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Young agriculturist calls on govt to encourage youth in agric business

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Mr Iorwase Asue, a young agriculturist, has called on government at all levels to encourage young people in the agriculture.

Asue made the call in an interview the Nigeria News Agency on Tuesday in Makurdi.

He urged the three tiers of government to fashion out quality modalities that would make agriculture attractive to the youths.

He said that agriculture was a lucrative venture but the youths failed to embrace it because it was made unattractive.

“If they make good policies geared towards transforming the agricultural sector, the youths will not be scrambling for white collar jobs that are not there.

“They will jettison the idea of I must work for government and strive to be self employed and become an employer instead of an employee.

“They should procure machines like power tillers, harvesters since the tractors are too expensive for the peasant farmers to buy.

“They have to make agriculture less tedious,’’ he said. (NAN)


DND/KM/GY


Edited by Kabir Muhammad/Grace Yussuf

Agriculture

APPEALS, KNARDA train farmers on improved rice farming

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Agro-Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) project, in Collaboration with Kano State Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (KNARDA), has trained 30 farmers on improved rice farming technology.

Speaking at a farmer’s field on Saturday in Gurdo community of Bagwai Local Government Area, the APPEALS’ Project Coordinator in Kano state, Alhaji Hassan Ibrahim said the aim of the training was to teach farmers how to increase theirs productivity.

Ibrahim, represented by the APPEALS’ specialist in charge of productivity enhancement, Malam Baushe Mohamed, said the farmer field and business school was initiated to train farmers on modern rice farming technology, introduce standard practices and improved variety of Faro 61.

According to him, such standard practice was aimed at getting a higher yield of production compared to the farmers’ usual traditional farming method.

Ibrahim added that such improved method would also assist in easing the farmers’ production processes in addition to reducing their difficulties and  cost of production.

He said that APPEALS was ready to provide the beneficiaries with the necessary support that would enable them to remain in business.

“This programme will not only end here in Bagwai, we are hoping to extend it to other Local Government Areas, therefore, we are calling on the beneficiaries to make proper use of the opportunity,” he said.

The Managing Director of KNARDA, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulaiman, said that the training would also give the farmers opportunity to acquire knowledge on how to market their produce after harvest.

“Such improved method when applied from the land clearing to harvesting has since been in existence in most of the developed nations, especially the United States of America (USA).

”With the experience they acquire during the training, the farmers can contribute their quota to improve the agricultural sector in Nigeria to compete with the developed countries,” he said.

Sulaiman added that such initiative would go along way in complementing the efforts of both Kano State and Federal governments on agricultural production.

Malam Mansur Akawu, who spoke to the Nigeria News Agency on behalf of other beneficiaries commended APPEALS project and KNARDA for the initiative.

He assured that the eneficiaries would utilise the knowledge they acquired and teach other farmers that were not opportuned to attend the training programme.

Edited by Chidinma Agu/Tukur Muntari.

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Agriculture

IITA, ACAI to train 30,000 farmers on cassava weed management

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No fewer than 30,000 farmers from Abia, Benue, Oyo, Ogun and Osun states will benefit from the training on the six steps to cassava weed management and best planting practices in November.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the training is being organised by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, and African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI).

Mr Godwin Atser, the IITA Digital Extension and Advisory Services Specialist, made this known in a statement made available to NAN on Saturday, in Ibadan.

Atser said that the training was aimed at empowering farmers with the knowledge to boost cassava and maize productivity and yield per hectare.

This, he added, would subsequently increase farmers’ incomes, improve their standard of living and create jobs for more people.

He said that the trainings would be done in collaboration with the Oyo State Agricultural Development Programmes (ADPs) and other extension service providers.

“To ensure a seamless and successful dissemination of the six steps to cassava weed management and best planting practices tool, the team has developed videos and translated same into local languages: Igbo, Yoruba and Tiv, targeting the respective zones.

“The ACAI team has also procured mini-projectors and mobile phones to empower extension service providers in the participating states.

“The six steps to cassava weed management tool was first developed by the IITA Cassava Weed Management Project. The tool has since integrated the best planting practices of ACAI.

“Farmers, who use the toolkit, have more than doubled their cassava yield from the national average of nine tonnes per ha to more than 20 tonnes per ha.

“It is amazing to see how the tool is changing the face of cassava farmers,” he said.

Also, Dr Alfred Dixon, the IITA Director for Development and Delivery, described the toolkit as an innovation that combined a set of agronomic recommendations and plant protection products to control weeds and increase cassava productivity.

According to Dixon, beyond Nigeria, several other countries have requested for the toolkit with ACAI team training partners in Liberia, Tanzania, Burundi and Zambia.

“Apart from the use of videos, the ACAI team has put up the recommendations from the tool on the 3-2-1 service of Airtel.

“In this, subscribers in Nigeria can dial 3-2-1 and get information on cassava weed management and other agronomic practices free of charge, up to 10 times in a month.

“The idea is to get the recommendations to thousands of farmers across Nigeria and Tanzania so that they can get better yield from cassava farming,” Dixon said.

Edited by Ekemini Ladejobi and ‘Wale Sadeeq

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Border closure: Agriculturist advocates mega mills to boost rice production

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An agriculturist, Alhaji Abba Kale, has called for the establishment of mega rice mills to accelerate production and achieve self-sufficiency in the country.

Kale made the call in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Saturday in Maiduguri.

Kale, who is one of the Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP) clients in the Northeast, called on the Federal Government to support the establishment of modern mega rice mills in each of the 109 senatorial districts in the country.

He said that the call was imperative to encourage processing, value addition, enhance farmer enterprising skills, promote competition and create market for the produce.

“We have paddy rice in prolific abundance, the produce cultivated by the farmers is higher than the capacity of the existing mills in the country.

“The ban on importation of foreign rice is a well come development, and the sudden hike in prices occasioned by the border closure can be pushed down and control through mass production.

“Most of the mills in operation lack basic equipment such as boiler, driers and trash machines to enable them produce high quality rice to meet local demands and for export.

“It is desirable for the Federal Government to support establishment of mega mills by businesses in each of the senatorial districts to encourage productivity and attain self-sufficiency,” he said.

Kale also urged state governments to adopt proactive measures to mobilise participation in the ABP scheme to encourage agricultural activities, processing, provide job opportunities and enhance wealth creation in the society.

Commenting on the border closure, Kale said the measure would reinvigorate agriculture and manufacturing, stimulate government’s drive to diversify the economy and enhance security in the country.

Kale called on the people to support government policies and programmes as well as patronise local products for sustainable social and economic development of the country.

NAN reports that ABP is a critical component of the Federal Government’s agriculture transformation agenda designed to encourage production and processing to achieve self-sufficiency.

It is also aimed at enhancing farmers’ access to fertilisers, seeds, inputs, promote farmer enterprising skills, value addition and create market for the produce.

The programme is being implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in collaboration with the Bank of Agriculture (BOA), Nigeria Agriculture Insurance Corporation (NAIC), farmer associations and designated agricultural input dealers known as  d private anchors.

Edited by Ese E. Ekama

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Agriculture

Kebbi: Flood victims receive 14,000 bags of free fertilizer in Shanga LGA

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Flood victims in Shanga Local Government Area of Kebbi on Friday received assistance of 14,000 bags of fertilizer and other inputs donated by the National Food Security Council.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the donation was distributed to the 2018 flood victims in the area by the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA).

Alhaji Sani Dododo, the SEMA Chairman, said while distributing the items in Shanga, that it was to cushion the impact of the losses incurred by the farmers.

“The gesture is part of the present administration’s policy through National Food Security Council to assist farmers whose farmlands were ravaged by 2018 flood disaster in the state,” Dododo said.

He noted that the state had received donation of 149 trucks of fertiliser and assorted chemical from the Council, out of which farmers in Shanga were allocated 14000 bags.

“Each victim will get nine bags of fertiliser, chemicals, sprayer and two bags of improved seeds,” the chairman explained.

Dododo said a committee had been set up to distribute the items and warned against diverting the relief materials, as anyone caught would face the full wrath of the law.

Alhaji Aminu Kawara, Vice Chairman of the local government, commended the Federal and state government for the gesture and assured that the beneficiaries would use the items judiciously.

Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Malam Adamu Ali thanked the government for the intervention.

NAN reports that no fewer than 11,345 victims were affected during the 2018 flood in Kebbi.

Edited by Hawa Lawal/Maharazu Ahmed

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Agriculture

Expert calls for caution in adopting GMO agriculture

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An expert in agriculture, Mr Ismail Olawale, has called for caution and adequate information before the adoption of Genetic Modified Organism (GMO) farming by local farmers.

Olawale, a fellow of the Nigerian Agriculture and Extension Liaison Service (NAERLS), made the call this in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Friday in Lagos.

The expert said it was necessary to have the message of GMO well communicated to the local farmers before its adoption as a farming practice in the country.

“What we experts in the field are calling for as regards GMOs is that we should have a national framework that speaks to both the advantages and the disadvantages of GMOs.

“We do not just want a national policy which pushes everybody to embrace it because government has said so.

“Most reports say GMO farming is the eldorado to save countries like Nigeria from poverty, starvation and food insecurity. They say GMO will revitalise agriculture.

“But if we are driving revitalisation plan solely on biotechnology, are we safe? Are we not going to kill the indigenous knowledge of local farmers?

“We should not sabotage or abandon our local produce because we want to go into GMO crop cultivation.

“Whether you like it or not, throughout the whole world, the small scale farmers are the ones feeding more than 400 million people,” the expert said.

While stressing the positive effects of practicing genetically modified agriculture in the country, Olawale said there were still some shortcomings with the process.

“The argument for GMO agriculture is that small land will give you higher productivity.

“If you plant indigenous corn on two acres, you may have like 20 bags of corn. But if you plant a GMO crop on two acres of land, you can get up to 45 bags of corn.

“There are also arguments that these GMO crops are fortified with vitamins. So, instead of buying food supplements, these crops will act as both food and supplements.

“There is a cassava variety developed by Nigerians that is fortified with Vitamin A. The cassava is yellow in colour and there is no need to add palm oil when frying it.

“Some of these GMO crops also have their shortcomings; you have altered the nature of a crop and there is no way you will not face one or two problems.

“The crops can also alter the properties of the soil and this means the soil will also react to the cultivation of a pre-modified crop,” Olawale said.

Genetically modified foods, also known as genetically engineered foods, or bio-engineered foods are foods produced from organisms that have had changes introduced in their DNA using the methods of genetic engineering.

Edited by Ejike Obeta/Grace Yussuf

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Agriculture

NCF exposes more Lagos children to environmental conservation

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The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has encouraged more school children in Lagos State to become active in understanding and contributing to environmental  conservation in their communities.

Dr Muhtari Aminu-Kano, the Director-General, NCF said on Friday that the foundation organised a ‘’Spring Alive Nigeria’’ to sensitise children on issues surrounding wildlife conservation and its importance to human habitat.

According to him, the exposure is to facilitate the early involvement of school children in the crusade for sustainable environment in the state and other parts of the country.

“There is need for continued enlightenment of the public and the younger generation in the drive for a healthy environment on whose shoulders every other thing revolves.

“We have pupils and students membership, and their number is increasing by the day. It is pertinent for us to continue to educate them on the values of the foundation, and the urgent need to salvage the worsening global environment.

“Spring Alive is to make the younger generation internalise the culture of nature preservation, and ginger them to bring to bear new innovations in the quest for an egalitarian environment,” he said.

The Coordinator of the event, Mrs Abidemi Balogun described birds as environment indicators, adding that the initiative was meant to highlight the roles of birds in sustainable environment.

Balogun listed role of birds in the environment to include seed dispersal, fruit pollination, removal of carcass, adding that their presence anywhere was an indication that such environment was unpolluted.

According to her, migratory birds indicate seasons and also announce weather conditions in a particular geographical location from time to time.

She however expressed concern over the gradual disappearance of some species of birds from the environment due to human activities.

Balogun said that vultures were gradually going into extinction due to human activities, which had undermined the role of vulture in identifying decomposing animals and ensuring their removal.

Some of the school children from Royal Treasure Junior School Lekki, and Okun Ajah Community School expressed joy at the exposure and activities of the foundation.

Ivie Owuadolor said that the event was creative and earnestly looked forward to another opportunity next year.

Samson Friday said that the event had exposed him to things he had never known about birds and their relevance to the environment.

The event brought together over forty pupils from four different Lagos State schools.

Edited /Grace Yussuf

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