Eni keni ti wo ba ni pa
Lati se iranlowo fun o
Oun naa lenikeji re
Toju re……….

See out, how kids
All along the streets in tears
Waiting for hands of care
To wipe their tears
I preach to you
The words of charity

See out, the beggar
Pained, disappointed and stretched
Sleeping under ‘canter’
With all his hope shattered
I sing to you
The songs of charity

“Our parents are dead
and our lives are with them,
leaving us here, life we cannot bear nor dare”
See out, the orphans
I cry to your ears
The lives needing charity

ee out, the dead
Not dead to death
‘Tis ‘cos you failed to help
“We’re dead of money
and care”
You kill, they die, you killer
Not again, we need your charity

Wipe the rhythmic tears of kids
Build a better home than canters
and fill empty coin bowl of beggars
Give a hand, ’tis all we need
Before the breath taking ends
Give a hand, ’tis all they need
I write on your heart
The words of charity

Eni keni ti wo ba ni pa
Lati se iranlowo fun o
Oun naa lenikeji re
Toju re……….
Charity is all I preach.



“Success is not measured by the amount of laurels or riches you have accumulated, but by the amount of positive influence you have on your society” Anonymous


Just like yesterday, on June 3rd, 2016, I celebrated my birthday with the children at Stephens Children Home, Aregbe, Obantoko, Abeokuta, Ogun State. My birthday is here again, and after much has been tried and plans made, facing a lot of challenge; my personal commitment of giving back to the society on a day like this will not fail. 


Therefore, on June 3rd, 2017, Team FUTURE GOAL FOUNDATION will be out to fulfil its mandate by celebrating MATTYDAMMY’s birthday at Cheshire Home, Poly Road, Eleyele, Ibadan by 2pm with the theme: HELP”Success is not measured by the amount of laurels or riches you have accumulated, but by the amount of positive influence you have on your society” Anonymous ONE SAVE ALL


I cherish gifts a lot but the greatest gift I expect from everyone on a day like this is to join me in the celebration by:

1) Putting on the branded shirt that goes for #2000

2) Helping and showing love to somebody in need

3) #tag: #FGF #helpOneSaveAll

4)Preaching love for one another and peace


I hope I haven’t requested for too much for a birthday gift?


For further information and support, Please Call 07065074221


Thanks in anticipation!


SHOBANDE Matthew Damilola

Team Lead: FGF


The students of the Federal University of Agiculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), yesterday took to the street to protest the negligence of the management of the institution and the government on several issues that have made life so difficult for the students. As a student of FUNAAB, I have seen and gone through a lot, which I will to talk about now.
In 2011, I was admitted it a home, beautiful paradise of greeness and peace, then University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (UNAAB). But in 2012, the management of the University had a major change (I was present at the official handing over ceremony).

It all started with the electronic examination (E-exam) process where lots of irregularities and errors occurred. It was disheartening for me because I scored 42 and 41 in two courses I know and taught others (FST201 and STS201) and all we heard was computer error. The university Management Committee on Transportation (MANCOT) bus services was stopped for the student residing in Obantoko, Abeokuta (40% of the university student) and as time passed, those staying in camp, Isolu and gate were not enjoying the service of the buses due to inadequate number of buses to meet up the increasing number of students. Unlike before, no new bus was purchased in two years and the old ones were poorly managed.

The peace in FUNAAB disappeared as theft and armed robbery kept increasing. Student living around School Gate, Kofesu, Oluwokesi, Isolu and Camp in the Alabate area where the university is located, were robbed of their valuables, day and night, especially between september 2015 and August 2016. Yet the university management did nothing about it (are student living off camp not the school property?). In 2013, two young and promising student were killed by a reckless driver due to the management’s failure to make speed breaker on the rehabilitated Alabata road. Another lady (Late Mariam Atere) was also knocked down by a vehicle and the School Health Centre failed to attend to her until we lost her, so many other similar issues occurred, yet nothing was done.

The Green and beautiful campus which both students and staffs worshipped, celebrated, adored and took pride in are now lost to history. The well kept lawns have turned to forest to hunt snakes and rodents in raining season, and desert of burnt grasses in dry season. The class rooms now look like a deserted town hall with broken seat, bad public address system, epileptic power supply and all the seriousness are history. Transportation in FUNAAB grew worse, the unversity calendar was altered (utimate search for calendar), lecture not starting until four weeks, time-table irregularity and search, result error and delay, Senate Waver was cancelled, poor laboratory, increasing tuition fee and extortion and there is no hope ahead. Yet, they ask us to be violent free.
Internal strike altered academic activities, from SSANU to ASU to NASU, all this has tarnished the name the founding fathers built. No wonder FUNAAB has not been in a good place from 2013 in the Webometric University Ranking where we used to be 2nd. Yet the management is doing nothing.

On Thursday 18th of August 2016, when we could not bear all the years of suffering, we all cried out and took to the street in a peaceful protest and what we are getting is gun shot at one of us (Taiwo Abisoye), tear gas, beating, mass illegal arresting of students all these by The Nigeria Police Force, detention, unfair judgement. “Nigba ti ‘koko n se su, koseni to gbo o, odo wa n gun yan, iyen ni ariwo ba ta o” (when the pot was cooking yam, nobody heard. Now the mortal is pounding the yam and noise all around). Let those who have ears, let them hear the cry of FUNAABites saying; “no, not more”×70.jpg

I used to boast of being a FUNAABite in those days not now. I poured out my heart cry in a poetry chat “TELL OLORI OKO”. I love the school Anthem:

We have a vision great and clear
For the masses far and near
A school of farming, Science and Skill
To feed the land we till
Research, test and learning for wisdom, we’re yearning

Glory of day
Forward upward, we shall ever sail
Beacons of our father land
To success we will sail
Labouring, toiling, upward
We shall never fail

The nature’s secret we will find
As offering to mankind
We’re aiming at sound scholarship
And academic leadership
We have all needed potentials and basic essentials

Glory of day
Forward upward, we shall ever sail
Beacons of our father land
To success we will sail
Labouring, toiling, upward
We shall never fail



Nigerian Farmers Throw Weight Behind Biotechnology

By Gabriel Olawale
The National Vice President of the All Farmers Association
of Nigeria, Mr. Chris Onwuka , has condemned those
campaigning against biotechnology in the country as he
asked them to come up with scientific evidence to back
their stance.
Speaking at a Stakeholders meeting in Abuja recently, he
said “a group came and were telling us recently that
biotechnology is not good. I asked them to show us
scientific evidence but they could not,” he told other
“The truth is that without biotechnology we cannot feed
ourselves. What we farmers need is more yield. We already
have a regulatory agency just as there is NAFDAC. It is their
job to tell us what is good and what is not good. They are
capable,” he added.
Also at the meeting were representatives of the academia
from all geopolitical zones of the country, International
Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the Consumer
Protection Council, Genetics Society of Nigeria and the
Nigeria Agricultural Society among others.
Mr. Chris Onwuka said “as the reality of a rapidly
burgeoning population stares Nigeria in the face, the
arguments for and against the adoption of agricultural
biotechnology in Nigeria as a potential solution to stem a
likely food sufficiency crisis has been top on the agenda.
Onwuka said the unequal distribution of technology
between the developed world and developing countries
like Nigeria consistently make it unnecessary to compare
their priorities with ours.
“By 2030, Nigeria’s population will have crossed 250
million. Without a technological intervention, and with
continuous decrease in arable land due to urbanization,
desertification and erosion, farmers’ yield are only going to
He added that the challenge before Nigeria is not just
about volume of food being produced but also about its
quality as well. “Nutritional efficiency is one of the hurdles
we are not likely going to be able to overcome even in the
medium to long term with conventional methods. Rural
populations depend on a restricted number of staple foods
because of their purchasing power and this keeps them
excluded from a host of nutrients that are important to
their physical health.
“These are some of the areas that companies like
Monsanto and agricultural research institutes in the
country are working to create nutrition enhanced seed
varieties as well as seeds with drought and pest tolerance
to help farmers maximize yields and ensure nutritional
balance even for the poorest in our communities.
He added that for the most part, those against the adoption
have driven their campaign mainly around calls for a
reversal of the Act establishing the National Biosafety
Management – an Act which the country spent almost a
decade to pass into law- ostensibly as a means to halt the
country’s biotechnology initiatives.
“Without an agency to regulate, every development in that
direction will certainly be truncated. In addition to the
NBMA, another entity that anti-GM campaigners have been
cast into the role of an enemy is the America-based
Agricultural company, Monsanto. ”
The farmer representative said sometimes it becomes
difficult for people to separate the fight against
biotechnology and the fight against Monsanto, “clearly,
some of these campaigners actually do not even know that
several research institutes across the country are seriously
engaged in biotechnology research and may soon have
their own seeds in the market.
While noting that some of the campaigners are appealing
to nationalist sentiments, Onwuka said some of the
important details many of the campaigners here in Nigeria
do not tell those they recruit to join them is that for
instance on June 29 this year, 107 Nobel Laureates, out of
whom only ten were not from the sciences, signed a
petition against the anti-GMO campaign.
“That singular event marked a significant in the decades
long call for a halting of agricultural biotechnology. In the
letter addressed to the United Nations and world leaders,
the Laureates described the campaign led mainly by Green
Peace, the multi-million dollar organisation spearheading
most of the global efforts against GMOs, “…a crime against
“It will be hard for all 107 to stake reputations they had
built over decades for a technology which they were not
sure was tested to meet all standards.
He added “their position is following series of
denouncements of the anti-GM movement by former key
figures from within Greenpeace itself.
A case in point is that of Patrick Moore, a founding member
of Greenpeace, who served for nine years as President of
Greenpeace Canada and seven years as a Director of
Greenpeace International.
“He has been a leader in the international environmental
field for over 30 years. Over time, he has come to realize
that the facts did not support many of the opposition
campaigns he had worked on through Greenpeace and is
now a staunch supporter of agricultural biotechnology.
Onwuka said another case is that of Stephen Tindale, who
was for six years the head of Greenpeace UK. In his words,
“The reason I’ve decided to speak out on GM now is
because I think it is necessary for people like me who’ve
opposed it to say things have changed… The overwhelming
majority of scientists think that it is safe. It is, in my view,
morally unacceptable to stand out against these new
Whilst they are quick to make reference to the report of the
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) which
described Glyphosate (a chemical used against weeds in
GM farms) as a “probable” carcinogen, they never get
around to mentioning that the IARC is only one of 4 (four)
WHO programmes that are concerned with chemicals and
cancer research and is the only one out of the four to
classify glyphosate as such.
As a matter of fact, a joint Food & Agricultural Organisation
and WHO issued in May 2016 clearly stated that
“glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to
humans from exposure through the diet.”
As a matter of fact, several reports issued after the IARC
reports, notable among which are those from the German
Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (2015); the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (October 2015); The
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Nov 2015; and
Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency, April 2015
all agree on glyphosate’s safety.

Source: Vanguard News

African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) Cement Ties With Partners

The African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) project has
stepped up efforts in cultivating and fostering the right
partnerships in its cardinal aim of reducing the cassava
yield gap in Africa.
The ACAI project team from inception realized the
importance of partnerships, and is sparing no effort in
ensuring effective collaboration among partners from the
experimental phase to the development, and use of the
tools that will support appropriate management of
cassava to realize the crop’s fullest potential on farmers’
The project has engaged key actors in Nigeria and Tanzania
ranging from farmers, researchers, extension services,
development workers, processors as well as input dealers
notably fertilizer manufacturing companies.
Dr Abdulai Jalloh, ACAI Project Coordinator , said the main
aim is to establish contact among relevant actors for
considerations for learning and information sharing that
will benefit the participating partners associated with ACAI.
The Africa Soil Health Consortium in collaboration with the
Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI)
(partners under ACAI) is leading the engagement of key
stakeholders in target countries as the project establishes
cassava clusters.
Dr Jalloh noted that even though the entry point of ACAI is
to address yield gap, it is imperative for strategic
considerations of the cassava value chain and inclusiveness
of all concerned.
According to him, ACAI is conscious of the mistakes of past
interventions where bottlenecks were considered in
isolation irrespective of other existing ones and even those
that could occur as a result of concentrating on only one
He emphasized that ACAI would direct efforts towards
reducing the yield gap, which would eventually increase
cassava production while ensuring impacts along the value
chain with a view to having a sustainable improvement in
cassava production, processing, and utilization, and impact
on overall economic development of individuals,
communities, and countries.
Mr James Watiti of CABI, who is leading the establishment
of cassava value chain clusters, emphasized that it was
very crucial to bring all stakeholders together and hold a
meaningful conversation in an open manner.

Source: Vanguard News

Agricultural Promotion Policy Will Focus On Closing Demand — Supply Gaps

The Minister of of Agriculture & Rural Development,
Audu Ogbeh, has said that inability to meet domestic
food requirements and inability to export at quality
levels required for market success are two major gaps in
the country’s agriculture today.
Speaking ahead of the the
official launch and public
presentation of the Agricultural
Sector Roadmap (the Green
Alternative), Agricultural
Promotion Policy (2016 – 2020),
earlier scheduled for Monday in
Abuja, Ogbeh said it has
become imperative to “refresh
our strategy” to tackle these
two issues head on.
The minister explained that the
policy of the past government ,
Agricultural Transformation
Agenda (ATA) focused on how to
make Nigeria’s agriculture more
productive, efficient and effective.
“It set a target of creating 3.5 million jobs by 2015;
generating foreign exchange, and reducing spending on
food imports. Among its key achievements was a
restructuring of the federal fertilizer procurement
“ATA, however, also faced challenges and did not deliver
on all the targets identified. For example, Nigeria still
imports about $3 to $5 billion worth of food annually,
especially wheat, rice, fish and sundry items, including
fresh fruits.
“As a result, Nigeria is not food secure. Wastage levels
remain high in production areas, reducing supply of
feedstock to processing factories, requiring them to keep
importing supplies. The net effect is limited job growth
across the agricultural value chain from input production
to market systems, and continued use of limited foreign
currency earnings to import vast quantities of food.
The Minister said the policy and strategic focus is now on
how to build on the initial progress made, and transition
Nigeria to a new plane in terms of agribusiness
“That will be the focus of the proposed new policy
regime. That new policy’s primary focus will be on
closing the demand – supply gaps between crop and
livestock production. Gap closing will also include
tackling related input, financing, storage, transport and
market access issues present in key value chains.
“Nigeria is facing two key gaps in agriculture today: an
inability to meet domestic food requirements, and an
inability to export at quality levels required for market
success. The former problem is a productivity challenge
driven by an input system and farming model that is
largely inefficient. As a result, an ageing population of
farmers do not have enough seeds, fertilizers, irrigation,
crop protection and related support to be successful.
“The latter challenge is driven by an equally inefficient
system for setting and enforcing food quality standards,
as well as poor knowledge of target markets. Insufficient
food testing facilities, a weak inspectorate system in the
ministry, and poor coordination among relevant federal
agencies serve to compound early stage problems such
as poor knowledge of permissible contaminant levels.”
Audu Ogbeh added that as productivity improves
domestically and standards are raised for all Nigerian
food production, he said export markets will also benefit
impacting positively on Nigeria’s balance of payments.
He explained that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture &
Rural Development (FMARD) in consultation with
partners has identified an initial pool of crops and
related activities that will be Nigeria’s path to tackling the
identified gaps.
“First, the ministry will prioritize improving productivity
into a number of domestically focused crops and
activities. These are rice, wheat, maize, fish
(aquaculture), dairy milk, soya beans, poultry,
horticulture (fruits and vegetables), and sugar.
“Nigeria believes that the gap can be closed by
partnering closely with private investors across farmer
groups and companies to develop end to end value
chain solutions. These chains will receive facilitated
government support as they make deep commitments to
engaging a new generation of farmers, improving supply
of specialized fertilizers and protection chemicals, as
well as wider scale use of high yielding seeds.
He said the country will work with investors to sharply
improve the distribution system for fresh foods so as to
reduce time to table, reduce post-harvest losses, and
overall improve nutritional outcomes by lowering of
diabetic risk and stunting risk among others.

Source: Vanguard News


It is a common saying that, some people are born with golden spoon, some people with silver spoon, some people with bronze spoon, some with wooden spoon, some with no spoon while some people were born with neither a mouth nor a hand to hold the spoon. I Oluwadamilola, I was born with a silver spoon, but my silver spoon is now broken and I now live with a wooden spoon. I have sent for the smith to help me fix my broken spoon and very soon he will come, earlier than expected.

On a beautiful perfect morning I woke up on the right side of the bed. Although I had not eaten anything from the previous night, I took my bath and set out for the day job without breaking my long fast. The day was bright and clear, though my last Naira note was dropped to the bus driver as I entered school with nothing left on me.

As I was leaving the school car park going to the lecture hall, my eyes caught a pretty lady dressed in a tight pink dress complemented with an attractive make-up. The shape of this lady robbed my eyes of sight, all I could see were her bursts, hips and pretty face. I stood lustfully till I couldn’t see her again.

I got to the lecture hall so happy with a smiling face. I enjoyed every bit of the day, I played happily and took part in every activity of the day. I was happy like every other day. Though my stomach was empty the expression of joy in my face was strong. I can’t really say why, I was just very happy.

Around 4pm on this very day, I started feeling some cramps in my stomach and the worms in my stomach started praying me for food. My smiling face remembered I had not eaten any food since the previous night and I remembered that I had no money in my pocket to go back to my house after the day work. I was about to think of my ordeal when I saw again the pretty lady I had seen earlier in the morning. This time she was dressed in a blue trousers with a jumper top. Her well carved hips and twisting waist enchanted my eyes that I forgot my worries. She looked at me from afar and walked toward my direction, only for a guy who interrupted and then took her away. I stood agocked wishing she came to me, hugged me and gave me a cool peck.

I am very proud (though I’m working on my pride) and I will never compromise on my stand. I needed money badly, I was hungry and needed to get back to my house but I was not willing to beg. I beat my pride and spoke to three friends who I believed could have helped my situation but I was disappointed, embarrassed and surprised to get ‘NO’ from them all. I guess the joy they saw in me made them not to believe me. The worms in my stomach resumed their lovely song of hunger as I was thinking of how to get back home. Yet I was smiling and happy like a honey eating baby.

The day was almost over, night was drawing near and shadow of the evening filled the sky above, yet my mouth had not tasted anything (not even water) and I didn’t know how to get back home. I wasn’t forming happy, I was indeed happy. When the tunnel got darker and the road seem longer, I concluded on using the opportunity to study over night in school. It was really an opportunity.

Around 8:00pm of this particular day, I entered Anenih Hall1, got a seat at a cool corner of the hall. I laid my head on the desk, and I took a nap in preparation for the over night study. And after thirty minutes, I brought out some book to start read but my eyes wouldn’t see anything for next twenty minutes. My stomach worms resumed their melody of hunger, I laid my head on the desk again for another ten minutes.

On raising my head up, what I saw shocked me and kept my stomach worms mute. The lady I had seen twice during the day walked into the hall like a bride going to her groom. I was startled and dumbfolded, as she entered. Though she was dressed in a simple lemon dress, no make-up and her hair well packed; her beauty travelled fast through the rays of light to my weary eyes. She had in her hands a food flask and a bottle of water, this made me to salivate, something in my heart kept telling me ‘my time has come’. Her beauty captured my heart as she sat on a seat in front of mine(about 5metres away) just beside a young man who was not aware of her presence.

I started out to read my book but my eyes could not go off this beautiful lady. After about 1hour of looking at her (every five minutes), she caught me and our eyes met. I was shocked and happy at the same time, our eyes were fixed for another two minutes, she smiled at me (her lips looked like she was blowing me a kiss) and she later took her eyes off me. I was happier than before as my eyes kept looking at her and the food flask under her desk. I was sure my time had come as we both glare and smile at each other every five minutes. This time, my stomach worms were quiet in respect to the beauty around and probably the sight of the food flask.

Two hours passed, the smiles kept flowing between she and I. I was shocked again when the guy who took her away in the afternoon got to her seat, shook her and took the food as well as the water away. My eyeballs almost popped out of their socket as I opened my eyes wide looking at both of them as they smiled. My whole body felt the disaster, I was disappointed and all I could do was to lay my head on the desk.

The pain of hunger became unbearable for me that I became so uncomfortable. As I lifted my head I saw this lady smiling at me, I wonder what she was thiinking of. My body could not take it any longer, I had not tasted anything for the almost 32hours. I could neither cry nor smile, my eyes could neither see her beauty nor read the books before me. I was hopeless, waiting for the worst to happen, probably I would faint.

In my pain, the beautiful lady stood from her seat and walked straight toward me with a smiling face. This kept me wondering, as the pain in my stomach increased. She stood right in front of me and smiled profoundly. Unknown to me, the guy who had taken the food flask and water from her was seated just behind me. She called his name, smiled and went back to her seat. I was highly disappointed and felt ashamed, I called myself the most foolish man of that day and the worms in my stomach relished their anger on the walls of my stomach.

I could not take the pain in my stomach again, I could not. I stood up, hid my pride and went straight to her seat to ask the guy seated right beside her for twenty Naira to buy biscuit. I was glad when he brought out fifty Naira from his pocket, gave it to me and told me to keep the change. I was so happy as I was eating the biscuit with pure water. It was a christmas party in my stomach.

On several occasions, I have had to go about in school with empty stomach, go for night classes because I don’t have transport fare, take garri for days; yet, I have never given up, I have never been lazy, I have never been sad, I have never compromised, I have never missed a class or church, I have never failed to study hard, I have never lost my faith, I never took the easy and tricky way. ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’. I will never give up and I will always be focused and happy.

With the fact that my silver spoon had broken, I am feeding fine. Today I am one of the best among my peers, I am growing bigger and getting better, and my name is waxing stronger. I can see the blacksmith come closer to mend my broken silver spoon, yes, earlier than expected.

“Poverty will make some people poorer and motivate some people to be rich while wealth will make some people so comfortable that they become poor and inspire some people to become richer” S. M. Damilola(2016).

“That, that is, is. That, that is not, is not. That, that is, is not that, that is not. Is that not so?” K. Adebayo (2016).


Animal-Man Relations

It is said that a Fulani man will rather part with his son than part with his cattle. This I have heard on several occasions, but its validity was not clear to me until I had a personal experience I would like to talk about now.

During my Farm Practical Year programme in Iwoye-Ketu, Imeko-Afon Local Government Area of Ogun State, a yoruba town that has a high percentage of Fulani cattle rearers; I was working alone on the fruit vegetable plot allocated to my group. The plot was located close to a swampy land that holds water whenever it rains, thereby turning the swampy land into a temporary lake. The water in this temporary lake served as irrigation water for our farm and as a source of water to nomadic cattle.

On this faithful day, I stayed longer on the farm to ensure that I completed the preparation of land for the planting of Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) and fluted Pumpkin (Telfaira occidentalis). While I was busy with my work, a herd of cattle came over to this temporary lake to drink water. The cattle were of large number that I could not count and they were of different sizes.

To my surprise, I saw the fulani man leading the cattle giving water to the fattest cattle of the herd. He would fill a eva bottle with water and put it in the mouth of the fattest cattle. He repeated this for about ten times. He was so passionate doing it.

After the cattle had drank to satisfaction, something that I would never had believed if anybody had told me happened. It was just like a dream, I was unbelievable but ‘oju koro ki n pa oju koro je’ (what you see with your eyes can never be a lie/false). This Fulani man filled the same bottle he had used for the cattle with the dirty water, put it in his own mouth and drank from it. He later resumed giving water to this cattle.

When I saw this, I was highly irritated, I could not fathom what I saw. Then I started worrying, ‘how will I tell people about this?’, ‘will they ever believe?’. I would not have believed if I was told too.

The following day when all other student were on the farm, the Fulani man and his herd of cattle came again and what I had seen the previous day was repeated. Swiftly, I called the attention of everyone to it which made some people surprised, some were not moved while some paid no attention.

I have learnt some things from animals this days that I had to sit back and ask myself, ‘if animals are the human of our world and human the animals, what would we have and how would our world be?’. I learnt a great lesson from my personal experience which I penned in one of my articles: ‘THE CARING DUCK’ (Read:

The relationship between the cattle and any Fulani man is a bond that is glued by a strong adhesive.

Treat the animals right
Show love to the animals
We all own the world together.
We are inter-related.

SHOBANDE, Matthew Damilola

‘Tomato Ebola’: Varsity to produce 800,000 tonnes of tomatoes

Alexander Okere, Benin
The management of the Benson Idahosa
University, Edo State, on Wednesday said that it
has concluded plans to produce 800,000 tonnes of
tomatoes to cushion the effects the shortage of
the fruit in the country.
The statement came nearly 24 hours after the
Federal Government announced that the pest,
Tuta absoluta, also known as “Tomato Ebola”, had
invaded six states.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural
Development, Mr. Audu Ogbe, had on Tuesday
explained that the pest, which was responsible for
the massive destruction of tomatoes in farmlands,
had spread to Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kaduna,
Plateau and Lagos.
The Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Ernest
Izevbigie, explained during a press briefing in
Benin that the tomatoes would be produced
annually by the institution’s Faculty of Agriculture.
He stressed that emphasis would be placed on
quality and quantity, during production in order to
boost food security.
Izevbigie said, “We are making an audacious
statement that Benson Idahosa University is
poised to produce 800,000 tonnes of tomatoes to
ameliorate the present shortage in the supply of
tomatoes in Nigeria in the next one year.
“We are at a risk of food insecurity; that is what is
happening now. If you have food security, you will
have plenty of food available. But food security in
this country is being threatened.”
On the reported attacks by Fulani herdsmen in
several states, the vice chancellor, noted that the
university also had the capacity to cultivate grass
through the use of technology.
Izevbigie faulted the call for the importation of
grass, which he said could put pressure on the
naira and pose health risks due to soil
He noted that, with the abundance of land, Nigeria
could be self-sufficient in forage crops production,
adding that the soil and conditions were highly
suitable for the production of forage crops.

‘Tomato Ebola’ hits six states – FG

Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja

The Federal Government on Tuesday said the pest,
Tuta absoluta, popularly known as ‘Tomato Ebola’,
which is responsible for the massive destruction
of tomato in farmlands, had invaded six states in
It also disclosed that Nigeria spent about N80bn
($400m) annually importing tomato paste, adding
that many of the imported products were
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural
Development, Mr. Audu Ogbeh, who said this
during a press briefing in Abuja, stated that the
report that tomato processing factories had
mopped-up tomato fruits in Nigeria was
unfounded and untrue.
According to him, the highly reproductive nature
of the tomato pest coupled with the favourable
environment and lack of management knowledge
for containment resulted in its spread like a wild
fire without any challenge. This development had
led to the destruction of tomato fruits in Jigawa,
Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Plateau and Lagos.
Ogbeh, however, stated that the Federal
Government had started consulting with states
and experts in other to fashion out measures to
tackle the pest.
He said, “The pest can also attack even pepper and
Irish potato. So we are confronting something
quite serious. But the good thing is that we are
tackling it right now as experts will commence
work immediately. We are bringing the
commissioners and governors of states to jointly
attack this pest, which, if not dealt with, will create
serious problems for food security in our
He stated that the experts had, however, offered
some varieties of tomato that grow well in the
western part of the country as alternatives.
On the amount spent on importing tomato paste,
the minister said, “We have two processing plants
for tomato paste in Nigeria, Erisco and Dangote,
and their capacities are huge. We welcome their
arrival because our annual import bill of tomato
paste is about $400m and it is a good sign that we
can now produce here and make money for our
Proffering measures that could be used to check
pests as well as manage pesticides in Nigeria,
CropLife International, a group of agro-
professionals, advocated the use of hazard-based
approach rather than a risk-based methodology.
The group, in a communique issued at the end of
a two-day West and Central Africa Hub and
Regulatory Workshop in Abuja, also called for the
promotion and adoption of relevant
biotechnologies in farming activities.
In the communique, it insisted on the need for
safe and responsible use of pesticides as well as
safe management of empty pesticide containers.
During the workshop, CropLife got the support of
the Senate towards enacting of a pesticide
legislation to mitigate the problem of misuse and
address importation of pesticides including
marketing, storage, application and use, among
other provisions.