The Federal Government has distributed 38,142 kilogramme of improved cashew seeds to Kogi farmers.
Sabo Nanono, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, made this known at the roll-out of inputs to farmers in Lokoja on Thursday, as part of efforts to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The programme was organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in collaboration with the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
The ministry also distributed improved seeds of other priority crops like sesame, soybeans, rice, maize, wheat, cocoa and potatoes.
He said the inputs would be distributed through farmer associations, women and youth groups as well as cooperatives, to ensure the country did not experience food shortage as a result of the pandemic.
“As you are aware, the restriction of movement of people, goods and services has had a negative effect on food production, income and livelihood of the smallholder farmers, who produce most of the food consumed in the country.
“Therefore, supporting them with the much needed production inputs especially seeds, would enhance food production, create employment and enable them to recover quickly from the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The support is to further make them self-reliant while ensuring more sustainable and resilient food system,” he said.
According to Nanono, the support is with the following farm inputs: 38,142kg of improved cashew seeds to 3,798 cashew farmers and 27,000kg of certified sesame seeds to 5,400 sesame farmers.
“Others are 50,000kg of soybeans seeds for distribution to soybeans farmers and 12,000 bundles of Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) for 1,200 potato farmers.
“Equally, we are distributing 15,000 sachets of redforce, 3,000 sachets of glory crop protection, 580 litres of soil amender and 500 litres of organic fertiliser to potato farmers,” he said.
The minister said that the distribution of the inputs in Kogi was fourth in the series of palliatives being given out, since the commencement of the programme across the country.
He said during the first roll-out of inputs in Kano, that the ministry, in collaboration with development partners, distributed certified seeds of sorghum, millet, cowpea and rice to 8,200 farmers in 13 states of the federation.
Nanono stated that at the second roll-out in Kaduna on June 8, the ministry supported rice farmers with 27,000 kg and 300,000 kg each of certified seeds of FARO 66.
The minister noted that 300,000 kg of Foundation Seeds of flood tolerant rice varieties of FARO 66 & FARO 67 were equally distributed.
“In the course of the distribution, 20 metric tons of Breeder Seeds of the same varieties were given to 14 selected seed companies, to produce foundation seeds.
“Also, 26,000kg of certified wheat seeds were distributed and 1,350 maize production kits were given to maize farmers.
“In the same vein, 18,517kg of Aflasafe and 300,000 sprouted nuts of oil palm were given to farmers in Kogi, Nasarawa and Kaduna States.
“During the third exercise conducted in Ibadan on June 24, the ministry supported Kenaf farmers through the Kenaf Producers, Processors & Marketers Association (KEPPMAN) with 19,672kg Kenaf Foundation Seeds.
“Yam farmers were supported through their National Association and other cooperative groups, with 12,000kg of foundation seeds for production of certified seeds.
“The ministry also distributed over 18,000kg of organic insecticides to farmers, to combat Fall Army Worm infestation in maize.”
Nanono said that in line with targets set in the National Gender Action Plan for Agriculture and Policies, aimed at ensuring increased opportunities for women farmers, at least 35 per cent inputs would be given to them.
He explained that the directive has been communicated to the farmers’ associations accordingly.
He urged beneficiaries to make judicious use of the inputs, to produce food for the nation, while calling on other stakeholders to provide similar supports to ensure food sufficiency.
He noted that the seeds were given to the beneficiaries free of charge, while other inputs were given at 75 per cent subsidy.
Meanwhile, Gov. Yayaha Bello of Kogi, while inaugurating the distribution of the inputs, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his passion for agriculture.
Bello, who was represented by Dep. Gov. Edward Onoja, thanked Buhari for marching words with action on diversification of the economy, from being oil dependent to agriculture dependent.
He assured that the state would continue to encourage farmers to ensure agriculture was not inhibited by COVID-19.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq in the course of the event, distributed bags of fertiliser to 2018 flood victims in the state. .
Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Felix Ajide (NAN)
Buhari congratulates new NMA President, Prof. Innocent Ujah on election
President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Prof. Innocent Ujah on his election as President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).
The president, in a statement by his spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Tuesday also congratulated all the Executive Members for the zeal and diligence brought into the organisation within a short period.
According to him, the elected officers of the NMA have admirable profiles that will take the organisation to greater heights.
He particularly acknowledged that Prof. Ujah has worked extensively with national and international institutions, and progressively contributed to the shaping of national policies on health in the country in different capacities.
He affirmed that the NMA played a strategic role in the growth of the country through counselling of leaders on health and development issues, and staying on the frontline during emergencies and pandemics to keep everyone safe like the ongoing fight against COVID-19.
He commended the former President of the NMA, Dr Francis Faduyile and Executive Members for their investments of time and resources to improve the welfare of doctors, and their working conditions by consistently negotiating and counselling governments.
The president assured Ujah and the Executive Members of the government’s full cooperation to help them succeed in their leadership positions, and improve health services in the country.
Edited By: Felix Ajide (NAN)
Nadal to skip United States Open due to COVID-19 concerns, as organisers announce entries
World number two Rafa Nadal confirmed on Tuesday that he would not defend his United States Open crown this year at Flushing Meadows.
His announcement came as organisers released the singles entry list for the Grand Slam.
“After many thoughts I have decided not to play (at) this year’s United States Open,” Nadal said on Twitter.
”The situation is very complicated worldwide, and the COVID-19 cases are increasing. It looks like we still don’t have control of it.
“We know that the reduced tennis calendar is barbaric this year after four months stopped with no play.
”I understand and thank (everyone) for the efforts they are putting in to make it happen. We have just seen the announcement of Madrid not being played this year.
“This is a decision I never wanted to take but I have decided to follow my heart this time and for the time being I rather not travel.”
The United States has the highest tally in the world with more than 4.7 million confirmed novel coronavirus cases and nearly 156,000 deaths, according to a Reuters tally.
World number one Novak Djokovic, a three-times champion in New York, headlines the men’s list along with last year’s runner-up Daniil Medvedev.
There are other top 10 players, including Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev.
Swiss Roger Federer, a five-times United States Open champion, will also be absent after the 38-year-old was forced to undergo knee surgery in June which prematurely ended his 2020 season.
Nine of the top 10 women’s players, including 23-times Grand Slam champion Serena Williams and holder Bianca Andreescu, are on the entry list along with 2018 champion Naomi Osaka.
As many as 13 Grand Slam champions are in the women’s draw.
These include Romania’s Simona Halep, the reigning Wimbledon champion and 2018 French Open winner, and this year’s Australian Open champion American Sofia Kenin.
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) said eight additional wildcard entries would be selected in both the men’s and women’s fields.
Organisers said the seedings would be announced closer to the start of the tournament which is scheduled for Aug. 31.
A number of players are also set to take part in the Aug. 20 to Aug. 28 Western & Southern Open in New York, which serves as a warm-up event for the United States Open.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)
Bank robbery: Police arrest 3 more suspects in Oyo
The Police Command in Oyo State says it has arrested three more members of the gang that robbed the First Bank branch in Okeho, Kajola Local Government Area of the state.
Olugbenga Fadeyi, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, comfirmed the arrest of the suspects in a statement on Tuesday in Ibadan.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the bank was attacked on July 29 by armed robbers who took away an undisclosed amount of money.
Fadeyi, who said that the total number of suspects so far arrested in connection with the robbery was now five, added that they were being interrogated by the Special Anti-Robbey Squad in Ibadan.
He said that the suspects were arrested with the cooperation of vigilance group members, hunters and residents of the community.
The robbers, who came in an 18-seater bus, were later chased by members of a vigilance group, resulting in their bus summersulting due to overspeeding.
Three of the robbers were set ablaze by an angry mob while others escaped.
Edited By: Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)
Food sufficiency: Osun commissioner inaugurates ‘Wave City’ project
Osun Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Adewole Adedayo, on Tuesday inaugurated an agricultural project, ‘Wave City,’ sited by FarmKonnect Agribusiness Nigeria Ltd at Wasimi to promote food sufficiency.
Speaking at the inauguration, Adedayo, who described the project as the first of its kind in the state and the South-West region, said it was aimed at promoting food sufficiency, national development and agricultural inclusion.
According to him, every responsible government must create an enabling environment for farmers.
“Today, I believe FarmKonnect is now realising a dream that started in 2017. Today, having FarmKonnect in Osun State is another dream.
“Today, having these facilities on ground to develop agriculture in the south-west is a dream realised. So FarmKonnect has realised a dream.
“Like I keep saying, agriculture has the highest potentials to create jobs, both for skilled and unskilled labour. So, I will like to thank FarmKonnect for bringing this project to Osun State,” he said.
According to the commissioner, agriculture is top on the agenda of the state government.
The commissioner, who highlighted the various initiatives of the government to support agricultural development, pledged the administration’s readiness to welcome investors like FarmKonnect to the state.
“We are looking for investors like this, people who will empower our youths and also create jobs for farmers,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that FarmKonnect was founded by Lt.-Col. Oluwole Azeez who voluntarily resigned from the Nigerian Army to invest in agriculture real estate business.
Azeez said that his organisation’s mission was to take agriculture beyond just planting crops and making money to a business which promotes food sufficiency, national development and agricultural inclusion.
“In FarmKonnect, we run a model we call agricultural real estate and we are the first to do that. This allows multiple people to own a portion of the farm and they don’t necessarily have to step on the farm.
“All they just need to do is engage their money and we take all the performances around. The greenhouses you are seeing here are specifically designed for the tropics.
“The vision is to build one million square metres of greenhouses, a controlled farming environment technology using greenhouses and net houses to produce fruits and leafy vegetables from tomatoes to pepper.
“This is the first of its kind in Nigeria. This is specifically designed for minimal electricity as well as to expand our yield,” he said.
Azeez said he was grateful to the Osun government for its tremendous support to the project and assured it of greater benefits in terms of food sufficiency and job creation.
Also speaking, Dr Bosade Ogunlana, the Founder of Entrepreneurship Initiative, commended FarmKonnect for the project, saying it would help in empowering the youths.
According to her, Africa has more youths to engage in land cultivation in order to boost food sufficiency and security.
“Africa is the biggest gun of the world because over 60 per cent of arable land in the entire world resides in Africa. I know with something like this happening here today, there is hope for Nigeria.
“It can help us to engage the youths. It can help us to ensure there is no scarcity of food,” she said.
Ogunlana thanked the Osun government for its support to FarmKonnect, urging it to ensure adequate security for the project.
The event was also attended by Mr Yemi Lawal, the Commissioner for Youth and Sports in Osun, as well as representatives of the various partners of FarmKonnect.
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)