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LASG seeks Public-Private Partnership to boost socio-economic development

PPP
By Florence Onuegbu
Lagos, Feb. 4, 2019 (NNN) The Lagos State Government says Public-Private Partnership (PPP) is critical to sustain the growth and development of the state.

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LASG seeks Public-Private Partnership to boost socio-economic development

PPP
By Florence Onuegbu
Lagos, Feb. 4, 2019 (NNN) The Lagos State Government says Public-Private Partnership (PPP) is critical to sustain the growth and development of the state.

The Lagos State Head of Service, Hakeem Muri-Okunola, said this on Monday during the 2019 PPP Lagos Roundtable organised by the Office of Public and Private Partnership.

Muri-Okunola said that Lagos was confronted with continuous population growth with attendant pressure on social services and amenities like hospitals, schools, roads, bridge and  power, among others.

He said that it was quite evident that the competing needs for government’s resources had made the PPP model a most viable critical component of a number of socio-economic development strategies that any serious government might consider.

According to him, government cannot do it alone, hence, the need for the PPP strategy.

”Given its relative advantages in many respects, Lagos is easily one of Africa’s most preferred investment destination.

”This should not be surprising given its strategic location, population and status as Nigeria’s commercial hub and a nationally acclaimed “Centre of Excellence”.

”In recognition of the need to create an environment that is conducive for investment and living, succeeding administrations in Lagos had focused on the development and implementation of several policies.

”These policies and initiatives are aimed at ensuring sustainable socio-economic development of the state,” he said.

Ope George, the Director-General, Office of Public and Private Partnership, said that it was projected that the population of Lagos State would be about 30 million by 2035.

George said that this brought to mind the need to provide adequate social and physical infrastructure across all sectors.

He said that such infrastructure were to serve the needs of the people in healthcare, agriculture, transportation, education, energy, housing, entertainment and tourism, among others.

According to him, government alone cannot provide the needed infrastructure based on the necessity and financial challenges of servicing all socio-economic needs of the people and providing an environment that is conducive for businesses to thrive.

”A look across the landscape of Lagos would reveal the various opportunities for stakeholders and investors.

”These opportunities will enable stakeholders and investors to partner with government in providing the necessary infrastructure to support socio-economic development for the empowerment of our people.

”These opportunities will generate jobs and create wealth for investors.

Lagos needs to continue to find ways of enabling infrastructure development and achieve its maximum economic potential.

”In order to achieve this objective, there is a necessity for the public and private sectors to synergise,” he said. (NNN)
FON/IKU/TÁ

Edited by Tayo Ikujuni/Tajudeen Atitebi 

Agriculture

Zamfara secures loan for rice cultivation

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Governor Bello Muhammad (Matawallen Maradun) said he has secured a loan of N3. 8 billion from the Central Bank of Nigeria for rice farmers in the state.

He disclosed this when Farmers Association of Nigeria paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Gusau today.

Matawalle said his administration will boost the cultivation of rice beginning from this season. Already, a plan has been concluded to allocate free farmlands to those intending to engage in rice cultivation among farmers in the state.

“With the attainment of peace in the state, our concern now is to find ways of improving the economic activities in the state especially farming which is our pride”, Matawalle revealed.

Already, arrangements are in top gear for the introduction of new crop productions such as garlic production. The State government, according to the Governor, will not concentrate on subsistence farming alone, but also the cultivation of cash crops to improve and empower the citizens in the state.

To this end, the Government will resuscitate some abandoned factories such as the vegetable oil production factories in the state.

Governor Matawalle decried the unfortunate incidence of cattle rustling in some parts of the state but assured that this has been successfully contained and the animals will soon be returned to their rightful owners.

He assured that his administration will not rest on Its oars and allow the hard-earned peace achieved to degenerate. He also promised to continue to support investments in economic activities until all parts of the state are engaged in one economic activity or the other.

Zailani Bappa

SSA Media

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Agriculture

Law to ban donkey export, slaughtering coming — Minister

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Alhaji Mohammed Nanono, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Rural Development, says he is working with the National Assembly on a bill to prohibit the killing and exportation of donkeys or its derivatives.

Nanono said such legislation would prevent donkeys from extinction.

Nanono said this at the Global inauguration of “Under the Skin” the impact of the global trade in donkey skins in West Africa by the Donkey Sanctuary, a UK-based International NGO in collaboration with the Nigeria Now, an NGO, on Thursday in Abuja.

The minister represented by Dr Bello Umar, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, noted that the bill when passed would further complement the import and export of raw animal skins and hides especially donkey currently on the Customs Prohibition List.

He specifically noted that the export of donkey skin had increased in recent years due to increased demand and utilisation of donkey skin in Chinese health products that had been assumed as effective in the management of some health conditions.

Nanono identified the assumed  health conditions as preventing aging and increasing libido.

He, however, noted that “the indiscriminate slaughtering of this species of animals if not controlled will lead to extinction of donkey population in Nigeria.

“In addition, recent research has revealed a worrying trend in the growing trade and demand of donkey skin and its potential effects to global donkey populations and their welfare.

“As part of measures to check these unethical practices, the Federal Government through the  Ministry of Agriculture in the 42nd Regular Session of the National Council of Agriculture in 2017 noted the need to preserve donkey and re-classified it as endangered species to prevent its extinction.

“The government at the meeting also encouraged research on the development of donkeys and a sustainable breeding programme for donkey species.”

The minister identified the donkey as playing vital roles in the livelihood support of rural smallholder farmers that could not afford mechanised equipment.

According to him, due to such challenge of mechanisation they use donkeys for heavy lifting needed for cultivating land, transporting hay and silage, hauling water as well as firewood.

Nanono emphasised that the significance of donkeys in West Africa region especially in Northern Nigeria could not be overlooked describing them as playing important roles in the sociocultural and economic life of most rural populace.

“They also use their donkeys which have been shown to be more resilient during droughts than other livestock like cattle as an extra source of income, using them to carry goods from one location to another,” Sabo said.

Earlier, Mike Baker, the Chief Executive Officer, the Donkey Sanctuary, frowned at the global crisis affecting donkeys.

Baker emphasised that never before had donkeys faced ”this level of threat, as their local populations in some countries collapse due to relentless demand for their skins.

“It is a crisis that demands immediate action and we are calling for urgent halt to the global trade in donkey skins,” he said.

Edited by Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Agriculture

Don calls for revival of research institutes on West African Dwarf Goat

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Prof. Francis Ahamefule has called on Federal Government to take urgent measures to resuscitate the National Animal Production Research Institute (NAPRI), Zaria and the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI), Jos to discharge their mandate.

Ahamefule, a professor of Animal Production at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, made the call in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Umuahia on Thursday.

He said that the institutes were saddled with the responsibilities of small ruminant research and training in the country.

He said that the inability of the institutes to rise up to their responsibilities had affected the country’s production of West African Dwarf (WAD) goat.

“NAPRI had the initial mandate to breed, select and supply improved males to interested farmers. Not much progress has been made in this direction.

“NVRI researches into sheep and goat diseases and develops appropriate diagnostic and investigatory services as well as producing vaccine for disease control.

“Unfortunately, the services and influence of these institutes are hardly felt at the rural environment where the WAD goat is reared,’’ he said.

The lecturer, who said that he had carried out an extensive research on WAD goat, disclosed that the small ruminant breed had staggering potentials capable of meeting the animal protein needs of over 60 million Nigerians.

According to him, the WAD goat milk can be higher in protein relative to milk of other goat breeds and their milk yield higher than other species, with the possible exception of camels.

He said, “Until research findings concerning the WAD goat and other livestock species begin to find expression in our smallholder animal units, mixed farm enterprises and integrated animal farms, the food security we clamour for, would continue to remain a mirage.’’

(Edited by Kabir Muhammad/Sam Oditah) (NAN)

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Agriculture

FGN/IFAD -VCDP to support 9, 000 farmers in Anambra in 2020

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The Federal Government/International Fund for Agriculture (IFAD)-Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP), says it plans to support over 9,000 farmers in Anambra in 2020 under the additional financing.

Mr Nnamdi Agwuncha, the State Programme Coordinator, -VCDP disclosed this in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Awka on Wednesday.

Agwuncha, who expressed satisfaction with the programme, said it had spent over N300 million as at Oct. 31, in encouraging rice and cassava production during the 2019 farming season.

According to him, VCDP added three new Local Government Areas namely: Ihiala, Ogbaru and Orumba South this year that now benefit from our services and farm inputs support in both rice and cassava crops.

He gave the previous benefitting Local Government Areas as Orumba North, Awka North, Ayamelum, Anambra East and Anambra West.

“This year, 1, 670 farmers have so far benefitted as against 1, 001 farmers in 2018.

“We have got approval for additional financing, which will commence next year. This was as a result of the improvement in the programme and performance by farmers,’’ he said.

He said the N300 million was spent on input/seedling and agro-chemical disbursement, land development/preparation, building of aggregation and cassava bulking centres, provision of water schemes and rice processing mills.

Other areas of support include building of market stalls, construction of small bridges to provide access roads to farm lands as well as provision of solar powered borehole, among others.

“In terms of yield, average yield of six tons of rice was recorded in 2019 as against 5.5 tons in 2018, while an average yield of 35 tons per hectare was recorded in 2019 as against 30 tons for cassava.

“In our 2020 annual work plan and budget, we have planned to support 3, 000 (2, 000 and 1, 000) farmers for rice and cassava production respectively.

“Other 6, 000 VCDP profiled farmers would benefit in all the VCDP training and extension services,” he said.

On border closure by the Federal Government, Agwuncha said it was long overdue, and urged farmers to seize the opportunity to excel in providing food and employment for the country.

“As a matter of fact, I had expected that to have happened a long time because there is no basis to make Nigeria a dumping ground.

“When the team visited the state in 2015, they went round and concluded that Anambra had the potential to feed Nigeria in terms of rice.

“If you open the borders, it affects the efforts of farmers. I expect the Federal Government to close the borders so we look inwards because we have the human and natural endowment to produce rice that will feed Africa,” he said.

The programme coordinator, however, advised the Federal Government to improve its support to agriculture by constructing rural roads and subsidising inputs, among other supports.

Edited by Kabir Muhammad/Felix Ajide (NAN)

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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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