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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Night marauders and masquerades in Awba-Ofemili - NaijaAgroNet

It has become pertinent for all well-meaning indigenes and people to condemn in totality the attitude of night marauders in the name of masquerades, of any kind in Awba-Ofemili.

Awba-Ofemili, is a quiet farming boundary-town reputed for fishery and mass-rice production in Awka-North Local Government Area of Anambra State.

The earlier we join hands to redefine their existence the better for us all and future of Awba-Ofemili as a town worthy of development.

Attacking people in their homes was never the idea but due to changing times and abuse, it's high time we redefine this kind of night masquerade culture if we are not going to have deaths in our hands.

In some climes in Igbo land such night masquerades take effect from midnight till about 4am and are restricted to the major roads, even in some parts of Lagos.

Nowadays what we hear and see is the opposite and attack on people at homes, which if put mildly is robbery attempts. The other time it was key to orchestrated attack in and on the churches where they were holding Virgil with shooting of guns in the name of what? Culture or night masquerade?

I have been thinking since learning of recent attack in Awba-Ofemili by a night marauder who disguised as a night masquerade, what is the value proposition to our corporate existence as a town wishing to develop much better than we currently foresee.

Now that electricity has come, our hope and prayer is that more jobs including artisans from other towns and even professionals like Dr and Nurses etc will reside in Awba-Ofemili, so we have got to wake up proactively to ensure such undue attacks at home does not repeat.

Therefore, I urge the President General (PG) of Awba-Ofemili Development Union (ADU), @Hon. Iyke Oforkansi, to liaise with the town’s leadership, @Ezekwesili Maduagwuna, the Igwe-in-Council for us to redefine this among other hindering cultures for the betterment of Awba-Ofemili.

Cultures are meant for man not the other way round.

Awba-Ofemili Makanu!!!

*Remmy Nweke, Chairman, ADU Lagos

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Pix: Igwe Ofemili 1 of Awba-Ofemili, HRH Ezekwesili Maduagwuna

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

How long are we going to need that city, asks Luke - NaijaAgroNet

In Aurecon’s latest Just Imagine blog post, Luke Beirne argues that that as technology advances and the nature of workplaces and jobs radically change, and fewer jobs require a physical presence, the need for people to continue flocking to cities could diminish. 

Counter-urbanisation might just be the way for both developed and developing countries to create sustainable solutions that take the pressure off cities, while also improving the lives of their citizens.

At an altitude of 4 830 metres on the Everest Base Camp Trek, guess what you can find? WiFi access. Which means you can work, Facetime your loved ones, or Instagram your Everest selfies. By dispensing with the need for a physical presence, technology has made it possible to communicate, share and work remotely in some of the most isolated locations on Earth.

For centuries, people have gravitated towards the bright lights and busy streets of cities to make their mark on the world. But what if the skylines of London, New York, Tokyo, Sydney and Johannesburg made way for the open landscapes, quiet streets and chirping birds found in the rural towns of their countries?

As technology advances and the nature of workplaces and jobs radically change, and fewer jobs require a physical presence, the need for people to continue flocking to cities could diminish. Could we see the start of counter-urbanisation with the world’s population increasingly living rurally instead of in cities? Could this be the answer to the monumental task faced by cities under enormous pressure from population growth, urbanisation and climate change?


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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Herders, cattle rustling killings reduced - FG - NaijaAgroNet

The Federal Government (FG) has drastically reduced killings associated to herders attacks, cattle rustling, trans-border crimes, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, revealed this at a special town hall meeting on measures by he Federal Government to curb killings in Gusau, Zamfara State on Monday.
He also said these achievements were  as a result of concerted and committed actions by the government.

Mohammed highlighted some measures taken to curtail the herders  attacks, cattle rustling and other acts of banditry to include deployment of a Joint Military Intervention Force (JMIF), comprising Regular and Special Forces personnel from the Army, Air Force and Navy, and working in collaboration with the Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Security (DSS), and Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC).

In addition, he said, FG established the Army’s 2 Battalion Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Kanfanin Doka Village, Birnin-Gwari, Kaduna well as established a new Area Command and two additional  Divisional Police Headquarters in the Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

Further, he said, FG established Nigerian Air Force of Quick Response Wings (QRW) in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States, and deployment of Special Forces to these Quick Response Wings.

He equally said that the inauguration by the Nigeria Police Force of a new Mobile Squadron in Takum, Taraba State, and Operation 'Whirl Stroke', operating in Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba and Zamfara states, were to tackle the menace of armed herdsmen, cattle rustlers, communal militias, kidnappers and other bandits.

“I have no doubt that the good people of Zamfara can testify to the drastic reduction in the activities of cattle rustlers and other bandits in the state since the Federal Government assembled a 1000-strong military force, comprising the army, air force, police and the civil defence, to launch fierce attacks on the bandits terrorizing the villages and towns of Zamfara State. The situation will continue to improve until the violence has stopped,” he said.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE

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Saturday, September 8, 2018

NEMA says flood alert is alarming, urgent – NaijaAgroNet

The Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr Mustapha Maihaja, has described the current flood alert in the country as alarming and urgent, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Speaking at the joint emergency meeting called by NEMA and National Hydrological Services Agencies (NHISA) in Abuja, Maihaja warned that over 12 states across the country would soon experience flooding due to torrential rain falls and described the development as disturbing.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that the meeting also reviewed the situation with a view to classifying the possible dangers, assess preparedness at individual and collective levels.

Maihaja said that this was to ensure that every relevant agency was ready for any eventuality, if the water level keeps increasing.

“This is a serious meeting; we must put heads together to first classify the situation, whether it is still yellow or red. If it is red, surely we should act and part of the acting is the suggestion to set up a committee of five groups of three personnel from various sector to visit the frontline states.

“It is for them to meet with the officials, go down to the villages that are really critically under threat and use all avenues to enlighten them. To invigorate our enlightenment campaign electronically and physically to ensure that everybody is well informed as required by the law.

“Secondly, we access our preparedness, informing our stakeholders so that wherever there is any equipment that is required, it is ready for deployment, should anything happens,” Maihaja said.

Further, he called on state governments to provide alternative accommodation for those in the flood-affected areas so that they do not camp in schools, especially as the schools would soon be open.

Other stakeholders at the meeting comprised representatives from the Defence Headquarters, Federal Fire Service, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC), relevant UN agencies and other international organisations.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE

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Floodprone: NIHSA says Anambra, Rivers, Bayelsa 10 other states on watchlist - NaijaAgroNet

The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) has listed Anambra, Rivers, Bayelsa and 10 others states as floodprone and warned residents to be watchful, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Other states on the watch list as gathered by NaijaAgroNet include Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, Kogi, Edo, Delta, Adamawa, Taraba, Benue and Nasarawa.

Disclosing this, the Director, Engineering Hydrology, Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), Engr. Clement Nze, informed NaijaAgroNet at the weekend, that the riparian states and communities by the banks of Rivers Niger and Benue and their floodplains, due to systematic daily rise in the water levels on both rivers Niger and Benue, ought to be watchful.

 “Records from our measuring stations in Lokoja (River Niger) and Makurdi (River Benue) clearly show this,” he declared.

This situation, he also said, calls for watchfulness on the part of the riparian states as there is still likelihood of occurrence of river flooding, noting that Shiroro Dam has already joined Kainji and Jebba Dams in spilling water, which has contributed to the steady rise in the water level.

As at Thursday, 6th September 2018, NIHSA’s hydrological measuring station downstream the confluence in Lokoja recorded a stage height of 9.89 meters and a discharge value of 21,326 cubic metres/second as against lower values of 9.43 meters and 19,762 cubic metres/second recorded on the corresponding date of 6th September 2012.

“From the foregoing, it could be said that all the indices that caused the 2012 river flooding have manifested, Except Spillage of Water from the Lagdo Dam. For the records, it was on 29th September 2012 that the maximum flood level of 12.840 meters and the corresponding discharge of 31,692 cubic metres/second were recorded at our station in Lokoja, downstream the confluence in 2012,” Eze pointed out.

Additionally, he said that by NiMet’s 2018 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) released earlier in the year, 28th September is the earliest cessation date of rainfall in Sokoto and Katsina, while December is the earliest cessation date for the southern coastal cities.

The implication of this, Nze explained, is that the Northern part of the country should be expecting more rains in the next three (3) weeks. High flows are still being expected from the upper catchment of the Niger Basin. The River Benue is equally rising, though the level of water as at today has not attained the level witnessed at this time in 2012. This rise in water level should not be attributed to any release of water from the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon. 

The Dam, he said, is still impounding water in the reservoir. The localized urban flooding incidents being witnessed in some cities and communities in the country are expected to continue due to high rainfall intensity of shorter duration, rainstorms, blockage of drainage system and poor urban planning, as well as coastal flooding resulting from sea rise and storm surges. States and Local Governments should endeavour to remove structures built within the floodplains, clear blocked drainages, culverts and other waterways.

In the light of the above, the following states that are contiguous to Rivers Niger and Benue should be on alert in the event of river flooding.

Ozo Nweke Ozo/GEE

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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Expert advises on protecting rice plants by exploiting natural defences - NaijaAgroNet

An analysis of the chemical signals sent out by rice plants under attack by the brown planthopper could help in natural control of this insect pest.

Researchers in Indonesia have deciphered the chemical cues used by rice to attract a parasitoid that helps fight off the plant’s predator. The researchers created a system to imitate these cues, which could help investigate similar interactions in other crops and possible sources of non-toxic pest control.
Rice is a staple food, relied upon by half the global population. The brown planthopper is one of rice’s most destructive pests, causing damage by wounding the stem of the plants to lay the eggs for the next attack and by transmitting viruses that attack the plant.
Researchers from Universitas Negeri Malang and the Indonesian Sweetener and Fibre Crops Research Institute led by Dr. Surjani Wonorahardjo, Chemistry Department, Faculty of Mathematics and Science, Universitas Negeri Malang, Indonesia, wanted to see if they could target the brown planthopper without using pesticides known to harm the environment. To do this, they investigated the so-called ‘tritrophic interaction’ between rice, the brown planthopper and the parasitoids that prey on the brown planthopper’s eggs.
They extracted samples from rice infected by the brown planthopper and analysed their chemical makeup. They then compared this to what they found in samples taken from healthy rice, identifying the chemical differences between healthy and infested rice.
They created a porous material from rice husk and soaked different pieces in chemicals extracted from either healthy or infected rice. In laboratory tests, the parasites were more attracted to the material infused with the infested sample. They also attached infused materials to posts and placed them outside in a rice field. Again, they found more parasitoids on the infected sample, but the researchers observed that the effect wore off over five days, so the samples effectively had an expiration date.
results, published in the Pertanika Journal of Science and Technology, could guide further trials to see if applying the chemical cue could actually reduce the pest’s destruction of rice paddies; and if so, to what degree. The use of analytical chemistry offers insights into the mechanisms underlying these interactions and detect small changes taking place in great detail. 

They note that their technique exploring the interaction between plant, pest and the pest’s own predator on a chemical level requires further refinement, but could eventually be applied to other agricultural crops and potentially reduce the use of harmful pesticides.
Isaac Oyimah/GEE

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Pix: Dr. Surjani Wonorahardjo, Chemistry Department, Faculty of Mathematics and Science, Universitas Negeri Malang, Indonesia.

150 high-level guests for sheep, goat plague confab - NaijaAgroNet

Over 150 participants, including ministers and other high-level officials from countries affected and at-risk of Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) also (also known as sheep and goat plague) as well as international organizations, veterinarians and private sector representatives are gathering at the Global Conference organized in Brussels, reports NaijaAgroNet.
The global conference, NaijaAgroNet gathered is being hosted by the European Union, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal health (OIE).
Conference participants are expected to reaffirm a global commitment to eradicate the disease by 2030.
In the past two decades, PPR has spread rapidly, mostly in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
The disease causes more than $2 billion in losses each year and threatens the food and nutritional security of millions of vulnerable households who raise sheep and goats in the affected regions. Sheep and goats are critical assets for poor rural households, providing protein, milk, fertilizer, wool and fiber, as well as often representing essential social capital and access to financial credit.

The Conference, which is titled “Partnering and investing for a Peste des petits ruminants-free world” will be a two-day event, beginning on 6 September with a Stakeholders Forum which will focus on technical issues and challenges related to national disease eradication policies.
Isaac Oyimah/GEE
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Roots podcast debuts for rural communities - NaijaAgroNet

The Independent Office of Evaluation of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has launched 'Roots', a podcast created to disseminate the voice of rural workers in their own communities and in the world, reports NaijaAgroNet.
From Peru to Niger, Belize or Nepal, each month "Roots" will present a new episode sharing the experience of beneficiaries of IFAD supported and evaluated development projects in different regions.
The podcast will be available for free on the website of the Independent Office of Evaluation and may be used by radio stations throughout the world to be included in their schedule of programmes
"This podcast is intended to share with rural communities the human stories living behind each effort made to reduce poverty and promote sustainability of economic activities in rural areas," Oscar A. García, director of the Office Independent Evaluation of IFAD, said.
"Roots" is the first communication product created specifically for beneficiaries of programs evaluated by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD.
"Roots is an opportunity to learn and to allow rural communities to observe what is working well, what it is not, why, and what needs to be improved to promote a sustainable and inclusive rural development", García underlined.
The podcasts will be produced in the language of each visited country and will have a maximum length of four minutes to facilitate its use by radio stations.
In the two first episodes, "Roots" will visit: The Department of San Martin, in Peru's High Rainforest and the Toledo District and Stann Creek, in Belize  and in Peru. 

Isaac Oyimah/GEE

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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

HAAPI 2018 gathers Chefs from 18 countries - NaijaAgroNet

The Association of Professional Chefs Nigeria in partnership with African Chefs United organized the 2018 Hospitality All African People Imbizo (HAAPI) in Lagos, attracting participants from 18 countries, reports NaijaAgroNet.
HAAPI, which held between August 29th –September 1, also saw participants active and competitions aimed at strengthening and promoting African chefs cuisines across the continent.
HAAPI 2018 started with an opening ceremony, workshop and mentoring session at the VIP African American hall of Eko Hotel and suites, Victoria Island Lagos. 
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Ambassador Ikechi Uko informed chefs across the continent to let their plates tell the story of their passion to customers.”Chefs are serious brands as such African chefs must lead the story of African cuisines to the rest of the world.”
Dr. Wasiu Adeyemo Babalola, Senior Vice President and CEO of Africa for Continental Hotels and Resorts worldwide advised chefs across the continent to balance their passion for cooking with knowledge in entrepreneurship in order for them to lead the forefront in the business of selling African foods to the rest of the world.
The festival featured  a two days cooking competitions which  included Students skills challenge, Chefs In Green cooking and Nelson Mandela culinary challenge which brought out spectacular display of cooking skills and plating techniques from participating countries.
Ghana won the students challenge with Zimbabwe and South Africa as first and second runners up. The Gambia chefs came out as winners of the Chefs In Green cooking with Zimbabwe and Togo as first and second runners up.
Ivory Coast was adjudged the overall winners of the African Chefs United HAAPI 2018 festival taking home a trophy, medals and prizes.
President of African Chefs United, Chef Citrum Khumalo during the closing ceremony appealed to chefs, cooks, food bloggers and culinary enthusiasts across the continent to join ACU in telling the African culinary story.”Get involved in your communities and help them eat nutritious and healthy sustainable foods. Work with stakeholders to ensure Africa surpass expectations in meeting the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goal 2 Agenda on hunger and ACU calls on local and international partners to work together in achieving this”
Speaking on how to inspire the younger generation to take up the chefs profession, award winning Ghanaian chef and founder of Food for All Africa, Chef Elijah Amoo Addo advised young chefs across the continent to adopt President Obama’s slogan “Yes We Can” as a mantra towards pushing indigenous African cuisines to the world.  He ended by saying “Africa’s economic independence will be meaningless until it includes a continent that strives to feed his population and the world with indigenous healthy and sustainable African recipes. This must be the place of the 21st century African chef in  Global Gastronomy.
Chef Shine Akintunde Adeshina, President of the Local Organizing Committee expressed his teams profound gratitude and appreciation to sponsors, partners and stakeholders who ensured HAAPI Nigeria 2018 to happen. He called on corporate bodies across Africa to sponsor the 2019 HAAPI festival to be hosted by South Africa from 27th August-2nd September, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Ugo Azu/GEE
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Friday, August 31, 2018

PINNS designed to reset Nigeria’s nutrition system - NaijaAgroNet

The Partnership for Improving Nigeria Nutrition Systems (PINNS) has been described as a design to reset the nation’s nutrition system for good, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The Executive Secretary, Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), Mrs. Beatrice Eluaka, gave this insight in Lagos at the media engagement on PINNS and related issues.

She said, PINNS, is a product of consultations between a donor/CS-SUNN targeted at strengthening the Nigeria nutrition systems to be more Result-driven, Effective, Serviceable, Efficient and Transparent (RESET) in delivering on its mandate.

“It is also aimed at holding government accountable on commitments made to allocate, release and use transparently funds for implementation of high impact Nutrition interventions in Nigeria through evidence-based advocacy,” Eluaka said.

This project, she continued, will also contribute to a reduction in malnutrition particularly among women and children in Nigeria.

She emphasized the fact that with focus on strengthening governance, policy implementation, effective coordination, financing, building the capacity of state actors, generation and effective communication of evidence as promoting accountability, the nutrition story would have retuned.

Eluka pointed out that this media engagement, on PINNS issues will be based on multisector plan of action, research findings, progress and call to action.

NaijaAgroNet also reports that during the event, CS-SUNN project officer, Mary Ajakaye, while an overview of the INNS project, payers and asks were presented by the Communications Officer, Mrs. Lilian Ajah-mong accompanied by the Project Manager at CS-SUNN, Mr. Sunday Okoronkwo.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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