the guest lecturer at the event, spoke to NAN on agribusiness financing, challenges and the way forward, and declared that ensuring access to financing was key to agricultural development in the country and should be taken seriously.

According to him, rather than focus on the traditional lending system, it is high time alternative means of accessing funding without collateral was promoted.

We want to look at why banks are not willing to give loan to farmers.

First of all is the issue of transaction. Most agricultural financing is in the rural areas and most banks do not have branches in all these places.

Also, most farmers are not organised, they need to come out in group or cooperatives, to make it more viable for banks.

The issue of collateral is another concern. We need to develop alternative creative productions like warehousing financing and a host of others outside the traditional collateral system.

Regulation is also another issue because if you give your money to someone and he defaults, he will boldly challenge you to take him to court because he knows that the matter will be in court for so many years,” he said.

The Coordinator, National Shea Products Association of Nigeria(NASPAN), Apatira Aderemi, on his part, told NAN that efforts were being put in place by major stakeholders to encourage crowd funding for farmers to be able to pay equity for grants or loans that would be as low as two per cent interest rate.

With that, more women farmers will be able to access credit to boost production.

Basically, the credit gap in Africa is large, especially for women businesses. That is why gender is big business but it is also the investors dream if we create the enabling environment.

Basically, women in agriculture occupy about 15.6 billion dollars annually of credit space and that is a business opportunity.

We are looking at how to bring the kind of investors that are not expecting as high as 20 per cent interest rate.

“We are looking at investors that are willing to do five years with just two or three per cent per annum.”

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FG’s Anchor Borrowers Programme big support to farmers — association



Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPMAN), has commended the Federal Government Anchor Borrowers Programme initiative, saying it is a big support to farmers in Nigeria.

Dr Edwin Uche, the National president of MAGPMAN said this at a National Stakeholders Meeting held on Thursday in Abuja.

According to Uche, the programme is a big support to maize farmers as well as every player in the maize value chain and other commodity value chain in Nigeria.

We must again commend the FG for sustaining the programme, for sustainability is the key,’’ he said.

He added that there were other programmes of the Federal Government with duration that was not as lasting as the Anchor Borrowers Programme which had been running for six years now.

The national president said that the meeting was designed for all key players in the maize value chain in order to appraise the progress as well as address challenges that existed in the value chain.

He said that the meeting was also aimed at providing solutions for the upcoming year in the area of price.

We also look at issues that border on challenges among our farmers in Anchor Borrowers Programme and other programmes of the government.

We also look at policies that borders on health related issues and how to deal with the commodity, land and tractorisation and market performance which are key issues for us,’’ Uche said.

According to him, MAGPAMAN is the apex body driving maize value chain in Nigeria and has structure in every local government and state in Nigeria including the FCT.

He said the association provides support to farmers, finance to agriculture, and access to capacity, mechanisation, technology and exposure based on global best practices in agriculture.

The national president also said the association drives agriculture from the concept of agribusiness, ensuring there was profitability to agriculture.

Uche said MAGPAMAN was also introducing other agricultural programmes to farmers in order to ensure that they benefited from Federal Government’s intervention.

We have a strong structure that has capacity to drive home agriculture and ensure food security in Nigeria, and the whole concept is to ensure that farmers earn value and profitability,’’ he said.

Dr Bello Dogondeji, the Chairman of Federation of Agricultural Commodity Association of Nigeria (FACAN), said maize was an important commodity in the commodity business worldwide.

Dogondeji, in his good will message drew attention to the quick commencement of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) signed by President Muhammadu Buhari in June.

If we consider maize as one of the staple food in the world, that means we can trade with our maze within and across our continent.

By July 2020, I think the AFCTA will be fully operational so our strategy should be toward that,’’ he said.

The FACAN chairman urged the association to double its efforts in sensitising farmers about recent agricultural developments.

Dr Adam Saffer, representative of U.S. Aid made a presentation on Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity: Overview for MAGPAMAN.

He said many products were being produced from maize, stressing the need to invest in the sector as agriculture was going through a revolution.

According to Saffer, agriculture can be the mainstay of the economy if mechanisation is achieved as it will go a long way in encouraging the youth to go into agriculture.

Edited by: Ese E. Ekama


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