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Food Security: Expert calls for expansion of CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme

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A business analyst, Akinyinka Akintunde, has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to involve more farmers in its Anchor Borrowers Programme toward boosting food production in the country.

Akintunde, who is the Business Development Manager, AFEX Commodities Exchange Ltd, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Lagos.

He said this while reacting to the May Inflation report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which grew to 11.40 per cent from the 11.37 per cent recorded in April.

The growth was due largely to corresponding increase in the composite food index, which rose by 13.79 per cent in May, compared to 13.70 per cent in April and 13.45 per cent in March.

Inflation is a quantitative measurement of the rate at which the average price level of a basket of selected goods and services in an economy increases over a period of time.

Akintunde noted that having more farmers in the Anchor Borrowers Programme was imperative considering the increasing population of the country.

He said increased access of smallholder farmers to funding and quality inputs would reduce the rising food inflation rate and invariably the cost of food prices across the country.

“It cuts to the fundamentals of food production in Nigeria. Agriculture accounts for about 25 per cent of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) but less than five per cent funding from the banks.

“Invariably the high cost of lending from commercial banks will definitely impact on the cost of production.

“Also, a lot of farmers lack access to inputs at an affordable rate, if we have more farmers in the CBN’s programme, it would address some of these issues,” he said.

Akintunde said the Anchor Borrowers Programme should be made more transparent and have a seamless process to allow more farmers on the platform.

Also, Mr Rilwan Balogun, an agricultural economist, appealed to the Federal Government to urgently address insecurity in the country.

“From the NBS report, we can see that a major reason why food inflation is rising is because we are consuming more protein and the supply of the various produce are not commensurate with the rise in population,” Balogun said.

Balogun said the crisis in some major food producing states was taking a toll on food production and supply of food items.

He urged the government to enhance agricultural growth by increasing the productivity and income of smallholder farmers through access to mechanised farming, climate-resistant seeds and extension services.

NAN reports that the CBN had in 2018 disclosed that 862,069 farmers cultivating about 835,239 hectares of land for 16 different commodities had benefited from the Anchor Borrowers Programme.

The apex bank in line with its developmental function established the programme which was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on Nov.17, 2015.

The programme seeks to create a linkage between anchor companies involved in processing and small holder farmers of the required key agricultural commodities.

Some of the commodities cultivated include: rice, wheat, maize, cotton, soya-beans, poultry, cassava, groundnuts, tomato and fish farming.

A business analyst, Akinyinka Akintunde, has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to involve more farmers in its Anchor Borrowers Programme toward boosting food production in the country.

Akintunde, who is the Business Development Manager, AFEX Commodities Exchange Ltd,

made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Lagos.

He said this while reacting to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) May Inflation report which grew to 11.40 per cent from 11.37 per cent recorded in April.

The composite food index rose by 13.79 per cent in May compared to 13.70 per cent in April and 13.45 per cent in March.

According to NBS, rise in the food index was caused by increases in the prices of meat, oils and fats, bread and cereals, potatoes, yam and other tubers, fish, milk, cheese, egg and vegetables.

Inflation is a quantitative measure of the rate at which the average price level of a basket of selected goods and services in an economy increases over a period of time.

Akintunde noted that having more farmers in the Anchor Borrowers Programme was imperative considering the increasing population of the country.

He said that increased access of smallholder farmers to funding and quality inputs would reduce the rising food inflation rate and invariably the cost of food prices across the country.

“It cuts to the fundamentals of food production in Nigeria. Agriculture accounts for about 25 per cent of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) but less than five per cent funding from the banks.

“Invariably the high cost of lending from commercial banks will definitely impact on the cost of production.

“Also, a lot of farmers lack access to inputs at an affordable rate, if we have more farmers in the CBN’s programme, it would address some of these issues,’’ he said.

Akintunde said that the Anchor Borrowers Programme should be made more transparent and have a seamless process to allow more farmers on the platform.

Also, Mr Rilwan Balogun, an agricultural economist, appealed to the Federal Government to urgently address issues of insecurity in the country.

“From the NBS report, we can see that a major reason why food inflation is rising is because we are consuming more protein and the supply of the various produce are not commensurate to the population,’’ Balogun said.

Balogun said the crisis in some major food producing states was taking a toll on food production and supply of the food items.

He urged the government to enhance agricultural growth by increasing the productivity and income of smallholder farmers through access to mechanised farming, climate resistant seeds and extension services.

NAN recalls that the CBN had in 2018 disclosed that 862,069 farmers cultivating about 835,239 hectares of land for 16 different commodities had benefited from the Anchor Borrowers Programme.

The apex bank in line with its developmental function established the programme which was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari, on Nov.17, 2015.

The programme seeks to create a linkage between anchor companies involved in processing and small holder farmers (SHFs) of the required key agricultural commodities.

Some of the commodities cultivated includes; rice, wheat, maize, cotton, soya-beans, poultry, cassava, groundnuts, tomato and fish farming.

Education

Homegrown food distribution, a success in Lagos State – LASUBEB

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The Lagos State Universal Education Board (LASUBEB) says  it has recorded success in the ongoing  Homegrown School Feeding Programme launched in Lagos on May 21.

This is contained in a statement by Mrs Eniola Adewunmi, Public Relations Officer of the board, in Lagos on Tuesday.

Adewunmi said  the targeted 37, 589 households of pupils in public primary school. one to three  had been concluded.

She  said the Feeding Programme was anchored and financed by the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development.

She said the programme also   supported by the Lagos State Government through LASUBEB was designed to see to the continued sustenance of primary school pupils in spite of the schools closure.

“Immediately after the flag-off, the distribution of Take-Home Rations to households of pupils started in earnest in 202 centres across the 20 Local Government Education Authorities (LGEA) in the state.

“Each beneficiary received a Take-Home Ration made up of 5kg Bag of Rice, 5kg Bag of Beans, 500 ml Vegetable Oil, 750ml Palm Oil, 500mg Salt, 15 pieces of eggs and 140gm Tomato Paste.

“During the exercise,  the Executive Chairman of LASUBEB, Hon. Wahab Alawiye-King, Board Members, and the Board Secretary effectively monitored the distribution exercise.

“At most of the centres visited, the chairman expressed satisfaction with the conduct of government officials at the various centres as well as the orderliness of the parents being attended to,  describing the exercise as transparent,’’ she said.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma and Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)

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Agriculture

Food security: Lagos vegetable farmers seek access to fertiliser at affordable cost

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Some vegetable farmers in Lagos on Tuesday appealed to the State Government to provide fertiliser for them at subsidised rates to ensure bumper harvest.

The farmers told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that lack of access to fertiliser during the previous planting season contributed to shortage and high cost of vegetables in markets.

Mr Abdullahi Azzare, who cultivates variety of vegetables on three hectares on Iba-LASU Road, said that a bag of 50kg of fertiliser now sold for N7,500.

He said that the price was too high for most subsistence farmers in the state.

Azzare said that not less than 23 bags of 50kg fertiliser would be required to ensure good harvest from his farm.

According to him, many farmers have resorted to the use of organic manure from animal waste to enrich the soil to enable them to break even.

“The organic manure application is cumbersome and requires much labour unlike the NPK inorganic fertiliser application that even gives better yield.

“Many of us did not plant this period because of our inability to get inputs at reduced price; that is a threat to food security in the near future,” he said.

Azzarr added that if government could help by bringing the price down, more farmers would cultivate during the late planting season and ensure availability of vegetables all year round.

Mr Danbaba Dogo, whose farm is within the Nigerian Army Barracks, Ojo, said that fertiliser was needed for all year round farming.

Dogo, who said that he hired 15 labourers to assist him in his two hectares, said that fertiliser was essential to enable him to engage them all year round and make profit.

“I want government to sell fertilser to us. I have been going to the government warehouse at Ojo Agriculture Inputs office for the product but there is non there.

“The last time we got fertiliser there was two years ago at N5,000 per bag. It is much better than the rate at the open market,” he said.

The farmer said that availability of the product would encourage many of his colleagues to cultivate more, gainfully engagg more people and make vegetables cheaper in the market.

Also, Mrs Ann Uzoukwu, who plants vegetables in a farm within the Lagos State University, Ojo, said the yield was not enough to meet the demand of the school community.

If I could have access to fertiliser I would cultivate more land to enable me service the university community and its environs.

Meanwhile, Mrs Bisi Lawal, a manager at the state agriculture inputs office, said that the establishment was still expecting supply of the product for the farmers.


Edited By: Bayo Sekoni/Ejike Obeta (NAN)

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General news

Covid-19: NAWOJ distributes food items to widows in Ondo State

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The Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Ondo State chapter, has donated food items to widows to cushion the effect of coronavirus pandemic.

The chairperson of the association in the state, Mrs Doris Olumoko, appreciated an APC gubernatorial aspirant, Mr Ife Oyedele, who made the food items available to the association on Tuesday in Akure.

According to the NAWOJ chairperson, the gesture is the right thing to do to help widows in the society.

Olumoko revealed that the sharing of the palliatives was the second one since the lockdown occasioned by the pandemic had affected businesses in the state.

She added that it would reduce the burden of widows in the provision of food for their children during this lockdown.

The chairperson promised that the programme would continue, stressing that NAWOJ would continue to reach out to well-meaning Nigerians, who had resources to assist widows.

Olumoko also admonished the widows to ensure that they continued to stay safe, by complying with the government’s safety guidelines on COVID-19.

Also speaking, Mrs Olayinka Faniyi, the spokesperson of a nongovernmental organisation, YINFANNY SUPPORT, who represented Oyedele, promised that the organisation would continue to partner with NAWOJ to help women and children.

Some of the widows, who appreciated the gesture, promised to protect their families against the virus through proper hygiene and adherence to COVID-19 protocols.


Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Yemi Idris-Aduloju (NAN)
 

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Foreign

UNRWA provides food at refugee camp in Gaza City

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Workers unload food provided by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) at a refugee camp in Gaza City, June 2, 2020. (Photo by Rizek Abdeljawad/Xinhua)

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Foreign

Vietnam reports more food poisoning deaths in 5 months

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In the first five months of this year, 694 people in Vietnam suffered from food poisoning, of whom 15 died, according to the country’s Preventive Health Department on Tuesday.

In the same period last year, 806 people were affected by food poisoning, of whom five died.

Between January and May, Vietnam spotted 26,900 dengue fever patients, including three fatalities, 4,921 foot-and-mouth disease cases and 186 viral encephalitis sufferers.

Vietnam currently has 210,500 HIV carriers, of whom 97,154 have become AIDS patients. To date, 98,705 people in the country have died of AIDS-related diseases, the department said.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Pakistani charity organization distributes food to people impacted by COVID-19

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Volunteers of a Pakistani charity organization arrange charity food boxes amid COVID-19 pandemic in Islamabad, capital of Pakistan, on June 1, 2020. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said that people should learn living with COVID-19 by taking precautionary measure to avoid contracting it till its vaccine is made. (Xinhua/Ahmad Kamal)

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Defence/Security

64th Anniversary: Navy donates food, palliative items to communities in Abuja

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The Nigerian Navy on Monday distributed foods items and other palliatives to host communities in Abuja to commemorate its 64th anniversary.

The Navy said this was to support the Federal Government’s efforts to cushion the effect of COVID-19 and as part of activities to mark the Service 64th anniversary.

The exercise took place in Kuje and Abuja Municipal Area Councils

The News Agency of Nigerian reports that the Force also distributed some Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), as well as hand sanitizers.

Rear Admiral Jatau Luka, the Director of Administration, Naval Headquaters, represented the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, at the event.

Speaking during the occasion, Ibas said the palliatives were aimed at reaching out to vulnerable communities.

” Today rounds up the low keyed activities of the 64th Anniversary of the Nigerian Navy which started last week with distribution of palliatives and inauguration of projects by the Commands.

In general, the Nigerian Navy week serves as an opportunity for introspection and reflection as well as merriment which will be lacking this year due to the prevailing COVID-19 Pandemic.

” In rounding off the 2020 Nigerian Navy(NN) Week, the NN was expected to observe one of its major tradition which is the conduct of medical outreach in communities that host NN formations and establishments.

” However, due to the prevailing public health environment, arising from the occurrences of the COVID-19 Pandemic, this effort could be quite challenging within the extant framework to curb the virus spread.

Therefore, the CNS has directed for the conduct of palliative distribution to members of the public in host communities within the FCT.

” This underscores the commitment of the NN to its corporate social responsibility as well as support to the efforts of the Federal Government in mitigating the impact of the pandemic on the less privileged citizens.

” Arising from the foregoing, the Nigerian Navy is here to donate palliatives to the vulnerable Nigerians residing in Kuje and Jiwa Communities,” he said.

The CNS reiterated the commitment of the Navy to sustain the relationship between the Force and the communities and prayed that the relationship continues.

He also acknowledge the warm and cordial relationship between the Nigerian Navy and the Kuje and Jiwa Communities.

Ibas said the Navy is hopeful that the relationship will continue to deepen progressively for improved national security.

In his response, the Chief of Kuje (Gomo of Kuje), HRH Haruna Jubrin, commended the Nigerian Navy for providing the communities with the palliatives.


Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

 

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Defence/Security

COVID-19: Police Area Commander donates N400,000 worth food items, PPE, to officers wives in Warri

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The Area Commander of the Nigeria Police Force in Warri, ACP Mohammed Garba, on Saturday made a personal donation of food items and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) worth N400,000 to wives of officers in his command.

Presenting the items in Warri, Garba said that the gesture was to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the people.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the items included 100 cartons of Indomie noodles, 140 tubers of yam, 120 loaves of bread and some  face masks.

He said that the donation was to complement the exemplary leadership qualities of the Inspector-General of Police  and the Delta Commissioner of Police (CP) Hafiz Inuwa.

“I decided to present over 100 cartons of Indomie noodles, 120 loaves of bread, 140 tubers of yam and facemasks to wives of policemen serving in my command to cushion the effect of the pandemic as some are widows,” he said

The area commander urged the beneficiaries to  always be safety conscious as COVID-19 was real.

“Adhere strictly to the safety rules of the COVID-19, wash your hands regularly with soap and running water, use hand sanitiser and wear facemasks,” he advised.

Responding, Mrs Promise Uyanwanne, Woman leader, Police Wives at the Warri Area Command, thanked Garba for the gesture.

“We the police wives thank the Area Commander for the package. It will go a long way in cushioning the effect of the COVID-19 on us” she said.

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Edited By: Chinyere Bassey (NAN)

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Defence/Security

Don’t accept gifts, food from passengers, Police Command in Kebbi warns

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The Police Command in Kebbi on Friday warned commercial drivers against accepting gifts and food from passengers, to reduce incidences of vehicles snatching in the state.

DSP Nafi’u Abubakar, Command’s Public Relations Officer, gave the warning in Birnin Kebbi, saying that acceptance of such gifts could lead to their being dispossessed of their vehicles and other valuables.

The Kebbi Police Command wishes to call on commercial drivers, Keke Napep and motorcycle riders to be wary of the passengers they convey, who may be unnecessarily friendly, by giving them free gifts or food that might have been drugged.

“The drugging can make driver or rider to be drowsy or go into coma, which may easily lead to the dispossession of their vehicles and other valuables,” he said.

Edited By: Folorun Poroye/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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