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Stimulus: FG, ADP commence collation of data of genuine farmers in Abia



The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Abia Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) on Monday commenced collation of data of genuine farmers in the state.

Mr Isreal Amanze, Programme Manager told newsmen in Umuahia that the essence of the exercise was to generate a comprehensive data bank of farmers in the state.

According to him, farmers’ data bank will help in the distribution of palliatives and postCOVID-19 economic stimulus packages for farmers in the state.

He explained that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in collaboration with the state Ministry of Agriculture ordered the registration of farmers in every ward of the state.

“The essence of the registration is to gather and confirm data of real farmers for palliative and post COVID-19 stimulus packages.

ADP has deployed trained professionals to educate farmers on the relevance of the exercise and register the farmers in the various communities in Abia.

“The enumerators will meet the farmers to get their coordinates and will ensure they visit their farms so that accurate data are documented appropriately.

“The registration exercise has commenced today and will last for 10 days, but we are appealing to the Federal Government to extend the period given for the exercise,” he said.

He urged traditional rulers, clergymen and leaders of farmers associations, to encourage the farmers in their communities to cooperate with the enumerators to ensure success of the exercise.

Amanze said the exercise had created an ample opportunity for the government to eliminate “portfolio farmers” from the system.

He said that it was expected that subsistence and commercial farmers would be reached and assisted to enhance their capacities.

Amanze described the initiative as a welcome development, adding that it would improve food security and boost the economy of the state, as well as the nation at large.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma (NAN)

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Indian gov’t approves 9.33 billion USD relief for small businesses, hikes MSP for farmers




The Indian government Monday cleared a 9.33 billion United States dollars debt scheme to help stressed micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and approved a new definition for these units.

“Approval for provisioning of Rs 20,000 crore (2.66 billion United States dollars) as subordinate debt to provide equity support to the stressed MSMEs. This will benefit 2 lakh stressed MSMEs,” reads a statement issued by cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA).

“Approval for equity infusion of Rs. 50,000 crore (6.67 billion United States dollars) for MSMEs through Fund of Funds (FoF). This will establish a framework to help MSMEs in capacity augmentation. This will also provide an opportunity to get listed in stock exchanges.”

Both the decisions were part of the government’s relief package, which was announced by federal finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman last month to support the battered economy in wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday launched the technology platform CHAMPIONS, a one-stop-shop solution of the MSME Ministry that would attempt to make smaller entrepreneurships evolve and grow by solving their grievances. The acronym CHAMPIONS stands for Creation and Harmonious Application of Modern Processes for Increasing the Output and National Strength.

This information and communications technology-based system has been set up to help the MSMEs in the present difficult situation and also to handhold them to become national and international champions, an official statement said.

Government says MSMEs are the backbone of Indian economy. As per official estimates, MSMEs have a crucial role to play in building a stronger and self-reliant India. “These small economic engines have a huge impact on the country’s GDP-making a contribution of 29 percent. They contribute to almost half of exports from the country. Additionally, more than 110 million people are employed in the MSME sector,” official data reveals.

The government has also approved to hike the minimum support price of 14 Kharif crops. The hike will increase farmers’ profit by 50 to 83 percent. Kharif crops are the crops that are sown before monsoon in India.


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Kenyan farmers mark global milk day amid calls for adoption of climate-smart animals




Kenyan dairy farmers on Monday joined their counterparts from across the globe to mark the World Milk Day as experts rooted for adoption of more hardy animals to enhance production amid challenges of climate change.

The day was founded some 20 years ago by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations to distinguish the importance of milk as a food and to celebrate the dairy sector.

This year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, FAO discouraged the holding of in-person events, calling for social media celebrations.

After milking their animals on Monday, some of the dairy farmers in the east African nation toasted their produce in celebration of resilience and hope for more production amid rising challenges.

East African nation milk producers are currently facing a myriad of challenges among them shrinking land sizes, erratic weather conditions due to climate change and restrictions to curb the spread of new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that have shrunk the market.

Climate change effects have led to erratic pasture production and increased disease and pest incidences.

But still, the farmers have been resilient, producing up to 60 million liters of milk a month or 720 million liters annually, according to the Kenya Dairy Board.

Rachel Kinyua, a farmer from Meru County in central Kenya, is among those earning a living from milk that her six cows, out of the 15 she keeps, produce.

She gets 160 litres of milk every day and delivers to the Meru Union Dairy Cooperative Society, which buys at 35 shillings (about 0.35 United States dollars) per liter.

“I am happy with the yield but I want to increase the number of milkers to 10, though challenges like severe drought affect production,” Kinyua, who keeps Friesian animals, which are very high feeders, said.

But as dairy production goes on, experts are calling for adoption of climate-smart animals that are not only hardy but also offer more on less feeds.

These include dairy goats, crossbreed cows, camels and sheep. For the goats, crossbreeds of Alpines and Toggenburgs — European breeds — have emerged as the most popular among Kenyan farmers seeking to produce more milk.

Similarly, crossbreeds of Sahiwals, Fleckvieh and local breed Zebu cattle have also been embraced by dairy farmers in the east African nation.

For sheep, farmers are embracing crossbreeds of traditional Red Maasai, Boer and Dorper, the last two which are resilient and imported from South Africa.

Camels, on the other hand, are being adopted by farmers in arid and semi-arid areas due to their hardy nature.

Initially, the animals were mainly kept in northern Kenya but more farmers in the south, Coast and eastern parts of the country are embracing camels as their milk products like yogurt, fresh milk and meat become mainstreamed in the east African nation’s market.

There are at least three million camels in Kenya, mostly kept by pastoralists in the north, with the number growing steadily over recent years.

George Gitao, a professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Nairobi, noted camels are more important now than ever because they are tough, survive in drought and pollute less.

“Camels produce one of the most nutritious milks and the world‘s best wools, good leather and extremely healthy meat,” he said.

Bernard Faye, a veterinarian and chair of the International Society of Camelid Research and Development, observed that the global camel market is projected to grow at more than 10 percent for the next decade, thus, farmers must produce more of its milk and meat in the future to reap from the animals.

Besides the resilient livestock, experts are advising for adoption of hardy but nutritious fodder that helps in production of more milk from the animals.

These fodder include panicum, cobra and cayman grasses that are not only nutritious to animals but also regrow faster after cutting, thus, allowing farmers to have plenty of fodder even with little rains, according to Fredrick Muthomi, an agronomist.


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FG to empower 77,400 young farmers on agric business



The National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) says it plans to empower 77,400 young farmers to engage in agricultural business.

NALDA said the agricultural businesses would range  from crop farming to animal husbandry across  the country.

Its Executive Secretary, Mr Paul Ikonne,  said this at a news conference in Abuja on Monday.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that NALDA was established in 1992 but ceased to exist and function in 2000 before the President Muhammadu Buhari led-administration revived it.

Ikonne said: “We intend to have 77,400 young farmers injected into Nigerian farming business across the nation in different farming activities ranging from crop farming to animal husbandry.

“These young farmers will be drawn from the 774 Local Governments Areas of the country , with a pilot number of 100 per LGA.

“In this initiative, we will partner with governors for provision or donation of land and other stakeholders as this will create employment and food production will be increased,” he said.

According to him,  NALDA has also initiated ‘Back to Farm’ Programme to encourage everyone to go back to farm.

“This can be achieved by reaching out to the military and paramilitary organisations, National Assembly members, civil and public servants, journalists, corporate bodies, religious organisations and individuals.

“You will agree with me that all these organisations mentioned and some individuals have land that are not being put to use.

“We intend to encourage them to use these lands for farming even if it is for personal consumption,” Ikonne said.

He said that NALDA’s mandate was to make agriculture a business and a source of wealth creation for the country.

“We intend to achieve this by increasing palm oil and soya beans production for export, among others.

NALDA under my watch will identify and bridge lapses hindering the attainment of food sufficiency in the country,” he promised. (

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Edited By: Chioma Ugboma (NAN)



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Tomato price to drop as farmers approach surplus period



South-West Tomato Growers Association of Nigeria on Monday assured the nation that high cost of the commodity would soon be over as the farmers are approaching the glut period.

The group’s president, Mr Bamidele Ajani said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Ibadan.

The tomato is the edible, often red, berry of the plant Solanum lycopersicum, commonly known as a tomato plant. The species originated in western South America and Central America.

Ajani however, added that the farmers also believed that the cost would reduce because tomatoes grown from the North were being harvested.

He attributed the rising cost of the commodity to hike of transportation from the North as well as lack of Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) by some farmers.

Ajani also said that the Northern states grew more tomatoes than those in the South, pointing out that cost of transportation had a great impact on the commodity’s high cost.

He said that lack of GAP could also lead to low yield and eventual high cost of the produce.

According to him, increasing industrial need of tomatoes by tomato processing plants in the country is also putting pressure on price of tomatoes.

“Another one is the difference between the planting season of the North and South Nigeria, the Southern part planting season starts February/March while Northern planting starts May/June, we do have glut and scarce period.

“The cost of a basket can be as low as N3, 000 to N4, 000 during gluts (September to January of the year) while during scarcity it can go as high as N15, 000/N17, 000.

“The price is supposed to be lower soon because we are approaching the glut period,” he said.

The President said that the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted negatively on tomato production as the lockdown started at a time when preparations of farmland for the planting season commenced.

According to him, COVID-19 prevented farmers’ access to fund as all financial institutions, government agencies and major stakeholders were also affected by the lock down.

“All collaboration we use to get from government/stakeholders practically stopped.

“In fact, this year agricultural yield/production may turn out low unless government takes proactive and decisive steps toward boosting agriculture production.

“The governments as a matter of urgency should ease lockdowns, law enforcement agencies should comply with the government’s directives that exempted farmers/farm produce from lock down restrictions.

“Farmers need to be provided with adequate facilities, farm lands around river banks/dams should be cultivated using irrigation system, all farmers should return to farm in earnest,” he said.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

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COVID-19: Maize farmers urge govts to address challenges of 2020 farming season



Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) has urged government at all levels to look into ways of mitigating issue of food insecurity as one of the measures to cushion the effect of COVID-19 on the agricultural sector.

The MAAN Chairman, Oyo State Chapter, Alhaji Raji Ayandele, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Ibadan on Monday.

Ayandele said since COVID-19 was a global issue, farmers were also exposed; and this in itself was a threat to food security.

He noted that the government’s policy on agriculture and subsidy most times did not reach the targeted farmers.

The MAAN chairman appealed to the government to assist farmers financially, especially those in the rural areas, in good time so as to enable them utilise the planting season.

He urged the government to assist the farmers facing hardship with high cost of inputs such as quality seeds, chemicals, fertiliser, inadequate farm mechanisation equipment and lack of access to low interest loan facilities.

“We also need assistance in tackling lateness in delivering facilities for the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme and unregulated market prices that result in shortage of farm produce.

“We also need assistance in periodic human capacity building on modern trends in Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and subsidy where applicable.

“Whereas maize farmers are urged to go to the farm to produce enough so as to prevent hunger in the nation, we call on government to give proper support to farmers.

“This will ensure that farmers return to their farms fast enough to save the situation at hand,” he said.

Ayandele remarked that COVID-19 had affected all sectors of the economy, especially the agricultural sector which was the backbone of the country’s economy.

He said the lockdown occasioned by COVID-19 would certainly result in scarcity of every human need, including farm inputs and mechanisation.

He added that goods would be in short supply thus making them more expensive than ever, pointing out that seasonal labour movement would as well be affected with its attendant results.

“Farmers are finding this coronavirus information very confusing to comprehend. Farming season is threatened as the lockdown led to short flow of farming inputs and mechanisation is slowed down as well.

“This certainly is a threat to maize production. Many smallholder farmers are far in the hard-to reach areas where little or no information about the pandemic had gotten to them.

“They will go to farm but the necessary farm inputs are not adequate. This can adversely affect farm operations leading to low yield and food insecurity (hunger),” Ayandele said.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)




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Extension service providers to resume training of farmers – IITA



Extension agents working under the Justice Development and Peace Movement (JDPM) in Oyo State and the University of Agriculture Makurdi (UAM) will soon resume training of farmers, an officialhas said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the training was previously halted by the COVID-19 lockdown across the country.

The organisations disclosed this in a statement signed by Mr Godwin Atser, the Digital Extension Advisory Services Specialist of International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

Atser noted that training activities would adhere strictly to the rules on physical distancing set by the country on COVID 19.

According to him, JPDM and UAM are partnering with the African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) of the IITA for the dissemination of the AKILIMO decision support tools to farmers in Oyo and Benue states.

AKILIMO is an all-in-one agronomic advisory tool developed by ACAI that supports cassava growers with knowledge and recommendations to intensify their cassava-based cropping systems.

Both JDPM and UAM commenced full dissemination activities in 2019.

“They have so far covered dozens of rural communities and local government areas in the two states; gathering farmers at their homes, village squares, under trees, community schools and churches.

“Using battery-powered mobile projectors, videos and other paper-based tools developed by ACAI, the organisations, through their extension networks, are teaching farmers best weed control methods.

“They are teaching them the safest use of herbicides and best planting practices in cassava-maize farming systems.

“The training activities were, however, halted over a month ago following the outbreak of COVID-19 and lockdown measures put in place by the state and federal governments to curtail the pandemic in Nigeria.

“At separate meetings held recently at the JDPM office in Oyo and another in Benue, the extension agents resolved to resume training under COVID-19 regulations set by the government.

“This is to ensure that cassava farmers were armed with best-bet weed control and planting techniques as the farming season begins,” he said.

Atser commended the extension agents for their work so far before the lockdown.

He said recommencing the training at this time is a humanitarian gesture to farmers to enable them to avert hunger and cushion the effects of the looming economic recession.

Atser added that the training would be conducted based on government COVID-19 safety rules and regulations, which allowed a limited number of persons to gather while maintaining a physical distance.

“Other safety measures harped upon at the meeting included the proper washing of hands and compulsory use of face masks by trainers and trainees at every training event.

Farmer Field days which are to come up soon will also be conducted under COVID-19 rules.

“There is need to follow up on farmers who have been trained and have adopted the intervention in order to serve as points of reference to others,” he noted.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Anti-COVID-19 restrictions among East Africa countries boon for Kenyan farmers




Restriction of movement between east African countries to curb spread of COVID-19 has come as a boon for Kenyan farmers, whose produce is currently selling at a better price as food demand surges.

The restrictions have seen a decline in food imports, allowing Kenyan farmers’ produce to dominate the market.

Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania have each limited movement of goods and people into and out of their borders.

While travel of people between the countries has been banned, movement of goods and cargo is allowed.

However, the transporters have to test for COVID-19 and get certificates to show they don’t have the disease.

The testing has occasioned delays, curtailing free movement of goods, thus creating a boon to Kenyan food producers.

Kenya imports a bulk of food produce from its neighbors Uganda and Tanzania. From Uganda, the country imports cereals, legumes, sugar and eggs mainly.

And from Tanzania comes fruits like oranges, lemons, pineapples and mangoes, onions, potatoes and tomatoes.

“It is a good time to be a farmer in Kenya because prices of commodities are now high due to COVID-19 restrictions. I produce eggs, at least 100 crates a day and for the first time, buyers are scrambling for them,” said Cornelius Mutuku, a farmer in Kitengela on the south of Nairobi.

Farmers growing onions and tomatoes are also enjoying the boom as imports from Tanzania remain restricted.

At Wakulima food market in the capital Nairobi, where most produce from Tanzania is usually offloaded for supply to other parts of the city, very few trucks from the country now deliver food at the market.

From about 40 trucks in a day to now less than 10 arrive daily due to the restricted movement, a trader said.

Beatrice Macharia, an agronomist with Growth Point, an agro-consultancy, observed that Kenyan farmers have been able to sustain the market amid limited imports due to good rains in the March to May season.

“The rains offered a boost in the production but in the long-term we still need the imports,” she said, adding good prices have cushioned farmer from high cost of inputs.

Kenya’s agriculture secretary Peter Munya on May 20 asked local farmers to use the window brought about constrained supply chains to reap from their ventures by supplying the market.

Kenya food imports topped 1 billion dollars in 2019, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, with the high imports blamed on erratic weather during the period.


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Farmers plow and sow grain seeds in Akmol village, Kazakhstan




Aerial photo taken on May 30, 2020 shows farmers plowing and sowing grain seeds in a farm in Akmol village, Akmola Region, Kazakhstan. (Photo by Kalizhan Ospanov/Xinhua)

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