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WOFAN urges FG to make fertilisers available to small farmers



Hajiya Salamatu Garba, Founder, Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN) has appealed to the Federal Government to provide enabling environment to make fertiliser available to farmers at the controlled price.

Garba told New Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Abuja that the Federal Government should do all it could to ensure farmers got fertiliser for the approved  price of N5,500.

She said that because of the various challenges surrounding the distribution of fertiliser, it had been difficult for farmers to access the fertiliser being distributed by the Federal Government.

“Even though the Federal Government says fertiliser is N5000, farmers have not been able to get it for that price due to various reasons such as transportation and conditions of the road.

“We buy from N7, 000 to N10, 000 depending on where you are buying from and this is not good for the farmers,” she said.

Garba said that it was only in Kano State that farmers could go to KASCO fertiliser blending plant from any part of the 44 local government areas to buy fertiliser easily.

“This is not the same in other parts of the country and because of this it had been difficult for farmers to buy fertiliser at government price.

“They still need to carry the fertiliser to rural areas and pay extra for transportation so it is not possible to sell at  government price.

“Before the government will come out and say that fertiliser is N5, 500, it needs to provide enabling environment.

“This is because it is not possible to buy at N5,500 and after paying extra to take the fertiliser to the rural areas, we still sell at the same prize,” she said.

She said infrastructure such as good roads must be in place for easy movements of goods and services.

The founder commended the Federal Government for putting some initiative in place to move agriculture forward.

The founder of WOFAN, however, advocated that the private sector should buy into the programme of agricultural ownership for women and youths to give them dignity and respect.

She said that the Federal Government needed to look into multiple taxation for small scale farmers because taxes were favourable for the big time farmers only.

Garba lamented that it was only the big off takers that were mostly favoured by the banks, while the smaller ones were ignored and this could become a problem for the middlemen soon.

She said that the middlemen did not have the rural structures that would take to reach the big off takers and if they were not recognised, it could create a problem along the chain.

Edited by Dorcas Jonah/Grace Yussuf


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Agric holds key to Nigeria’s economy – WOFAN



 Hajiya Salamatu Garba, Founder and Executive Director, Women Farmers’ Advancement Network (WOFAN), has said that agriculture is the only sector that holds the key to Nigeria’s economy.

She said this in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Thursday in Abuja.

NAN reports that Garba was reacting to the directive given to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) by President Muhammadu Buhari to stop providing foreign currency for food imports, a move said to be aimed at helping the country attain more food security.

Given Nigeria’s yearly food import bill and its excessive pressure on the nation’s foreign reserves, she said that the policy held great potential for the economy.

“Agriculture holds the key to Nigeria’s future prosperity and I believe all necessary policies should be put in place to make it the mainstay of our economy.

“The policy directive is well-intentioned, in view of the medium and long-term implications for Nigeria’s food security, job creation, exchange rate and sustainable economic growth,” she said.

Garba however said that the announcement of the policy by the Federal Government was too sudden and without adequate consultations from the monetary authorities.

This, she argued, was nothing but a usurpation of the CBN’s statutory roles.

The executive director also reacted to the reported claims by a section of the public that the policy would lead to further increase in food prices.

“The question is: must we continue to eat imported rice when we have all it takes to produce the commodity to meet local demands and make it a competitive commodity globally?” she queried.

On the concern being raised in some quarters that the policy might encourage smuggling, Garba said that in as much as smugglers were not getting foreign exchange from official foreign exchange windows, it was good for the system.

She urged the Federal Government to address the challenges confronting the sector such as the inadequate processing, storage and marketing capacity for farm produce.

“If the government focuses on the gaps in the agricultural value chain and consolidate on the recent agricultural interventions by the CBN, Bank of Agriculture and commercial banks, Nigeria will be able to feed her citizens and also become a net exporter of food in the near future.

“We have all it takes to feed ourselves. What we only need is to sincerely and genuinely commit our efforts towards enhancing rain-fed and irrigation farming, to boost local food production,” she said.

According to her, Nigeria has enough to eat, adding “we only need to fully harness our food crops and curb the problem of post-harvest losses”.

She also stressed the need for government to make more credit available and cheaper for agricultural production across the value chain, with priority given to the youth.


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Intervention: WOFAN assists 1,500 rural women, youths



Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN) said it has assisted over 1500 women, men and youth groups located in many local government areas (LGAs) across seven Northern States.

Hajiya Salamatu Garba, the Executive Director, WOFAN, disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Abuja.

Garba said that WOFAN partners and works with a mobilised, registered multipurpose cooperatives, community service groups, private sectors, research institutions towards achieving a holistic development of the people.

We have formed the working groups of WOFAN and each group has 20 to 30 members to identify their needs and draw up action plans for intervention in seven Northern states.

“Over 1500 women, men and youth groups located in many local government areas (LGAs) across seven Northern States have formed the collective working groups of WOFAN of which each group has 20 to 30 members

“ We assist rural groups to identify their needs and draw up action plans for intervention and each group chooses its own leaders and it is responsible for implementing WOFAN-assisted projects.

“ WOFAN also train its target groups across a wide range of matters like leadership, development, advocacy, business management, agriculture, value chain and food processing.

“ Others are preservation, water and soil conservation, sustainable environment and climate change adaptation, improved agricultural technology, health awareness programmes among others’’ she said.

She said that WOFAN generally involves the household in its activities with the aim of improving gender relations by encouraging the involvement of men and women in project intervention at all levels.

Garba said that the groups which are mainly unisex with members involved in similar economic activities started 1998.

According to him, presently, the 1500 rural groups have about 75 per cent of women and 25 per cent male and youth registered members with WOFAN.

“They are encouraged to form various cooperatives or community development units.

“ Though, WOFAN’s strength is in building the capacities of these rural women groups, 25 per cent of its support goes to supporting, leadership and group dynamics and support to vulnerable groups and children.

“We did same to youth and girls child oriented organisations to assist them take lead on issues that affect them and improve their wellbeing in addition to building good gender relations to promote economic and political empowerment,’’ she said.

According to her, WOFAN groups are mostly illiterates, who are helped to attain literacy during the course of its projects with them.

“ In recognition of this, WOFAN has designed a curriculum called the ‘community women curriculum’ which is a functional literacy programme to be completed within two years.

WOFAN boss disclosed that membership is opened to individuals and groups, who believe in the organisation’s vision, goal and objectives and are willing to work together for their own development.

“To benefit from the services of WOFAN, a community group must be together for a minimum of six months and demonstrate good leadership and unity within themselves.

“During this period, group members would be given some training to build their capacity,’’ she said.

NAN reports that WOFAN was established in June 1993 and was incorporated with the Kano State Government as a Community Development Association in 1995 and later registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission in 2004.

The seven participating states are Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Benue, Nassarawa, Gombe and Adamawa.

Edited by Felix Ajide

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Nigeria @ 59: Agric stakeholders urge FG to give agriculture enabling environment to thrive



As Nigeria celebrate 59th Independence, agriculture stakeholders have appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to create an enabling environment for agriculture to thrive, saying it is capable of providing over 75 per cent of jobs.

Some of the stakeholders, who spoke in separate interviews with the Nigeria News Agencyon Tuesday in Abuja said agriculture was the way forward for Nigeria and “must be given a voice”.

Mr Daniel Okafor, the National President Potato Farmers Association (POFAN) said that agriculture was the backbone of Nigeria’s economy and should be given attention because of its capacity to boost the country’s GDP.

“But the growth and development of the sector is very important but government departments and agencies are not working to develop the sector due to selfish reasons.”

He however urged government departments to do the needful by ensuring that the agriculture policy was formulated and stakeholders should be involved in the implement and monitor the progress of the implementation.

He said that food and nutritional value chain was the key to the success of agricultural development, adding that research and implementation of agricultural projects was needed to achieve it.

“And without food security, people will not do anything because the agriculture sector can even provide employment opportunities to about 75 per cent.”

Okafor advised that more inputs and fund be made available at five per cent for land clearing, tractors and other inputs early for farmers.

He said that climate smart agriculture was needed and more rural roads should be developed to ensure availability of food.

“Exports of finish products should be incorporated into our agriculture policy, women and youths should be participating in agriculture implementation.”

Mrs Halima Njobdi, the Director General, LUGAVO Cooperatives &8called on the Federal Government to give agriculture an enabling environment to thrive.

“If the agriculture sector is properly funded and given attention, it can create jobs for more than 75 per cent of Nigerians,” she said.

She said that farmers were more united then ever because they had settled their differences “and they have come to see that agriculture has voice”.

Hajia Salamatu Garba, the Founder, Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN) congratulated Nigerians on it celebration of 59th independence and advised youths and women to get more involved in agriculture.

She said that agriculture should be taken seriously “as it is the only sector that can end hunger and create means of livelihood.


Edited by Grace Yussuf

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Katsina 1st Lady urges FG, private sectors to empower women, youths to engage in agricultural



Hajia Hadiza Masai, wife of the governor of Katsina State has urged the Federal Government and private sectors to empower women and youths to enhance agricultural productivity in the country.


Masai made the call at the Agriculture Summit Africa organised by Sterling Bank with the theme:”Agriculture your piece of the Trillion Dollar Economy “on Friday in Abuja.


She said that there was the need to include women and youths in the agribusiness to boost and scale up agriculture economy.


“If we are going to end hunger and poverty in Nigeria, we need to empower women and youths to improve and reduce wastage of agricultural produces,’’ she said


Masai said the women and youths make half of the agricultural labour force in many developing countries including Nigeria and there is need to give them significant support to increase yields to feed the nation.


According to her, women are more likely to reinvest their income back into their families to improve education, nutrition and health of the people.


“We need to improve the agricultural capacity of women, youth and implement all laudable policies on agribusiness.


“There is therefore the need to link women and youths to agricultural produce to meet the global standard and increase food production,’’ she said.


She said that when women flourish, families and the communities would flourish and the economy of the nation would also flourish.


The first lady however commended the initiative of Sterling bank in organising the summit, saying it was timely and a wake-up call to conform to the global commitment to empower women and youths.


Mrs Salamatu Garba, the Founder, Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN), said women and youths that contribute to the growth of the agriculture sector were being relegated to the background.


“Our women and youths have been ignored because the system has ignored them and for agriculture to thrive, women and youths need to be well funded,” she said.


Garba said a lot was wrong with the value chain starting from the micro sector as finance was not provided and there was no legal body to fight for farmers.


“Some people that matter in the value chain were being  neglected such as micro milers, micro processors and middle men and this is not good for the development of the agriculture sector.


She said that women need to be engaged in the packaging to help expand the sector. (NAN)


Edited by Grace Yussuf


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UNDP pledges support for farmers to sustain food security in Nigeria



The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Wednesday promised to support farmers to sustain food security in Nigeria to end hunger.


Mrs Udumma Nwokike, the Environment, Energy and Climate Change of UNDP said this at a training organised for extension workers in Abuja.


The training was organised by UNDP – Global Environmental Facility (GEF) in collaboration with Women Farmers Advance Network (WOFAN) and National Programme Monitoring Unit (NPMU).


The theme is: “Training on rice and groundnut based Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and family nutrition’’.


Nwokike said UNDP was ready to support states that were implementing the food draft security project on sustainable food security in Nigeria.


“We are here to pledge our full support to government partners, especially the northern states and some places within the savannah that take sustainable food and food security seriously.


“We are here to support farmers and work with the seven states.”


She said the training was based on groundnut and rice agricultural good practices and family nutrition and one of the projects that had been implemented in some states as part in meeting the SDG’s goal for zero hunger.


“We are in total support of this project to encourage them to be dedicated and ensure the success of the programme knowing the importance of food production.’’


She said that farmers should be able to produce to feed the nation, produce to earn income and be able to export to neighbouring countries.


Nwokike appealed to the participants to impact the same knowledge on rural farmers to improved on their agricultural practices by implementing the right procedures and processes  of good farming.


Mrs Salamatu Garba, Founder, Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN) said the training would give the extension workers additional skills such as referral training to awake and stimulate their thinking on how to promote climate smart agriculture.


“We are sharing experience in a participatory discussion for good agricultural practices on how to apply pesticides and advise farmers in return so we can get maximum yield.’’


She said that groundnut, if planted might be yield four tonnes per hectare but if farmers used the correct agricultural practices and adequate spacing they would end up getting five to six tonnes per hectare.


“Farmers in the past, they thought they can only grow grains in the rainy season, now they can grow rice both in the rainy and dry season.’’


She said that with the skills, they would go back and teach the farmers in their local languages and the right messages would to the farmers.


Nigeria News Agency reports that 100 extension workers drawn from Nassarawa and Benue were currently been trained.

Edited by Grace Yussuf


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Women farmers urge FG to provide farm inputs



The Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN) has called on the Federal Government and the Bank of Agriculture to provide women with farm inputs.

According to the network, this is to encourage women participation in agriculture to boost food production in the country.

Hajiya Salamatu Garba, the Executive Director of WOFAN, made the appeal during a one-day submit for stakeholders in the nation’s Groundnut and Rice Value Chain, organised by the association on Friday in Keffi, Nasarawa State.

Garba said the summit has provided a platform for cross fertilisation of ideas, with the view to discovering new trend in the area of agricultural production for food sufficiency in the country.

“This is to boost agricultural production, especially groundnut and rice value chain, which attract better market value.

“I want to appeal to the Federal Government, through the Bank of Agriculture, to provide women with farm equipment to encourage women’s participation in agriculture in order to boost food production in the country,’’ she said.

According to her, WOFAN was established to train women, men and youths in agricultural related programmes such as business management and improved agricultural technology.

She said it was also to encourage cotton farming, considering its strategic importance in boosting revenue base and the socio-economic development of the country.

According to her, the importance of groundnut and rice production to the socio-economic development of the country cannot be overemphasised, hence the need for the summit.

“If Nigerians will give attention to groundnut and rice production among other crops, it will create employment for many youths as well as fight poverty.

“It will also improve their standard of living and will tackle social vices in the society,’’ she said.

She urged Nigerians to embrace farming in their interest and for the overall development of the country.

The executive director called on the participants to contribute positively to the development of the agricultural sector in order to boost the nation’s socio-economic development.

In his welcome address, Mr Naphtali Dachor, the Nasarawa State Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, lauded WOFAN and other development partners for giving adequate attention to the agricultural sector.

Dachor, who was represented by Mr Sunday Emmanuel, a Director in the ministry, assured of the state government’s continued commitment to boost food production.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the summit brought together agricultural stakeholders including representatives of United Nations Development Programme, farmers association and the wife of the state governor, Hajiya Silifa Abdullahi Sule.

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UNDP, GEF, FG commits $58m to Nigeria’s food security



The United Nation Development Programme (UNDP), Global Environmental Facility (GEF) in collaboration with the Federal Government have set aside 58 million dollars to Integrated Approach Programme for Food Security (IAP-FS) project in Nigeria.

Mr Abdullahi Abubakar, the National Coordinator, National Programme Management Unit (NPMU), made this known during a one-day Food Commodities Stakeholders Summit to Advance Interstate Food Commodity Value Chain, on Thursday in Abuja.

Abubakar said that the IAP-FS project, which is a continuation of other developmental programme in agriculture was aimed at building greater community resilience to a solid agricultural financing and marketing in Nigeria.

He said that IAP-FS project, which started in 2018 was being funded with eight million dollars from UNDP and GEF, with the counterpart fund of 50 million dollars from both Federal Government and seven participating states.

“This programme is implemented in 12 countries but not all are implemented by UNDP, some by IFAD, FAO and other United Nation Agencies.

“For Nigeria, it is the UNDP that is supporting the programme which is being implemented by Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development with Federal Ministry of Environment,’’ he said.

Abubakar said that in the past, the northern Nigeria was proud of groundnut pyramid, adding that this could be revived with the vision of Federal Government trying to stop importation of rice completely.

“We have to make effort to see that we are producing rice and groundnut to the best of our ability and advice farmers on other crops.

“So by 2022, we will start to look at what we have done and what are the impacts we have created.

“I want to tell you as at now, based on the sensitisation we have done, people have adopted some of the acclaimed production methods brought by this project.

“We believe at the end of the season, we will see that the yield has increased and people are happy as well,’’ he said.

Mr Oladipo Osibo, the Programme Manager, Environment Unit for UNDP said that UNDP was actually assisting Nigerian Government to secure farms for the group.

Osibo said that UNDP’s role was to play an oversight function and to make sure that the farming in the country was actually done the right way.

“The programme is for five years, which target Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Benue, Nassarawa, Gombe and Adamawa states.

“We hope that at end of the programme, adequate and relevant decisions will be achieved and the country can also move forwar,’’ he said.

Hajia Salamatu Garba, the Executive Director, Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN), said that WOFAN was aimed at women development and was working to make agriculture demand-driven in terms of women and youths.

Garba said that the essence of the summit was to bring stakeholders together to think of youths and women as well as ensure affordable implementation for programmes.

“We want the policy that will make them get loan for the little  things they are doing in order for them to integrated into the system,’’ she said.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that UNDP and GEF are partnering with Ministry of Agriculture to implement a long-term sustainable and resilient food production system in Nigeria and link farmers to a solid agricultural financing and marketing through the IAF-FS project.

Edited by Grace Yussuf


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