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Group establishes tree seedlings nursery to counter climate change

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A climate outreach, Urban Tree Revival Team (UTRT), says its newly established tree seedlings


nursery in Lagos will boost efforts toward mitigating climate change.

The UTRT Convener, Ms Omobola Eko, told Nigeria News Agency on Tuesday in Lagos that the idea was to replant


the most indigenous endangered species.

NAN reports that UTRT is a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) inclined to making the environment safe for human


habitation through tree planting in cities.

Eko, also the Chief Executive Officer of GRO Gardens and Tree Nursery, said the nursery would afford city dwellers the


opportunity to participate in the urban renewal agenda of the state.

She said “climate change prevention is the new world order that supersedes every other policy in the world today because


the environment plays host to every other human activity without which everything comes to nothing.

“The seedlings outfit is pivotal to the scheme for it makes available to people plants that produces fragrance


that detoxifies the air and provides food.

“The seedling outfit also serves as medication to humans and act as buffer to ecological mishaps.”

According to her, the tree planting campaign is being spearheaded by the Lagos State Government.

Eko noted that groups like UTRT encourage people to be on the same page with the scheme by coming to the outreach to get the


needed seedlings to plant and check climate crisis.

“We do not just want to plant trees for the fun of it but we are craving to involve everyone in planting trees that will aid sustainability


of life in the country.

“To encourage and advocate for tree planting projects by private individuals, corporate bodies, government and non-governmental


organisations in Nigeria.

“To recover farmlands thus encouraging high food production and to set up a relaxation and recreation centre for tourists around


the world.”

She condemned the unwholesome practice of felling trees without replacement, stressing that had depleted both the ozone layer


and the ecosystem. (NAN)


EUC/AWA/HA

Edited by Olawunmi Ashafa/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu

Agriculture

Jigawa women farmers solicit farm inputs, gender-friendly equipment

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The Jigawa State Chapter of Smallholder Women Farmers in Nigeria (SWOFON), on Wednesday solicited for farm inputs and gender friendly equipment from government.

Hajiya Hadiza Abdulwahab, SWOFON State Coordinator, who presented a list of the requests to the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, described it as a progressive step for communities where farming was their main occupation.

Abdulwahab said the provision of gender friendly equipment according to the needs and strength of women would go a long way to relieve women of fatigue.

The Coordinator solicited for 67, 915 bags of fertiliser, 10, 000 bags of rice seed, 3, 583 bags of maize seed, 2, 718 power tillers and 2, 718 hand planters.

She said the move had become imperative because the backbone of any agricultural revolution was farmers’ access to modern agricultural inputs.

The Coordinator noted that the gesture would directly improve the output of small-scale women farmers in the state and would also make them more productive, as well as ensure increased income for them.

She added that in the long run, there would be an improvement in the livelihoods of the women farmers, as they would be able to provide for themselves, their families and communities.

Abdulwahab said women were determined to end hunger; and it was a known fact that if women had equal access to productive resources, they would increase their yields and feed more hungry people.

According to her, though women make up to half of the agricultural labour force, barriers to credit, inputs and extension services, as well as land ownership and rights, limit their production.

“It is certain that women are more likely to reinvest their income into their families to improve education, nutrition and health; when women flourish, families and communities do too.

Abdulwahab disclosed that the move was an ongoing exercise in five selected states across the country and the FCT, where the priority demands of 500, 000 smallholder women farmers would be submitted.

“The five states are Jigawa, Niger, Nassarawa, Anambra and Oyo.

“Currently, we have over 500,000 rural farmers working in different communities across the 36 states of the federation,’’ she said.

The Nigeria News Agency , reports that SWOFON is a coalition of women farmers associations and groups across Nigeria with the goal of advocating for and supporting women farmers, especially those in rural areas.

Edited by Hawa lawal/Nyisom Fiyigon Dore (NAN)

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Agriculture

Association canvasses more investments in coconut plantation

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Mrs Okoroginma Ogechukwu, the President, National Coconut Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NACOPPMAN), has called for more investments in coconut plantation in the country.

Ogechukwu made the call in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos on Wednesday.

She said that the potential of the sector had remained untapped due to lack of adequate investments.

She said the available coconut plantation in the country could not produce the needed quantity for the increasing demand of the cash crop.

Ogechukwu said that the Federal, State and Local Governments, foreign investors as well as the Diaspora communities should invest more in coconut.

NACOPPMAN is an apex body, established to nurture and authorised by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, to coordinate the activities of the coconut industry in Nigeria and globally.

The association was inaugurated in September 2019 in Abuja.

She said that Nigeria was faced with the challenge of going back to its own coconut plantations with the recent closure of land borders by the Federal Government.

She said the country could not promote what it did not have, saying that government must pay attention to the coconut industry by establishing more plantations.

“Thank God for the closure of land borders because we have been exposed to the reality that 90 per cent of coconuts consumed in Nigeria is coming from other African countries.

“We import coconuts from Ghana, Togo, Seme borders and other African countries.

“Now, with the closure of borders, we are faced with the reality of going back to our plantations, ’’ Ogechukwu said.

She said governments at all levels and investors should take advantage of the opportunities presented by the closure to invest in coconut plantation and its value chain.

She said the closure of land borders had exposed the reality that 90 per cent of coconuts consumed in the country were imported.

“We have to consciously invest in coconut plantations in Nigeria and that’s the only way out. We cannot promote what we don’t have.

“How can we be promoting other countries when we have the arable land for the plantation. A crop that can grow in the 36 states of the country; it is advisable to invest in it,” Ogechukwu said.

She urged Federal, States and Local Governments as well as the diaspora communities to tap into the huge market by investing in the industry.

She described the coconut industry as a good retirement benefit for investors.

“I want to call on the government, investors and those in the diaspora to invest in coconut.

“With coconut investment, you can be making 80 per cent return on investment and the coconut continues producing until the next 60 years.

“It is the best retirement benefits and investments you can imagine and with that, our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will grow and there will be employment opportunities for our youths.’’ Ogechukwu said.

Edited by Abdullahi Mohammed/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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Agriculture

Insure crops, farmlands in case of erosion, fire – extension agent advises

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Farmers in Anambra have been advised to  insure their crops and farmlands to avoid losses in case of eventualities.

An Extension Agent in the state Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Rufus Imoka, gave the advice in an interview with Nigeria News Agency in Awka on Wednesday.

“For the fact that catastrophe is neither here nor there, besides the topography of the environment, farmers should insure their farms.

“Every crop should be insured for safety purposes in case  of eventualities  such as flood, erosion, wild fire.

“Insurance will go a long way in assisting victims of natural disasters in their farms,” he said.

Imoka urged farmers not to worry  about insurance premium, saying that  the benefits of insurance  outweighed the premium.

“At first, it will look as if there is nothing to gain, but it is not true.

“ and farmlands, food security will be guaranteed,” he said.

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Agriculture

Group set to train herders on greenhouse ranch management

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The Nigeria Farmers Group and Cooperative Society (NFGCS) says plans have reached advanced stage to train herders on greenhouse to manage its 10,000 capacity ranch currently under construction at Gaate, Nasarawa State.

Mr Tedheke Retson, the National Coordinator made this known in an interview with Nigeria News Agency on Wednesday in Abuja, said the herders, which were already working on the farm would be trained on how to grow grass to feed their cattle without using soil.

He said the essence was to reduce the amount of time required to grow grass to feed the animals as well as limiting the movement of the cattle to make them more fit for the purpose they were being bred.

According to him, the ranch which is expected to take off in December will be the first of its kind in the country, as the project will change the pattern of feeding of livestock in the country.

“We are going to train the Fulani who are in charge of livestock on the farm on how to use hydroponics (greenhouse). What that means is planting crops or grass without sand to feed the cattle.

“This is to reduce the number of times the animals will be going out to graze in open land.

“Of the 10,000 cattle that will be put in the ranch, 5,000 will be cross bred specifically for dairy purposes and the remaining 5,000 will be for fattening for onward sale in the Southern part of Nigeria.

“It will interest you to know that the south alone consumes in excess of 100,000 cattle a day, a market that is insatiable.”

The coordinator further pointed out that training would not be limited to herders, adding that the group was already discussing with the Nasarawa State Government as well as the Federal Government to train youths across the country.

He said one of the misconceptions that Nigeria “will not work no matter the effort” was unfounded, adding that the group had been able to disabuse the minds of Nigerians on such belief with the level of achievement so far.

“We have been able to sell that message to both the A.A Sule led administration in Nasarawa as well as the a Federal Government. The Vice President was here, we have met with the Minister of State for Agric as well as the Minister of Agric.

“The relationship we are trying to create is simple. Now we are beginning to fabricate some of the machineries we need to work in our rice mill, a mill that will be delivering two trailer loads of rice on a daily basis soon.

“The state government wants youths from the state to learn how to fabricate this, then we can have a conversation with the Federal Government and say let us turn every community into a rice producing community.

“Our plan is to build a research and training institute here on the farm so that as youths are brought in, we are teaching them the basic machineries that are needed to make agriculture simple for rural Nigeria.

“We are looking at a situation where we dedicate part of our revenue as a country to rural agro development.”

Retson emphasised on the need to make rural Nigeria attractive to reduce rural, urban migration, adding that the plan of the group was to move Nigerians from urban areas to rural areas.

He said the group was working to make rural Nigeria attractive to the point where unemployed youths seeking white collar jobs in urban areas would be willing to go to rural Nigeria to work and be productive for themselves and the society.

“Of course, the most productive industry in Nigeria today is politics and religion. Those are not sustainable. Betting industries are also springing up but they are not sustainable.

“The fact that our youths are spending about N100 billion every month on betting is not sustainable because that is an expectation that is almost lost.

“So, what we are trying to do is to see if we can create a pool effect where NFGCS will create a learning platform where all the arms of government will tap into for us to train Nigerians, to set up a project like the Gaate farm across all local governments in the country.

“If you create 500 jobs in a place like this and it is replicated in 774 local government areas in Nigeria, imagine what we will achieve within the next decade.

“We will not do training in a hotel in the urban centre. We will build hostels for the trainees on the farm to spend up to four months in the farm, train enough and have the capacity to be reproductive.

“For instance, what is in a colour sorting machine for rice that cannot be made in Nigeria?

“We are having a conversation right now with the Adekunle Ajasin University to go to the engineering department and tell them to produce the complete line for making rice,’’ he said.

Retson pointed out that one of the major focuses of the group was to establish a farm settlement with not only a complete value chain of farming, processing and marketing but one with every facility, including medical centre, school and a resort for vacation.

Edited by Ese E. Ekama (NAN)

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Agriculture

Tak Agro Plc to acquire 250 trucks for fertiliser production, distribution

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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)

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Agriculture

NDE begins poultry training for 50 youths in Delta

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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.

The State Coordinator of the agency, Mr Tony Olu, disclosed this in an interview with Nigeria News Agency on Tuesday in Asaba.

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

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