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Friday, December 30, 2016

BAN says real harm by Intercon is toxic e-waste, commends Feds for arrest

The Executive Director, Basel Action Network (BAN), Mr. Jim Puckett, has declared that the real harm by the owners of Chicago-based Intercon, led by the chief executive officer, Brian Brundage, reports NaijaAgroNet.

"The real harm perpetrated by Brian Brundage and so many others operating in the same way today is the assault on human health and the environment of poorer communities in Asia where our toxic e-waste ends up

Reacting to the recent arrest of Brundage and indictment on a four-count charge of tax evasion and six counts of fraud, BAN Director said it was not surprising, because Intercon Solutions was always a con and never a solution.

"But they fooled a lot of people and got very rich doing it. After we tracked their containers to China, we found out from former employees that they never actually did any electronics recycling at all but just packed and shipped offshore or to local landfills -- a complete fraud," he said.

Puckett pointed out that the arrest and indictment came after over five years since BAN as an international environmental watchdog organization, first exposed by the activities of Intercon Solutions and its CEO Brian Brundage.

He commended the United States Federal agencies, saying it is gratifying to see the wheels of justice turn at long last, but it must be understood that the true crime of Intercon was not a financial one.

"The real harm perpetrated by Brian Brundage and so many others operating in the same way today is the assault on human health and the environment of poorer communities in Asia where our toxic e-waste ends up,” he maintained.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that the government is seeking forfeiture of 10 million dollars and each count of income tax evasion is punishable by up to five years in prison, while the wire fraud and mail fraud counts each carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years.

According BAN chief, Mr. Brundage and his company Intercon was first caught exporting electronic waste (e-Waste) to Asia in 2011.

BAN, which takes its name from the Basel Convention -- a UN treaty that controls and prohibits the export of hazardous electronic wastes from rich to poorer countries-- has been a relentless watchdog on the issue for the last decade, working to halt the massive tide of toxic e-wastes to that flow each day to Asia by so-called "recyclers" in the United States. 

In 2009, he said, UN authorities created the e-Stewards Certification to offer an alternative to the weaker "R2" Certification created by a US EPA led negotiation, which continues to allow the export of toxic e-wastes to developing countries.

NaijaAgroNet recalls that since 2002, BAN exposed the highly dangerous and polluting offshore electronic waste operations operated by informal recyclers in countries like China and Nigeria that have poisoned thousands of workers and the immediate environs. BAN has worked with many business leaders to prohibit US exports; and, until that happens, they have created the e-Stewards Certification program for those customers that wish to find recyclers that refuse to participate in global toxic waste trade to developing countries.

Remmy Nweke/ED, Ops
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Drought: Somalia, Kenya benefits from FAO's Early Warning fund

The two countries of Somalia and Kenya are among the first countries to benefit from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO's) new Early Warning Early Action Fund (EWEA), reports NaijaAgroNet.

The fund, NaijaAgroNet gathered, ensures quick activation of emergency plans when there is a high likelihood of a disaster that would affect agriculture and people's food and nutrition security.

Also, NaijaAgroNet reports that the fund will be part of a larger Early Warning Early Action System that tracks climate data and earth imaging to determine what areas are at risk of an imminent shock and will benefit from early intervention.

Although at the time of filing this report, FAO has not disclosed how much the benefits to the two countries are worth.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE
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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Hunger looms in Horn of Africa – UN agency

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has pronounced that with continued drought, that another hunger season looms in the Horn of Africa, reports NaijaAgroNet.

FAO also said that the subregion needs agricultural support in order to protect livestock, equip families to plant in rainy season.

According to FAO, countries in the Horn of Africa are likely to see a rise in hunger and further decline of local livelihoods in the coming months, as farming families struggle with the knock-on effects of multiple droughts that hit the region this year.

This is coming as the growing numbers of refugees in East Africa, meanwhile, are expected to place even more burden on already strained food and nutrition security.

NaijaAgroNet gathered from FAO in an official statement made available to correspondent, that currently, about 12 million people across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are in need of food assistance, as families in the region face limited access to food and income, together with rising debt, low cereal and seed stocks, and low milk and meat production. Terms of trade are particularly bad for livestock farmers, as food prices are increasing at the same time that market prices for livestock are low.

Farmers in the region, the UN agency said, need urgent support to recover from consecutive lost harvests and to keep their breeding livestock healthy and productive at a time that pastures are the driest in years. 

Production outputs in the three countries are grim,” part of the statement read.

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Mobile app for EnvironNews debuts

Foremost online environment and development magazine, EnviroNews Nigeria, has launched an Android version of its mobile app, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The mobile app makes it easy and convenient for readers across the world to access the medium’s multimedia news and stories via smartphones.

Commenting on the development, Publisher/Editor, Mr. Michael Simire, said this is a vital first step forward in his team’s determination to ensure a personalised digital experience. 

“Just as we have it on the conventional site, the categories and focus areas are clearly indicated and easily accessible. Some of these are: Agric & Biotech, Cover, Climate Change, Human Settlement, Marine, Water & Sanitation, Sustainable Development, TV Reports, and Science & Tech,” he said.

As said by him, ENews readers and visitors are central to how they developed these services, and their feedbacks have been important in the creation of the mobile app.

“Technological innovation is key in the development of the industry and, as a leading online environment and development magazine, the desire is to be able to provide a platform that makes reading pleasurable for everyone” he said.

The new app, Simire said, is available as 'EnviroNews' via the Google Play Store and is free to download.

According to Simire, the IOS version of the mobile app will follow shortly.

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Anambra concludes plan to commercialise cassava production

The Anambra State government has concluded plans to commercialise cassava production by 2017, reports NaijaAgroNet.

This development, NaijaAgroNet gathered is being put together under the Fadama III additional financing, which is expected to go into value chain additional commercial production of cassava next year.

Commissioner for Agriculture, Mechanization, Processing and Export, Mr. Afam Mbanefo, told participants at a meeting with agro dealers, Chester chairmen, micro finance banks, rice and cassava off-takers on how best to maximize implementation arrangements of the project, stressing that what had been achieved in commercial production of quality, stone free rice, would be replicated in quality production of various cassava products, so that cassava farmers could make more profits.

Mbanefo also said, Governor Willie Obiano was very much committed to taking all aspects of agricultural production in the state to enviable heights, noting that any farmer in the state who was not prepared to maximize and commercialize agriculture, should quit agriculture.

He warned against any form of dishonesty or politics towards the realization of the state’s agricultural revolution, noting that the sector was a sure way of boosting the state’s economy.

The State Project Coordinator for FADAMA, Mr. Patrick Egbueh, said that the forum was intended to bring both the project and the investors together to identify areas that were not working well and effect correction in line with the implementation arrangements of the project.

NaijaAgroNet further gathered that stakeholders in attendance assured on their readiness to collaborate with the farmers in terms of credit facilities, provided the farmers met their conditions.

Ozo Nweke Ozo in Awka/GEE
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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Canada rejoins UN convention to combat desertification

The Canadian government has formally delivered its documentation to re-accede to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), reports NaijaAgroNet.

Canada in an official press statement made available to NaijaAgroNet, Tuesday, said this step is to further demonstrate its commitment to joining world action to slow land degradation and desertification and to mitigate the effects of drought.

According to the Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations, Ambassador Marc-André Blanchard, the link between land degradation and climate change is undeniable.

Canada, Blanchard said, is committed to working with its partners to improve the resilience of developing countries to climate change and environmental degradation, which disproportionately affects women and girls.

Blanchard further said that Canada will work closely with multilateral partners to address poverty, fight inequality and promote sustainable land and resource management.

“The UNCCD is an inclusive body that brings together many diverse voices to tackle complex global issues. In re-acceding to the convention, Canada is taking concrete action to work with multilateral partners on these important challenges,” Ambassador Blanchard said.

NaijaAgroNet recalls that Canada first acceded to the UNCCD in 1995 and formally withdrew in 2014, becoming the only UN member state not party to the convention.

Just as Canada is the sixth-largest contributor to the Global Environment Facility (GEF), which, as the financial mechanism of the UNCCD, currently allocates less than 10 per cent of its $4.43-billion budget to support efforts to combat land degradation.

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LAKE rice makes a debut in Lagos

The Executive Governors of Lagos and Kebbi States, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode and Alhaji Atiku Bagudu have formally unveiled the anticipated Lagos-Kebbi Rice labelled LAKE Rice in Lagos, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Performing this ceremony in Lagos, Wednesday, Gov. Ambode said that the partnership which culminated into the launch was not only designed to ensure food security, but to showcase the ability of Nigeria to become a producing nation.

He also said at the Lagos House that the development was historic for both states and Nigeria, as the rice would not only be sold at highly reduced price, compared to what obtains in the market, but is also very fresh and safe for consumption.

“Today is an historic day for Lagos and Kebbi States. In March 2016, we signed an MOU with an understanding that we, being proudly Nigeria, we want to come out with what is made in Nigeria and what is good in Nigeria. We took all that President Muhammadu Buhari said that we need to grow our food and we decided that we will prove a point and that is what today is all about.

“LAKE RICE is of good quality. The major difference between LAKE RICE and the ones imported is that the imported has a minimum storage of five to six years storage life span, but LAKE RICE is fresh,” the Governor said.

He said the partnership would in the nearest future lead to an expansion of production of the rice, saying that Lagos has the largest consumption market.

Governor Ambode explained that the 50kg will sell for N12, 000, the 25kg would go for N6, 000 and 10kg for N2,500, stressing that for now, an individual would only be allowed to purchase a bag to enable it go round.

He also commended President Muhammadu Buhari for supporting the collaboration between Lagos and Kebbi, just as he disclosed that the Federal Government has donated two rice mills to the State Government to increase production of rice next year.

In his remarks, Governor Bagudu, recollected how the collaboration started with a discussion between him and Governor Ambode during a meeting in Abuja, pointing out that the partnership was a confirmation of both State Governments’ commitment to the agenda of making Nigeria a big market in Africa.

Equally, he said while Kebbi State has comparative advantage in area of rice production, Lagos boasts of the largest consumption market, saying that the LAKE RICE can stand any integrity test in Nigeria.

“Our rice is of quality. I am proud of this joint venture. We can do more with other commodities like Cocoa, Soya beans and Sorghum and I am very glad that we are launching the LAKE RICE today,” Bagudu said.

Earlier, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Food Security, Ganiyu Okanlawon Sanni, who disclosed the process of purchasing the rice, said collection would be allowed after payment at designated banks or through POS, while an individual would only be allowed to buy one bag at a time to make the product reach vast majority of the people.

In Lagos East Senatorial District, Sanni said the rice would be available for sale at Odogunyan Farm Service Centre in Ikorodu; Temu Farm Service Centre in Epe; Naforiji Town Hall in Eredo; Magbon Alade School in Ibeju and SUBEB Premises in Maryland.

In Lagos West, the Special Adviser to the Governor said the rice would be available for sale at LSADA Farm Service Centre, Oko-Baba in Agege; LAISA in Ojo; Coconut House in Mowo; Farm Service Centre, Marina in Badagry and Ikeja Grammar School in Oshodi.

According to him, in Lagos Central, the rice would be available for sale at Agric Area Office in Ajah; LASTMA Works Yard in Adeniji/Freeman, Lagos Island; Alakoto Senior High School, Tolu in Ajegunle; Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere and Mobolaji Johnson Sports Centre (Rowe Park) in Yaba.

He said officials of the Committee set up by government to monitor and be in charge of the sale would be present at all the centres from Tuesday, while payment can be made to bank officials at the centres, after which the product would be given to buyers.

“Slip will be given to each customer willing to buy indicating the quantum of rice the buyer wishes to buy and we will also have officers from the bank at each of the centres where people can make payment and confirmation can be done immediately. Once they pay and we are very sure they have made payment, the bag of whatever quantum they have paid for will be given to them there and then and so we will continue this exercise until we are satisfied that Lagosians are very much satisfied based on our promise,” he said.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Nigerian Army plans cattle ranches nationwide

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai has revealed that the Nigerian Army would be raising up cattle ranches in such a manner that in almost all the divisions, and all the brigades, cattle will be reared, reports NaijaAgroNet.
Gen. Buratai who was represented by the Chief of Army Logistics, Major General Patrick Akem, made this disclosure, Tuesday at the Commissioning of Mogadishu Cantonment New Mammy Market (former Abacha Barracks) in Abuja.
He also disclosed that in keeping up with modern cattle rearing tradition, he sent officers of the Army to Argentina to look at how cattle were reared.
“Argentina has a population of 41 million people, but it feeds about 400 million people around the world with its beef. To take it to the next level, we want to adopt a system where the cattle are not just free ranging coming from Sokoto to Port Harcourt, thereby making their meat tough to eat, the products will soon be coming from our own farms and ranches,” Buratai said.
He pointed out that the Army has created the Barrack Investment Initiative as platform that affords Army family members the opportunity of raising up fishing ponds, vegetable gardens, fruits, livestock, chicken and their eggs.
As said by him, the intention of the Nigerian Army was not just to secure the country, but to contribute in growing the economy of the nation.
“We want to tell our wives that they can live beyond the salaries of their husbands, so we are trying to empower the women in the barracks to be able to form co-operatives, so as to access loans and to a large extent be able to fend for themselves and their families, even without the salaries of their husbands,” he said.

Equally speaking, the Commander Army Headquarters Garrison, Major General John Malu said that the formidable shopping edifice had over 2000 shops, 27 warehouses and a printing press owned by the Nigerian Navy. He added that the services of a reputable private security firm was contracted to handle the security of the market.

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Plastic rice is real says Nigeria Customs, seizes 102 bags of ‘Beat Tomato Rice’

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) declared that its no longer a rumour that plastic rice exist in the country, just as NCS seized some 102 bags of plastic rice branded “Beat Tomato Rice” with no date of manufacture, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The Customs Area Controller for the Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Comptroller Mohammed Haruna, made this disclosure in Lagos, Tuesday in Lagos and said that the commodity was stored for distribution as Yuletide gifts for the public.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), he also said that officers of the unit intercepted the plastic rice along Ikeja area on Monday, adding that a suspect was arrested in connection with the seizure.

“Before now, I thought it was a rumour that the plastic rice is all over the country but with this seizure, I have been totally convinced that such rice exists. We have done the preliminary analysis on the plastic rice. After boiling, it was sticky and only God knows what would have happened if people consumed it.

“I advise those economic saboteurs who see yuletide season as a peak period for nefarious acts to desist from such illegal business. The unit has decided other operational modalities that will make them run for their monies and count their losses,” Haruna insisted.

He described smuggling as a global phenomenon, adding that such act could not be curbed entirely but could be brought to its barest minimum.

Haruna appreciated well-meaning Nigerians who provided the service with prompt information that led to the discovery of the bags of plastic rice.

The controller, however, advised the media to educate the public on the existence of plastic rice, adding that it was no longer a rumour.

Haruna assured the public that the distribution point of the particular plastic rice seized by the unit had been blocked with immediate effect.

He said that investigation was still ongoing and the unit would hand-over the plastic rice to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) for proper investigation.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE with additional reports from NAN
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Friday, December 16, 2016

Guterres confirms Nigeria’s Amina, deputy secretary-general @UN

The newly elected Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), Mr. Antonio Guterres, has confirmed the appointment of the Nigeria’s Environment Minister, Amina Mohammed, as his Deputy Secretary-General, reports NaijaAgroNet.
Speaking through his spokesman, Mr. Stephane Dujarric, the Secretary-General also named the duo of Ms. Maria Viotti of Brazil and Ms. Kyung-Wha Kang of the Republic of Korea into prominent positions at the UN.
“I am pleased to announce that I will be appointing Ms. Amina J. Mohammed of Nigeria as my Deputy Secretary-General, and Ms. Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil as my Chef De Cabinet.
“I also intend to create the position of Special Advisor on Policy, and to appoint Ms. Kyung-Wha Kang of the Republic of Korea to this new role.
“I am happy to count on the efforts of these three highly competent women, whom I have chosen for their strong backgrounds in global affairs, development, diplomacy, human rights and humanitarian action.
“These appointments are the foundations of my team, which I will continue to build, respecting my pledges on gender parity and geographical diversity,” Guterres said.
Mohammed, Nigeria’s current Minister of Environment, served as UN Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser to the outgoing Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on Post-2015 Development Planning.
She was instrumental in bringing about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals.
NaijaAgroNet also reports that before joining the UN, Amina Mohammed had worked for three successive administrations in Nigeria, serving as Special Adviser on Millennium Development Goals.
She provided advice on issues including poverty, public sector reforms, sustainable development, and coordinating poverty reduction interventions.
She is also an Adjunct Professor in Development Practice at Columbia University, and serves on numerous international advisory boards and panels, including the UN Secretary-General’s high-level panel on Post-2015 Development Agenda.
Others include the Independent Expert Advisory Group on the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development and the Global Development Programme of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Born in 1961, and educated in Nigeria and the UK, Mohammed is married and has six children.
Guterres had hinted on Monday after he took the oath of office that gender parity would be top of his agenda as the UN scribe.
He said, “I think that one very important element of the agenda would be to give a clear signal that gender parity is a must and so in the appointments I will be making.
“And the first ones would be announced soon. You’ll see that gender parity will become a clear priority from top to bottom in the UN and it will have to be respected by all.”
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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Women win top 3 Ideas Matter Research Fellowships ...

Women win top 3 Ideas Matter Research Fellowships ...: Gender ICT@ ITRealms : Three women have emerged as the top three in the recently introduced 2016 Ideas Matter Research Fellowship for W...

Sunday, December 11, 2016

UNICEF@70: We’re not tired of bringing succor to world children

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said its not tired of bringing succor to the suffering world children, just as it celebrates seven decades of service to humanity, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The Executive Director, UNICEF, Mr. Anthony Lake made this known as it marks the 70th anniversary of UNICEF founding, saying its seen as celebration of the immense progress made for the world’s children.

This is coming as NaijaAgroNet reports that UNICEF renewed the urgent call to reach millions of children whose lives and futures are endangered by conflict, crisis, poverty, inequality and discrimination.

“UNICEF was founded after World War II to bring help and hope to all children at risk or in need – no matter which country they lived in or what role that country played in the war.  Our mission is no less urgent and universal today. With so many children around the world in so much need, we are recommitting ourselves to delivering results for every child,” Lake said.

The organization, he noted, was established by the United Nations General Assembly to help children in post-war Europe, China and the Middle East; Funded entirely through voluntary contributions from governments, civil society, the private sector and concerned citizens, it rapidly expanded its reach and by 1955 was working for children in more than 90 countries.

Today, he said, UNICEF is the world’s largest children’s organization, working with partners in 190 countries and territories and through the efforts of 13,000 national and international staff to reach every child.

As said by him, UNICEF’s relentless engagement in the world’s toughest places has helped create remarkable progress for children in recent decades. The number of children dying before their fifth birthdays has been more than halved in the past 25 years. While hundreds of millions of children have been lifted out of poverty, just as out-of-school rates among primary-school-aged children have been reduced by over 40 per cent since 1990.

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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Lagos, Kebbi float Lake rice, offer special price for Christmas, New Year

The Lagos State government has concluded plans to sell special rice at N13,000 per 50 kilogram (kg) bag for the Christmas and New Year celebrations, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The government, NaijaAgroNet gathered would use the opportunity to rollout its branded Lake Rice, which is a joint venture between the Lagos and Kebbi States on December 15, 2016.

According to the Special Adviser on Food Security to Gov. Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State, Mr Sanni Okanlawan, confirmed this to NaijaAgroNet, during the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) National Agriculture Stakeholders Summit, saying that sales of the rice would be made at all the 57 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) across the state to ensure proper distribution.

“Lake Rice is the acronym of both Lagos and Kebbi States joint product which will be out to the public on December 15 at the rate of N13,000 per 50kg bag as it is already subsidised by the government. To make it more available, the rice will be sold at the 57 LGAs and LCDAs for easy accessibility and to guard against unwanted persons diverting the product," he said.

Additionally, the SA to Gov. Ambode assured that the state government has put in place a committee that will ensure that Lagosians have the best Christmas celebration, that is "why we are offering the wholesome and well packaged rice.’’

Okanlawan further said that the state had established a Department of Agribusiness, an Agriculture Trust Fund and Commodity Exchange Market to be set up soon.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE

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Nigerian Rice: Sustainable consumption versus production

As 22nd Conference of Parties (COP) comes to a close, REMMY NWEKE examines in this report the sustainability of Nigerian rice production as against its consumption and government efforts to balance it up so far.
Rice Import:
As we have entered ‘ember’ months since September, there is already anticipation of increase in rice consumption in Nigeria, especially towards the end of year which is full of festive activities. This consumption seems to be in variation to sustainability, mostly in local production and consumption versus import of foreign rice brands.

As at the last count, NaijaAgroNet gathered that some 571,000 metric tonnes of parboiled rice from Thailand have arrived Benin Republic, a neighbouring country sharing common border with Nigeria, which has left the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh saddened. His concern was that within a short period, these tonnes of rice will soon be transported to Nigeria. This is coming as another report has alleged that China produced fake rice, which is mixed with plastic for exportation to African countries and of course, Nigeria being most populous among them cannot be spared.

Chinese plastic rice on the prowl:
NaijaAgroNet also reports that China which has a history of making fake food products, now takes to fake rice phenomenon which has been there for a while, according to a reputable English-language newspaper in Korea, The Korea Times. As at January 2011, The paper reported that “This ‘plastic rice’ is made by forming potatoes and sweet potatoes into rice-like shape, then adding industrial synthetic resins,” said a food expert. “Since the rice is different from normal rice, it is hard like stone even when cooked. Moreover, the synthetic resin in it is very harmful to the human body.”

One Chinese restaurant association official had warned that eating three bowls of ‘plastic rice’ is the same as eating one bag of rice. He added that since the rice is very dangerous there would be strict investigation on the rice factory. Till date, no known factory has been closed in China due to this fake rice in plastic.

Goal 12 of 2030 Agenda:
Although President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Paris Agreement on September 22, 2016 at the sideline of the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, which in effect, supports the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), precisely the number 12 of the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations; the global leaders under UN committed to making fundamental changes in the way societies produce and consume goods and services, in order to ensure more healthy human consumption and production patterns are sustainable.

For the purpose of insight, a travel analyst at Jumia Nigeria, Nkem Ndem, had noted that there are five ways Nigerians eat rice, including preparing and consuming it as Tuwo Shinkafa, Masa or Sinasir, Jollof Rice, Kunun Gyada as well as rice and stew cum sauce.

She described rice as one of the most common food in Nigeria with every single ethnic group having a local dish either made from or eaten with rice, attributing this factor to rice being commonly inexpensive thus, an average man’s meal and above all, easy to make. Ndem was emphatic on white rice which she depicted as classic, while recipes and sauce available to locals could be used or eaten with “brown rice or wild rice.”

By the way, there is what is now known as Awba-Ofemili rice and Anaku rice both in Anambra State, while Abakaliki rice comes from Ebonyi, just as there is Ofada rice from the south west to name a few.

Sustainable consumption:
Sustainable consumption, according to Dr. Rebecca Gillaspy of Health Science department at University of Phoenix, entails the use of products and services that have a minimal impact on the environment so future generations could meet their needs. She stressed that when practised to the letter, resources are used wisely and waste products and pollution minimized. The main way this is achieved, she said, is by doing more and better with less. Asserting, “we can find ways to meet our needs and desires without depleting our planet's finite natural resources.”

She also said, this may include carpooling, using renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind power, developing alternative fuel sources, such as biofuels, for our transportation needs and using environmentally friendly clean products. She maintained that practising sustainable consumption could ensure that the environment has resources available long into the future.

Conversely, she noted that in most industrialized and developed nations, consumption patterns are not sustainable, because, their products and services rely on too many natural resources and creation of too many harmful emissions when consumed. For example, most developed countries rely on non-renewable fossil fuels for their transportation needs. Underlining the fact that as more drivers hit the roads and more fuel is consumed, fossil fuel reserves are depleted, and because fossil fuels emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere when they are burned, more consumption means more pollution.

Is Tractor a sustainable rice production implement?
Locally, this could be applicable to the use of Tractors for rice production, which equally consumes fuel with some running on petrol and others on termed ‘gas.’ The most common use of the term "tractors" is known as vehicles used on farms for pulling or pushing agricultural machinery or trailers, for plowing, tilling, disking, harrowing, planting, and similar tasks. Also, there is a variety of farm tractors developed for specific uses to complement the efforts of John Fowler, who pioneered the application of steam power to agriculture in the 1850s. Nowadays, tractors are powered by gasoline.

Though gasoline is a North America term, and is defined as a transparent, petroleum-derived liquid that is used primarily as a fuel in internal combustion engines; consisting mostly of organic compounds obtained by the fractional distillation of petroleum, and enhanced with a variety of additives.

50,000 tractors for Nigeria farmers in 2016:
The owner of Agric Supper Market, Dr Bawa Garba, disclosed last December after meeting with Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) in Abuja, that Nigerian farmers required over 50,000 tractors to meet production demands. He said that because of current economic situation, his firm offered 10,000 tractors, worth some N70 billion. So they are working with RIFAN to meet the need for some 9,000 tractors and implements, which mean the 10,000 tractor will go to one association, but they have given them 4,250 tractors due to their membership which is about 12 million people.

Garba revealed that the meeting arrived at his company asking for only 10 per cent of the cost of the tractor as a down payment, after which they take delivery and stay two months before servicing of the payment by installment spread over 32 months.

Local efforts to feed Africa:
NaijaAgroNet recently reported that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in partnership with Anambra State government is exploring the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) to make the state become Africa’s food basket on rice production. Director, Development Finance Department at CBN, who represented the bank’s Awka controller, Mr. C.M. Sokari, assured the state and participants at ABP session in Awka, Anambra State capital that several interventions have been floated by the government.

NaijaAgroNet recalls that CBN in collaboration with the Federal Government (FG) is diversifying the nation’s economy from crude oil, hence the launch of the programme, he said, would reposition agriculture in the country.

“To fund the programme, the CBN had set aside N40 billion, from the N220 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund for farmers at a single-digit rate of nine per cent,” he said; adding Nigeria, is a known major rice producer with over 20 key rice producing states in the country most of which cultivate during both wet and dry seasons. Hence, rice is one crop in which the country has comparative advantage to easily become self-sufficient, given the huge potentials that exist. He enjoined Nigerians to embrace this programme, as this will ensure that in the next few years Nigeria will no longer be one of the world’s highest importers of rice, but a net exporter of the commodity.

The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mechanization, Processing and Export, Mr Afam Mbanefo, described Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State as an agro-friendly executive, who had supported all the innovations being put in place by his ministry. He disclosed further that the position of the government was to make sure there was a safe playing ground for the farmers in the state to participate in the programme, to retain the state brand and heritage, which is the Anambra State rice, to engage the youths and empower the farmers, even as he assured CBN of cooperation of the farmers and urged the apex bank to extend the ABP to other agriculture sectors.

Experts posit that while substantial environmental impacts from food occur in the production phase, namely agriculture and food processing; households influence these impacts through their dietary choices and habits, which consequently affect the environment through food-related energy consumption and waste generation. NaijaAgroNet gathered that 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year while almost 1 billion people go undernourished and another 1 billion hungry.

Nigerian Customs and battle for rice ban:
As the Nigerian Customs continue the battle to sustain the ban on rice importation, particularly through land borders, and canvassing total ban of imported rice into the country by 2017, it’s noteworthy that as at August 2016, Nigeria's rice imports reportedly dropped by 300,000 Metric Tonnes, according to the research by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), precisely rice imports from US. Just as NaijaAgroNet reports that in three years Nigeria spent $2.4bn on rice importation alone according to the CBN governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, who insisted that dwindling foreign reserve cannot afford continued rice import.

As the countdown continues to 2030, for our societies to produce and consume goods and services without literally harming others, the government of Nigeria along 192 member-states in the United Nations is enjoined to join forces with international organizations, business sector, non-state actors and individuals to contribute to changing unsustainable consumption and production patterns.

These, NaijaAgroNet reports, include through mobilization from all sources of financial and technical assistance to strengthen developing countries’ scientific, technological and innovative capacities to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production.

With the political leaders encouraging the implementation of the 10-year framework of programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production, beginning with all countries taking action, with developed countries leading, as well as taking into account the development and capabilities of developing countries, farmers need to take agriculture very seriously and to involve their children and youths in the venture because of the immense benefits, moreso with technology being part of the evolution, thereby making modern agriculture a money making sector.

And before the Chinese plastic rice overruns Nigeria in the name of foreign rice, the security agencies like Customs, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and NAFDAC must wake up to their avowed responsibilities and save their nations from fake rice.

Although the National Assembly had insisted hitherto on FG keeping to its ban on rice import, the over-sight function of relevant agencies at both borders and ports must be strengthened for common good, if Nigeria must keep to the goal 12 dream by 2030, in line with the tune of President Buhari’s message to world leaders at just concluded 22nd Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) tagged, COP-22 in Marrakech, Morocco.

He highlighted among others, key issues of Nigeria’s unwavering commitment to implementing the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and policy actions aimed at tackling climate change through environmental sustainable efforts.

Stakeholders look forward to seeing the words of Mr. President being matched with relevant action, only then can one say kudos to 2030 agenda.

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