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Friday, December 23, 2011

Nigerians lament unaccessible water

Considering the fact that water is one of the essentials to life, its source and accessibility seems to become a problem to all and sundry.
NaijaAgroNet investigations showed that in some parts of the Nigeria water remains a scarce resource and expensive while in other parts it is the cheapest and most available resources at all time.
Speaking with NaijaAgroNet, an undergraduate student of Kaduna Polytechnic, Saheedat Adegbite, said that the source of water for her household is borehole and it is always up and running all year round and serves the household accessibility to drinkable water in and out of season.
According to her, other compounds around also benefit from the water free-of-charge.
Dada Adedeji, a 300 level student of Computer Studies, Olabisi Onabanjo University said there is borehole in his compound in school unlike in his home town where one has to walk up to about 300 meters to get a 25 litres of water for N5 or N10 depending on the source of power available at that particular point in time.
Adedeji noted that power failure in his home town for five days kept everybody on their toes as a blink of the light will make everyone rush down to the borehole for water which might take one day to fetch from a tank of 150 litres.
The water in his compound at school, he said, is up and running and when it goes off, there are public water within the street.
Speaking to NaijaAgroNet during the week a primary school teacher in Oshodi, who gave her name as Mama Juliet said that water still remains one of the major problems in this country.
"My daughter have to go to the nearby borehole, which is about 100 meters to get a 25 litres of water for N5 when there is light or N10 without light," she said.
The water in her compound, she added is faulty and the landlord is making no attempt to put it in order and this is the reason why every tenant has to walk up to 200 meters or more to get water which in most cases is not drinkable.
Yinka Awosanya
... Linking agrobiz, people & technology

Govt, Nigerian banks to share 70% loans on seeds, fertilizer

The Federal Government and Nigerian banks have concluded plans to share 70 per cent loans on seeds and fertilizer.

President Goodluck Jonathan made this disclosure during his latest joint address to the National Assembly in Abuja, the federal capital territory on the 2012 budget.

He said that in order to unleash the potential of this sector, the Federal Ministry of Finance has put in place a mechanism to share risks with the banking sector by guaranteeing 70 per cent of the principal of all loans made for supply of seeds and fertilizer by the private sector.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that Jonathan noted that to get the inputs to farmers at an affordable cost, the Federal Government is subsidizing the interest rate on these loans to bring it down from 15 per cent to 7 per cent per annum.

The Minister of Agriculture and the Central Bank, President Jonathan said, would be collaborating to extend these services for credit availability for the medium term.

“We are introducing further fiscal policy measures to support the development of the agricultural sector,” he declared.

Pointing out that in this respect, the duty on machinery and certain specified equipment for the sector will, effective January 31st 2012, attract zero duty.

“We will further look at supportive fiscal policies for the rice and wheat sectors to stimulate domestic production,” he said.

Remmy Nweke
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Biodiversity: Ban Ki-moon warns mass extinction affects everyone

The United Nations’ Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon has warned that mass extinction will affect everyone.
Ban Ki-moon gave this warning at the launch of the UN Decade on Biodiversity, saying the growing of human family hangs on biological diversity couple with the vital goods and services that it offers.
Ban Ki-moon who was represented by Kiyo Akasaka at the event in Kanazawa Japan also affirmed that the poor will be the first to suffer from biodiversity loss and that every society also stands a chance to lose from this mass extinction.
"There are also the opportunity costs; what cures for disease, and what other useful discoveries might we never know of because a habitat is destroyed forever or land is polluted beyond all use," he said.
Additionally, he said people consider natural capital as an endless reserve instead of the limited and fragile resource they have come to be known.
"Fortunately, it is not too late to stem the tide," he said, emphasizing that considering the targets as realistic, the achievement of the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Target included in the 2011-2020 Strategic Plan for Biodiversity calls for greater engagement by all relevant actors and partners.
He commended Japan for its leadership in the support of Strategic Plan and the Decade, submitting that all the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity and related conventions should rally round the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity.
"Let us work together to live in harmony with nature. Let us preserve and wisely manage nature's riches for prosperity today and for the future we want," Ban Ki-moon.
'Yinka Awosanya
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ILC says the poor prone to land dispossessions

The report on Findings of the Global Commercial Pressures on Land Research Project by the International Land Coalition (ILC) has revealed that the poor and rural dwellers are more vulnerable to loss land to acquisitions.
ILC, a global alliance of civil society and intergovernmental organizations that work for the promotion of secured and equitable access to and control over land for poor women and men through advocacy, dialogue, knowledge sharing and capacity building.
In the report entitled ‘Land Rights and the Rush for Land’ made available to NaijaAgroNet, ILC looked into the land acquisition, means of acquisition and its effect on the economy and making small-scale farmers a priority of the findings.
The findings' report revealed that the high global demand for land is likely to continue for a long term even when the sudden increase that occurred between 2005 and 2008 may level off.
The prevailing model of large-scale land acquisition, the report says will jeopardize the land and resources rights and livelihoods of rural communities.
Recognizing the fact that poor governance doesn’t give the poor the opportunity to benefit from land acquisition, the report has it that women are more vulnerable to the inefficient benefit while the poor bore disproportionate costs.
According to ILC, the land owned traditionally by the public are vulnerable to loss as there are weak legal protection of their lands held under customary tenure, this makes the poor people prone to dispossessions.
The international organization also made known that international law is not properly put in place to work towards the protection of the poor as far as land acquisition is concern.
The report also affirmed that host governments are not taking sufficient action in a bid to limit the further impoverishment of rural communities.
NaijaAgroNet discovered that ILC called on concerned authorities and governments to stop dispossession and land allocations that are not in the interest of the public.
ILC, therefore called for the recognization of the right of the rural poor was also made to steer towards more equitable models that give a key role to existing land users.
'Yinka Awosanya
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Xmas: Britain gives 9,000 tonnes of food to East African

In a bid to assist in the ongoing drought and famine in the Horn of Africa, Britain is set to give 9,000 tonnes of food and medical suppliers for Christmas, reports BBC.
The Secretary of State for International Development, Mr. Andrew Mitchell said its not only meant to save lives of people affected by the worst famine in decades but to also assist in preventing terrorism and disorder in Somalia which is a direct threat to the United Kingdom.
Mitchell who is also a member of the parliament said there are probably more British passport holders engaged in terrorist training in Somalia than in any other country of the world.
"This is not only about saving the lives of huge numbers of vulnerable babies and children, it is also about doing the right thing to promote British security," he said. Read more
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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Nigeria’s Presidential foodstuffs to cost N477m

The presidency is reported to have budgeted the sum of N477 million on food stuffs and catering services for the year 2012.

This is coming as Nigeria spends N78.98bn on agriculture, just as Senate commended the federal government for increased budgetary allocation.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that the Aso Villa residents, that is both Mr. President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is to spend N477m on foodstuff and catering materials, the vice president, Alhaji Sambo is to spend N104 million for the aforementioned purpose; foodstuff and catering, whereas the cooking gas, and cooking fuel have been planned to take N6.2 million.

Equally, NaijaAgroNet learnt that refreshment and meals at the office of the president is expected to consume N93m, while canteen and kitchen equipment at the state house gulps N45.4m, reports channelstv.

It was further gathered that these were breakdown of the President’s budget with regards to Presidential food stuffs.

This is coming as Nigeria is to spend N78.98bn on agriculture, just as Senate commended the federal government for increased budgetary allocation.

However, at a conference in Lagos on Wednesday, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina declared that Nigeria is the second largest rice importer with a N1bn worth of rice consumed every day.

This, Adesina pointed out is killing investment in and agriculture, especially on rice production in the country and rural area development generally.

He described it as Nigeria eating beyond her means instead of creating jobs for the farmers.

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Agriculture, a priority for Nigeria

Nigerian president, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ) has listed agriculture among his priority area of investment to create more jobs.

Addressing members of the joint National Assembly in Abuja, recently, he said, that there are plans to invest in some priority sectors including agriculture.

His administration, GEJ said, will in 2012 give priority attention to Information and Communications Technology (ICT), solid minerals development, manufacturing, aviation and creative industries in order to further develop these sectors that are known to be sources of growth and job creation.

Against the background of the above reforms, President Jonathan noted that his administration would promote job creation and inclusive growth by investing in critical infrastructure, human capital development and security including more support for the police, defence and counter-terrorism operations.

The agricultural sector, he said, is being totally transformed to enable Nigerians to move from traditional farming to modern agriculture as a business both for our small and large-scale farmers.

“Our objective is to ensure food security whilst also promoting exports in agriculture value chains where we have a comparative advantage,” he said, stressing that his administration intends to process and add value to different crops such as rice, cassava, sorghum, oil palm, cocoa, and cotton among others.

According to him, this approach is central to the transformation strategy, even as his administration has adopted enabling measures to support the development of private sector-driven marketing institutions, and push for policies that would promote agriculture to create jobs.

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Finland, IFAD boost Zambian small-holders with N5.249billion

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Finland have boosted the Republic of Zambia with the sum of US$31.8 million, about N5.249billion to improve the growth in small-holder agriculture.
While IFAD loaned Zambia the sum of $24.8m, Finland gave a grant of $7m.
This follows the signing of the financial agreement for the Smallholder Productivity Promotion Programme, the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Zambia to United Nations Food and Agriculture Agencies, Mr. Samuel Mapala and IFAD President, Dr. Kanayo F. Nwanze.
NaijaAgroNet gathered that agriculture, as an important sector for Zambian economic development contributes almost 22 per cent to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and about 60 per cent of Zambians depends on agriculture for their livelihoods.

IFAD in a press statement made available to NaijaAgroNet shows that loan is a necessity considering the need to promote businesses in the agricultural sector and raise productivity, which are of high priority to the government.
Focusing on increasing the production of cassava, mixed beans, groundnuts and rice, the new programme, NaijaAgroNet further learnt will enhance the on-farm productivity of smallholder farmers that will enable them to respond to emerging market opportunities. Even as it has the potential of improving income levels, food and nutrition security for poor agricultural households in the areas being covered.
NaijaAgroNet learnt that Finland co-financed the programme with a grant of US$7 million. While the programme will start in eight districts and gradually extended to some 24 districts, even as over 60,000 smallholder farming households will benefit from the programme.
'Yinka Awosanya
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