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Kogi to employ 3,700 teachers — Commissioner

Employment
By Stephen Adeleye
Lokoja, Jan. 11, 2019 (NNN) Kogi Government on Friday said it had proposed the employment of 3,700 teachers into public secondary schools in the 2019 state budget.

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Kogi to employ 3, 700 teachers — Commissioner

Employment
By Stephen Adeleye
Lokoja, Jan. 11, 2019 (NNN) Kogi Government on Friday said it had proposed the employment of 3,700 teachers into public secondary schools in the 2019 state budget.

The Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mrs Rosemary Osikoya, disclosed this during the oversight visit of members of Kogi House of Assembly Committee on Public Accounts, to her office in Lokoja.

Osikoya said that the ministry did a need assessment of teachers in public secondary schools, and discovered that the state had deficit of science, technical and vocational teachers.

She said that over 80 per cent of the available teachers were Art, Commercial and Religious teachers, which had adversely affected science and technical learning in state’s public schools.

“3,700 teaching staff have been proposed in the 2019 state budget for education, science and technology, particularly for science, technical and vocational teachers.

“Government should spend more on education, pay attention to technical and vocational skills, provide textbooks, give scholarships to motivate students and encourage teachers.

“We took time in 2018 to prepare for a better 2019. We held Education Summit in February 2018, with all the relevant stakeholders in attendance.

“The state government has also approved the re-classification of additional 17 science and technical colleges across the state to complement the existing four.

“This will enable the 21 local government areas of the state to have one science, technical and vocational college each, which we have already identified,” she said.

Osikoya added that Gov. Yahaya Bello, through the approval of the Council, had allocated 15 per cent of the total state’s budget to education, adding that N98 million was approved for students’ bursary.

In his remarks, Mr Ahmed Mohammed, Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, said the committee was in the ministry to perform its oversight function for effective governance.

He said that the purpose was to work for the progress of Kogi in line with the agenda and policy of the state government.

He expressed satisfaction with the commissioner’s presentation on the state of affairs of the ministry and her achievements in 2018, and promised the committee’s support for the ministry.

Mr Ahmed Musa-Odudo,  Chairman, Sub-Technical Committee on Public Accounts, said that the ministry was free of any indictment in the 2015 and 2016 review, saying no sanction for the ministry. (NNN)
ASA/IKU/WOJ

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Edited by Tayo Ikujuni/Wale Ojetimi

Agriculture

Buhari tasks farmers on massive food production, says“no money for food importation”

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President Muhammadu Buhari has challenged Nigerian farmers on the need to embark on massive productive agricultural activities this farming season as Nigeria has no money for food importation.

The president gave the challenge shortly after observing this year’s Eid prayer alongside members of his family and few presidential aides at the presidential villa, Abuja, on Sunday.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Eid-El-Fitr prayer was observed in line with the protocol against mass gathering issued by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, while the protocol of social distancing was also exhibited during the two-raka’at prayer.

President Buhari, who spoke to State House correspondents, said: “I hope the raining season would be bountiful, so that we get a lot of food.

“I wish the farmers will go to farms and save the lives so that we can produce what we need in sufficient quantity so that we don’t have to import food.

“In any, we don’t have any money to import food. So we must produce what we are going to eat.’’

On the COVID 19 pandemic, President Buhari reiterated his advice to Nigerians to strictly adhere to guidelines and measures put in place against the spread of the deadly virus in the country.

He noted that the pandemic had reduced both developed and developing nations to the same level, and advised Nigerians to always be careful so as to avoid infections.

He said: “Nigerians can see that the COVID-19 has reduced us, both the developing and developed countries, to the same level. In fact, we have least casualties than they we have.

“So, it’s a very frightening development and I advised Nigerians to be very careful and take the advice of the Ministry of Health. Ministers of Health have been doing very well, speaking and educating the citizens on the deadly virus.

“So Nigeria, we should be very careful.’’

The First Lady, Hajiya Aisha Buhari, who also observed the Eid prayer with the president, thanked almighty Allah for sparing the lives of Muslim ummah throughout the Ramadan period.

Aisha, who enjoined the Nigerian women to continue to be on the fore front of the fight the Coronavirus pandemic across the country, prayed that Allah would forgive the sins of those who lost their lives as a result of the virus,  and grant them Aljanah Firdausi (Paradise).

“We must thank the almighty Allah for the successful completion of the holy Month of Ramadan, despite the current difficult circumstances we found ourselves.

“I wish to thank the Federal Ministry of Health and also the NCDC for their efforts in combating the pandemic,’’ she said.

President Buhari had on May 22 pledged to conduct his Eid prayers with his family at home as directed by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, who is also the President General of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI),

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Women farmers solicit review of Kogi 2020 budget to accommodate credit, inputs

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Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON), has urged the Kogi Government to review its 2020 budgetary allocation to the agriculture sector, to accommodate credit and loan facilities to farmers.

Hajia Safiya Yahaya, Coordinator of  SWOFON in Kogi made the call at a news conference organised in collaboration with the Public Financing of Agriculture (PFA) Committee on Friday in Lokoja.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the PFA is a programme of Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID) and supported by ActionAid Nigeria, to address issues of budgetary allocations in the agriculture sector.

Yahaya said that the appeal had become necessary to avert the looming food crisis arising from the effects of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hindering farming activities.

The Coordinator said the organisation had observed that there was no provision for Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme in the state, adding that the situation was critical, as farmers could barely access Federal assistance and credit as a result of the pandemic.

“We noticed the downward review of funding of inputs to farmers in the state and we are pleading with the government to reconsider, so as to assist more farmers in this  farming season.

“We are also appealing to the government to make provisions for credit and loan schemes to assist farmers during this farming season, if we must avert the looming food crisis,” she said.

Also, Mrs Inkpi Ali, Programme Officer with PIBCID, said Nigeria was a signatory to the Maputo Declaration of 2003, with a commitment to provide at least 10 per cent of its annual budget to agriculture.

Ali, however, regretted that since the declaration by the 13 African countries, Nigeria and its state components, had not met the 10 per cent commitment, with Kogi committing only 4.6 per cent to the Agriculture sector in its 2020 budget.

“If agriculture is to serve as a means of diversifying the economy of Kogi State as promised in the ‘New Direction’ blueprint of the state government, then allocations to the sector which has been grossly inadequate should be improved upon,” she stated.

Mrs Esther Audu, Assistant Public Relations Officer of SWOFON in the state, noted the devastating impact of COVID-19 on all spheres of human endeavour including food reserves.

“If this is not properly addressed the hunger virus that is coming will be more than the Coronavirus (COVID-19),” she warned.

She, therefore, called for a re-direction of the N80 million allocation in the state’s 2020 budget for the training of Extension Officers at the Agric Training Centre, Ochaja, to procurement of inputs, including seeds and land clearing, for accelerated food production.

Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu and Isaac Ukpoju (NAN)

 

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Agriculture

Akwa Ibom Govt. donates 10 tractors, inputs to farmers

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Akwa Ibom Government has provided 10 tractors and incentives to farmers in the last six months to boost farming in the state.

Dr Glory Edet, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, told newsmen in Uyo on Friday that the state had empowered a lot of farmers with soft interest-free loans of N100, 000 each to cultivate farms.

“The state governor has bought 10 tractors for farmers in the state in order to promote Fadama programmes which would round up in June this year.

“When we look at our farmers, there are some that may be willing to cultivate larger portions of land but cannot do so because of financial constraints, so what government has done is to assist farmers so that next year, we will have more food.

“We assist farmers with interest free loan and about six months ago, we started with vegetable farmers in the state,” she explained.

She said the money was paid directly to the account of the farmers who before then had to fill application forms.

She explained that the tractor operators had been sent to the three Senatorial Districts of Eket, Uyo and Ikot Ekpene to clear, plough and prepare the land  for planting.

She added that the state government had also given inputs such as seedlings, cassava cottons, agro chemicals, among others to farmers in the state.

According to her, government gave the farmers money, while the Ministry of Agriculture conducted sensitization and training for the farmers.

“We also have extension workers and train-the-trainers to assist support farmers on anything they want to cultivate. We encourage existing farmers and prospective farmers to join the scheme.

“If you are cultivating one hectare, of course you can not collect the same amount of money with the person cultivating five or six hectares. We have done that in order to assist farmers to grow,” she said.

She noted that the state government was promoting coconut cultivation in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area, saying that Akwa Ibom was leading in coconut cultivation in Nigeria.

“We have cultivated about 2,000 hectares of coconut in Mkpat Enin, Eastern Obolo and Ikot Abasi Local Government Areas in the state.

“The coconut cultivation is really improving and we are preparing to extend it to Okobo Local Government Area of the state,” she said.

He said the areas the state government was promoting coconut cultivation were Mkpat Enin, Eastern Obolo and Ikot Abasi local government areas of the state.

She explained that the state government had been promoting agriculture in secondary schools, saying the Ministry of Agriculture had sensitised principals to plant coconut in public schools in the state.

SDB /

Edited By: Angela Okisor/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Yobe Gov. distributes agric inputs to 2,000 households

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The Yobe State Government, on Friday, distributed agricultural inputs to 2,000 households in Buni-Yadi, Gujba Local Government area, to improve farming in the community.
The state Governor, Mai Mala Buni, said at the distribution ceremony that the items were procured and given to the state government by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as support to Buni Yadi community.
“The inputs are part of the UNDP’s support to the regional stabilisation programme to the insurgency-ravaged areas of the state,” he said.
Buni, represented by Dr Abubakar Iliya, the state Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs, the governor listed the items to include millet, sorghum, maize, rice, cowpea, groundnut, fertiliser (NPK), liquid fertiliser, insecticide, herbicide and knapsack sprayer.
Buni commended the people of the community for their orderliness, while receiving the items.
“The orderly manner, in which this programme is being conducted, especially in this period of the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world, is also commendable.
“I urge you to observe all necessary precautions, such as maintaining personal hygiene, frequent hand washing, social and physical distancing and wearing of face masks in public gatherings,” he said.
In her remarks, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Mairo Amshi, urged the beneficiaries to ensure judicious use the farm inputs and always consult agricultural extension agents for advice.

Edited By: Angela Okisor and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Agriculture

Expert recommends recycling of organic waste to manure for crop production

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An environmentalist, Mr Gafar Odubote, has suggested the recycling of organic wastes into manure for crop production to enhance the clean environment and boost food production.

Odubote, the Global Head of Social Media at ‘Let’s Do It World’ (LDIW), an environmental NGO, gave the recommendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Lagos.

He explained that the recycling of organic wastes to compost manure would be of dual benefits to the environment and the agriculture sector.

He said that an analysis of solid wastes by LAWMA in Lagos State revealed that 47 per cent of it was composed of biodegradable organic material and in some areas it could constitute as much as 55 per cent of the total waste stream.

“Biodegradable includes wastes from the kitchen, gardens, markets, restaurants and the agriculture sector among others.

“These wastes can be oxidised by natural microorganisms because they are derived from living organisms.

“The organic wastes can be compost as manure for farm production and refined into useful energy production such as in biomass and biofuel, which can be part of a sustainable energy mix.

“Organic waste can also be treated to make compost for soil manure and other soil conditioning products.

“Some countries have developed specialised infrastructures to recycle organic waste and recover material from a broader range of degradable organic carbon,” Odubote said.

He pointed out that challenges might be encountered in recycling organic wastes.

The environmentalist, therefore, called for all hands to be on deck to make the practice a reality.

“The key challenge to recycling organic wastes is the inability to sort them appropriately from various wastes streams right from home or point of generation.

“Also the fact that we do not have adequate infrastructure to selectively sort wastes from homes, require facilities to recycling them on a large scale without polluting the environment.

“Sending organic wastes to landfill, which we are currently experiencing, is causing harm to the environment.

“Organic wastes should be seen as an important resource that can be refined into marketable products that would generate revenue and employment opportunities.’’

The expert also called for intensive campaigns to advocate for the conversion of biodegradable domestic waste to manure for agricultural purposes and waste reduction in the country.

“Most awareness campaigns have focused on plastic wastes and recycling.

“It is equally important we sensitise people about organic waste and how we can have a rethink about it.

“There is a need for government and private organisations to increase investments towards developing facilities for recycling organic wastes.

“Recycling requires a lot of funding and we must get it right.

“While a plan should be put in place to out rightly ban organic wastes from landfills, stakeholders must collaborate in developing measures to reduce wastes,” he told NAN.

For example, he said that market people could be trained on how to properly handle and store organic products.

“We cannot keep doing the same thing the same way and expect a different result.

“It is high time we have a rethink about how we use our resources.’”

Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Osun Govt distributes farm inputs to 6,000 farmers

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The Osun State Government On Thursday distributed farm inputs to no fewer than 6,000 farmers to boost food production in the state.

Gov. Gboyega Oyetola, while distributing the farm inputs during the flagging-off of 2020 Planting Season in Osogbo, said he was committed to agriculture in the state.

Oyetola said his administration considered it necessary to support all farmers to boost agricultural production as part of efforts to ensure food sufficiency and availability of raw materials for industries in the state.

The governor said his administration was fully committed to developing agriculture value chain in all strata.

He said that the government had created an enabling environment for agric businesses to thrive, thus creating employment for the youth through the establishment of cottage industries in the state.

“In the face of dwindling revenue generation from crude oil, which has been the mainstay of the nation’s economy, this challenge presents a great opportunity for serious and would-be farmers to take advantage of.

“In view of the above, our government considers it necessary to support all farmers in the state to boost agricultural production, which will ensure food sufficiency and availability of raw materials for our industries.

“In the previous years, our supports were in form of subsidised inputs.

“But this year, we are giving agricultural inputs such as maize seeds, cassava cuttings, vegetable seeds, lime, fingerlings and Knapsack sprayers free to farmers.

“This is to cushion the effects of COVID-19 on all the citizenry within and outside the State,” the governor said.

In his remark, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Mr Adedayo Adewole, commended Gov. Oyetola for his commitment to the well-being of farmers in the state.

Adewole said the Ministry was partnering with the private sector and well-meaning individuals to revive the agriculture sector in the state.

In her remarks, Mrs Ajuma Madojemu, the Branch Controller, Central Bank of Nigeria in Osogbo, applauded Gov. Oyetola for turning around the socio-economic fortunes of the state for the betterment of the people.

Madojemu said the bank was aware of the prompt intervention of the government to reposition agriculture and make the sector the state’s economic mainstay.

Dr David Ogunwade, the Chairman of Nigeria Cassava Growers Association, expressed gratitude to the state government for making farmers’ welfare priority.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

 

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Ogun govt. partners private aquaculture firm to enhance food security

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The Ogun government says arrangements have been concluded to partner with a fishery firm, Premium Aquaculture Ltd. to promote fish  value chain and enhance food security in the state.

Dr Adeola Odedina, the Commissioner for Agriculture, said the partnership with the firm, being one of the largest Tilapia fish farms in the country, would also help to generate employment for youths, apart from boosting food security.

Odedina disclosed this when he led a team from the ministry to the aquaculture farm at Oyan Dam under Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority on Wednesday.

He said that the partnership was necessitated by the Ogun State COVID-19 response plan to support food production and processing locations across the state.

The commissioner said that the aquaculture firms had the potential for food value chain opportunity that would train young people.

He said that government would provide necessary support for the identified firms to boost its food security agenda and meet the envisaged food crisis after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and the envisaged food crisis, what we are doing in Ogun state is that we have an approved Agricultural COVID-19 Response Plan and prime among them is to visit to all food production and processing locations.

“So that the state will continue to provide support and our revised agenda on COVID-19 will run smoothly, food security will go on as well as our agenda for the youths,” Odedina said.

He, however expressed the government’s readiness to support small holder farmers to sustain their market, adding that they would be taught on best aquaculture practices.

He said that the support would help to achieve the food security agenda and continue to maintain the state government’s food security programme irrespective of the current global challenge.

Odedina said that since the beginning of lockdown, government had been visiting some food processing companies to see areas of partnership toward ensuring adequate food sufficiency.

He said that the Aquaculture Firm with a production capacity of 10 million tilapia fish would serve both the local and international markets as well as provide jobs for the youths.

“Since the beginning of this pandemic, we have been visiting food processing companies for possible areas of partnership.

“We are contributing our quota to food security and how much employment we can generate as they partner with us in training our young people,” he said.

The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Dotun Sorunke, said that the visit was to assess water assets that abound in the state and proffer ways of harnessing them and come out with innovative technology that would  benefit youth farmers in the state.

“We are going round to assess water and resources in Ogun state, so we can harness them. The companies here are using innovations and technology in aquaculture and we want our youths to key into it,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of the firm, Mr Govinda Raju Siddagangaiah, disclosed that the farm has 200 metric tonnes production capacity, adding that it also produces frozen tilapia fish.

He, however, commended the team for the visit, promising to do more to meet envisaged food challenge in the postCOVID-19 era.

Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Grace Yussuf (NAN)

 

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Agriculture

World Bee Day: Stakeholders call for more Bee protection

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Some stakeholders in the Apiculture Industry have called for the protection and preservation of bees as the world commemorates the 2020 World Bee Day.

Apiculture is the cultivation of bees on a commercial scale for the production of honey.

The stakeholders expressed their views as participants in an online forum organised by the Youth For Apiculture Initiative (YFAI), with the News Agency of Nigeria in attendance on Wednesday.

The forum tagged: “Bees Engage: Protecting the Bees for improved Livelihood and Food Security through Youth Engagement” had various stakeholders speak on the importance of protecting bees.

The Chairman, the Board of Trustees of YFAI, Mr Ishayaku Mohammed said that bees were important in ensuring food security and without them man would barely be able to feed.

“I am excited to celebrate the World Bee Day 2020 with you today, today’s celebration of the day actually started from the 18th century.

“This conversation is one but what we should have at the back of our mind is that bees are pollinators; without bees there will not be food security, there won’t be food at all.

“It is for me, an opportune time to urge all of us to have a rethink about practices that endanger these very important inhabitants of our planets.

“They give too much and expect very little in return, I am happy to unveil to all us that the youths as usual have taken the initiative to be at the forefront of apiculture in Africa,” Mohammed said.

Mr Andrew Kwasari, the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Agriculture urged all apiculture stakeholders to join forces to ensure preservation of bees at all cost.

“As we celebrate the World Bee Day, it is important that we understand the relevance of the bee; we owe the existence of our plants to the bee.

“According to Albert Einstein, ‘if the bee will disappear from the earth today, man will have barely four years to live.

“Imagine how important it is that the United Nation created a day that we celebrate bees and on that premise I will say the values of the bee to our planet is immeasurable and cannot be overemphasised.

“There is no other organism created by God that is almost as important as bees. We however have a lot of challenges in bee keeping.

“We in government know that there is need for appropriate policy that supports the bee, and policies should be tailored to support the environment.

“How do we use the power of the bee to sustainably fight climate change and create a resilient agricultural productivity because the bee is central.

“It is a known fact that we know the values that bees have and the role it plays in pollination and disease control,” Kwasari said.

Prof. Ahmed El-sawayi, the Director, African Union Inter Bureau for Animal Resources, represented by Dr Sarah Ossiya of the AU, congratulated the African Apiculture Sector on its giant strides.

“I want to congratulate Africa for commemorating and really making a mark on this year’s World Bee Day. Those who remember in Dec. 2017, Africa passed a resolution to have its own Africa Bee Day.

“We are discussing and celebrating World Bee Day in the context of COVID-19 and think it presents a lot of opportunities and challenges.

“This sector has opportunity to revamp agriculture; we want to look at pollination being given the same attention as fertiliser, water, quality seed, and pesticides so that there is a big side to agriculture.

“We want to see employment for the youths; we urge the youths and the women to be engaged with policy makers, speak up and let the sector be heard,” El-sawayi said.

NAN reports that Apiculture is the scientific method of rearing honeybees.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Grace Yussuf (NAN)

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Agriculture

Post-COVID-19: Farmers seek availability of farm inputs to enhance harvest

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An agriculturalist, Mr Wasiu Akinsoji, on Wednesday said availability of improved farm inputs to farmers would enhance harvest in the postCOVID-19 era to stabilise the economy.

Akinsoji, an agric extension worker attached to the Lagos State Farm Settlement, Ojo, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos, on postpandemic economic revival.

According to him, farmers are looking for better inputs to shore up their harvest to meet market demand of agricultural produce.

Akinsoji said that the unexpected economic shock occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic could easily be surmounted through improved mechanised farming.

He said that the closure of land border since the third quarter of 2019 had increased pressure on the nation’s farm output.

Akinsoji said since then farmers had been struggling to meet up with local demands because of the embargo on smuggled food items.

“The exportation of our produce will be an added advantage to the economy and to our farmers.

”But farming season has begun in earnest and majority of our farmers still do not have access to improved seedlings, fertilizer, tractors and soft loans to enable them enhance harvest.

“If we must move from this substance level to export level, government should assist farmers to become mechanised, make land available, acquire tractors and improve seedlings that have good yield to meet up domestic and export needs,” he said.

Akinsoji also decried the low maize yield in the country, saying that the yield had not equaled local demand of corn for years.

He called for a liaison between research institutions and farmers for better farm output.

Mrs Bisi Alao, a poultry farmer said that cost of feed concentrates and the overhead cost to produce good feed to grow livestock were high.

According to her, reduction in the high cost will lead to improve feed that will result to improved stocks that will be acceptable locally and internationally.

Alao, while speaking on farm inputs, called on government to subsidise agricultural equipment and inputs to enable farmers have access to them and enhance output.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Federal Government on May 15, ordered Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service to issue produce export license to facilitate export to earn foreign exchange to boost the economy.

It reports that Federal Government was banking on agriculture to restore the economy following disruption caused by COVID-19 and dwindling crude oil fortune that had been mainstay of the economy.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Grace Yussuf (NAN)

 

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Gov. Bello tasks ministry on improved animal husbandry

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Gov. Abubakar Bello of Niger, on Wednesday, charged the state Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries to intensify efforts on animal husbandry production as an integral part of his administration’s agricultural transformation agenda.

Bello made this appeal when he visited the state Livestock Improvement and Breeding Centre at Tagwai Dam in Bosso Local Government Area of the state.

The governor lamented that the progress and process of developing unique species of cattle at the centre was slow and promised to meet with the ministry to fast track its development.

“The previous administration imported many of the Bonsmara breed from South Africa with the hope that by now, we should have been doing artificial insemination, so that over time, we will be able to improve on our local breed, especially the bokolo breed.

“It is a wonderful programme but unfortunately, I have to find out why we have not made much progress,” he said.

According to him, the whole idea of the centre is to have improved generation of cattle for more qualitative milk and beef production.

He disclosed that the state government had partnered with a South African firm on Bonsmara, a disease-resistant cattle semen supply.

“The state government has sponsored four veterinary doctors to South Africa for training in artificial insemination,’’ he said, adding that there would be an improvement on the production of milk.

The governor said that a crossbreeding between the Bonsmara and the local boakolo species of cattle production were effective in the state, saying it was time for such an effort to be redoubled.

He said that with the Bobi Grazing Reserve, it was time for government to assist the herdsmen with artificial insemination to get the rare cattle of 500kg- 600kg that could produce high quantity of milk of 10 litres per day instead of two litres daily.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Yemi Idris-Aduloju (NAN)

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Kebbi Govt. cautions butchers against slaughtering animals outside abattoirs

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Kebbi Government on Tuesday cautioned butchers to avoid slaughtering animals outside abattoirs.

The officials  of the Kebbi state ministry of Animal Health Husbandry and fisheries gave the warning during a meeting with members of the Nigeria Association of Butchers, Kebbi State chapter in Birnin Kebbi.

Speaking at the meeting, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Animal Health, Husbandry and Fisheries, Hajiya Fati Udu said the meeting was meant to discourage such activities for the good of all.

She said: “The meeting is aimed at cautioning the butchers to avoid slaughtering animals outside abattoirs in view of the fact that government had provided modern abattoirs.

“I want to use this medium to call on members of the association to cooperate with the ministry to ensure sanitary condition of their business.”

In his remarks, the Chairman of the Association, Alhaji Mukhtar Sarkin-Fawa assured the ministry that his members would be law-abiding.

Sarkin-Fawa pledged to work hand-in-hand with the ministry towards promoting effective and sound health of the people in the state.

The Chairman commended the State government under the leadership of Gov. Abubakar Atiku-Bagudu for its support to members of the association.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports the meeting was attended by all Directors of the Ministry, General Manager, Birnin Kebbi Central Market as well as members of Nigerian Association of Butchers, Kebbi State chapter.

Edited By: Gregg Mmaduakolam/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

 

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Agriculture

Osun Microcredit Agency disburses N5m as loans to cassava farmers

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The Osun Microcredit Agency on Wednesday disbursed N5 million as loans to cassava farmers in the state.

The farmers, who were divided into 25 groups, were drawn from Irewole and Isokan local government areas of the state.

Each group was given a N200,000 cheque to boost cassava production.

Mr Dayo Babaranti,the Director of the agency, while presenting the cheques to the farmers in Osogbo, urged them to use the loan to boost cassava production in the state.

Babaranti said the state government carried out an appraisal on the farmland of the beneficiaries before the loans  were given to them.

” We did a thorough exercise to ensure that the right farmers get the loan in order to boast cassava production in the state.

” All these effort by the state government is to ensure that the state has abundant food for its citizenry,” he said.

Babaranti also said that the state government through the agency recently gave N2.2 million in loans to tomato farmers in the state.

He said government was also planning to give to give loans to cocoa farmers in the state.

Babaranti said Gov. Adegboyega Oyetola would continue to support farmers in the state to boost food production.

Beneficiaries of the loan commended the state government and Osun Microcredit Agency for their support to farmers in the state.

Mr Jemilohun Olawale, one of the beneficiaries, said his group would ensure that the loan was not diverted for personal purpose.

Olawale, who noted that cassava production was crucial to livelihood due to its numerous products, said farmers would not disappoint government in boosting cassava production in the state.

(
Edited By: Edith Bolokor/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)

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Agriculture

COVID-19 :  Don urges FG, States  to subsidise farm inputs to avert food shortage

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Prof. Micheal Uguru, Department of Crop Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, has urged the Federal and State Governments to subsidise farm inputs such as fertiliser and crop seedlings for farmers to avert food shortage.

Uguru told News Agency of Nigeria in Nsukka on Tuesday that farmers should be given adequate support during the farming season as the country might experience food shortage next year because of the COVID-19 lockdown.

“As a result of lockdown caused by coronavirus, I urge the government to galvanise and support farmers by subsidising farm inputs like fertiliser, crop seedlings to boost food production.

“As the health workers, security agencies and media are given pass to move and do their work, farmers should also be given pass to go to their farms.

“Farmers are important in any country because no matter your position in the society you must eat to sustain your life,” he said.

The Don, said it was because the government knew the importance of food in the survival of any human being that when markets were closed as part of measures to control the spread of coronavirus, food section in the market were not closed.

” I am suggesting that a bag of fertiliser being sold in the open market for between N9,000 and N11,000 should be subsidised to N5, 000 so that majority of farmers will have access to it.

“All developed countries of the world first achieved food security before becoming economic giants they are today, ” he said.

The Professor of Plant Breeding advised farmers to be more dedicated to their farms so as to achieve bumper harvest.

“Farmers should know that the quality of farm inputs and serious attention given to it is what translate to bumper harvest.

”If you decide to be lazy when others are giving serious attention to their farms, don’t expect bumper harvest because,it is what you sow that you will reap,” Uguru said

Edited By: Modupe Adeloye/Felix Ajide (NAN)

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Agriculture

Kebbi Govt. adopts mechanisation strategy to boost food production

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Kebbi Government says it will leverage on farm mechanization strategy to boost food production in the state.

Malam Yahaya Sarki, Special Adviser to Gov. Abubakar Bagudu on Media, stated this in a statement, obtained by News Agency of Nigeria in Birnin Kebbi on Tuesday.

Sarki said this was the governor’s charge to officials from the ministry of agriculture and other relevant ministries at a meeting on strategy for Increased food production held at the Council Chambers, Government House, Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi.

He quoted the Commissioner for Agriculture, Attahiru Maccido, as announcing the resolution of the meeting at the end of the session.

The Commissioner said that new tractors acquired by the state government were being distributed to different local government areas in the state in consonance with the policy thrust of Gov. Bagudu’s administration.

“This is to encourage mechanised farming as a panacea for boosting the cultivation of both food and cash crops in Kebbi State,” he said.

Maccido had given an assurance that all necessary agricultural inputs would be made readily available to the farmers aimed at achieving bumper harvest.

He said: “The essence of the meeting was to brainstorm on how to assist the farmers and how to improve food production during the period under review.

“Farmers in the state will be assisted with improved seedlings, assorted fertilisers, training and useful agricultural extension information,” he said.

He recalled that Kebbi government had procured fertilisers for distribution to farmers at subsidised rates.

Maccido said the meeting, which was attended by all relevant stakeholders in agricultural production in the state, was presided over by Gov. Bagudu

In attendance, were the governor’s Chief of Staff, Secretary to Kebbi State Government, Commissioners for Agriculture, Animal Health, Budget and Economic Planning.

Others were Permanent Secretaries, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Health, Budget, Local Government as well as Heads of Kebbi State Agricultural and Rural Development Agency (KARDA) and FAD among others.

Edited By: Kevin Okunzuwa/Felix Ajide (NAN)

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Agriculture

2020 farming season: Nasarawa Govt begins sale of fertilizer to farmers

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Nasarawa State Government on Tuesday began the sale of 18,600 bags of NPK fertilizer to farmers for the  2020 farming season.

Speaking at the inauguration in Lafia, Governor Abdullahi Sule, said that the commodity would be sold at a subsidised rate of N5, 000 per bag.

Sule said the aim was to address  food scarcity that might occur after the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic ravaging the world.

The governor also flagged off the distribution of Ruminant Feed Supplements and Mineral Salt Licks donated by the Federal Government for livestock farmers.

A mineral lick is a place where animals can go to lick essential mineral nutrients from a deposit of salts and other minerals.

Governor Sule said that the Federal Government supplied the feed supplements and mineral salt licks free to the state and that they would also give it out free to farmers.

He recalled that the government had earlier procured and distributed 240 metric tonnes of assorted fertilizers to dry season farmers at subsidised rate, aimed at improving agricultural production in the state.

He said the distribution of farm inputs to farmers was to ensure all-year-round farming, with a view to attaining sustainable food production.

He added that the state had recently entered into an agreement with the Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority for the acquisition of 500 hectares of land in Doma Local Government Area for the production of rice.

Sule said that the state was endowed with fertile land and good climatic suitable for arable crops, hence the need to explore the potential for increased industrial activities for the socio-economic development.

The governor also warned against diversion of the fertilizer as government would sanction anyone caught sabotaging its efforts.

He urged  the public, especially farmers, to report any abnormality in the sale of the fertilizer to the appropriate authorities for prompt action.

Responding on behalf of farmers, Samuel Meshi, the state’s Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), thanked the governor for the gesture.

The AFAN Chairman expressed optimism that the state would witness bumper harvest from the farm inputs so far received from the  government.

Edited By: Joe Idika and Isaac Ukpoju (NAN)

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Agriculture

COVID-19: Joint Task Team warns transporters against conveying illicit goods, passengers

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The Joint Technical Task Team (JTTT) on Emergency Response to COVID-19 on Challenges of Movement of Food and Agricultural Inputs has warned transporters against conveying illicit items and passengers.

The Plateau Commissioner of Police, Mr Edward Ebuka, JTTT Chairman in the state, gave the warning at the inauguration of the committee in Jos on Monday.

Ebuka, who was represented by the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Administration), Mr Warebi Owatorufa, said that any transporter caught would be decisively dealt with.

The commissioner said that the JTTT was set up by the Federal Government to ease movement of agricultural products and services to all parts of Nigeria during the lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that the committee would be thorough and committed in ensuring that the purpose for its establishment was met.

The Plateau Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Istifanus Finangwai, who inaugurated the team also commended the Federal Government for the initiative.

Finangwai lauded Federal Government’s proactive steps in ensuring that agricultural business, which was central to human existence, go on unhindered during the pandemic.

The commissioner, however, advised the team to go about its responsibilities without compromise.

He said that the state government had on its part, created an enabling environment for farmers to take advantage of the natural endowments of the state.

Finangwai pointed out that Plateau was blessed with fertile soil, where almost all the products produced from the state were considered to be one of the best if not the best in the country and beyond.

“Plateau Government will liaise with you in ensuring that you succeed in this assignment.

“Government will frown where there is compromise,” he said.

Mr Haruna Akwashiki, State Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), said that Nigeria and indeed the whole world was fighting two battles; coronavirus and hunger.

Akwashiki, who is the Secretary of the JTTT, said that the team was to devise strategies to ensure that food and agricultural products reached all parts of the country during the lockdown.

“The Honourable Ministers of Agriculture, Defence, Interior and Police Affairs met on April 20, 2020 and after in-depth deliberation, came up with a Joint Technical Task Team (JTTT).

“The JTTT comprised the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN).

“Others are the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) was set up at the national level.

“The JTTT is to be replicated at both the state and local government area levels throughout the country,” he said.

According to him, the team would come up with strategies that would ensure minimal impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the year 2020 farming season in line with the directive of Mr President.

Akwashiki added that all the occupants of vehicles conveying food and agricultural inputs must have protective and sanitary items such as face masks, sanitisers and tissue papers.

He emphasised that those were part of the items to be checked by security agents at checkpoints before granting access to any truck.

Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

 

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RIMAN urges Gambari to use office to develop rice sector

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The Rice Millers Association of Nigeria (RIMAN) has called on Amb. Ibrahim Gambari, the new Chief of Staff (COS) to President Muhammadu Buhari, to use his office to develop the rice value chain.

Mr Peter Dada, the Chairman of RIMAN made the call in a congratulatory message to Gambari in a statement on Monday in Abuja.

Dada called on the new COS to use his international exposure and experience in diplomacy to ensure that Nigeria achieved national food sufficiency and security, particularly as it relates to rice value chain in the milling sector.

RIMAN is ready to collaborate with him to ensure that through our milling efforts, milled rice is supplied cheaply for the consumption of Nigerians.”

RIMAN therefore called on Gambari to deal fairly with all memos sent for the president’s attention on rice milling in the country as against what had been in practice.

“Formerly, RIMAN memos meant for the attention of the president for the benefit of small and medium scale rice millers in Nigeria were ignored due to personal or selfish interests.

“We therefore welcome Gambari’s appointment, and hope that he will do better in his working relationship with small and medium scale rice millers in Nigeria.

“This will help our efforts in adding to the National Food security through the Rice Value Chain programme of the Nigerian government in the rice sector.”

Dada urged Nigerians to support and collaborate with Gambari to enable him work for the president without distraction and for the development of the  country in general, particularly in agriculture.

RIMAN wishes him God’s guidance and a fruitful and very successful tenure,’’ he added.

Edited By: Grace Yussuf (NAN)

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Agriculture

Post-COVID-19: Exporter seeks removal of export trade barriers

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A cashew exporter, Mr Godwin Okoh, on Monday urged government to remove barriers to export trade and add value to agricultural produce to revamp the economy in the postCOVID-19 era.

Okoh, who is the Managing Director of 0g2Tech Consulting and Investment Ltd., made the call  while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.

He observed that the halting of many businesses and the dwindling fortunes of crude oil due to the the COVID-19 pandemic demanded broadening of the nation’s economy through processed produce for export.

The exporter, while reacting to the Federal Government’s plan to issue export licenses to exporters to shore-up the nation’s revenue from foreign exchange, said that removal of export trade barriers was more important than issuing of licenses.

NAN reports that the Federal Government had on May 14, ordered the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service to issue produce exporters licenses to facilitate export to attract more foreign exchange.

“It is not about issuing export license; don’t forget that export license is not issued for free and is not  about which agency should issue the license.

“Government should be concerned about the fundamental problems or challenges facing the export business; finance is very key, export is capital intensive and it is a cash-based transaction.

“As an exporter, you travel down to the rural market to source for your goods with no basic infrastructure and no good network that will aid electronic transfer.”

Okoh said that the large number of people at the rural markets might not even appreciate e-payment methods thus exposing an investor to high risk of attack and loss of capital.

“Value addition is essential if we must make appreciable revenue from our produce export; there is every need to process those produce into commodities to make more foreign exchange instead of selling raw to the global market.

“In the processes of value addition, a lot of jobs will be created in the economy thereby stabilising the system in addition to foreign exchange earnings,” he said.

Okoh, while decrying the lack of incentives that could support export in the country, said that Nigeria unfortunately had no modern technology to adapt to globally best practice through value addition.

”That greatly led to capital flight and erosion of revenue,” he said.

He urged government to support produce processors to acquire machines, equipment or set up hubs in every zone in the country with specific crops of comparative advantages to enhance value addition.

Okoh said that Ogbomosho and Kogi known for raw cashew nut production were places where government could set up or support the building of a processing plant to add value to the product.

He said that the south east and south south zones of the country were places where oil palm processing plants could be established to help in value addition to shore up revenue as well as create jobs for people after the pandemic.

He said that the exporters faced enormous challenges which had contributed to low input from export to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Okoh said that most products were best sourced at harvest and exporters would need enough capital to be able to buy from the farmers early in the harvest when the quality was high.

He said that the condition of accessing the export finance was not in tandem with expiration dynamic.

“As a borrower, you were expected to provide an exporter contract before applying for the loan and in most cases, the loan would take an average of three months before it might be granted.’’

Okoh said that even at that, the terms and conditions in the export contract was usually for 21to 45 days to complete execution of contract.

The exporter, while lamenting the hindrances to export trade and the disruption of businesses by the COVID-19 pandemic, said that the country could rely on its produce export to stabilise the economy in the nearest future with the enabling environment.

Edited By: Jane Frances Oraka/Grace Yussuf (NAN)

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Agriculture

Institute supports farmers in South West states with maize seeds

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The Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, has distributed five tonnes(1,000kg) of high yield maize seed variety resistant to downy mildew and streak diseases to farmers in the South-West Zone.

The institute’s Executive Director, Prof. Veronica Obatolu, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Ibadan that the five states of Osun, Ogun, Ondo, Lagos and Ekiti received one tonne (1000kg) each.

Obatolu said that farmers in Oyo State would soon receive their own from the seed store of the institute.

She said the seeds distributed were for cultivation of 50 hectares of land in each state.

Obatolu explained that since maize was a source of some major food in the South West Zone, the institute decided to address likely seed shortage for maize cultivation.

She said that access to quality seeds remained the bedrock of agricultural productivity, adding that the outbreak of COVID-19 was likely to affect economic strength which may make quality seeds inaccessible to farmers.

“This may likely encourage seed adulteration and invariably lead to reduced yield and hunger.

“Therefore to mitigate likely food shortage and hunger, IAR&T tthought it wise to reach out to farmers through state ministries of agriculture and Agricultural Development Programmes.

“The aim of the distribution is also to reduce likely stress of accessing quality seed by farmers due to various forms of lock down,” the executive director said.

She advised farmers to make good use of the seeds and maintain physical distancing while on field.

COVID-19 has come, it will go by God’s grace, rain has come, it will not wait for us, so now is the time for farmers to go to the field and plant the seed for us to be food secured during and after COVID-19,” she said.

NAN reports that IAR&T is a multi-commodity national research institute that serves as a national center for integrated research on improvement of genetic potentials of crops such as maize and livestock.

The institute also works on improvement on seed supply, yield and quality as well as utilisation of food and industrial crops and livestock that are adaptable to agro-ecological zones of the South-West Zone.

(
Edited By: Bayo Sekoni/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)

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Agriculture

COVID-19 lockdown: Task Force allows 130 food trucks into Zamfara

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A total of 130 trucks conveying foodstuffs were allowed into Zamfara in the last one week by the Presidential Task Team on movement of food and agricultural products in the state.

The state Chairman of the team, who is also the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Usman Nagogo, disclosed this on Sunday in Gusau.

Nagogo told the News Agency of Nigeria that the team had also facilitated the passage of several trucks of food and agricultural products from Zamfara to other parts of the country.

“We are trying to make sure that the presidential directive to allow foodstuff and all agricultural products, equipment and variety seedlings have complete free movement into or out of Zamfara throughout the COVID – 19 period.

“This Task Team, which comprises all relevant bodies including security, farmers, transporters and the media, swung into action immediately after our inauguration.

“So far, we have facilitated the smooth movement of the food and agric inputs carrying trucks in their hundreds,” Nagogo said.

He stated that while the team had maintained that only three persons would be allowed on such trucks, such persons would have to pass through all available COVID – 19 checks at the entry points before they are cleared to pass.

“We restricted the number to three, comprising the driver, his assistant and a conductor in order to guard against abuse of the lockdown in which some drivers will carry other passengers.

“We have so far turned back several passengers who had no business being in such trucks and we have also warned that we will sanction such drivers that carry passengers through our borders,” he explained.

Nagogo said the team has been visiting the state borders at regular intervals to create awareness among security personnel stationed there to ensure compliance.

NAN reports that while at the Shinkafi border last week, the chairman, on noticing the absence of medical personnel, immediately requested for the posting of health workers along with testing kits and sanitation facilities.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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