Agriculture

Gombe: 6,994 cotton farmers benefited from Anchor Borrowers’ Programme in 2019- Association

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The National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NACOTAN), Gombe State chapter, says over 6, 994 of its members have benefited from the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) in the state this year.

Mr Abubakar Bappi, the state chairman, NACOTAN, disclosed this in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Tuesday in Gombe.

Bappi said introduction of the programme had encouraged cotton cultivation in Gombe, adding that it was hitherto becoming difficult to grow cotton in view of the many challenges farmers faced in  accessing money and inputs.

He stated that government’s intervention had boosted cotton profile of Gombe and engaged many youths who had jettisoned cotton farming.

“The last couple of years have not been good for cotton farming in Gombe but with the introduction of ABP in 2015, cotton farming was strengthened in the state.

“Currently, the programme anchors 6,994 farmers in Gombe State, which is huge, although they are farmers who are yet to benefit because they do not have Bank Verification Number (BVN).

“ I believe by next year, farmers under the ABP will increase and with the success we have recorded and will continue to record, Gombe will return to the glory days in cotton farming”, he said.

Bappi commended the Federal Government’s intervention in the agricultural sector, which according to him, had given hope to farmers and created wealth in rural areas.

He, however, lamented that Gombe State was gradually becoming a raw material state for other states, which according to him, had resulted in loss of jobs to state with industries.

“We want government to establish a textile industry in Gombe State because of the availability of the raw materials here.

“This will create more jobs that exist only in the agricultural value chain,’’ he said.

He called on farmers to be proactive and sincere in ensuring that loans given to them were paid in full, adding that such measure would ensure the sustainability of the programme.

He also called on farmers without BVN to get their numbers ready to ensure their eligibility for the programme.


UP/AMM/ASH


Edited by Abiemwense Moru/

Agriculture

Nigeria can feed other African countries through FG’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme – Institute

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Dr Ayobami Omotoso, President, Chartered Institute of Export and Commodity Brokers of Nigeria (CIECOBON), says that Nigeria will feed its citizens and other African countries with the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) of the Federal Government.

Omotoso made the assertion during the 2019 Award Presentation Ceremony held at the Institute’s Secretariat in Lagos on Thursday.

According to him, the Federal Government is readily available to assist farmers through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme and other windows through which money was released by Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) Plc.

According to him, NIRSAL is an organ of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that renders financial assistance to farmers, small and medium enterprises.

NIRSAL also has the mandate to stimulate the flow of affordable finance and investments into the agricultural sector by de-risking the agribusiness finance value chain and institutionalising incentives for agricultural lending through its five strategic pillars, namely: Risk Sharing, Insurance, Technical Assistance, Incentives and Rating.

With the support of government, Nigeria can now feed herself and even Africa as a whole. What we just need to do is to retrace our steps back to farm, process the commodities and make good gains.

The era of white collar job has come and gone. We need more entrepreneurs to grow our commodities for the local industries that will give employment to Nigerians and sell at international markets.

We appreciate the effort of the present administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari for closing the borders which is now of more benefits and gains to Nigeria,” Omotoso said.

He urged members to be ready to serve to improve the standard of the institute.

Omotoso appealed to stakeholders for support to enable the institute pay the N2. 5 million loan used in renting another befitting secretariat, saying that the institute also needed 1million to furnish the secretariat.

He said that the institute honoured five founders with meritorious award; seven with Associates; 13 people with full membership; and 28 people with Fellows.

One of the awardees, His Royal Majesty, Oba Ezekiel Oladele, Olupole of Ipole Iloro Ekiti, commended the government’s effort which had yielded success in farming business in the state.

The monarch said that the people of Ekiti had been exporting cocoa and cashew, saying that presently he had been encouraging the people to start exporting yams.

Oladele said that Ekiti State had improved in farming of quality rice, to be available for export in future.

He commended the efforts of the management of the institute for extending an award to him and promised to support the association with advice.

The Director-General, Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association, Mr Hamma Kwajaffa, who represented Mr Umar Goni-Iya-Ahmed, urged Nigerian farmers to improve on their farming to enable them have reserve for export which he said would boost the foreign reserve of Nigeria Economy.

He called on the regulatory authorities to provide adequate laboratory to examine the commodities in order to stop the rejection of exportable products.

One of the beneficiaries of CIECOBON’s awards, Mrs Oluwakemi Adeyiga, said she would support other members to contact as many countries as possible to find out what the farmers were doing wrong that caused constant rejection of expert commodities.

Edited by: Josephine Obute/Adeleye Ajayi
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The Registrar of CIECOBON, Mr Samuel Adenuga; a Fellow, Paul Adiwu; President, Chartered Institute of Export and Commodity Brokers of Nigeria (CIECOBON), Dr Ayobami Omotoso, while presenting certificate of Fellow of the institute to Adiwu, during the 2019 Award Presentation Ceremony held at the institute’s secretariat in Lagos on Thursday.

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Agriculture

Wheat, rice production: NGO trains farmers on irrigation, water management

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Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation-Water Enabler Compact (TAAT-WEC) has trained some farmers in Kano on Improved irrigation and water management in wheat and rice production.

The National Coordinator of TAAT-WEC, Prof. Henry Igbadun in his remarks at the workshop on Thursday, said the training was aimed at boosting wheat and rice production in Kano and the country at large.

According to him, the workshop will give the farmers the opportunity to acquire knowledge on the new dry season water management in wheat and rice production.

He said, “TAAT-WEC project scaled out tools , technological solutions and innovations in irrigation and agricultural water management to increase productivity and production of wheat, rice and sorghum.

“We also build the capacity of a cadre of trainers, including innovation platform facilitatiors, extention agents, champion farmers and youths in the proper use of irrigation and water management technologies and implementation of good irrigation management practices,” he said.

According to him, the new technology will also attract investment from public and sector sources into irrigated agricultural production of wheat, rice and sorghum through the demonstration of viability and profitability of irrigation technologies.

Igbadun added that the TAAT-WEC project had also distributed wheat seeds and fertilizer to selected farmers in Kadawa and Alkamawa communities of the state to motivate them to cultivate wheat in the 2018/2019 season.

This will serve as control plots to the TAAT-WEC demonstration fields in the two locations, aimed at comparing the yields from their fields with that of the TAAT-WEC fields to assess the effect of the new technology.

The technology has yielded good results with increased in wheat yield by 15 to 15.5 per cent in check basins and 26 to 37.2 per cent in raised-bed strips when compared with farmers’ fields.

High values were recorded in Alkamawa compared to Kadawa. Our development objective is to rapidly expand access of smallholder farmers to high yielding agricultural technologies to improve food production, assure food security and raise rural incomes”, he explained.

According to Igbadun, the technoogy also recorded reduction in water conveyance losses by 90 per cent with the use of PVC pipes to distribute water, reduce cost of production and increase profit.

He added that Farmers’ field are no longer flooded due to breached canal walls when spiles with control valves are used.

Igbadun said that the project was funded by the African Development Bank (ADB) through the collaboration of International Water Management Institute and the Institue of Agricultural Research (IAR) Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

In his remarks, the Kano State Deputy Governor, Dr Nasiru Gawuna commended the TAAT-WEC for the workshop, saying it will go along way in complementing the efforts of the state government on agriculture.

Gawuna, who was represented by the Director of Administration, Ministry of Agriculture, Hajiya Zarah Suleiman said the state government was ready to give the project all the necessary support.

He said the workshop will contribute in enhancing the knowledge of the farmers on the modern farming technology and called on them to adopt the new technology.

Edited by: Tukur Muntari.
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Agriculture

Women farmers soon to access funding opportunities – official

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The challenge of access to funding by women in Agribusiness will soon be a thing of the past as the Nigeria Agribusiness Register is partnering stakeholders to discuss practicable means of accessing credit facilities.

The Project Coordinator of the Nigeria Agribusiness Register, Mr Odiba Nathanial, made this known in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency, in Abuja on Thursday.

Nathaniel said that the organisation had hosted a maiden edition of Women in Agribusiness Networking Summit to find solution to the problem of funding which was militating against women in agribusiness in the country.

According to him, the summit, with the theme: “Bridging the Gender Gap in the Agricultural Landscape”, examined ways to link agribusiness promoters with farmers and other stakeholders for affordable funding, among others.

We are creating a platform to see how we can link agribusiness project promoters for affordable funding, to boost domestic and export market and technical support for agro business to thrive and create more jobs for the Nigerian population.

He said that the organisation was keen about their projects having impact on the primary beneficiaries.

We are tired of people attending events and they do not have any development impact.

So, this is our strategy, we do not want people to talk and nothing happens. We have decided to create a solution to funding which is one big challenge agribusiness project promoters face.

We are going to set up a steering committee that will follow up and develop a strategy that will actualise the women agribusiness fund.

In a separate interview, Ms Ana Vinambres, Senior Adviser on Innovative Financial Services for Value Chains, from Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbgarment(GIZ), a German corporation, said that it was focusing on four value chains in Nigeria.

According to him, the corporation is focusing on increasing competitiveness in tomato, ginger, chili, leather and garment value chains.

She further said that the corporation was focusing on three major pillars – the technical pillar, the pillar that focused on policies, and access to finance.

Vinambres said that women were at the core of their intervention, adding that “we have done a specific gender analysis to identify the gaps and challenges that women in Agriculture in Nigeria face.

The major challenges include social factors, cultural aspects and low literacy rate. We are trying to propose mitigation factors.

For example, in many cases women do not have an ID card and may not be able to open a bank account.

So, we are trying to encourage the financial institutions to reduce their requirement and we are also trying to contemplate different options for collateral.

Like right now in Nigeria, there is collateral registry where movable assets may be registered.

Women may not own land but maybe they own movable assets that can be registered,” she said.

Dr Yusuf Mohammed, who was the guest lecturer at the event, spoke to NAN on agribusiness financing, challenges and the way forward, and declared that ensuring access to financing was key to agricultural development in the country and should be taken seriously.

According to him, rather than focus on the traditional lending system, it is high time alternative means of accessing funding without collateral was promoted.

We want to look at why banks are not willing to give loan to farmers.

First of all is the issue of transaction. Most agricultural financing is in the rural areas and most banks do not have branches in all these places.

Also, most farmers are not organised, they need to come out in group or cooperatives, to make it more viable for banks.

The issue of collateral is another concern. We need to develop alternative creative productions like warehousing financing and a host of others outside the traditional collateral system.

Regulation is also another issue because if you give your money to someone and he defaults, he will boldly challenge you to take him to court because he knows that the matter will be in court for so many years,” he said.

The Coordinator, National Shea Products Association of Nigeria(NASPAN), Apatira Aderemi, on his part, told NAN that efforts were being put in place by major stakeholders to encourage crowd funding for farmers to be able to pay equity for grants or loans that would be as low as two per cent interest rate.

With that, more women farmers will be able to access credit to boost production.

Basically, the credit gap in Africa is large, especially for women businesses. That is why gender is big business but it is also the investors dream if we create the enabling environment.

Basically, women in agriculture occupy about 15.6 billion dollars annually of credit space and that is a business opportunity.

We are looking at how to bring the kind of investors that are not expecting as high as 20 per cent interest rate.

“We are looking at investors that are willing to do five years with just two or three per cent per annum.”

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Agriculture

FG’s Anchor Borrowers Programme big support to farmers — association

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Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPMAN), has commended the Federal Government Anchor Borrowers Programme initiative, saying it is a big support to farmers in Nigeria.

Dr Edwin Uche, the National president of MAGPMAN said this at a National Stakeholders Meeting held on Thursday in Abuja.

According to Uche, the programme is a big support to maize farmers as well as every player in the maize value chain and other commodity value chain in Nigeria.

We must again commend the FG for sustaining the programme, for sustainability is the key,’’ he said.

He added that there were other programmes of the Federal Government with duration that was not as lasting as the Anchor Borrowers Programme which had been running for six years now.

The national president said that the meeting was designed for all key players in the maize value chain in order to appraise the progress as well as address challenges that existed in the value chain.

He said that the meeting was also aimed at providing solutions for the upcoming year in the area of price.

We also look at issues that border on challenges among our farmers in Anchor Borrowers Programme and other programmes of the government.

We also look at policies that borders on health related issues and how to deal with the commodity, land and tractorisation and market performance which are key issues for us,’’ Uche said.

According to him, MAGPAMAN is the apex body driving maize value chain in Nigeria and has structure in every local government and state in Nigeria including the FCT.

He said the association provides support to farmers, finance to agriculture, and access to capacity, mechanisation, technology and exposure based on global best practices in agriculture.

The national president also said the association drives agriculture from the concept of agribusiness, ensuring there was profitability to agriculture.

Uche said MAGPAMAN was also introducing other agricultural programmes to farmers in order to ensure that they benefited from Federal Government’s intervention.

We have a strong structure that has capacity to drive home agriculture and ensure food security in Nigeria, and the whole concept is to ensure that farmers earn value and profitability,’’ he said.

Dr Bello Dogondeji, the Chairman of Federation of Agricultural Commodity Association of Nigeria (FACAN), said maize was an important commodity in the commodity business worldwide.

Dogondeji, in his good will message drew attention to the quick commencement of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) signed by President Muhammadu Buhari in June.

If we consider maize as one of the staple food in the world, that means we can trade with our maze within and across our continent.

By July 2020, I think the AFCTA will be fully operational so our strategy should be toward that,’’ he said.

The FACAN chairman urged the association to double its efforts in sensitising farmers about recent agricultural developments.

Dr Adam Saffer, representative of U.S. Aid made a presentation on Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity: Overview for MAGPAMAN.

He said many products were being produced from maize, stressing the need to invest in the sector as agriculture was going through a revolution.

According to Saffer, agriculture can be the mainstay of the economy if mechanisation is achieved as it will go a long way in encouraging the youth to go into agriculture.

Edited by: Ese E. Ekama
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Agriculture

Lagos govt. empowers 1,750 agric value chain farmers

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Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, of Lagos State on Thursday provided 1,750 farmers in various agricultural value chains with agricultural productive assets and inputs to boost food production in the state.

Sanwo-Olu made the presentation at the flag-off ceremony of the 2019 Agricultural Value Chains Empowerment Programme held at Ikeja.

The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, said that the state government would continue to provide necessary assistance and advisory services to farmers to increase food production.

In spite of the global climate change, which constitutes a major challenge to food security, our government will continue to provide necessary assistance and advisory services to farmers to increase food production in the state.

We must therefore prepare to adequately meet the challenges and reinforce the need for a new and integrated approach to food production and agro-allied business in order to enhance and sustain food security,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu said that a Five Year Agricultural Roadmap with the theme, “A Sustainable and Inclusive Growth Strategy with the Citizens at the Core” had been developed.

This focuses on the development of agricultural value chains where the state has competitive and comparative advantages including the provision and availability of improved inputs, increased productivity and production.

It also addresses wholesomeness of food items, reduction in post-harvest losses, improving linkages with industry in respect to backward integration as well as access to financial services and markets.

All these efforts are targeted towards increasing the state’s self-sufficiency from less than 20 per cent to 40 per cent of food needs by 2023,” he said.

The governor said that the state had started the implementation of various projects in the agricultural space that were targeted at revolutionalising food production.

Livestock and food production targets and consequently reduce dependence on other states for supplies, we have also established EkO-CITY Farmers’ Market.

This is to serve as a place within the metropolis where farmers can meet with consumers/traders to sell their produce under a well-organised structure.

The maiden edition of the market will commence in January, 2020 at Tafawa Balewo Square (TBS), Lagos,” he said.

Sanwo-olu called for active participation of all stakeholders in the agricultural space towards mitigating the challenges of food supply and demand.

He said that through their participation, lots of farmers would improve, jobs would be created and food production would be greatly enhanced.

The Commissioner of Agriculture, Mr Gbolahan Lawal, said that the attainment of food security was a cardinal objective of the state government as it strives to attain the status of a 21st century economy.

Lawal said that the overall aim of the programme was to deliver optimum economic benefits and employment opportunities for Lagosians.

Since inception of this project in 2014, a total of 9,483 farmers, fishermen, processors and marketers have been empowered.

These, in conjunction with other efforts of the state government have raised food supply from 18 per cent in 2014 to 25 per cent of total food demand in the state.

The Agricultural Value Chain Empowerment is not only targeted at farmers who are the direct beneficiaries, but also at service providers, transporters, input manufacturers and suppliers.

This project provides the opportunity of channeling needed support to small holder farmers who are actively engaged in the various value chains and are thus able to create further wealth and job opportunities.

It will significantly improve the standard of living of fish farmers, fishermen, marketers and agro-processors in the state, expand food production by three per cent.

It will increase revenue to the state government in form of taxes and other levies.

“This project will also create direct employment opportunities for 1,000 youths as farmers, processors and marketers across the

value chains through farm expansion,” he said

The commissioner implored all beneficiaries to put their inputs into judicious use so that maximum impacts were derived to the overall benefit of Lagosians.

He urged the private sector to collaborate with the state government to  develop the various agricultural value chains.

Edited by: Edith Bolokor/Wale Ojetimi
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