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Minister woos youths into FG agric empowerment programmes

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Alhaji Mustapha Baba-Shehuri, the Minister of State, Agriculture and Rural Development, has called on youths to key into the viable agriculture empowerment programmes initiated by the Federal Government, to address the problem of unemployment in the country.

Shehuri made this call when he visited the Maiduguri GSM market to sympathise with fire victims on Friday in Maiduguri.

He said the government had implemented various agriculture schemes to provide job opportunities, enhance wealth creation and encourage agricultural production, to attain self-sufficiency and food security.

“We have programmes in the ministry that are meant to empower youths and women, who fit very well into the programmes.

“We have many empowerment programmes; anybody who is of interest can visit any of the ministry’s office to find out a lot of things going on in the agricultural sector in the country”.

Shehuri added that the ministry was working to provide interventions for farmers, whose farmlands were affected by flood disaster in the country.

On the fire incident in the Maiduguri market, Shehuri said he was pained by the disaster and that he had to come personally to sympathize with the victims.

Shehuri said that traders, who were mostly youths had demonstrated high sense of ingenuity and innovations to create job opportunities, engage in productive activities and contribute to the social and economic development of the society.

“In the past 20 years; there was no GSM market in Maiduguri, the youth came up with innovative ideas and set up a market worth millions of naira in an era where government at all levels are trying to create jobs.

“And when established, this group of people are faced with such calamity; any responsible government must come up to help them out of the situation.

“As a citizen of the state; I have to come to commiserate with the victims and promised them that we have youth empowerment programmes from which they can benefit to earn a livelihood,” he added.

Shehuri further donated five million naira to the victims to alleviate their sufferings.

Also speaking, Mr Nasiru Abdullahi, the chairman of the traders union in the market, lauded the gesture, assuring that the leadership of the union would be fair and just in the distribution of the money to the affected persons.

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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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Agriculture

FGN/IFAD VCDP urges Anambra farmers to embrace insurance

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The Federal Government/International Fund for Agriculture Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) has advised farmers in Anambra to embrace insurance schemes to mitigate losses during disasters.

Mr Emmanuel Chukwukwelu, the -VCDP Agricultural Production Officer in the state, gave the advice at a sensitisation forum on insurance cover for farmers at Atani in Ogbaru Local Government Area near Onitsha on Tuesday.

Chukwukwelu said the programme was currently paying an insurance premium to over 2,000 farmers in the eight participating council areas.

He said the payment include the 750 farmers, who had benefitted from a N9 million fund set aside for the insurance premium.

“We want to further sensitise farmers on insurance because the weather situation cannot be determined any more.

“We want to encourage farmers to always take insurance cover when they plant their crops, rather than waiting until VCDP insures one hectare for them.

“VCDP insurance premium will only cover one hectare of rice farm for those that benefitted from our inputs,’’ he said.

He said the insurance programme was the only successful window through which the Federal Government could assist farmers affected by hazards like flooding, fire and pest.

Mr Andrew Uzoma, the State Manager, Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Cooperation, (NAIC) also enlightened the farmers on insurance policies documentation and claims settlement procedure.

Uzoma said NAIC was preparing indemnity owed to farmers with claims in this year’s disaster.

He also said that the corporation had paid more than N132 million indemnity to farmers in Anambra farmers in 2018.

The manager expressed happiness that more communities were keying into the insurance policy.

Mrs Joan Ajie, a rice and cassava farmer from Ochuche community, appealed for early disbursement of farm inputs to enable the farmers harvest before flooding.

Another rice and cassava farmer, Mr Aloysius Nwadeghi from Umunankwo community, commended the VCDP for the sensitisation visit

He said that majority of the farmers were ignorant of the benefits of insuring their farm.

Edited by Abdulfatah Babatunde/Dada Ahmed

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Agriculture

UBEC introduces school-to-farm programme in basic schools

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The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) said on Tuesday, it has introduced School-to-farm programme at basic education level to inculcate practical agricultural skills among learners in primary and junior secondary schools.

The Executive Secretary of the commission, Dr Hamid Bobboyi made this known at the opening of a three-day workshop on the implementation framework of the programme in Kaduna.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the participants include UBEC officials, directors and desk officers at State Universal Basic Education Boards in charge of schools agriculture programme.

Bobboyi, who was represented by UBEC Director, Administration and Supplies, Rev. Edwin Jarumai, added that the programme would prepare the learners for a life-long learning in line with the commission’s mandate.

He noted that over the years, the teaching of agriculture as a subject was mainly theoretical and less practical, which left most learners ignorant of proper agricultural practices.

“In view of this, UBEC has approved 2.0 per cent of the Universal Basic Education Grant for the school-to-farm programme to make agricultural science more practical and hands-on at basic education level.

“The objective is to provide learners with requisite skills to stimulate self-employment, equip them with functional entrepreneurship and life skills, promote dignity of labour and self-esteem and expose them to biological process of agriculture.”

The executive secretary said that the learners would be exposed to cultivation of farm produce like maize, cassava, yam, guinea corn, and vegetables, as well as livestock like poultry, rabbit, snail and fisheries.

He added that the programme would equally build the capacity of teachers and community members who would be part of the implementation of the programme.

Bobboyi explained that the objective of the workshop was to familiarise the participants with the approved guidelines and build their capacity on the implementation of the programme.

“It is also designed to develop instruments for monitoring, share experience and adopt best practices.

“It is expected that at the end of the workshop, participants will come up with mechanism that will ensure sustainability of the programme in different geographical zones of the country,” he said.

Earlier, the Director Academic Services, UBEC, Malam Wadata Madawaki, said that the programme, if successfully implemented, would boost agricultural production in the country.

Madawaki called on all stakeholders to support the commission in ensuring the success of the programme.

Also, the commission’s Director, Social Mobilisation, Malam Bello Kagara, said that the programme would enable UBEC deliver equitable access to quality and functional education at basic education level.

According to him, the acquisition of practical agricultural skills will add value to the lives of learners and make them self-reliant.

Prof. Sadiq Abubakar of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, commended UBEC for the initiative, which he believed would be “a useful legacy for the coming generation”.

Edited /Maharazu Ahmed

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Agriculture

Association raises alert on antimicrobial resistance to public health, livestock

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Antibiotic

Abuja, Nov. 19, 2019 The Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association(NVMA), on Tuesday, joined the global effort to raise awareness on antimicrobial resistance to public health and livestock.

The NVMA made the call in a statement on Tuesday to mark the World Antibiotic Awareness Week, signed by its publicity secretary, Dr Gloria Daminabo.

The association stressed that though antimicrobial are useful in disease treatment, their misuse leads to failure as microbes develop resistance to these life-saving treatments.

It said these resistant microbes are also transferred to other animals and humans as well.

“Antimicrobial resistance in livestock industry is a threat to public health, livestock productivity, food security and the economy, especially in developing nations such as Nigeria,’’ the association said.

The NVMA said the Nigerian situation arose as a result of poor production practices, poor hygiene, weak policies, under regulation of antimicrobial use in animals and inadequate veterinary and other related manpower.

The statement said that with antimicrobial resistance come attendant losses from increased cost of research in producing more effective antibiotics, when the available ones stop working.

Other losses noted by the NVMA as a result of antimicrobial resistance include;   increased cost of livestock production, as more funds go into treatment and losses from deaths of livestock and people.

It also said the country shall be unable to neither participate, nor benefit fully from international trade in animal products in spite of enormous livestock resources.

On this note, the association also called on stakeholders in the livestock production sector to imbibe good production practices, and seek advice from professionals with the use of antimicrobial.

It urged all regulatory agencies and professionals to be proactive and alert to their responsibilities, and work in synergy to reduce antibiotic misuse in the overall interest of the country.

The association pledged to continue its advocacy and professional role, and  in collaboration with all relevant stake-holders and the public, to curb the spread of antimicrobial resistance to the benefit of humanity.

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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Agriculture

KDSG partners Arla foods, Miyyetti Allah on N15b Damau Milk Farm

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Kaduna State Government on Monday said it would spend N15 billion on the construction of Household milk farms in Damau, Anchau Local Government Area.

Gov. Nasiru el-Rufai, who disclosed at a meeting with members of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in Kaduna, said the project would be executed in collaboration with Arla foods.

He said that the money would be spent on the programme which will cover 1, 000 herdsmen.

el-Rufai, represented by his Senior Adviser, Jimmi Lawal, said the initiative was to proffer solutions to the multifaceted problems associated with nomadic pastoralists.

He said the goal was to develop a world class grazing reserve to enable government centralise activities of herdsmen in one community.

The governor said the project would reduce importation of milk product, ensure self sufficiency and food security in milk and beef.

“We believe that their lives are important as the rest of us as the life of a commissioner,’’ he said.

He noted that the government is for all and there is the need to empower the people to achieve the best in their endeavours.

el-Rufai said that the programme would stop herdsmen from roaming about, create employment and stop the importation of meat and milk.

“The programme is costing the government N15 billion in the first phase. We had to borrow N10.5bn out of the money from the Central Bank as government guaranteed the repayment of the money.

“It means per person, the government is spending N15 million per herdsman that is going to be settled in that programme

“As part of the N15 million to be spend on each of the herdsmen we will be looking for those who will have their own cattle for the first time.

“Each will have between 12-15 cattle each and will have at least N1.5 million as working capital.

“There will also be a two bedroom farm house at about N2.5 million that each of the herdsmen will own,’’ he said.

He said the farm will also have road network, hospital, electricity supply, market, schools and all other social amenities.

The chairman, MACBAN, Alhaji Haruna Usman assured the association’s commitment for proper utilization of the programme.

He said the gesture was a promise fulfilled by the state government in proving the breeders with modern method of rearing animals.

Usman appreciates the efforts of the state government, adding that the programme should have been by the Federal Government.

On his part, Hafis Bayero, Managing Director, Kaduna Market and Development Company said the programme would aid in settling all herdsmen in one single location to rear their animals.

He said the programme would also allow them to live with their family in a proper modern house and to have access to pasture and water while the partner add value to the milk and sale it

Bayero assured that another component of the project would be the expansion of Ladduga ranch in Kachia Local Government and many other locations.

“We will ensure that pastoral and movement of cows becomes  a thing of the past, we will settle them in one location for the benefit of all.”

Edited by Kabir Muhammad/Maharazu Ahmed

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Agriculture

Delta govt. committed to funding veterinary public health, to immunse 5,000 dogs -Commissioner

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Immunsation

Asaba, Nov. 18, 2019 Delta Government says it is committed to funding veterinary public heath activities as it targets immunisation of over 5,000 dogs across the state this year.

Mr Julius Egbede, Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, stated this on Monday while inaugurating the state yearly free immunisation programme against rabies in dogs and cats in Asaba.

According to Egbedi, one of the policy thrust of the state government is the promotion of public health.

“The Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa-led administration has made funds available, annually, for various veterinary public health activities which include prevention of animal diseases like rabies in dogs, African Swine Fever in pigs, Avian influenza in birds and “pest does petite ruminants“ in goats.

“Most of these diseases are endemic in Nigeria with outbreak the records of up to 100 per cent mortality once contracted.

“Rabies is a contagious and highly fatal zoonotic disease of dogs, cats, man and other animals which infection is through bite and silica of infected dog or certain specie of wild bat.”

He, however, called on the dogs and cats owners to promptly immunse their pets and report any case of dog bite immediately to any veterinary office in the state for immediate attention, to prevent deaths.

Earlier, Dr Charles Diai, Director of Veterinary Services in the ministry, said that the programme inauguration was aimed at eliminating rabies and other related animal diseases before 2030.

“The essence is to prevent rabies, a killer disease that affects human being and if everybody vaccinates his or her dog and cat against rabies, owners of such animals the community and the whole state will be free from rabies.

“Our target, this year, is to vaccinate over 5,000 dogs across the state against rabies.

“As at last year, we have been able to immunise 3, 620 dogs but we are targeting a higher number as the year goes on with a view to eliminating the disease.

“I call on all dog and cat owners to take advantage of this free immunisation to keep their pets free from rabies and ensure the elimination of the disease in the state,” he said.

Some dog owners, who spoke with the Nigeria News Agency at the event, thanked the state government for the free immunsation programmean.

They called on others to take the advantage of the gesture to immunise their pets.

Mr Stanley Onyekaonwu  said that his dog (Boer Bull) had at various occasios bitten his visitors, but assured that the dog had been vaccinated yearly against rabies.

According to him, it will cost him about N5, 000 to give a full dose of the vaccine yearly to the dog.

“We appreciate the government for the gesture and we extend the call to other dog owners to take advantage of this free vaccination, he said.

The highpoint was the vaccination of the dogs by the commissioner, Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Sir Ausrin Oghoro, and the Federal Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Felix Kehis.

NAN reports that the free vaccination which commenced on Monday, will end on Nov. 30, across the state (.

Edited by Kevin Okunzuwa/Dada Ahmed

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