FG Advocates Policies To Attract Youths To Agriculture

By Ruth Tene Natsa

The federal government through the minister of agriculture and rural development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has said that there is need to make huge investment in agriculture which will in turn attract youths into the sector.
The minister who stated this at a National Workshop on a New Agricultural Policy for Nigeria, organised by the National Agricultural Foundation of Nigeria (NAFN), also lamented the low participation of rural dwellers who are supposed to embark on agriculture to feed the nation and increase the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). In his words, “There are those who estimate that by 2025 our population will stand at 450million, making Nigeria the third most populated country on the planet earth, but what is more worrisome is that 75 per cent of this huge population will be living in cities while 25 per cent only will be in the rural areas. Can the 25 per cent feed themselves and the city dwellers? Yes, we if can hasten to lift agriculture to the level of India, China, and Thailand, not to mention the nations of Western Europe.
“To get to that level, we need to make huge investments in land preparation, machinery, seed improvement, farmer education, and encouragement or enticement of younger people into the agricultural terrain”.
In his welcome address, the chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, said that agriculture must be born again in order to end our national shame. “A nation that depends on other nations for its feeding has no right call itself independent. Agriculture must be born again in our country in order to end our national shame. Nigeria has close to 80 per cent of arable land, yet it is a massive net importer of food and other agricultural produce because our peasant farmers are still tilling the earth they inherited from their forefathers with obsolete farming
implements,” he said. Adamu, however, said that there was the need to create a forum to encourage a constant dialogue between farmers and the ministry in formulating agricultural rebirth policies. He also suggested a clear policy on procurement and sale of fertiliser at the right time during the farming season.

Source: http://www.leadership.ng/news/498164/fg-advocates-policies-attract-youths-agriculture

Nasarawa: Farmers Receive Training On Food Security, Climate Change

BY DONATUS NADI

Following efforts to enhance food security in the county, the Fresh and Young Brains
Development Initiative, FBIN, a non-governmental organisation yesterday trained 30 small scale farmers under its grow champions project.
Speaking at the training programme held in Lafia, the state capital yesterday, Chief
Executive Officer and founder of the organization, Bar. Nkiruka Nnaemego said the gesture was aimed at empowering farmers with the necessary knowledge in modern farming techniques and to advocate increased investments in small scale agriculture in the country.
She explained that the FBIN which was founded 2008 was designed to stimulate positive change, promote social and environmental responsibility as well as the spirit of volunteerism in the society and to facilitate intergenerational relationships. Nnaemego who averred that Nigeria remains predominantly an agricultural society, owing to its highly diversified agro-ecological conditions which makes production of wide range of agricultural products possible, stressed the importance of agriculture in the sustenance of the nation’s economy.
The Chief Executive Officer challenged participants at the training to take advantage of the opportunity to improve on their farming activities and commended OXFAM NIGERIA for funding the project.
“Agriculture remains a very important sector of the economy and we must put all hands on deck in improving it especially now that the global oil price has fallen” In a goodwill message at the event, Mr. Ango Adamu who regretted that climate change was affecting the production of food, urged participants to make good use of the opportunity provided by the organization to improve in their farming activities.
LEADERSHIP Friday reports that the event witnessed a display of numerous agricultural products by participants.

Source: http://www.leadership.ng/news/501041/nasarawa-farmers-receive-training-food-security-climate-change

Federal, Kano Govt Partner Coy To Establish N6B Rice Processing Plant

Kano State government and the federal ministry of agriculture has pledged partnership and support for a N6 billion rice processing investment in the State.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who was in Kano for a program on agriculture, has assured that the Federal government would support millers and investors in the rice value chain to ensure that Nigeria becomes self sufficient in rice production and even export.
He said huge potential for rice production exists in the country which he said can feed its growing population and export to earn revenue. The Minister, who made the assertion during an inspection of A.A. Ibrahim Integrated Rice Mill Ltd., at Challawa Kano noted that the rice millers help in reducing poverty among small holder farmers by assisting them to grow from subsistence to commercial production.
He therefore commended the management of A.A. Ibrahim Integrated Rice Mill Ltd. for investing N6 billion in the project, which he noted, is on the verge of completion, promising that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture would assist the company with a rice color sorter to encourage its management. Chief Ogbeh also expressed satisfaction with the company’s zeal to create jobs for Nigerians and disclosed plans by his
Ministry to assist rice farmers across the country to harvest the commodity and sort it without leaving behind sand particles. In his remarks, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje said to encourage agricultural production and avoid wastages of farm produce.

Source: http://www.leadership.ng/news/501036/federal-kano-govt-partner-coy-establish-n6b-rice-processing-plant

IITA/SARD-SC Project Distributes 58 Tons Of Wheat Seeds To Farmers

Within two years of the inception of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture SARD-SC project, the wheat component has mobilized a fast –track seed multiplication program and distributed 58 tons of improved seeds that have been grown over 500 hectares of wheat areas in six sites across two states in Nigeria.
The IITA/SARD-SC Project coordinator, Dr Chrys Ake who said in a statement in Ibadan on Tuesday added that both Kano and Borno State were participating in the project with over 1600 Nigerian farmers. He added that the IITA\SARD-SC wheat initiative is pursuing similar activities in another 11 countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
According to him, the project is funded by the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) and its focus is on raising the productivity and profitability of four commodities: cassava, maize, rice, and wheat to enhance the fortunes of Africa.

ADEBAYO WAHEEB
Source: http://www.leadership.ng/news/501915/iitasard-sc-project-distributes-58-tons-wheat-seeds-farmers

Farmers Seek FG’s Support On Organic Farming

Some farmers on Friday called for the Federal Government’s support in acquiring virgin lands for farming maize and cassava to promote organic farming.
The farmers told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that organic farming was the way to go in developing the country’s food self-sufficiency drive.
Mr Bayo Gboyega, a maize farmer, said that as he prepared for the 2016 farming season, he was preparing a land that had not been farmed on for two years. Gboyega said that he had previously planted cassava on the land and left it to regain its lost nutrients.
“Two years ago, I farmed on two plots of land located in Oke-Aro area of Ogun which I left after harvest. “I wanted the land to regain its lost nutrients; so, when I use it for maize this year, it will be like a fresh land.
“Organic farming do not require fertiliser and that is what most farmers are working toward because that will give a face-lift to agriculture in the country,’’ Gboyega said.
According to Mrs Temitayo Ganiu, a cassava farmer, organic farming will require much more land and that is where the farmers need government’s support.
“At this point, it will be profitable for
government to give us lands so that when we farm it, we can move to another part of the farmland the following year.
“The government should support organic agriculture because it is the best and it will give the original taste to the foods
produced,’’ Ganiu said. Mr Buchi Achikaru said that organic agriculture would enhance productivity and ensure that lands were put to good use.
Achikaru said that so many lands were lying waste because they were not being used. The farmers also called on the government to evenly allocate lands to farmers’ associations. (NAN)

Source: http://www.leadership.ng/news/502643/farmers-seek-fgs-support-organic-farming

Provost Urges Government To Fund Agricultural Policies, Initiatives

The Provost, Federal College of Agriculture, Ibadan, Dr Babajide Adelekan, on Sunday urged the Federal Government to fund agricultural policies and initiatives to achieve national food sufficiency. Adelekan made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan.
The provost also stressed the need for the country to produce enough food to feed its large population as oil prize had crashed. “The good thing is that Nigeria is blessed with arable resources for food production.
We have competent people to implement the policies and initiatives to boost food production.
“All we need is for the government to back up and fund the sector and encourage agricultural institutes and colleges to achieve their mandates,’’ he said.
On the activities of the college, Adelekan said the institute had trained youths, retirees and women as part of effort to produce manpower to boost agriculture. “Apart from direct production of food and tools, we also provide services to people
and groups.
“We offer our services to people who have farms but do not have production facilities; we process and harvest for them and they pay us,” he said. He assured that the college would train more people this year as part of effort to achieve its mandate

Source: News Agency of Nigeria
http://www.leadership.ng/news/503220/provost-urges-govt-fund-agric-policies-initiatives

Food Security is our priority, says Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari said on Saturday that the priority of his administration is to ensure national food security before export of food products. The President said this while contributing to a Presidential Panel Roundtable on Investment and Growth Opportunities at the opening session of Africa 2016: Business for Africa, Egypt and the World at Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
Buhari stressed that Nigeria, being a mono-economy dependent on oil, and with a teeming unemployed youth population, the way out of the current slump in the global oil market, is for the administration to focus on agriculture and solid minerals development.
“The land is there and we need machinery inputs, fertilizer and insecticides”, he said. Reiterating his opposition to the devaluation of the naira, Buhari said Nigeria could not compete with developed countries which produce to compete among themselves and could afford to devalue their local
currencies.
“Developed countries are competing among themselves and when they devalue they compete better and manufacture and export more. “But we are not competing and exporting but importing everything including toothpicks. So, why should we devalue our currency?” the President retorted.
According to him, “we want to be more productive and self-sufficient in food and other basic things such as clothing. For our government, we like to encourage local production and efficiency.” He added that those who had developed taste for foreign luxury goods should continue to pay for them rather than pressure government to devalue the naira.
The President, who expressed optimism that Nigeria would get out of its current
economic downturn, noted that another major problem militating against economic revival is the huge resources deployed toward fighting insurgency and terrorism. He, however, commended the support being received from the international community in the administration’s fight against terrorism as well as cooperation in tracing looted funds stashed away in foreign countries.
Responding to a question on his performance since he assumed office, the President said his administration had been quite focused on securing the country, reviving the economy and stamping out corruption. “The message on corruption has been driven home vividly and Nigerians are very acceptable to the message.”
According to him, those accused of stealing public funds are cooperating by voluntarily providing useful information while investigations and prosecutions are
ongoing. In his opening address at the Forum, Egypt’s President, Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, said Africa needs to concentrate on transforming into knowledge societies using innovation and research.
The President of the African Development Bank (ADB), Akinwumi Adesina, in his message to the event, said: “Africa must think big, act big and develop big.” The Presidents of Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Sudan and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia also participated at the Roundtable. Before departing Egypt, Buhari and his Egyptian counterpart had a bilateral discussion on security, military cooperation, agriculture and solid minerals development. (NAN)

Source: http://www.leadership.ng/news/502975/food-security-priority-says-buhari

World Bank to establish agric. equipment centres for cassava farmers

Dr Adetunji Oredipe, Senior Agricultural Economist with the World Bank on Tuesday said the bank would establish equipment hiring enterprise centres for cassava farmers in Kogi to encourage mechanisation.
Oredipe disclosed this in Lokoja when he led a Task Team on monitoring visit to FADAMA III Additional Financing project sites in the state. He said the Fadama Additional Financing project had the mandate of working with cassava farmers in the state to boost production and supply of raw materials to processing plants with particular emphasis on cassava industries.
The economist said that as part of key activities of the Additional Financing, the World Bank aimed to make mechanisation easier for farmers by enhancing their accessibility to equipment through the centres. He added that “we also have provision for key infrastructure that will enable our cassava farmers to be able to produce enough food, just as we are going to support high quality inputs. “We are also going to support capacity building because if people are in business and don’t know the tenets of business like simple issues of record keeping, it will be disastrous. “All of these will be covered and we will also teach them how to remain together as a group and the advantages of social networking.’’
Oredipe said the body intended to engage scientists as advisory services consultants to work on the fields with the farmers to boost their yields and enable the attainment of the goals of the project within its lifespan.
He commended Kogi Government for being one of the first to pay its counterpart contribution for the project in 2014 and urged the state to pay its 2015 obligation arrears. The payment, he said, would enable the state to fully draw down on the 20 million U.S. Dollars set aside for it.
The agricultural economist said the monitoring visit would among others, enable the team to assess the level of implementation of the agriculture work plan and status of activities on the fields.
Oredipe noted that “as the end of the exercise, we will have the opportunity to exchange ideas with the project officers on how best to improve on what we are doing and foster new relationships in terms of how to move the project forward.’’

Source: http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2016/01/12/world-bank-to-establish-agric-equipment-centres-for-cassava-farmers/

Delta produces 2.2 million metric tones of cassava annually

Chief Austin Chikezie, Delta Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, has said that the state produces an average of 2.2 million metric tonnes of cassava annually.
Chikezie stated this in a document made available to NAN in Asaba.
He said that the state cultivated 140,000 hectares of cassava annually and recorded an average yield of 15.7 metric tones per hectare. The commissioner said that the total registered number of cassava farmers in the state as at December 2014 stood at 57,514. He said that there had been steady increase in cassava cultivation in Delta since 2012 due to the state government’s intervention in the sector. Chikezie said that part of the government intervention was the establishment of the improved cassava multiplication sites at Abraka and Uwheru, in Ethiope East and Ughelli North Local Government Areas respectively.
“Since 1999, the state government has procured over five million bundles of improved varieties of cassava cuttings and distributed to farmers. “To add value to cassava products, three modern cassava processing mills, each with a capacity to produce two tones of cassava per day, are under construction in three different locations now. “The places are Ubulu-Okiti, Aniocha North LGA; Oghara, Ethiope West Local Government Area and Ogbe-Ijoh, Warri South-West Local Government Area,” he said.
The commissioner said that the state government would partner the private sector to ensure speedy completion of the projects, to produce industrial
starch, pellets, flour and chips. Chikezie urged investors to exploit the benefits of the 25 women farmers’ groups and over 100 identifiable farmers’ cooperative societies spread across the state.
The commissioner said that cassava could be grown in all the 25 local government areas in the state. He said that the state government had made provision in its 2016 budget to further increase cassava production in the state. “In 2016 budget, a provision has been made for the multiplication of the new improved pro-vitamin A and Beta Carotene cassava cuttings to be distributed to farmers in the state.”

Source: http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2016/01/31/delta-produces-2-2-million-metric-tones-of-cassava-annually/

PLANTAIN’s HEALTH BENEFITS

Plantain is a very important food crop. It is produced in large quantity all over the world. Plantains are widely eaten and produced in Africa with Congo leading the chart and Nigeria is one of the world largest producer of plantain. FAO (2006).
Plantains are similar to bananas but larger in size. While bananas are termed fruits, plantains are vegetables. Bananas are mostly eating raw, while plantains are usually cooked before consumption. Plantains can be eaten unripe, ripen or over-ripe. When unripe, plantains are usually green in colour, when ripen, they turn yellow. In Nigeria, for example, unripe plantains are usually used to cook plantain porridge, ripe plantains are mostly fried and used as a supplement to main dishes like rice and beans. Over-ripe plantains are used to make snacks like plantain fritters.
Plantain is rich in fiber. A diet rich in fiber can lower your cholesterol level, which may reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetics and obesity. Fiber also helps regulate blood sugar levels. Plantain is also rich in Potassium. Potassium is an essential mineral that helps the circulatory system. Potassium also plays a role in the digestive system and helps support a strong skeleton as well. Plantains are also a good source of vitamin C, A, and B6. Vitamin C helps build up your immune system and scavenge free radicals. It also promotes healthy gums, teeth and skin. Vitamin A can also be found in Plantains. In addition to being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin A plays a vital role in eye health and enhancing skin complexion. A diet lacking in vitamin A can result in difficulty seeing in the dark, dry eyes, eye infection and unhealthy skin.
Plantains are a good source of calcium. Calcium is essential for strong bones, teeth, nails and muscle. Strong bones helps prevent breaks and fractures as well as diseases, such as osteoporosis. Plantains also provide adequate levels of minerals such as iron, magnesium, and phosphorous. Magnesium is essential for bone strengthening and has a cardiac protective role as well.

Shobande Matthew Damilola
Agricultural Extension and Rural Development,
Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta
+23407065074221