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Monday, September 30, 2013

India, Africa enter partnership to promote food security

Anthony Nwakaegho/

The India and Africa Partnership in Agriculture (IAPA) has made a debut with the mission to promote food security in their regions.

This partnership consists of Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR), International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and International Agriculture Consulting Group (IACG) that will transform agriculture in Africa and significantly contribute to the global food security.

Director-General, ICAR, Dr. S. Ayyappan confirmed this to NaijaAgroNet in a press statement endorsed by IACG, revealing that the initiative would take forward the recommendations of the critical stakeholders in India Africa partnership in agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry and agribusiness sector for assisting African nations to realize the food and nutritional security in ways that are environmentally sustainable.

NaijaAgroNet gathered from Director-General, ICRISAT, Dr. William Dar that India is committed to the sustainable agriculture development of Africa under the South -South Initiative, emphasising, “The new platform will take on board various stake-holders and provide the Indian expertise and experiences to support African countries in finding solutions to their food, agriculture and development challenges."

IACG President, Dr. MJ Khan asserted that the collective strength of three powerful partners will be able to make substantial difference to the engagement of India with the African continent, while IACG will serve as effective delivery vehicle to execute the projects and programs of varied natures, whether sponsored by Government of India or other national and international organisations or the India’s corporate sector.

NaijaAgroNet gathered from Ms. Sumana Sarkar representing Exim Bank that over 16 lines of credit have been extended to African nations with $ 649 million, about N102.2 billion being the highest for East Africa followed by $150 million, about N23.6 billion for West Africa and $40 million ,N6.3 billion each for South and Central African nations. 

Mr. Julian Parr of CIP International pointed that in the Africa Indian partnership, learning has to be both ways, India needs to learn from Africa and at the same there is much that Africa needs to learn from innovation in technologies, practices, processes, institution building that has made India reach where it is now in the field of food and nutritional security and agribusiness development.

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We’re fixing hindrances in agric sector – Minister

Anthony Nwakaegho/NaijaAgroNet

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, has said his ministry focus is in fixing key issues that has hampered the performance of the agricultural sector with a view to unlocking the potential of Nigeria’s agriculture.

This, he also said would move the sector from its ignoble status as one of the largest food importers in the world to a food self- sufficient country, in addition to expanding into export.

Adesina disclosed this recently in Asaba to NaijaAgroNet, stressing that his ministry is doing this through the rapid transformation of agricultural value chains by treating agriculture as a money-making business and not as a charitable development project.

The ministry, he said, mustered the courage to break the jinx that for decades made successive governments corrupt in Nigeria through the procurement and distribution of fertilizers to rich and powerful politician farmers to the detriment of the private sector and genuine farmers.

“Corruption was incipient, as sand was mixed with fertilizers and sold to government, payments were made for fertilizers not supplied and subsidized fertilizers were resold back to government with a lot more sold off to neighbouring countries. To put it bluntly, government was not subsidizing farmers; instead it was subsidizing corruption. Farmers’ powerlessness worsened as high quality of seeds and fertilizers they need to raise their farm productivity were taken over by the elite, the rich and politically powerful.

“But we have changed all that. Within the first 90 days of this administration; we ended the forty year-old fertilizer sector racket and corruption. The old system of government buying and selling fertilizers was scrapped, and all fertilizer companies were required to sell directly to farmers and not government warehouses,” he said.

NaijaAgroNet learnt that the introduction of the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) Electronic Wallet System which has seen over 3.4 million farmers receiving their subsidized inputs via the GES programme and Electronic Wallet Scheme has greatly improved the sector which now target close to five million farmers by the end of the dry season.

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Pix: Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina

Friday, September 27, 2013

Oman reiterates support to enrich biodiversity

Anthony Nwakaegho/NaijaAgroNet

The fifth meeting of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture ( ITPGRFA) kicked off at the Al Bustan Palace Hotel on Tuesday at Oman.

The opening ceremony of the meeting organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries was sponsored by His Highness Sayyid Shihab Bin Tariq Al Said, adviser to His Majesty the Sultan and continues till September 28.

His Excellency, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr Fuad Bin Jaafar Al Sajwani, said the Sultanate’s hosting of the meeting shows its support for efforts to enrich the state of biodiversity in general and genetic resources in particular, coming after the ministerial conference for the Near East and North Africa and a meeting of Donor Funds on the challenges of food security across the world.

The Director General of the Indonesian Agency for Agricultural Research and Development Ir. Haryono, speaking on behalf of the Indonesian minister of agriculture, stressed the importance of working together and pointed out that the genetic resources have become an integral part of the laws and regulation across the world which now faces climate challenges, draught and water scarcity.

 NaijaAgroNet  gathered that the Director General of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), José Graziano da Silvawas, delivered a recorded speech from the Organisation Headquarters in Rome, and pointed out that the treaty which is one of the most successful plays a vital role for food security by ensuring fair distribution.

NaijaAgroNet learnt from the meeting that  the Near East countries in Asia and Africa are among the richest in the world in terms of plant resources, yet  lack food security, suffer  from instability, climate changes, exhaustion of bio resources, such as soil and water, while the FAO efforts is on how to  secure food for nine billion people by 2050.

*With additional report from Oman News Agency

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EU, FAO partner to help six countries achieve MDG on hunger

Anthony Nwakaegho/NaijaAgroNet

Less than two years before the deadline set to achieve international development goals, the European Union (EU) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have teamed up to reduce world hunger by assisting two million people in six countries with agricultural development activities worth nearly €60 million about N15.6 billion.

The funding comes from a €1 billion, about N259.4 billion EU initiative that aims to foster speedier progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

During a special event on the Millennium Development Goals at the UN General Assembly, FAO’s Director-General José Graziano da Silva said "So close to the deadline, when there is still so much to do, this good investment in agriculture will enable FAO to increase its efforts to eradicate hunger and do even more to help countries halve the proportion of hungry people by 2015."

Commenting on the development the EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said "I find it unacceptable in the 21st century that some 870 million people are still going hungry and malnutrition is responsible for over 3 million child deaths annually. This funding underlines our commitment to stepping up our work on hunger and to meeting the MDGs.”

NaijaAgroNet gathered that the MDG-initiative promotes strong partnerships with the UN agencies, while the EU and FAO focus on agricultural development involving smallholder farmers and their families on improved nutrition in Burudi, Burkina Faso,Gambia , Haiti, Madagascar and Mozambique.

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Reasonable tariff set in Agric sector to protect local production-Minister

Anthony Nwakaegho/NaijaAgroNet

The Federal Government introduction of reasonable tariff in the Agricultural sector is said to protect local production, despite the criticism on increased tariff and outright bans of certain food items Nigeria can produce.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Adewunmi Adesina made this clarification recently to the agriculture stakeholders and stressed that “while lower tariffs will benefit smaller West African economies dependent on imports, they will create major disincentives for local production in Nigeria, where we are trying to unlock the huge land, labour and demand potential to drive rapid agriculture and agribusiness growth.”

He lamented that  local production cannot be encouraged in a situation where there is unbridled dumping of cheap low-quality products on Nigerian markets as such a trend  would simply discourages the local farmers, increases rural poverty, and also increase unemployment.  

NaijaAgroNet  gathered from the minister that even though some are clamouring for the reduction in tariff and duty on the importation of crude palm oil, rice, sugar, fish and so on, it is right to   ensure that fiscal and trade policies are well aligned to further boost the ongoing transformation in the agricultural sector, while rapid gains are still being made.

“While rapid gains are being made, we must ensure that fiscal and trade policies are well aligned to further boost the ongoing transformation in the agricultural sector. Policies and institutional incentives must be sustained, and we must avoid policy reversals, which have scuttled many efforts in the past. Of particular concern is the issue of the Common External Tariff of the ECOWAS region,” he said.

NaijaAgroNet also learnt from Adesina that “Nigeria should protect its farmers from the effects of dumping of subsidized products smuggled daily into the country.  America does it. European Union does it. Nigeria should do the same.”

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

BOA, Cassava farmers partner on mechanised farming


Anthony Nwakaegho/NaijaAgroNet

The Bank of Agriculture (BOA) and the Nigeria Cassava Growers Association in Abuja has signed an agreement following the N3 billion set aside by the federal government to assist the farmers to acquire modern implements.

The Managing Director of the Bank, Dr Mohammed Santuraki, said the agreement was the outcome of the dialogue that had been ongoing between the bank and the farmers association.

Santuraki who was represented by Executive Director, Wholesale Finance of the bank, Mr Waziri Ahmadu, said both parties had agreed on modalities for the association to access the loan through mutual partnership.

“The bank has worked out appropriate loan processing procedures that will ensure smooth and timely packaging of loans, so long as applicants meet the bank’s requirement. The interest rate pegged at 12 per cent would be at the discretion of the Central Bank of Nigeria and Nigeria Incentive-based Risk Sharing for Agricultural Lending, he said.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that the bank has been in partnership with the bank since 2008 when it set aside N200 million for disbursement to its members to cultivate cassava, while the Flour Millers Association of Nigeria also established the Cassava Endowment Fund and domiciled it with the bank.

Earlier in his speech the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, commended the association for their dedication in its dealings on matters relating to agriculture and stressed that the signing of an agreement between the Bank of Agriculture and the Nigeria Cassava Growers Association in Abuja would enable farmers to access loan through the bank for mechanised farming in cassava.

The President of the association, Mr Segun Adewumi said it would cultivate one million hectares of cassava in the 2013 planting season and pledged the resolve of members of the association to repay the loan on schedule.

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Kaduna women, youths train on bull husbandry

Anthony Nwakaegho/NaijaAgroNet
A two-week training has been mapped out for the training of women and youths by Kaduna State in bull husbandry by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) in collaboration with office of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and College of Agriculture and Animal Science in Kaduna
Funding for the training was from the MDGs office to provide skills in fattening of cattle for the women and youths in the state, as gathered by NaijaAgroNet.
Opening the training, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina represented by the Director of Planning, Research and Statistic in the Ministry, Umar Farouk Hussaini decried Nigerian's reliance on imported food, stressing that the training was part of Federal Government's desire to build the capacity of 8,000 youths and women in various agricultural fields including fishery, cassava production, animal husbandry and poultry.
"Whatever we are providing here is a starter pack to the participants as something they should use to get a take-off in their lives. At the end of the training, bulls and feeds among others will be distributed to the participants to start with and sell later on when they are fattened," he said,
Provost of College of Agriculture and Animal Science, Dr Balarabe Jahun informed NaijaAgroNet that Nigeria spends over $5.2 billion annually on food importation, which is equivalent to 48 per cent of the country's total gross income.
He lamented that if the citizens of any nation no matter how rich they may depends on food importation the country  will still remain in a poor state and that is the situation in Nigeria.

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Canada invests N469m in Nigeria vegetable research


Anthony NwakaeghoNaijaAgroNet

Canadian authorities have invested the sum of $2.9 million, about N469 million into the Nigerian research project for the “sustainable production and utilization of underutilized Nigerian vegetables.”

The research study according to NaijaAgroNet findings is funded by the International Department of Research Centre (IDRC) and Canadian International Food and Security Research Fund (CIFSRF) in collaboration with the University of Manitoba and Cape Breton University, all based in Canada.

Also, the research which commenced after the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Osun State University, Osogbo, has been extended to Ondo, Ekiti and Oyo States respectively.

NaijaAgroNet learnt that the research is on six high premium underutilized vegetables that has nutritional value and abound in the South West Nigeria.

The essence of the research is to clearly define the agronomic practices, nutritional and economic value of the vegetables for the benefit of the farmers in Nigeria.


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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dansa votes N9.2m for energy food plant

Anthony Nwakaegho/NaijaAgroNet

Dansa Group, a subsidiary of Dangote Group of the Companies has voted the sum of £36m about N9,183,250,000 billion for the establishment of Africa’s largest  energy food plant in Nigeria,

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina made this known toNaijaAgroNet in New York, stressing that the President, Dansa Group, Mr. Sanni Dangote, announced it at the meeting of a High Level World Advisory Group in New York.

The minister also said that the world leaders were excited about the country’s agricultural transformation agenda which is meant to diversify the nation’s economy.

“Already, Bill Gates is spending millions of dollars in Nigeria supporting this agenda, the African Development Bank is putting in $500m (N79, 655,500,000). So, this is about monitoring in Nigeria, giving it a push. Bill Gates said today that what Nigeria is doing in agriculture is extraordinary. And Kofi Annan said that what Nigeria is doing here makes it a leader in agriculture already in Africa; so, this is a further validation that Nigeria is on the right track,” he said.

Notable  world leaders  at the  meeting NaijaAgroNet learnt include the Chairman, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr. Bill Gates; a former United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan; President, International Fund for Agriculture Development, Dr. Kanayo Nwanze; and  President, African Development Bank, Dr. Donald Kaberuke.
 *With additional report from Punch

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RSPO builds capacity for stakeholders on palm oil

Anthony Nwakaegho/NaijaAgroNet

The Solidaridad West Africa and Proforest Initiative (UK) have consolidated on their alliance with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) by supporting an awareness raising and programme in a two-day Africa Roadshow event in Nigeria.

NaijaAgroNet learnt that RSPO which is the Nigeria National Interpretation Initiative organised the event to raise awareness and build capacity among key stakeholders on the best practices contained in the RSPO, in addition to creating an enabling environment for the uptake of the RSPO standard.

Major stakeholders in the palm oil supply chain that were present at the event included growers/millers, processors, manufacturers/end-users, associations and NGOs/environmentalists, financial sector, development agencies, state governments, federal ministries and government parastatals and so on.

In his welcome speech,the Facilitator, RSPO Initiative in Nigeria, Mr. FataiAfolablsaid the event was to create more awareness and build capacity among the stakeholders in the oil palm supply chain.

Afolabi noted that RSPOrequires oil palm producing countries to develop their respective National Interpretation of the RSPO principles and criteria, and if Nigeria would aspire to rise back to the number one position, it has to develop its oil palm industry on sustainable and globally acceptable principles.

He said that players in the consumption of oil palm products across the globe have set 2015 as deadline for investors in the agro-sector to have their products certify.

Currently, NaijaAgroNet gathered  RSPO is delivered via a set of eight principles and 37 criteria thatis subject to reviewing every five years, while Ms Audrey Versteengen and Mr. Isaac Abban-Mensan of Proforest and Dr. Harrie Hendricks of Solidaridad, conducted the capacity building programme for the stakeholders at the road show.

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Marketing agricultural products pose challenges-Minister

      Anthony Nwakaegho/NaijaAgroNet

The absence of market information systems, poor farm level storage, poor rural roads and lack of warehouses still pose as challenges to the marketing of agricultural products.

This assertion was made by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development,MrAdewunmiAdesina during the recent  concluded conference of the Guild of Editors in Nigeria in Asaba, Delta State,  where he said that regardless whether it is crops, livestock or fisheries, the marketing of agricultural products pose challenges, as post harvest losses can be  high as 45 per cent for some agricultural commodities, especially perishables such as onions, tomatoes, fruits and horticulture product.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has completed a total of 10 new silos for strategic food reserves within one year and had expanded the silos capacity from 260,000 MT in 2011 to 1.3 million metric tons by 2012 which is a 400 per cent increase.

The Minister said that the silos are being provided under concessions to the private sector, for the establishment of world-class agricultural commodity exchanges.

Adesina said that one of the largest manufacturers of warehouses in the world, Blumberg Grains, has signed an agreement with the Ministry to invest $250 million in Nigeria as a regional hub for the manufacture and supply of modern warehouses to West African countries. 

He explained that infrastructure is which is also critical for Nigeria to become an agriculturally industrialized nation is being tackled through the establishment of Staple Crop Processing Zones, which are agro- industrial clusters, where food-manufacturing plants will be located by the private sector.

“These zones will be provided with integrated infrastructure support including power, water and roads to lower the costs of doing business. From these agro-industrial zones, processed foods, fish and livestock products will move into our urban areas. Finally, our farmers will be fully connected to markets.

“To complete the connection of our farmers to markets, we are establishing marketing corporations to coordinate all the agricultural commodity value chains in the country. They will perform market coordination functions like the former marketing boards, except that they will now be run efficiently by the private sector,” he said. 

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Pix: Minister of Agriculture and Rural Dev, MrAdewunmiAdesina

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

FG agricultural incentive expands rice production - Study

Anthony Nwakaegho/NaijaAgroNet

The implementation of the Federal Government’s incentives on agriculture, otherwise known as Agriculture Transformation Agenda (ATA) has led to the expansion of rice production and changed perception that local rice is ‘inferior’ rice with stones and unsavoury odour.

Investigations by NaijaAgroNet revealed that in response to government policy and incentives for rice, 14 large-scale integrated rice mills were established by the private sector in two years, producing international quality long-grained parboiled rice.

The rice which is said to be in the market are well-packaged, long grained parboiled local rice, from Kano (Umza rice), Ebonyi (Ebony rice), Benue State (Mikap rice), are tastier and healthier than imported rice which are often 15 years old rice dumped on the Nigerian market. 

It was further revealed that, Dominion Farms, a foreign investor, has invested $40 million (N6442, 000,000) in a commercial rice farm, and 30,000 ha field, including community out-grower farms in Taraba State would hit the market in 2014. Olam has expanded its rice cultivation by 10,000 ha, in response to the policy incentives by the government. 

Lagos State Government is said to have recently bought seventeen trailer loads of paddy rice from Kebbi state, to Lagos to mill in the rice mill set up by the Lagos state government instead of importing brown rice from Thailand and India.

NaijaAgroNet discovered that this paddy rice fields in Kebbi has stimulated the economy by adding N37 billion of incomes to farmers in Nigeria, created 467,000 jobs, while Lagos State sells the milled  paddy rice from Kebbi State that has come to be known as Eko rice.

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pix: President Goodluck Jonathan

Agriculture, an information intensive industry-Johnson

Anthony Nwakaegho/NaijaAgroNet

The Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson, has acknowledged that agriculture is an information intensive industry.

Speaking in Abuja, recently Mrs. Johnson NaijaAgroNet confirmed that agriculture employs the 
highest number of people, with the highest contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Also, she said, ICT is the fastest growing sector in the economy today with increasing rate of contribution to GDP from 5.3 per cent in 2011 to about 8 per cent in first quarter of 2013.

“At every point in time in the agricultural value chain there can be an application of technology and that varies from information systems including DSS/MSS/GIS etc., ICT-enabled learning and knowledge exchange, modelling solutions, sensory and proximity devices, ICT-enabled networking solutions, online commerce tools (eCommerce/mCommerce),” she said.

Omobola explained that the Federal Government saved N25billion in 2012 through the e-wallet programme of the Ministry of Agriculture’s Growth Enhancement Support Scheme, while Nokia Life which is a Nokia proprietary initiative complements the extension services to farmers as it gives information to farmers on weather, soil and so on.
NaijaAgroNet gathered from the Minister that ICTs are becoming the channel by which inputs such as fertilizer are distributed to about 10 million farmers registered in 2012 and the e-wallet programme has helped in making sure that the farmers get these inputs at the right time and in the right quantities.

Based on this fact, it was discovered that ICTs through various interventions had made way for more efficient markets between buyers and sellers both locally and internationally.

However, the CommTech Minister said, that to get the full force of ICT in agriculture the connectivity gap, innovation gap and market gap have to be filled because about 50 per cent of rural population is not connected to any network at all, and  that the ministry is using ICTs to increase the attractiveness of the agric sector. 
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pix:Minister, Communication Technology,Mrs Omobola Johnson

O’Meal progamme boosts pupils’ school enrolment in Osun

Anthony Nwakaegho/NaijaAgroNet

Enrolment of pupils in the Osun State public school is said to have increased tremendously following the introduction of O’ meal programme by the Osun State Government

Enrolment of pupils in the Osun State public school is said to have increased tremendously following the introduction of O’ meal programme by the Osun State GovernmentEnrolment of pupils in the Osun State public school is said to have increased tremendously following the introduction of O’ meal programme by the Osun State Government

The Osun State Commissioner for Health, Dr. (Mrs) Temitope Ilori revealed this, while speaking at a workshop organised by the State Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in partnership with Quick 

Impact Intervention Programme (QUIIP) on benefits of linkage between small holder farmers, cocoyam off takers and food vendors of O’meal programme.

Ilori commended the State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbosola for fulfilling his promises as contained in the six-point integral action plans of the administration to providing nutrient and proteineous meals for 254,000 public primary school pupils.

NaijaAgroNet discovered that aside the increase in public school enrolment the O’meal programme has improved the pupil’s healthy living in the state through over 3000 community caterers.

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pix:pupils in Osun State

Why youth shun commercial farming - CAPD

Anthony Nwakaegho/NaijaAgroNet

The youths in Nigeria don’t want to take to commercial farming as some of them still see agriculture from the traditional perspective that put manual implements to use, according to the Lagos State Coordinator for Commercial Agriculture Development Project (CAPD) Mr Kehinde O. Ogunyinka.

In an exclusive interview with NaijaAgroNet, and said that the youth that don’t want to go into commercial farming can go into marketing, instead of crying day and night over unemployment.

Ogunyinka explained that the value chain of agriculture is so long from input to land preparation, production, harvest, transportation and the market, that even the old ones can still be engaged, while the cry for unemployment will be greatly reduced if not eliminated.

“As it is today agricultural production has been simplified. We have machineries to clear the forest/bush. 

There are ploughing, hallowing machines that will do the land preparation and the ridgers for ridges, planters to do the planting and combined harvesters that will do the harvesting and processing.

“So we have all these machines along the production line that will make production of any farming activity easy and remove drudgery from the farm. So the youths can be engaged, as the government under the auspices of Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperative has engaged 400 youths in rice production annually and they are doing well,” he said.
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Ogun engages 1,200 farmers on new Ofada rice farm

Anthony Nwakaegho/NaijaAgroNet

The Ogun State Government has made provisions for direct and indirect jobs in order to engage 1,200 farmers in the newly cultivated 100 hectares Ofada rice farm at Shagbon village, Eggua in Yewa Local Government Area of the state, reports BusinessDay.

The Ogun State commissioner for Agriculture, Mrs Ronke Sokefun disclosed this during an inspection tour to the farmland, and said that the project would employ 200 main farmers and at least 1000 farm assistants, while government will provide incentives such as rice seeds, fertilisers, and also buy back the produce after harvest.

NaijaAgroNet gathered from the statement of the Commissioner for Agriculture,  that  Ogun State Government will not only be provide the land for the planting of the rice, but would be responsible for provision of  viable rice seeds and other inputs needed to ensure a bumper harvest

Based on the challenge over land clearing faced by the farmers,  she said, the ministry had embarked on clearing and ploughing of the land to be used for planting late maize, short Nerica rice, and then to make way for the Ofada farmers’ rice to be planted  and improved on their production.

In his response during the visit, a representative of the farmers, Azeez Adeniji commended the gesture of state government for the farmland project and pledged the farmers’ commitment to ensure that the farmland succeeds.

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Agric: Commissioner commends Edo State Young Farmers’ Club

Anthony Nwakaegho/NaijaAgroNet

The Edo State Chapter of Federation of Young Farmers Club has been commended for their innovation and breeding of young farmers who have been described as the future of the nation.

Edo State Commissioner for Agriculture and National Resources, Hon. Abdul Oroh, made this commendation, while playing host to the chairman and members of the Edo State Chapter of Federation of Young Farmers Club who paid him courtesy visit in his office in Benin City.
Oroh who described agriculture as the spring board to sustainable economic development if modern techniques and process are adopted by farmers, noted that in order to sustain the agricultural transformation agenda of Mr. President, new generation of farmers must emerge to take over from old ones.

NaijaAgroNet gathered from Oroh that the success recorded so far in the agricultural sector of the state includes quality of Crop Production, researches to forestall post harvest causes and access to market which must be developed to enable the farmers to earn more income.

He advised the young farmers to remain focused, and called the school authorities to inculcate the study of agriculture into the school curriculum right from the primary level.
The commissioner, while responding to the request made by the chairman of the club promised the resuscitation of their monthly stipend from ADP when a formal proposal to their requests is received and channelled to the appropriate quarters for consideration.

The Chairman, Edo State Chapter of Federation of Young Farmers Club, Mr. Matthew Idemudia earlier in his speech disclosed that the club which is a voluntary youth organization with focus towards mechanized agricultural development in Nigeria has demonstration farms in Aihuobabekun in Ovia-North East and Obayantor in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area where they practice arable, mixed and cash cropping.

 Idemudia while appreciating the ministry for its support for the club explained that the club was mobilising students and community youths to key into the National Agricultural Transformation and food security programme, and solicited for sponsorship of members in the forth coming international training, committee workshops, and seminars both within and outside the ministry. 
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pix:Edo State Gov.Adams  Oshomoile

Quarra Rice Mill targets 30,000 tonnes paddy rice

  Anthony Nwakaegho/NaijaAgroNet

Quarra Rice Mill, one of the country’s largest rice processing mills which has an annual capacity of 30,000 tonnes of paddy rice is set to add pep to the Nigeria’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) to meet the rapidly growing domestic rice demand.

 NaijaAgroNet discovered that the mill which is located in Tsaragi, Kwara State is one of the country’s largest rice processing mills and is expected to process 150,000 tonnes per year by 2018.
The mill which is operated by Quarra Rice Limited would have output of parboiled rice and rice flour sold domestically to help alleviate food security and serve as substitute for expensive imports.

The United States Department of Agriculture reports that the estimated level of import of rice in Nigeria stands at 2.7 million tons of rice per annum, while Nigeria produces 2.85 tons of milled rice and 4.524 million tons of paddy rice per year.

At the commissioning of the mill, recently, the Governor of  Kwara State, Abdulfatah Ahmed was quoted as saying that “it was alarming that Nigeria continued to spend about $2 billion annually on importation of roughly 2 million metric tons of rice, wasting scarce foreign exchange and stunting growth of local agriculture, while accelerating the growth of foreign economies.”

On his part, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Adewunmi Adesina, who was represented by Executive Director of National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation. Ike Azogu said that 9 million metric tons of food was added to the nation’s domestic food supply in 2012/2013, which is an increase of 80 percent more than the annual target of 5 million metric tons.

“Food imports declined by N857 billion by the end of 2012; for example, the nation’s import bill for wheat, rice and sugar was down by $3 billion in 2012. Agric exports expanded by 822,000 metric tons in 2012, as the sector’s contribution to non-oil exports expanded by N759 billion,” he said.
*Additional report from Businessday

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Agric: Banks’ lending set to rise to 7% in 10 yrs

Anthony Nwakaegho/NaijaAgroNet

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, Dr Kingsley Moghalu, dropped the hint on a sideline at the end of the Euromoney Conference held in Lagos, and said that the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) initiative has boosted agricultural lending to farmers  in the country.

NaijaAgroNet recalls that the agricultural sector has received tremendous attention due to the transformation agenda of President Jonathan’s administration that has envisioned the sector as the key to economic growth and development in Nigeria.

 However, available data from CBN revealed that NIRSAL which guarantees up to 75 per cent of the bank loans to the sector was initiated in July 2013 to grow loans to the sector to four per cent of banks’ total loans, from the average of 1.5 per cent in 2009.

For the records, NIRSAL which is the initiative of the CBN, the Bankers’ Committee and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), seeks to create incentives and modify all the processes that will encourage the growth of formal credit, direct and indirect, for the agriculture value chain.

*With additional report from Nation

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