The Federal Government said on Tuesday that it had begun to establish “Ruga Settlements” for herdsmen in 12 pilot states nationwide.
Alh. Mohammadu Umar, the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Tuesday on the sidelines of a workshop on Regional Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and associated legislation in West Africa.
He said that the farm settlements when fully established would address the incessant clashes between Fulani cattle rearers and farmers..
Umar explained that the pilot programme had already commenced on a 31,000-hectare in Kotongora, Niger state.
According to him, the required facilities for a basic life and treatment of cattle are being provided to enhance productivity.
He said that the government would replicate the programme in selected states as work “is ongoing in the 12 pilot states”.
According to him, six settlements will be established in each of the pilot states.
Umar, who added that the centres would be expanded and adequately equipped, and assured the beneficiaries that government would do all that was necessary to enlighten the herdsmen on how the use of ranches could make make cattle rearing more profitable.
He said that the government would sensitise the herdsmen to the social and political benefits derivable from such settlements.
The permanent secretary explained that various spots would be established for the pastoralists to be able to milk their cows.
He also said that dispensaries would be established to prevent the misuse of antibiotics.
The “Ruga Settlement” idea was an initiative of the National Economic Council (NEC) presented under the National Livestock Transformation Plan (2018-2027).
It was an initiative to stop the age-long herders-farmers crisis and to massively develop the livestock industry.
The initiative seeks to promote ranching as the way forward for cattle rearing in the country.
According to the permanent secretary, nomadic livestock production in Nigeria is facing major challenges and is at crossroads due to declining availability of pasture, overgrazing, and expanding fatal conflicts between pastoralists and crop farmers.
He said that the impact on food and nutrition security as well as ”public safety and national security are huge and far-reaching, therefore government is bent on making the plan to work as it has commenced.
“Under the new plan, cattle herders are expected to be registered and recognise with cooperatives for the purpose of the ranching scheme.
“These cooperatives will then be able to get rental agreements for land from state governments and also benefit from ranch resources on several terms including loans, grants, and subsidies,’’ he said.
Mr Suffyan Koroma, Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) Country Representative, said the workshop was organised to prepare the organisation’s representatives and respective countries and regions to work out ways to tackle the impending dangers of AMR and AMU.
“This is because the misuse of antibiotics in agriculture contributes to the spread of AMR and also undermines the efficacy of veterinary and human medicines.
“FAO is set to provide support to governments and stakeholders to adopt measures to minimise the use of antimicrobial and reduce AMR,’’ he said.
The representative said that toward that end, FAO had outlined global action plans for 2016-2020.
“The plan include awareness, surveillance, strengthened governance related to antimicrobial use and AMR in food and agriculture and promote good practices in food, agriculture, human animal systems and prudent use of antimicrobial.
Participants for the three-day workshop were drawn from WHO, UNICEF, Animal Health Organisation (OIE) EU, Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, Kenya and Sierra Leone.
COVID-19: Refugee Commission distributes farm inputs to 100 farmers in Kano
The National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) has distributed agricultural inputs to 100 local farmers in three Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Kano State.
Speaking during the ceremony in Kura, headquarters of Kura LGA on Friday, NCFRMI Commissioner, Sen. Bashir Garba-Mohammed, said the gesture was to ameliorate suffering farmers as a result of COVID-19 lockdown.
“As Nigeria is having its share of coronavirus effects, President Muhammadu Buhari has therefore instructed agencies rendering humanitarian services to redouble efforts in their service delivery to vulnerable persons in various localities in order to ameliorate their sufferings.
“In compliance with the presidential directive, the commission has moved from state to state to distribute relief items to persons of concern to enable them keep body and soul together.
“Those efforts are being made towards achieving appropriate durable solutions for the people according to their peculiar situation.
“Today, we are here to flag off the distribution of agricultural items for the benefit of vulnerable but hard working farmers,” he said.
Garba-Mohammed added:“This will no doubt boost their production in the current farming season, thereby improving food supply for the people and contributing to the food security drive of the President.
“I believe we can collaborate with the Kano State Government to ensure that more sustainable solutions are implemented in the state, so that displaced persons in the state can live more purposeful life.”
Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje, represented by the Executive Secretary, State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Alhaji saleh Jili, said the state government would work hand in hand with the commission to ensure that the stated goals were achieved.
He applauded the federal government for providing the inputs to farmers in Kura, Garun-Malam and Madobi LGAs of the state.
Inputs distributed included irrigation water pumps, fertiliser, assorted seedlings, herbicides and pesticides.
Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Ali Baba-Inuwa (NAN)
Kenya coffee farmers adopt home processing to seek better prices
Some small-scale coffee farmers in Kenya have started processing their coffee to protect the quality, aiming to get a share of the lucrative premium export market where quality coffee beans fetch a premium price.
Data from the Nairobi Coffee Exchange shows that top quality coffee known as AA grade fetched up to 45,326 shillings (about 427 United States dollars) per 50-kg bag compared to a price of 199 dollars fetched by the majority of the coffee during the auction that ended on May 24th.
Samuel Muchiri, 44, a farmer in Kirinyaga County in central Kenya is among small-scale farmers who have embraced home-based processing to avoid mixing their coffee with the rest of farmers in order to maintain quality and therefore get a better price.
When the coffee is processed at home, it is then taken to a miller where it is also milled separately and then graded ready for auction in the capital Nairobi or direct export.
Traditionally in Kenya, green harvested coffee is taken to a common processing factory owned by farmers where different grades are mixed.
Although grading happens later when the coffee is milled, the final payment is usually an average of the price fetched by all the grades, meaning that those farmers who have to take care of their coffee to get a better grade are not rewarded.
According to Muchiri, processing his coffee at home has enabled him to earn at least double and sometimes triple the amount of money earned by other farmers who sell through the cooperative societies.
“My coffee goes to the market as organically grown and therefore specialty coffee, which fetches a premium,” he said.
Gichuki Wambari, 54, from Nyeri County also in central Kenya, said he invested some 1,000 dollars in machinery to process his coffee.
“The pay from home processed coffee is better than processing and selling collectively,” he said.
He said although he is yet to establish a stable market for his coffee which he processes and then outsources the milling services, he is realizing better returns.
Home processing is part of the ongoing formal and informal reforms taking place in the coffee industry which was once Kenya’s largest foreign exchange earner.
President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed a committee to advise and steer reforms in the industry in 2016. The final report from the committee will be ready in July, said its head, Joseph Kieyah.
COVID-19: BASG, fertiliser company start training 5, 000 farmers on farming techniques
Bauchi, Jun, 4, 2020 Bauchi State Government in collaboration with Oshakahind Fertilisers (OPC), has started training of 5, 000 farmers on new farming techniques under the COVID-19 projects.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Sama’ila Burga disclosed this while declaring the training open on Thursday in Bauchi.
Burga said the aim of the project was to help farmers get genuine fertilisers and other agricultural inputs to get bumper harvest of their products.
“Under the COVID-19 project, 5, 000 farmers will benefit from the project, they were selected from three senatorial districts.
“There are 10, 000 sacks of fertiliser each farmer will get two sacks at the end of the training.
“The two sacks will be used on half hectare of land and will get what they use to get on three hectares,” he said
The commissioner said the project would help to educate farmers on modern farming techniques.
“To ensure bumper harvest through the provision of fertiliser and other farming inputs and as well produce takers that will buy the commodity from the farmers after harvest,” he said.
Mr Burga commended the OPC for opening a stock shop in all locations where farmers would find all that was needed to boost their farming activities.
He lauded the fertiliser company for the numerous assistance they have been rendering to farmers in the state.
Earlier, the representative of OPC Africa, Alhaji Idris Azare, who described the organisation as Africa best fertiliser company, said the programme was going on in 10 states.
He said the fertiliser and farming inputs would be sold to farmers below the market price and pledged to take it to farmers’ farms after purchase.
Adamu said agricultural experts were trained to follow farmers to their farms and train farmers on how to use the fertiliser and other farming inputs.
He said that each agricultural expert was given a tablet for data capture of farmers and motorcycles that would assist him follow farmers to their farms.
Lockdown: Farmer seeks PLSG soft loans for rabbit farming
Executive Officer, Rabbit City Farm, Emmanuel Gyang has called on Plateau Government to assist rabbit farmers with loans to enable them to recover from the effect of lockdown against the COVID-19.
Gyang made the call in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria in Jos on Tuesday.
According to him, the lockdown, against further spread of the novel coronavirus disease, has made many families think out of the box as they are showing interest in learning more about rabbit farming.
“Right now, we have five people on the ground, out of which three have completed their training.
“We are still expecting more to come and register,” he said.
“Most of these people coming for training need financial support to stay in the business as they are very enthusiastic about starting their own business.
“The demand for breeding stock is very high now but with less to supply.
“Hence the need for the state government to give succour to rabbit farmers in form of soft loans, especially the upcoming farmers.”
Gyang said that people no longer come out to buy rabbit product as a result of the pandemic but that training was on-going.
He said that the farm size could only take five people at a time to obey the social distancing and other precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic.
Post- COVID-19: Farmers’ chair calls for revamp of Agriculture sector
The South-West Chairman of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Mr Segun Atho, has called for the revamping of the Nigerian agricultural sector as part of post COVID-19 efforts to aid economic growth.
Atho made this call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Lagos.
He said that if the challenges posed by the pandemic could be harnessed properly, they would become assets that would enhance the development of all sectors concerned.
“If our agricultural sector is robust, it will also help us to create jobs in the country. It is most likely that after the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of companies are still going to retrench some of their staff.
Atho called for an inward retrospection as a nation and less dependence on other countries for agricultural produce.
In addition, he called for government support at all levels.
“Do we still continue to rely on imported food and agricultural products? No, we have to continue to look within and rely on ourselves.
“The problem we are facing as a nation today is primarily because we are too dependent on other nations. Let us develop the spirit of ‘Yes we can’ in our culture.
“Let all hands be on deck to produce sufficient and abundant agricultural produce for our people to consume,” Atho said.
Atho also appealed to the government to come to farmers’ aid in financing, adding that if one-tenth of the money donated by private individuals to fight COVID-19 is ploughed into agriculture , there would be boom.
“In terms of rice production, we are at present on course.
Palestinian farmers collect corns during harvest season in Gaza strip city of Khan Younis
Planting season: Women group seeks timely support for farmers
Hajia Bosede Anifowose, the Kwara Coordinator of the Small Scale Women Farmers’ Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON), has called for timely support from the state government for the planting season.
Anifowose made the call on Wednesday in Ilorin in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria .
She said that late release of farm inputs and agro-chemicals as support for farmers would be inimical to a prosperous farming season.
The coordinator appealed to the government to capture women farmers in whatever programmes it had for farmers in the state.
She said that women farmers constituted a chunk of farmers’ population in the state and the country at large.
“The way everything is silent is not too good for farmers. We are yet to hear from government on what they have for us.
“We had a meeting recently and the government officials there promised that government will provide supports.
“But whatever support government wants to do for farmers, particularly women farmers should be done now that new planting season has just commenced so that it won’t be too late.
“We have cases in the past where inputs and agro-chemicals are released late to farmers and this used to affect our harvests.
“We have been asked to submit a list of our members for supports and I have been in the ministry of finance many times to enquire about what government has for us but nothing is forthcoming.”
Anifowose advised the state government not to pay lip service to crop farming, saying it was shocking that there was budget line only for livestock farming during the budget review session.
She said that the group would need support on government for irrigation to ensure round year farming among its members.
Farmers havest cherries in Damascus, Syria
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A farmer picks cherries in the countryside of Syrian capital Damascus on June 2, 2020. (Photo by Ammar Safarjalani/Xinhua)
2020 farming season:Institute advises farmers to extend planting of crops
Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) Zaria, Kaduna State, has advised farmers to extend planting date of crops by at least two weeks beyond normal planting period to enhance production in the 2020 wet season farming.
The Executive Director of the Institute, Prof. Mohammed Ishiyaku, gave the advice in a statement issued on Tuesday in Zaria.
Ishiyaku advised farmers to use medium maturing variety where available, or further delay planting of early maturing variety that were available with them.
“A nitrogen fertilizer that is NPK 20:10:10 should be applied in at least three splits for cereal crops like maize, sorghum and millet in the region.
“In essence, fertilizer should be applied during planting as first dose, second dose should be applied two weeks after planting, while the last application should be at six weeks after planting,’’ Ishiyaku said.
Ishiyaku said the advice was part of the recommendations of a meeting between IAR, Faculty of Agriculture, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, and other stakeholders.
Ishiyaku said that key issues that required urgent attention of policy makers, farmers and other key stakeholders included prediction and projection of delay in onset of rainfall and delay in cessation of rainfall in the northern and southern guinea savannahs.
He said the total amount of rainfall to be expected in 2020 would be similar with previous years, except that the number of rainy days would decrease.
He said with this, farmers were therefore advised to plant crop varieties that had the medium maturity period to escape floods and harvest losses due to anticipated prolonged rainfall.
“ A moderate increase in the intensity of rainfall will be experienced during the 2020 rainy season which may result in flooding and excessive water for certain crops like maize, thereby causing harvest rots and washing off fertilizer,’’ Ishiyaku said.
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