Agriculture

Periwinkle business lucrative with improved value chain – farmer

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Periwinkle
By Mercy Omoike
Lagos, Feb. 21, 2019 A farmer, Mr Sunday Ido, says periwinkle business can be very lucrative with improved value chain, urging youths to show interest in its harvest and processing.

Ido, an agripreneur and owner of Real Farms Ltd., Lagos, made the assertion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Lagos.

According to the farmer, although periwinkles are not cultivated like ordinary snail but harvested from riverine areas, its processing has more profit-making potential.

“As a small-scale dealer in periwinkles, I am concerned with how to improve the value chain of these sea snails because they are not easily accessible in Lagos and other states apart from Calabar and Akwa-Ibom.

“If periwinkles are well preserved, it will add to the value chain and make them more accessible in states where they are not being harvested.

“The already shelled periwinkle can last for one to two days if kept in a refrigerator; if oven-dried, the periwinkles will last longer thereby enhancing the value chain.

“I want to urge local cultivators and processors of periwinkles to add more value to the sea snails; I also want to encourage youth to be involved in the business because it is lucrative.

“A small cup of shelled periwinkle goes for as much as N60 per cup in Cross River and usually more expensive in cities such as Lagos because of their scarcity.

“Periwinkles are not actually cultivated like snails, they are harvested from sea shores and riversides, hence it is common in the South South Zone of the country because of its riverine topology,” he told NNN.

Ido also noted the nutritional value of periwinkles.

“Periwinkle meat contains protein, fat (mainly polyunsaturated fatty acid), iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, vitamins A, B6, B12, K and foliate.

“Periwinkles are very rich in nutrients; it is low in cholesterol and preferred in the diets of health-conscious persons. The low-fat content makes periwinkle a healthy alternative food.

“In South-South, periwinkles are surplus and used in preparing most of staple foods.

“The popular Cross River and Akwa-Ibom cuisines such as Afang, Edikakong are not complete without the addition of periwinkles,” Ido said.

NNN reports that periwinkles are considered a delicacy in African and Asian cuisines.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, however, raw snails in general are about 80 per cent water, 15 per cent protein, and 1.4 per cent fat.

DMO/FF/IGO
===========
Edited by Fela Fashoro/Ijeoma Popoola

Agriculture

Coconuts: Fear of seizure by Customs can affect production in Badagry- Lagos Govt

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The Lagos State Government says the incessant seizure and auctioning of locally produced coconuts by the Nigeria Custom Services (NCS) in Agbara area has hindered its production by farmers.

Ms Abisola Olusanya, Special Adviser to Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State on Agriculture, made this known in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos.

Olusanya spoke while reacting to the recent seizure of 1,450 bags of locally produced coconuts from Badagry by the customs officials.

“This type of action by customs can act as a disincentive to farmers in the value chain.

Lagos State Government is not against border closure by the Federal Government,” she said.

Olusanya said the situation, had however, created fear among the farmers and producers in the areas, and had made the level of production to dwindle.

The governor’s aide said that she had been receiving reports on how people harvest their coconuts and they did not take them to the markets again for fear of seizure.

According to her, people are now afraid to buy coconuts as a result of the incident.

She said that the estimated price of the seized coconuts, according to the association, was N25 million.

At the end of the day, farmers are not getting the money; the person in the value chain downstream is also not getting the supply to produce.

So, automatically it has affected the livelihood of those people in the area because fear has gripped the people.

You can pay for coconuts, expecting it to be delivered and you may not get the supply because it may be seized.

When people put money down to purchase coconuts and they are seized, that is money gone down the drain.

People will rather prefer to put their money on something else during the festive season.

We are talking about a value chain of about N35 billion annually; obviously, the sector has dwindled in the space of three months.

We want to appeal that customs should investigate any seizure of coconuts first before putting them up for auction in the state,” she said.

According to her, we know that coconut in Lagos State is the main cash crop of the state, it is very critical; the state government has invested so much on it.

Lagos State produces 70 per cent of coconuts being consumed in Nigeria. Badagry is the enclave of coconuts, and this is known to all.

We recently held coconuts summit to encourage investors and investment into the value chain and we are the only state in the country to have a government parastatal specifically for coconuts,” she said.

Olusanya said the state government had on Nov. 28 convened a stakeholders’ meeting to identify and resolve the issue, adding that the customs officials snubbed the invitation.

NAN recalls that on Oct. 27, two trucks and a pickup van, loaded with 1,450 bags of locally-sourced coconuts, on transit to industrial coconut processor customers, were seized by the customs officials at the Agbara Checkpoint.

The two trucks and the pickup van were allegedly taken to Ikeja Zone ‘A’ Zonal Office of the customs.

Olusanya said: “We are worried about the seizure of locally produced coconuts and the immediate auctioning, without prior notice or investigation by the customs.

We are not condemning NCS, but we want to understand the reason for their action which is why we invited them to the stakeholders’ meeting on Nov. 28.

But, to just seize coconuts and auction them off immediately is not the best action.

One will begin to assume that there is another agenda to it, of which in my opinion, is not the right way to go about it.

We believe the customs ought to have investigated the source of the coconuts before placing them on immediate auction.

They (customs) did not reach out to the Lagos State Coconuts Development Authority and the state Ministry of Agriculture.

She said that some of the recommendations at the end of the stakeholders’ meeting included establishment of a dedicated branded vans for transportation of coconuts produced in Lagos.

According to her, other recommendations are to make coconut producers to work hand-in-hand with the LCDAs and local government chairmen, Agriculture Department, Nigeria Customs Services and police to ascertain that the coconuts are produced in Lagos.

We want people to have information from the source to the market or wherever it is going to, we want everything to be in the loop.

We want to bridge the gap from source to the market, and we want every process to be known to the relevant authority.

Also, to carry out enumeration of markets and marketers to let us know who are the producers and marketers and who the logistic providers are, we want everybody to be traceable.

If every value actor in the chain is known, it is will be easier to close the loop.

So, when you see someone that is strange, we can quickly say we don’t know where this is coming from.

In that way, the loop is also closed and the issue with smuggled coconuts will not recur,” she added.

Speaking on compensation to the affected people, the special adviser said that the state government was not considering the issue for now.

We are not looking at compensation for now because it is a dicey situation.

“How do we compensate? Do we compensate directly as the Lagos State Government or do we get Nigeria Customs to ensure that compensation is paid to those farmers?

I don’t want to promise anything on behalf of Mr Governor that we will compensate them for the loss, when we have not really sat down to enumerate what the value loss across the value chain are.

In the next few days, we are actually looking at empowering a few of our actors in that value chain because Mr Governor just recently approved some funds for us to use in empowering these value chain actors.

It might not be compensation directly for the loss, but just to show that in Lagos State, we are actually pushing coconuts production to the forefront,” she said.

Olusanya said the intervention of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu would be sought, since the NCS did not honour the first meeting.

She said the ministry would convene another stakeholders’ meeting to discuss possible ways of avoiding a recurrence of the incident,.

Olusanya said that all the stakeholders, including the Nigeria Customs services, would again be invited to discuss the way out.

Edited by: Ariwodola Idowu/Olagoke Olatoye
(NAN)
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Agriculture

Agriculturist  advises farmers to cultivate Cassava with Vitamin A nutrients to curb malnutrition

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An agriculturist, Mrs Bola Adeyemo, has called on more local farmers to embrace the cultivation of Cssava with  Vitamin nutrients  to address  malnutrition and  hunger.

 

Adeyemo, also a food processor, made the call on Thursday in Lagos while speaking with the Nigeria News Agency .

 

Vitamin A helps form and maintains healthy teeth, skeletal and soft tissue, mucus membranes, and skin.

 

It is also known as retinol because it produces the pigments in the retina of the eye. Vitamin A promotes good eyesight, especially, in low light environment.

 

Adeyemo said that the benefits of Vitamin A fortified cassava are multifaceted.

She listed them to include health benefit for its consumers and increased gain for farmers after harvest.

 

She said, “Vitamin A Cassava was developed by the world body on agriculture to address issues of malnutrition and the hidden hunger ratio found in the World Health Organisation (WHO) data.

 

It has been observed that Africa and Asia are the worst hit by malnutrition, hence, the fortification of cassava and potatoes with Vitamin A nutrients since they are the major staples in African and Asian diets.

 

The benefits of the Vitamin A Cassava will address malnutrition and hidden hunger mostly found in rural areas in Nigeria.

 

“It is whatever the farmer grows that he sells to the city dwellers.’’

 

The agriculturist then appealed to local farmers to embrace the infusion of micronutrients into their crops.

 

She noted that Vitamin A fortified Cassava had less sugar content than the regular specie, adding that its cultivation would foster inclusive prosperity for all involved.

 

“Through research, the Vitamin A Concentrate in cassava is enhanced to give Nigerians healthier options.’’

 

She said that at present, three varieties out of the six species of Vitamin A cassava developed worldwide were being cultivated in Nigeria.

 

The Vitamin A cassava has less sucrose than the regular cassava crop and very good for diabetic patients.

 

“Our local farmers should tap into the cultivation of Vitamin A Cassava because it has inclusive prosperity for all involved.’’

 

Adeyemo said that there was a league of Vitamin A Cassava producers.

 

They supply the products to processing companies who in turn make snacks and other pastries out of them.

 

“In the end, everyone enjoys the inclusive prosperity,” Adeyemo said.

 

Edited by: Razak Owolabi/Peter Dada
(NAN)
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Agriculture

Farmer calls for establishment of livestock agency to boost beef, dairy production

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Mr Idi Murkhtar, a Commercial farmer and Managing Director, Zaidi Farms Ltd, Kaduna, has called on the Federal Government to establish National Livestock Development Authority (NALDA) to meet the nation’s growing demand for beef and dairy products.

Mukhtar, who made the call in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Wednesday in Kaduna, said, NALDA should be mandated to overhaul, regulate and ensure faster growth of the entire livestock sector.

The age-long pastoralism system is no longer sustainable.It is unproductive, it is crises prone. Nigeria must change.

Urgent national attention is required to completely transform the livestock sector politically, economically and socially.

Institutional changes and legal reforms are critical to achieving the transformation and development in the dairy sector,” he said.

He said the creation of NALDA would attract both local and foreign investors, create jobs and drive national self sufficiency in dairy and dairy products.

Mukthar noted that the creation of NALDA would bridge the gap of the annual national demand of the 1.3 billion liters of milk annually.

According to him, NALDA would avail Nigerians the opportunity to tap from the over 1.5 billion US Dollar worth of dairy products imported into the country annually.

He said Nigerians would equally tap from the employment opportunities and enable skilled, abundant cheap labour through public, private partnership that would enhance faster growth of the sector.

Nigeria has a population dynamics of 200 million people with 42.3 per cent young adults, while 50 per cent live in urban areas.

He said the prospects were enormous, with 131 ruminant resources in addition to abundant land, water resources and favorable climate.

Murkhtar said the agency should also address current challenges faced by the diary and livestock industry.

He listed the challenges as: incoherent policy implementation, poor funding by state and local governments and poor extension services from agricultural agencies.

“The sector also faces challenges of inadequate power and rural infrastructure, insecurity, low genetic potential of indigenous cattle, disease outbreak due to poor veterinary and animals health system. ”

He explained that the challenges if left unaddressed could have a negative impact on the nation’s diary sector.

The farmer said addressing the challenges would fast track the potential in the Nation’s 22 million cattle population which are yet to be fully realized.

“It will also address the continuous movement of livestock in search for greener pasture every one kilometer burning about 12 kilo-calories of their energy.“

He further said that the country would only compete favorably with the top African milk producers such as Kenya and South Africa who are leaders in milk production.

Top African Milk producers and cattle population: Kenya 18 million, 4 million pure breed milk with 3.4 billion liters of milk per year.

South Africa 14 million all dairy with 3.2 billion liters of milk per year, while Nigeria with 22 million cattle with only 2,000 pure breed producing 560 million liters of milk annually.

We must also select and upgrade local dairy breeds of cattle through artificial insemination, cross breeding and embryo transfer .

This will result into the development of national dairy breeds with superior performance traits.

There should also be livestock breeding centers (LBC) in each geo-political zones to propagate genetically improved breeds and license genuine imports and importation of life animals to meet defined national needs.

We must also develop and enhance the capacity of pastoralists through the provision of quality extension services and a developed national dairy value chain aligned to the regional, national and continental needs.

“This would address problems of productivity, processing capacity, trade barriers, access to market information and facilitate private participation in commercial fodder production for small and medium scale dairy producers. ”

He said the agency should ensure strict implementation of statutes in the ECOWAS transhumance control to national advantage and to enforce transhumance entry and exit documentations.

It should ensure massive improvement in logistics and rural infrastructure, pasture cultivation, rural roads, electric or solar cooling tanks,” he said.

Murkhtar said the agency should equally ensure creation and sustenance of efficient milk collection centers, milk evacuation trucks, facilitate market information and market access.

The agency, he noted, should ensure favorable milk price system; good producer, off-taker relations, scale up smallholder capacity, knowledge and skills related to good animal husbandry practices.

Corperatise pastoralists to serve as nucleus for milk production and marketing.

The farmer said NALDA, if created should be mandated to work with reputable partners to develop strategic dairy value chain.

He noted that the federal ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development had so far over concentrated on crops/agronomy to the detriment of the nation’s livestock, leaving over 131 million ruminants with no home.

He said NALDA should be saddled with the responsibility of developing pasture seeds, ensuring animal health, quality products and services, quality water and pasture, as well as providing farm equipment.

Murkhtar said the agency should be saddled with the responsibility to facilitate cheap finance and credits for livestock farmers.

The government should ensure effective disseminating reproduction information and technology, and security of farmers and their livestock.

Government should also facilitate and regulate milking parlors, milking machines, standard fencing materials, efficient milk aggregation and transportation system, diary super markets among others,” he added.

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Agriculture

Nasarawa Assembly urges citizens to patronise locally-made goods

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Nasarawa State House of Assembly has urged the people of the state and other Nigerians to patronise locally-made goods, to avoid overdependence on foreign ones.

Dr Ibrahim Peter-Akwe, Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture, made the call on Wednesday when officials of the state Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources appeared before the committee to defend its 2020 budget.

Peter-Akwe said such patriotism would also boost the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the country.

According to him, if Nigerians patronise locally-made goods, it will help in boosting the revenue base of the government and enhance food security and economic development.

He also urged the people of the state to embrace agriculture, considering its importance to societal development.

If Nigerians embrace agriculture, it will not only reduce overdependence on oil, but it will also fight poverty, unemployment, youth restiveness and other social vices.

No society can live comfortably without agriculture; it is the major source of livelihood of every family, nation, and its importance cannot be overemphasised to the development of any society,” the chairman said.

He urged the management of the ministry to be up and doing to ensure food security in the state.

He assured of the assembly’s readiness to give the agricultural sector the much-needed attention for development to thrive.

Prof. Allahnana Otaki, the ministry’s Commissioner, while defending the budget, said that the State Government was determined to enhance food security in the state.

He appreciated the house for its cooperation at all times, and for its commitment to duties for the overall development of the state.

Edited by: Moses Solanke and Abdullahi Yusuf
(NAN)
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Agriculture

Be alert to signs of Charcoal Anthrax in livestocks- LASG

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The Lagos State Government has urged livestock owners, sellers, farmers, butchers and veterinarians to be alert to any sign of Charcoal Anthrax in their livestocks.

The Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, made the plea on Wednesday in Lagos at a meeting with members of the Sheep and Goats Farmers Association.

Lawal said that the meeting was to sensitise them on the reported outbreak of the disease in sheep and cattle in Niger Republic.

“Charcoal Anthrax is an infectious zoonotic disease of livestock.

It manifests either on the skin as a scratch progressing into a sepsis or as a pulmonary infection contracted by inhalation of the causative micro-organisms,” the commissioner said.

Lawal said that the disease occurs directly or indirectly through contact with infected animals or contaminated animal products respectively in human beings, hence the need to take precautionary measures.

He urged the stakeholders to report any unexplained sudden deaths in livestock to the Ministry of Agriculture.

According to him, the reports would help the state government to carry out a quick and appropriate investigation with a view to instituting all necessary control measures.

He said: “Private veterinarian should also assist with investigation and prevention activities.

They should contact the nearest Veterinary office or call (EMAIL) or (EMAIL) ,” Lawal said.

The commissioner said the disease was well known to occur intermittently in grazing livestock and usually contact through the swallowing and inhaling of the anthrax spores which are odourless, colourless and tasteless.

He said that the disease could also affect humans but, however, nearly all cases of the diseases had been seen in livestock, particularly hoofed animals.

Even, the environment was not endemic for the disease and that no incidence of the disease has been reported in recent times.

It is more reasonable to prevent the disease from entering into our shore and indeed the Lagos State,” he said.

Lawal, therefore, urged all livestock farmers to take necessary precautions to prevent the incursion of the disease into the country.

He said that the state government had already constituted Rapid Response Teams that would react and respond to any case of an outbreak.

Edited by: Olagoke Olatoye
(NAN)
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