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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Nigeria ranks bottom 10 on child flourishing - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgroNet: 

The ranking is based on factors including measures of child survival and well-being such as health, education, nutrition, equity and income gaps.

The report, A Future for the World’s Children?, includes a new global index of 180 countries, comparing performance on child flourishing.  Nigeria ranks 174 out of 180 countries, below Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and South Sudan.


The report finds that the health and future of every child and adolescent worldwide is under immediate threat from ecological degradation, climate change and exploitative marketing practices that push heavily processed fast food, sugary drinks, alcohol and tobacco at children. According to the report, no single country is adequately protecting children’s health, their environment and their futures.

“This demonstrates how far we still need to go in Nigeria to ensure children can live healthy lives in an environment where they can thrive. We know that investing in the future of our children, giving them an education and making sure they are healthy and receive the right nutrition, works to provide a better future for everyone.  We all have a responsibility to do everything we can to protect the health and future of every Nigerian child,” said Claes Johansson, UNICEF Nigeria Representative a.i.
According to the report, while the poorest countries need to do more to support their children’s ability to live healthy lives, excessive carbon emissions – disproportionately from wealthier countries – threaten the future of all children. If global warming exceeds 4°C by the year 2100 in line with current projections, this would lead to devastating health consequences for children, due to rising ocean levels, heatwaves, proliferation of diseases like malaria and dengue, and malnutrition.

The index shows that children in Norway, the Republic of Korea, and the Netherlands have the best chance at survival and well-being, while children in Central African Republic, Chad, Somalia, Niger and Mali face the worst odds.

“More than 2 billion people live in countries where development is hampered by humanitarian crises, conflicts, and natural disasters, problems increasingly linked with climate change,” said Minister Awa Coll-Seck from Senegal, Co-Chair of the Commission. “While some of the poorest countries have among the lowest CO2 emissions, many are exposed to the harshest impacts of a rapidly changing climate. Promoting better conditions today for children to survive and thrive nationally does not have to come at the cost of eroding children’s futures globally.”   

A manifesto for immediate action on child and adolescent health


  1. Stop CO2 emissions with the utmost urgency, to ensure children have a future on this planet
  2. Place children and adolescents at the centre of efforts to achieve sustainable development
  3. New policies and investment in all sectors to work towards child health and rights
  4. Incorporate children’s voices into policy decisions
  5. Tighten national regulation of harmful commercial marketing, supported by a new Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Dr. Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet family of journals, said: “The opportunity is great. The evidence is available. The tools are at hand. From heads-of-state to local government, from UN leaders to children themselves, this Commission calls for the birth of a new era for child and adolescent health. It will take courage and commitment to deliver. It is the supreme test of our generation.”
“From the climate crisis to obesity and harmful commercial marketing, children around the world are having to contend with threats that were unimaginable just a few generations ago,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. “It is time for a rethink on child health, one which places children at the top of every government’s development agenda and puts their well-being above all considerations.”


“This report shows that the world’s decision makers are, too often, failing today’s children and youth: failing to protect their health, failing to protect their rights, and failing to protect their planet,” Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization said. “This must be a wakeup call for countries to invest in child health and development, ensure their voices are heard, protect their rights, and build a future that is fit for children.”

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Friday, February 14, 2020

Kano to partner FG on Pfizer-inspired diagnosis centre - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgroNet:
The Kano State government, would be partnering the Federal Government to bring back to live, the abandoned Pfizer-sponsored diagnosis centre in Kwanar Dawaki, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The centre, a multi-billion Naira establishment, NaijaAgroNet gathered, was funded by Pfizer for over 10 years, due to alleged gaps between the state and the company, which later in 2012 was given to the then Northwest University, Kano (now Yusuf Maitama Sule University), as Teaching Hospital, then, would be resuscitated to become fully functional.

This was disclosed by the governor of Kano State Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje when he paid inspection visit to the Centre with the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Emmanuel Enahire, who was in Kano, for 2020 Kano Primary Health Care Summit.

He said with the support of the federal government, on the facility his administration would do a great work there, adding that, "The real issue is that, the facility was built by Pfizer and then disagreement erupted between Pfizer and the then state government."

The governor made it clear that "We will try our best to see that we contact Pfizer and discuss with them, so as to see what are the gaps that need our attention. We will try and fill in those gaps, because it will be for the benefit of our people."

"We will also look at other areas like consumables to dialogue with the Pfizer. Even then management of the facility would be discussed with them, to have good landing for the facility to bounce back to good use. We will definitely dialogue with them. Because we cannot afford to waste the costly machines that are put in place," he assured.

Impressed by the types of machines he saw at the facility, the Health Minister, Dr Enahire, said he was moved by what he saw, some installed and some not installed, hinting that, "This facility will go a long way in further developing quality research for scholars and students."

"There is still opportunity for collaboration between this facility and similar ones across the country. For example there is a similar facility in Lagos. And in other similar places," said the Minister.

Being under the Yusuf Maitama Sule University, students of Anatomy, Physiology and Medical Biochemistry use the facility under Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences.

Some of the Laboratories visited by the governor and the Minister during the visit included Histopathology Lab, Immunology Lab, Chemical Pathology Lab and  Hematology Lab, among others.

The visitors were briefed that at Hematology Lab, the machines that were installed are Genotype Machine, Molecular and DNA Analysis Machine. At the Lab a Special Refrigerator that has Minus 50°C temperature, that has the capacity to keep samples for over 50 years.

At Chemical Pathology Lab, visitors were briefed that the Machines for Kidney and Liver test are superb and could take all tests under clinical research, sometimes at a time.

It was also revealed that, some of the Machines that came with consumables, the consumables were expired. While those Machines that were installed, needed trained staff to run them, those that were not installed, needed both installations and training of staff.

Another machine at Microbiology Lab, Microbacterial Growth Indicator Machine can take 7 days for diagnosis unlike the traditional 40 days, as obtained by other similar machines. This according to the explanation, could help to drastically reduce TB cases.

The Centre, as a Research Centre, as at now, attracts many scholars and students, PhD students particularly, even from far away Calabar city. Generally, it was observed and advised that, what was needed for the immediate utilisation of all machines, was largely installation and training, that was referred to going back to drawing board.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Sao Tome & Principe partners IFAD to improve nutrition - NaijaAgroNet

The International Fund for Agricultural Development of the United Nations (IFAD) is supporting a new project to increase incomes, improve food and nutrition security and build the resilience of at least 34,800 rural farmers of Sao Tome and Principe, an island country highly affected by climate change, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Rising sea levels and climate disturbances put the poor rural people of the country at risk, impacting its agriculture and fisheries.

Micronutrient deficiency rates in Sao Tome and Principe are also alarming, with 96 per cent of preschool children and 18 per cent of girls and pregnant women suffering from vitamin A deficiencies. The malnutrition rate for children under five is more than 17 per cent.

To address these issues, the financing agreement for the Commercialization, Agricultural Production Nutrition Project (COMPRAN) was signed today by Donal Brown, Associate Vice-President of IFAD, Programme Management Department and Osvaldo Tavares dos Santos Vaz, Minister of Finance of the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe.

With 69 per cent of the young people in Sao Tome and Principe unemployed, this €19.2 million programme will target young people, aiming for at least 50 per cent. It will contribute to livelihood development, improved nutrition and resilience, all of which are critical areas for the country to achieve food security, as well as meeting several Sustainable Development Goals, including no poverty, zero hunger, gender equality and climate action (SDGs 1, 2, 5 and 13).

Funding includes an €0.9 million loan and €3.8 million grant from IFAD. In addition, the Government of Sao Tome and Principe is providing €0.4 million, with a further €0.5 million contributed by beneficiaries themselves and significant cofinancing from other development partners.

“COMPRAN is an innovative project that will also strengthen capacities of key rural public and private institutions in the country to catalyse and well manage investments and strengthen public-private and producer partnerships, at both central and decentralized levels. This will ensure the continuity and the sustainability of the gains of the former Smallholder Commercial Agriculture Project that registered huge achievements and impact on the livelihoods of rural populations through increased incomes,” said Emime Ndihokubwayo, Country Director for Sao Tome and Principe.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Thursday, February 6, 2020

Nigerian govt must scale-up nutrition says CS-SUNN – NaijaAgroNet

The Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) has called on governments at all levels to scale-up nutrition provision of basic package of nutrition services, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Making this call in Lagos, Wednesday at the end of a one-day media roundtable on Micro-Nutrient Deficiency Control in collaboration with the Federal Ministries of Health and Agriculture, the Executive Secretary, CS-SUNN, Mrs. Beatrice Eluaka, said the government must scale-up nutrition across the Primary Health Care Centres in the country.

She also said that there is need for massive sensitization, education and awareness creation to provoke behavioural changes that will promote adequate Infant and Young Child Feeding practices in the country.

According to her, early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six (6) months of life and adequate complementary feeding are key behavioural traits required for scaling up nutrition.

In addition, she said, provision of routine services in Primary Health Care centers will promote distribution of Micronutrient powder, Iron/Folic Acid supplements and Zinc including Vitamin A supplementation for Pregnant Women and Children respectively.

“We call on state governments to scale-up not only the provision and distribution of these supplements to hard- to- reach areas and across health facilities during the MNCH week but also counselling to ensure compliance. We urge Nigerians to diversify their diet and to ensure adequate nutrition by consuming a wide range of foods, including vegetables, proteins and fruits to improve their nutritional status,” she said.

CS-SUNN, Mrs Eluaka said, had supported some State Committees on Food and Nutrition including the Lagos State Committee on Food and Nutrition to develop and cost their plans. Low funding for nutrition has been one of the major setbacks to implementation of nutrition interventions.

“We again urge states without budget lines for nutrition to create such and ensure releases with specific funds allotted to interventions around micronutrient powder, biofortification, iron folate supplementation and Vitamin A supplementation among others. We also underscore the need to strengthen multisectoral coordination across institutional structures documented in the National Policy for Food and Nutrition to address the causes of MNDC and the need for promotion of the production of bio-fortified crops among Nigerian farmers, to ensure availability for consumption among Nigerians.

“Some of these measures, if in place will reduce the incidence of micro nutrient deficiencies and contribute to improving nutrition outcomes in Nigeria,” she said.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Pix: Lagos State Coordinator Dr Mrs Modupe Akinyinka, Executive Sec. Mrs Beatrice Eluaka, SUN Nigeria Ambassador Mrs Lola Alonge and representative of Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), Mr Uruakpa John at the one day media roundtable in Lagos.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

How Agrikore boosts diversification of Nigeria’s economy

NaijaAgroNet:
When he assumed office in 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari made a passionate appeal to youth to engage in agriculture as a means of job and wealth creation as well as economic diversification.

His administration then introduced various initiatives to achieve this objective. They include the backward integration drive that birthed the directive to dairy companies to source local raw materials for their milk products, and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s agriculture intervention/collaboration schemes. An excellent example of the partnerships is the 10,000 hectares oil-palm plantation in Kogi State between the CBN and Agro-based Non-Governmental Organisation, Stocks and Minas Agricultural Advocacy Network Africa (SMAANA).

However, the initiatives have only impacted food production and wealth creation in trickles, no thanks to the inefficient Agric value-chain.

Issues including poor storage, transportation and distribution have steadily retarded the sector’s growth and stopped it from achieving its potential as a foreign exchange earner. Though inputs including fertilisers, tractors, seeds and even loans have been made available to farmers, the nation’s dream to feed itself and export the rest is yet to be actualised.

How then can we reduce inefficiency and wastages in the Agric value-chain for the benefit of all stakeholders and Nigerians?

Innovation via technological advancement holds the key to unlocking the potentials of the agricultural sector.

To this end, leading pan-African technology company, Cellulant Corporation, operating in Nigeria and 19 other African countries, introduced and deployed a solution called Agrikore.

Agrikore is a blockchain-based smart-contracting, payments and marketplace system-based platform. It is an ingenious digital platform that ensures everyone in the agricultural eco-system; farmers, community aggregators, food processors, financial institutions, insurance companies, governments, development companies, and logistics companies, relate truthfully with each other.

Blockchain refers to a data structure that makes it possible to create a digital ledger of data and share it among a network of independent parties.

Cellulant, through Agrikore, provides the platform which farmers, logistics companies, wholesalers, community aggregators and others come aboard and carry out end to end transactions from the farmers to the consumers. It enables aggregators to organise cereal/grain farmers to focus on farming while the community aggregators ensure logistics companies can pick up the produce. They also ensure they are transported conveniently and that farmers receive fair value for their crops.

This helps make everyone in the Agric value chain to focus and perform their task optimally, ensuring value is created.

Cellulant recently held a partners’ summit attended by players across the Agric sector. Participants had nothing but praise for the company as they confirmed they have been reaping profits from signing up on the Agrikore platform.

The platform currently caters to cereal/ grain farmers, with plans to extend to other crops soonest.

Fittingly, Cellulant’s strides are being recognised by development partners and financial institutions. At the partners meeting, Wema Bank signed an agreement to provide N2 billion in loans via Agrikore to prospective farmers, thus improving the economic diversification drive.



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Moyamed Bin Zayed solar lifts West African PV complex - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgroNet:

The African Energy Chamber (https://EnergyChamber.org/) addresses its heartfelt congratulations to the Republic of Togo for breaking ground on its 50MW Mohamed Bin Zayed Photovoltaic Solar Power Complex today in Blitta. The project was launched in presence of H.E. Faure E. Gnassingbe, President of the Republic of Togo, and Hussain Al Nowais, Chairman of AMEA Power, the company in charge of designing, financing, building, launching, operating and maintaining the facility.

The Moyamed Bin Zayed Solar PV Complex is West Africa’s largest ongoing solar PV project, and supports Togo’s ambitions to increase its rural electrification rate to 50% by 2022, and 100% by 2030.

“AMEA Power is a foreign investor who understands Africa and has demonstrated a commitment to supporting local content wherever it operates,” declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber and CEO of the Centurion Law Group. “As public and private sector interest for Africa grows in the Middle East, such players are most welcomed. Their work in and with Africa contributes to the development of a sustainable and prosperous future.”

The project further confirms the growing presence of AMEA Power in the continent. The UAE-based company has become a serious investor in Africa’s energy sector and represents the growing appetite of private players and investors from the Middle East to invest in Africa. At the end of 2019, Saudi Arabia-based ACWA Power signed two long-term power purchase agreements for 250MW of solar PV projects in Ethiopia, while state-owned ADNOC is reportedly looking at several investments into the African upstream oil & gas sector.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor


Pix: Pöllö - Own work, CC BY 3.0, 

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Friday, January 31, 2020

EU lifts Jigawa, Kano States with water, sanitation facilities - NaijaAgroNet

Estimated one million people in six Local Government Areas (LGA) of Jigawa and Kano States will benefit from improved access to safe water and sanitation facilities following the completion of several water and sanitation facilities in the six LGAs, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Built with support from the European Union (EU), the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities will go a long way towards ensuring that people in Nigeria have access to safe WASH services.

Data from the WASH National Outcome Routine Mapping (WASH NORM) show that 47 million Nigerians practice open defecation, only 11 percent of Nigerians have access to complete basic water, sanitation and hygiene services and only 13 percent of schools have access to basic water and sanitation services.

The lack of WASH facilities in schools are of serious concern as children who do not have access to water, are most likely to lose interest in pursuing learning opportunities because they are forced to spend more time in search for water during school hours or stay out of school to recover from illness caused by frequent episodes of diarrhea. More than 100,000 children under five years of age die each year due to water borne diseases like diarrhea, of which 90 percent is directly attributed to unsafe water and sanitation.

Access to clean drinking water is a human right - just like the right to food and the right to live without torture and racial discrimination. And ending open defecation and making water, sanitation, and hygiene services available to all Nigerians is one of the biggest challenges as construction and management of facilities requires sustained investments and more partnerships, especially with the private sector. The Nigeria Government should invest 3 times more in the water sector making sure that every Nigeria has access to clean water and a toilet as the lack of access to water is impacting the wellbeing specially of the most vulnerable.

The EU, through UNICEF, is supporting the Government of Nigeria to achieve the objectives of the national campaign on an open defecation free Nigeria launched last year and the state of emergency declared on the WASH sector by the President in 2018.

The EU-funded programmes support WASH projects in urban and rural areas through the provision of water schemes, technical assistance and capacity development to sector institutions and agencies responsible, and improved access to safe water, adequate sanitation and hygiene services in communities. The European Union has invested more than 250 million Euros in the Nigerian water sector, aimed at improving the WASH conditions of more than 10 million people in 14 States across the country.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Ekiti gears up for total zero oil diversification - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgroNet:
The Ekiti state government has disclosed plans to domesticate the Federal Government’s zero oil strategy for total diversification of the economy in its drive to reposition the state’s finances, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr Femi Ajayi, disclosed this during the presentation of the detailed analysis of the 2020 budget to stakeholders in Ado-Ekiti on Thursday.

Ajayi said the size of the 2020 budget of N124,724,869,355.95 made up of N53,538,093.59 and N71,186,775,549.36 capital and recurrent expenditures respectively was within the ambit of the requirements for the fiscally sustainable plan of the Federal Government

He explained that the budget was in line with fiscal policy of having a purposeful and all-inclusive budget that will serve as a tool for the implementation of socio-economic policy and prudent management of available resources.

The Commissioner said the 2020 budget preparation took into cognizance the interests of all towns, communities and interests groups, adding that the budget was woven round the five cardinal programmes of the administration to deliver on its electioneering promises to the people of the state.”

According to him, “The 2020 budget represents a reduction of N5,199,602,779.06 or (4%) from the 2019 budget size of N129,924,472,135.01. the operational dynamics of the 2020 budget was to reduce the budget performance variance in the 2020 fiscal year to ensure compliance with the requirement of the state fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability programmes for results which allows only 20 per cent variance in implementation.”

Ajayi added that the reduction was also informed by the need to have a more realistic budget, considering the dwindling allocation from the federation account.

Analysing the 2019 budget of restoration upon which the 2020 budget of deliverables was hinged, the Budget commissioner said 2019 budget was prepared to restore the core values of Ekiti people and revamp the state economy which was designed to widen the scope of revenue generation by widening the tax net and blocking all leakages in the revenue accrued to government.

He explained further that the budget was financed principally from revenue from federal allocation, internally generated revenue, value-added tax, funds from international donor agencies, grants from the federal government and other sources.

The commissioner also explained that the focus of the 2020 budget, christened “Budget of Deliverables” was to establish a fiscal framework that would transform the socio-economic activities of the state and situate Ekiti in the right perspective in the committee of states in Nigeria. He added that the budget was to drive Ekiti towards agricultural, industrial and knowledge base of the Nigerian economy through completion of all ongoing capital projects across the state and commencing other legacy projects.

He highlighted the objectives of the budget to include consolidation of the achievements recorded in core values of the state; establishing a fiscal framework that will positively translate the present economic realities to a major viable agricultural and industrial base of the Nigerian economy; to pursue aggressive revenue generation drive within the ambit of the law and reduce the dependence of the state on allocation from the federal government; to invest in human capital and strengthen the human resources base through strategic investments in qualitative education and health care delivery to all as well as improve ease of doing business and provide enabling socio-economic environment required for the success of government reforms.

While seeking the continued support of the people for Governor Kayode Fayemi administration to bring its lofty ideas and programmes into reality, the commissioner noted that the implementation of the budget will further improve the lives of the people and stimulate economic activities in the state.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor
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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Gov. Ortom escapes herdsmen attack in his farm - NaijaAgroNet

The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has recounted how he was attacked by suspected herdsmen while at his farm located along Makurdi-Naka road in Makurdi, Benue State capital, last weekend, reports NaijaAgroNet.

While speaking during an interview with newsmen in Makurdi, the governor said;

“Just last week, I was on my farm that is situated in the outskirts of Makurdi town when armed herdsmen came there and shot at me. They also shot at the vehicle of our Livestock Guards who came there and shattered it. We had to call the joint military security team, Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS), who came and saved the situation,” Ortom lamented.

The governor vowed never to bow to any attempt to intimidate him for speaking up for his people. He also repeated his call for arrest and prosecution of Miyetti Allah leaders for allegedly instigating violence against farmers in Benue state.

Benue state has recorded one of the highest numbers of farmers/herdsmen attacks.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Monday, January 27, 2020

NLNG signs sale, purchase agreement with Eni - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgroNet:

Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) and Eni have signed a LNG Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) for some of the remarketed volumes from NLNG’s Trains 1, 2 and 3, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The agreement, according to the General Manager, External Relations, Eyono Fatayi-Williams, is for the supply of 1.5mtpa for a 10 year term on a Delivered Ex-ship (DES) and Free on Board (FOB) basis.

The agreement, Fatayi-Williams told NaijaAgroNet, signified customers’ confidence in NLNG as a trusted, safe and reliable LNG supplier in the world.

The company added that it is primed for taking up a position in the ranks of top LNG companies with plans to grow its market share. The SPA with Eni advances the ongoing plans by NLNG to remarket volumes from the three trains.

NLNG is an incorporated Joint-Venture owned by four Shareholders, namely, the Federal Government of Nigeria, represented by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (49 per cent), Shell Gas B.V. (25.6 per cent), Total Gaz Electricite Holdings France (15%), and Eni International N.A. N. V. S.àr.l (10.4 per cent).

Isaac Oyimah/Editor


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