By Igbaugba Ehigimetor
Benin, Jan. 9, 2019 (NNN) Football enthusiasts in Benin on Wednesday said they were happy with the qualification of Bendel Insurance FC of Benin to the Nigeria Premier Professional League (NPFL).
NNN also reports that the club, popularly referred to as the “Benin Arsenal’’, sealed their qualification to the elite division in Aba on Wednesday following their one 1-0 victory over 3SC of Ibadan in the final match of the Super 8 League.
The Benin-based club topped their group with the maximum nine points.
The team had earlier recorded victory in its first match against Delta Force and second game over Remo Stars.
The fans also commended the players and their coaching crew for their determination to play in the nation’s top flight.
A fan, Saliu Ibrahim, described the qualification as the biggest sports news of the year.
He said that the players deserved the encomium being showered on them.
“This is a wonderful way to begin the year in the sports calendar of the state. They sure deserve this and I hope they will remain there, at the top flight of the nation’s league.
“The state’s Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, deserves a special commendation for providing the needed motivation to the players and coaching crew,’’ he said.
Ibrahim urged the coaching crew to retain quality players in the team and call for recruitment of good players to fortify the squad.
Another fan, Timothy Omobude, said that the club’s qualification to the premier league would open up more commercial activities to the state.
He said that government should not relent in the drive to invest in the club.
“We have all seen how investment of the government in the club has paid off; if they continue in this regard, Insurance qualification for continental tournaments will happen in no distant time,’’ Omobude said.
Similarly, Aliu Ozioruva called on the players and the club management to see their qualification as call for more work.
Tak Agro Plc to acquire 250 trucks for fertiliser production, distribution
TAK Agro Plc, a major player in Nigeria’s agricultural value chain says it has concluded arrangement to purchase 250 MAN trailer-trucks for its fertiliser production and distribution, as well as grain processing and storage operations in readiness for dry season farming.
The Chairman of Tak Agro Plc., Thomas Etuh, said on Wednesday in Abuja that the decision was taken in Lagos, at the signing of N15 billion bonds facilitated for the company by Planet Capital as part of plans to acquire 1,000 trucks.
Etuh said that N15 billion was the first tranche of a N50 billion bond approved by Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) to finance the acquisition of key infrastructure to facilitate the movement of raw materials and evacuation of agricultural produce.
He also said it would help the company to meet the demands of boosting its production of fertilizers as well as provide the pillar that would enable it drive the government’s initiative towards boosting food production and food security.
He noted that acquiring the trucks became an important plank of the company’s strategy because of the intricate vehicular requirements of fertiliser and commodity businesses.
“Every six monhs, TAK Group moves raw materials and fertilisers to and from various blending plants.
“It requires about 34,000 truck trips to move one million tonnes for both raw materials and finished goods, and if you benchmark this against our installed capacity, we are basically talking of about 100,000 truck trips a year. You can now see why this is important to us.
“We are starting with 250 trucks for now but our requirement is more like 2,000 trucks to be able to meet our requirements.
“This means that even when we have the complete 1,000 trucks, we will still be supporting that with the third party trucking arrangement as we are currently doing,” he said in a statement by Mr Alex Emode, Media Consultant to Tak Agro.
Etuh explained that TAK Group is driving towards building a Pan African integrated agro solutions company with an installed capacity of three million metric tonnes out of the country’s need of about four million tonnes.
He expressed optimism that the additional investments in logistics would ensure optimal leverage of economy of scale with regard to the company’s installed capacity.
“TAK Group is one of the few end-to-end players in the agro value chain in Nigeria, starting from yield enhancement by providing NPK fertilizers to farmers all the way to storage of grains and the produce that comes out from the application of the fertilisers.
“TAK logistics is one of the key building blocks for the end-to-end value that the TAK Group delivers to the market, starting from the delivery of raw materials to the blending plants to the movement and distribution of blended fertilisers to the agro dealers.
“Nigerian farmers lose over 50 percent of their produce due to the lack of storage facilities and difficulty in moving the produce from farms to markets and storage centres, and that is why, part of the infrastructure that TAK group is putting in place is to deal with this issue.
“So, while we are enhancing yield per hectare with our fertiliser, we are also taking care of the waste that have been the lot in the industry over these years.
“This ensures our farmers earn a lot more at the end and the idea of seasonal availability of staples like grains will be a thing of the past,” he said.
The Managing Director, TAK Logistics, Mr Chuma Maduekwe, was also quoted as saying that the bond would help farmers be in control of the logistics chain.
He said farmers in Nigeria had hitherto, suffered serious losses owing to lack of storage facilities and poor handling of post-harvest activities.
“Nigerian farmers lose over 50 percent of their produce due to the lack of storage facilities and difficulty in moving the produce from farms to markets and storage centres.
“This is why part of the infrastructure that the TAK Group is putting in place is to deal with the issue of logistics.
“So, while we are enhancing yield per hectare with our fertiliser, we are also taking care of the waste that have been the lot in the industry over these years.
“This will ensure our farmers earn a lot more at the end and the idea of seasonal availability of staples like grains will be a thing of the past,” he said.
(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)
NDE begins poultry training for 50 youths in Delta
The National Directorate of Employment (NDE) says it has began practical training of the 50 youth recently inducted into its poultry farm scheme in Delta.
Olu said that the practical was a follow-up of the earlier orientation training given to the trainees by the Director-General of the agency, Dr Nasiru Ladan, in Asaba.
“The practical actually commenced on Nov. 15 and it is expected to run for three months.
“On Thursday, Nov. 21, the trainees will be taken through a process of bird vaccination, water and feeding techniques and how to change wet litters to maintain good hygiene in poultry farm,” he said.
He said the trainees were recruited under the Sustainable Agricultural Development Training Scheme (SADTS) of the Rural Employment Promotion (REP) Department of the directorate.
According to Olu, the director general of NDE, represented by the Acting Zonal Director, South-South, Mr Duke Edem, inaugurated the programme earlier in the month, with a charge on beneficiary to take it seriously.
“The DG approved the implementation of the programme for selected states of the federation with 50 persons to be recruited in a state and Delta is one of the benefiting states.
“The programme is designed to give experiential training in crop production and livestock farming to the unemployed, with emphasis on enhancing food production and mass employment.
“The training of which the curriculum is structured to include major areas of modern agricultural production, marketing and agripreneurial training, life skill lecture and business plan, will last for three months,” he said.
The state coordinator said that at the end of the programme, the trainees would be linked with financial institutions and other sources of funds to sustain their businesses.
Edited by Ejike Obeta/Donald Ugwu
Lion domestication: Police your environment, LG urges residents
Dr Samuel Akingbehin, Head of Department of Environmental Services in the council area, said this while reacting to the evacuation of a lion from a residential building on 229, Muri Okunola Street, Victoria Island.
The environmental officer said that people should be mindful of goings-on in their area, particularly those that could pose threat to their lives and promptly alert authorities to arrest such situations.
“People have to be involved in keeping the environment safe from seen and unforeseen environmental and health-related acts which can disturb their lives and the community.
“We were able to remove the lion from the private home of an Indian who was rearing it because of the alarm raised by the neighbours. Without such an environment policing attitude, the situation would have degenerated into a major crisis.
“It is everyone’s civic obligation to ensure that the environment is protected from hazards, to foster sustainability of life and human habitat,” he said.
According to him, rearing of wildlife in residential area is prohibited in the state, adding “such practice is not only alien to our culture, but can cause injury to both the owner and others, in the case of the animal straying”.
The council official alerted the state government of numerous abandoned and empty properties in the area, all of which, he said, constituted environmental challenges and threat to life.
He urged the residents of the area to be vigilant over abandoned properties that could provide hideouts for street urchins and other environment non-compliant elements.
NAN reports that a lion, brought from Cameroon two years ago and domesticated by an Indian resident, had, on Monday, been evacuated to Omu Resorts, Bogijie Epe, Lagos, for safe keep.
Officials of the ministry of agriculture, in conjunction with the state environmental task force team, led by Dr Samuel Akingbehin of Iru-VI LCDA, had carried out the evacuation exercise.
Edited by Ifeyinwa Okonkwo and ‘Wale Sadeeq
FGN/IFAD VCDP urges Anambra farmers to embrace insurance
The Federal Government/International Fund for Agriculture Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) has advised farmers in Anambra to embrace insurance schemes to mitigate losses during disasters.
Mr Emmanuel Chukwukwelu, the -VCDP Agricultural Production Officer in the state, gave the advice at a sensitisation forum on insurance cover for farmers at Atani in Ogbaru Local Government Area near Onitsha on Tuesday.
Chukwukwelu said the programme was currently paying an insurance premium to over 2,000 farmers in the eight participating council areas.
He said the payment include the 750 farmers, who had benefitted from a N9 million fund set aside for the insurance premium.
“We want to further sensitise farmers on insurance because the weather situation cannot be determined any more.
“We want to encourage farmers to always take insurance cover when they plant their crops, rather than waiting until VCDP insures one hectare for them.
“VCDP insurance premium will only cover one hectare of rice farm for those that benefitted from our inputs,’’ he said.
He said the insurance programme was the only successful window through which the Federal Government could assist farmers affected by hazards like flooding, fire and pest.
Mr Andrew Uzoma, the State Manager, Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Cooperation, (NAIC) also enlightened the farmers on insurance policies documentation and claims settlement procedure.
Uzoma said NAIC was preparing indemnity owed to farmers with claims in this year’s disaster.
He also said that the corporation had paid more than N132 million indemnity to farmers in Anambra farmers in 2018.
The manager expressed happiness that more communities were keying into the insurance policy.
Mrs Joan Ajie, a rice and cassava farmer from Ochuche community, appealed for early disbursement of farm inputs to enable the farmers harvest before flooding.
Another rice and cassava farmer, Mr Aloysius Nwadeghi from Umunankwo community, commended the VCDP for the sensitisation visit
He said that majority of the farmers were ignorant of the benefits of insuring their farm.
Edited by Abdulfatah Babatunde/Dada Ahmed
UBEC introduces school-to-farm programme in basic schools
The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) said on Tuesday, it has introduced School-to-farm programme at basic education level to inculcate practical agricultural skills among learners in primary and junior secondary schools.
The Executive Secretary of the commission, Dr Hamid Bobboyi made this known at the opening of a three-day workshop on the implementation framework of the programme in Kaduna.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the participants include UBEC officials, directors and desk officers at State Universal Basic Education Boards in charge of schools agriculture programme.
Bobboyi, who was represented by UBEC Director, Administration and Supplies, Rev. Edwin Jarumai, added that the programme would prepare the learners for a life-long learning in line with the commission’s mandate.
He noted that over the years, the teaching of agriculture as a subject was mainly theoretical and less practical, which left most learners ignorant of proper agricultural practices.
“In view of this, UBEC has approved 2.0 per cent of the Universal Basic Education Grant for the school-to-farm programme to make agricultural science more practical and hands-on at basic education level.
“The objective is to provide learners with requisite skills to stimulate self-employment, equip them with functional entrepreneurship and life skills, promote dignity of labour and self-esteem and expose them to biological process of agriculture.”
The executive secretary said that the learners would be exposed to cultivation of farm produce like maize, cassava, yam, guinea corn, and vegetables, as well as livestock like poultry, rabbit, snail and fisheries.
He added that the programme would equally build the capacity of teachers and community members who would be part of the implementation of the programme.
Bobboyi explained that the objective of the workshop was to familiarise the participants with the approved guidelines and build their capacity on the implementation of the programme.
“It is also designed to develop instruments for monitoring, share experience and adopt best practices.
“It is expected that at the end of the workshop, participants will come up with mechanism that will ensure sustainability of the programme in different geographical zones of the country,” he said.
Earlier, the Director Academic Services, UBEC, Malam Wadata Madawaki, said that the programme, if successfully implemented, would boost agricultural production in the country.
Madawaki called on all stakeholders to support the commission in ensuring the success of the programme.
Also, the commission’s Director, Social Mobilisation, Malam Bello Kagara, said that the programme would enable UBEC deliver equitable access to quality and functional education at basic education level.
According to him, the acquisition of practical agricultural skills will add value to the lives of learners and make them self-reliant.
Prof. Sadiq Abubakar of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, commended UBEC for the initiative, which he believed would be “a useful legacy for the coming generation”.
Edited /Maharazu Ahmed
Association raises alert on antimicrobial resistance to public health, livestock
Abuja, Nov. 19, 2019 The Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association(NVMA), on Tuesday, joined the global effort to raise awareness on antimicrobial resistance to public health and livestock.
The NVMA made the call in a statement on Tuesday to mark the World Antibiotic Awareness Week, signed by its publicity secretary, Dr Gloria Daminabo.
The association stressed that though antimicrobial are useful in disease treatment, their misuse leads to failure as microbes develop resistance to these life-saving treatments.
It said these resistant microbes are also transferred to other animals and humans as well.
“Antimicrobial resistance in livestock industry is a threat to public health, livestock productivity, food security and the economy, especially in developing nations such as Nigeria,’’ the association said.
The NVMA said the Nigerian situation arose as a result of poor production practices, poor hygiene, weak policies, under regulation of antimicrobial use in animals and inadequate veterinary and other related manpower.
The statement said that with antimicrobial resistance come attendant losses from increased cost of research in producing more effective antibiotics, when the available ones stop working.
Other losses noted by the NVMA as a result of antimicrobial resistance include; increased cost of livestock production, as more funds go into treatment and losses from deaths of livestock and people.
It also said the country shall be unable to neither participate, nor benefit fully from international trade in animal products in spite of enormous livestock resources.
On this note, the association also called on stakeholders in the livestock production sector to imbibe good production practices, and seek advice from professionals with the use of antimicrobial.
It urged all regulatory agencies and professionals to be proactive and alert to their responsibilities, and work in synergy to reduce antibiotic misuse in the overall interest of the country.
The association pledged to continue its advocacy and professional role, and in collaboration with all relevant stake-holders and the public, to curb the spread of antimicrobial resistance to the benefit of humanity.
edited by Sadiya Hamza
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