USAID to prioritise business opportunities for rice, maize, soybean

Source: Premium Times

The Senior Agricultural Economist, Office of Economic Growth and Environment, USAID Nigeria, Charles Iyangbe, says the organisation will prioritise business opportunities for rice, maize, soybean and cowpea.

Mr Iyangbe made this known in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja.

He said this would be done in partnership with the USAID Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services Activity with the support from the Foundation for Partnership Initiative in the Niger Delta (PIND).

It said it would enable smallholder farmers and Micro, Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (MSMEs) to better understand the opportunities abound in value chain commodities through to enhance their incomes and improve livelihoods.

According to the statement, this will be aimed at building the capacity of MSMEs to deliver extension and advisory services to value chain stakeholders and strengthen linkages between agricultural research institutions.

“The activity collaborates with federal and state governments and leverages the power of Nigerian entrepreneurship to facilitate learning, replication and scale around alternative models of extension to measurably increase productivity.

“This will improve the incomes and nutritional status of two million smallholder producers in Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Kebbi and Niger states,’’ he said.

He said the activity works would focus on the information and service needs of the “average” farming household – the representative of majority of smallholders within the target value chains who produce the greater part of the production.

Mr Iyangbe said the workshop was attended by senior government officials from the federal and states government, USAID Nigeria, development partners.

Others include key private sectors companies and investors, universities, research institutions, producer groups, lead farmers, aggregators, processors and others engaging in the commodity value chains in Nigeria.

Reinvigorating coffee business

Source: The Nation

Coffee is a source of livelihood for more than 12 million households in Africa, says the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI), a United Kingdom-based organisation.

Over 38 percent  of the population of Burundi, 23 per cent of  Tanzania, 22 per cent of Uganda, 17 per cent of Côte d’Ivoire and 14 per of Ethiopia, for example, depend on coffee farming. However, Nigeria has not been recognised since the crop production has, for over two decades, been on a downward spiral.

The global market for coffee shops is projected to reach $237.6 billion by 2025, according to Also, coffee shops are going to become icons of urban neigbhourhoods. Globally, agro entrepreneurs are pushing for increased domestic coffee consumption.

Driving the product in Nigeria is the Chief Executive, Happy Coffee Nigeria, Princess Adeyinka Tekenah, whose mission is to ensure that Nigerians have access to local coffee.

In 2015, miffed that though Nigeria grew coffee, people were drinking imported products, she launched Happy Coffee, an indigenous coffee brand.

From the pop-up café, the company started bagging its house blend, which is freshly roast coffee from farmers. She is among a new breed of entrepreneurs hoping to cash in on coffee. They are betting that wealthy Nigerians will cultivate a cafe culture that can also spur consumption of local crops.She is supporting research across the industry supply chain, from the farm to production.

Princess Tekenah sees the next wave of growth in the international coffee industry coming from Nigeria and wants to play a role in driving the growth. She  has been part of a comprehensive stakeholder consultation study to understand the problems of coffee industry and also to find ways and means to get coffee farmers out of deep distress and debt.

But there is no one super bullet that can kill the pain of coffee farmers, because the challenges they face are too many.

While coffee has the potential of a key priority agricultural commodity in Nigeria, there aren’t many policies to support the development of the sector.

At present, spending on coffee, according to Fitch Solutions, is 2.5 percent, compared to tea or cocoa, which are forecast to account for close to 40 per cent of Nigeria’s non-alcoholic drink spending by 2023.

According to it, consumer coffee spend for Nigeria is set to hit $286.8million in 2023 Despite this, farmers are not tapping the potential as the produce has seen a significant dip in production and export.

There are two coffee varieties in Nigeria – Arabica and Robusta. Arabica is grown on the Mambilla,Taraba State; Jos, Plateau State and Obudu in Cross Rivers State.

Robusta is produced in Abia, Osun, Ondo Ekiti, Kogi, Edo, Plateau, Kwara, Ogun, Oyo, Benue, Delta, Nasarawa, Niger, Kaduna, Lagos, Rivers, Ebonyi and Enugu states.

However, analysts believe a competitive coffee market will boost local production.

Despite lack of data, Princess Tekenah claimed that many farmers were involved in its cultivation. Therefore, improving the coffee sector could have a positive impact on development as well as the socio-economic conditions of vulnerable small farmers whose income are dependent on the crop.

In collaboration with AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited (AFEX), a private commodities exchange firm, Princess Tekenah said her company was establishing a data platform to help coffee farmers. Also, she claimed that the High Commissioner of Uganda in Nigeria Ambassador Nelson Ocheger had promised to support the sector with expertise.

Princess Tekenah said a bill for an act to establish National Tea and Coffee Development Council had passed second reading at the Senate.

The bill, sponsored by Yusuf Yusuf (APC Taraba Central), seeks to promote growth, production and marketing of tea and coffee. If passed into law, it would enhance the rapid diversification of the sector.

To boost competitiveness, she suggested that the government had to develop a master plan to revitalise the sector.

Oloni of Eti-Oni, Osun State, Oba Dokun Thompson, was confident that smallholder farmers could raise coffee quality.

He advocated that the government, work alongside farmers on training – from agricultural practices and farm renovation to post-harvest techniques.


This, he said, would help farmers to achieve higher yields and quality standards that would open up opportunities for them to secure premiums from certification and specialty markets, while lowering their production costs.

Oba Thompson, who has been working  with  international partners to explore ways for farmers to bring in higher returns, said though Nigeria produced some of the most valuable specialty coffees, farmers got only a small share of the profits.

He saw a similar thing in the cocoa sector. Since then, he has provided a springboard for farmers to get better prices for raw beans, learn about branding and consumer marketing, and develop business partnerships in foreign markets.

He said there was the possibility for producers to sell their coffee as the market remain untapped, stressing that many farmers were supplying high-quality arabica coffee. According to him, the  geography of Nigeria is ideal for coffee cultivation. In the Southwest, coffee and cocoa represent two of the most important value chains, where they are grown by more than 10,000 farmers and support thousands of jobs.

Nevertheless, the stock of coffee trees is aging and, coupled with a changing climate, farms’ productivity are threatened with increased risk of devastating crop diseases.

The National President, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Kabir Ibrahim, would not want the situation to deter producers and investors.

Ibrahim noted that Nigeria’s coffee was highly appreciated in the global market and that a significant number of opportunities existed for farmers to maximise benefits from the sector, not only in production but at the downstream stages.

With a growing demand for quality, he said encouraging private investment in the industry could lead to the expansion of large-scale commercial plantations and improved quality and productivity.

He hinted that investors were coming in, including Starbucks Inc, associated with the highest quality coffees.

Starbucks has been working with farmers worldwide to produce high-quality coffee beans.

A senior expert with the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), Dr. Busayo Solomon Famuyiwa, said the coffee industry needed to experience a resurgence after decades of stagnation. He has seen it all with more than 15 years’ experience researching coffee and other cash crops.

Although the demand for coffee has been increasing, he observed that there had been a dramatic decline in production over the past few years. The reasons, he added, included declining plantation areas, degraded soil, ageing coffee trees, lack of business attitude, knowledge and skills among coffee farmers and little adoption of best farming practices and management.

He explained that coffee production was volatile fot those reasons, noting that a lot had to be done to revitalise the sector and support and encourage coffee farmers with the best coffee agronomy practices and processing techniques.

The reviving of  the coffee industry, he  maintained, would be life-changing for smallholder farmers and CRIN was working to help train farmers in technical skills, providing hands-on lessons in the field at demonstration plots where the participants can see the impact of adopting best practices.

One of the challenges of farmers is market, Famuyiwa said, adding that the institute has solved it.

He was optimistic Nigeria could become a super exporter of coffee, if much is done to empower more farmers to follow modern practices, including use of fertiliser, pesticides and fungicides.

Though Nigeria has proved that it can produce good coffees, Famuyiwa sees farmers earning more premium prices with suitable input, rehabilitation of plantations, and better management of soil to increase the quality of produce.

While CRIN is collaborating with the government to lead an ambitious replanting programme, Famuyiwa said the need for producers to get training in orchard management. The institute had established nurseries to regenerate coffee trees and created a policy that puts farmers in touch with fair-price buyers.

Famuyiwa reiterated that the mission of  CRIN was  to grow, protect, enhance the supplies of quality coffee and improve the livelihoods of the families who produce it.

He noted that one of the biggest challenges facing coffee research was that it is a tree crop; it takes a longer time to grow a tree.

According to the Raw Material Research and Development Council (RMRDC), between 2010 and 2015, about N1.5 billion worth of coffee products were imported into the country.

Several factors have been attributed to the country’s dwindling production, the majority of which have forced farmers to abandon coffee for other crops to make ends meet.

According to analysts, most of the coffee plots are old and farmers have suspended major activities on their farms.

The Secretary-General, National Coffee/Tea Association of Nigeria (NC/TAN), Dr. Usman Hassan, said due to low prices, some farmers plucked their tea, pound it locally and dry it on the ground to sell, saying: “This is not conventional, but because of the demand for tea in Nigeria, it is still marketable.

“Today, Nestlé is anchoring coffee production in Côte d’Ivoire. They bring this coffee to Lagos, process and sell it to Nigerians. They even have a platform on financing coffee production in that country.

“Why are they neglecting Nigerian farmers? Coffee/tea farming alone can employ more than 20 million people if attention is given to it. Twenty-one states, including Abuja, produce coffee in Nigeria,” he stressed.

Thousands of people in Central and West Africa are benefiting from Nestlé’s efforts to boost sustainable coffee from bean to cup. These include coffee farmers to sales people.

Nestlé agronomists visit participants’ farms and teach them how to grow coffee more sustainably. As part of the plan, by this year, the company is committed to providing farmers worldwide with over 27 million high-yielding, disease-resistant coffee plantlets, developed by the Nestlé Research and Development Centre in Abidjan.

In line with this, the Inter-African Coffee Organisation (IACO) has joined forces with the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI) and the International Coffee Organisation (ICO) to launch the $950 million Africa Coffee Facility (ACF) to boost Africa’s coffee industry and achieve a 40 percent increase in high-quality exports worth $5 billion yearly.

The ACF is projected to transform Africa’s coffee production – currently 10 per cent of the global coffee market – into a vibrant and resilient industry again.

Coffee contributes a significant proportion of tax income in a number of these countries.

IACO Secretary-General Dr. Fred Kawuma said: “Africa produces some of the highest-quality and much-loved coffee in the world but its contribution to the global coffee trade has declined significantly since the 1970s.

“The ACF is an ambitious fund, which seeks to attract private and public sector investment to transform Africa’s coffee industry from a subsistence to a commercial or entrepreneurial approach where millions of smallholder coffee farms will see their livelihoods significantly enhanced.‘’

The first-ever Donors and Partners Conference has been held under the theme “Financing the African coffee value chain through the Africa Coffee Facility”.

Targeting youths for farming

Source: The Nation

Since 2017, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has been harping on the upward swing in the number of youths that are not in employment, education or training (NEET). It said there were 259 million young people classified as NEET – a number that rose to an estimated 267 million in 2019, and is projected to continue climbing to around 273 million this year.

“Not enough jobs are being created for these young people,” said Chief of the Employment and Labour Market Policies of the ILO Employment Policy Department, Sukti Dasgupta.

“Not enough jobs are being created for young people, meaning that the potential of millions is not being properly tapped,”said Dasgupta.

In Africa, organisations are deploying agribusiness to provide jobs for young people and help countries achieve development goals. Trainings that link young people to climate-smart agricultural practices and profitable new agribusinesses are underway in several countries. The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture’s (IITA)) and the African Development Bank are through ENABLE Youth Programme helping 200 youths from 30 African countries to learn about agribusiness, new agricultural skills and technologies, climate change, mechanisation and agricultural value chain approaches. In Nigeria, British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATNF) launched the Farmers for the Future (F4F) grant aimed at giving young people the opportunity to access funds for viable agricultural enterprises.

The organisers said the scheme, a yearly competition organised for final year students of Agriculture in tertiary institutions and fresh graduates in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), seeks to promote agriculture among young people and turn their creative ideas to successful and sustainable agribusinesses.

“Interested candidates that are eligible for the competition develop creative agribusiness proposals and submit by responding to an online Expression of Interest.

Shortlisted finalists present their ideas during an interview with the Project Management Committee (PMC) and the best three candidates are selected and presented to the public at an awards. Thereafter, the winners are provided with technical and financial support to establish their agricultural enterprises after their National Youth Service. In addition to the prize, the scheme provides technical support in capacity building programmes. The second season of its Farmers for the Future (F4F) project, is starting.

The programme is targeting serving National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members, aged 18 and above, and is part of BATNF’s drive to encourage and support young Nigerians in sustainable agriculture.

BATNF is committing N16 million in cash and support for the grants. This includes the award of N3 million as first cash prize, N2 million as second, and N1 million as third.

Other benefits that will accrue to the winners include technical support to establish their agribusiness; participation in an intensive “Think-through-your-business” boot camp; mentorship under seasoned entrepreneurs and agriculture experts; and opportunities for follow-on financing/or credit facilities from financial institutions and investors. Winners will also enjoy membership of the F4F alumni network, participation in other partner-driven training and support with business registration as well as other legal and regulatory requirements.

FG to launch 10MW wind farm in Katsina

Source: Nairametrics

The Federal Government has confirmed the completion of a 10MW Wind farm which would the first of its kind in Nigeria to be launched in Katsina State later this month.

This was disclosed by Bashir Ahmad, the Personal Assistant on New Media to President Muhammadu Buhari, in a statement on Monday.

“The 10MW Wind Farm Project in Katsina has been completed by President Buhari Administration and will be commissioned later this month, the Ministry of Power has said”

” The Project will improve electricity and boost economy in Katsina and its environs,” he said.

The Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman confirmed that the 10MW Katsina Wind Farm Project set for commissioning  has 37 up and functioning turbines and part of the FG’s efforts towards investing in renewable energy.

What you should know 

  • Recall Nairametrics reported that Panelists at the 2021 UK Africa Investment Summit event  said that renewable energy will be a critical driver of Africa’s post-COVID-19 growth recovery and economic prosperity – calling for a stronger partnership between the United Kingdom and Africa.
  • The Federal Government also launched a One-Stop Investment Platform (OSIP) for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Investments in Nigeria. The OSIP platform serves as a hub for up-to-date information and opportunities in the Nigerian Power Sector. This allows stakeholders to have access to information on how best to do business in the renewable energy industry

Benin Republic Seeks FG’s Collaboration On Rice Production

Source: Channels TV

The Government of the Benin Republic on Tuesday approached President Muhammadu Buhari to seek Nigeria’s assistance in the production of rice in the country.

The country sent in a delegation of officials who met with the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari at the State House to tap from Nigeria’s experience in reviving rice production.

The Benenoise delegation led by the country’s minister of agriculture, Gaston Cossi Dossouhoui, was led to the presidential villa by Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State and the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed.

Speaking to correspondents after the meeting, the Kebbi Governor, Abubakar Bagudu, explained that the delegation and Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria met with the Chief of Staff to advance ongoing talks between the two countries on how to replicate Nigeria’s rice farming programme in the Benin Republic.

“Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria met with the chief of staff to the President to progress the discussion which has been going on between them and the Benin Republic for the two countries to replicate the success of Nigeria’s rice farming programme in Benin so that we can stop rice importation in West Africa.

“This is a partnership within the framework of ECOWAS agreement and the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement and our brotherly relationship between President Muhammadu Buhari and President Patrice Tallon who have the safe vision that we can be greater together,” Bagudu said.

Firm Harps on Tech Solutions to Enhance Agriculture

Source: This Day

Afrimash Limited, an indigenous eCommerce firm based in Ibadan, Oyo State, has stressed the importance of robust technology solutions in enhancing food security and production in the agricultural sector.

The firm said the application of the right technology solutions would help Nigerian farmers get the best inputs such as equipment, livestock, seedlings, fertilizers, and quality vaccines that would enable them to increase food production while making agriculture convenient.

Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder, Afrimash Limited, Ahmed Ayoade Oyedotun, said the company had been engaging farmers designed fintech the last four years.

He said: “Afrimash runs an eCommerce platform, or farmers to access quality inputs from verified farm input suppliers. Using our online platform, farmers get quick and convenient access to a variety of inputs, place their orders online, and receive their farm inputs delivered to their locations across Nigeria. We run a system that ensures farmers can shop online with peace of mind. In the past four years, we have been offering agriculture-based eCommerce services via our platform where farmers can get tools, and other agricultural inputs.”

He said although access to quality inputs remained one of the biggest challenges that farmers face in Nigerian and Africa, Afrimash would continue to bridge the gap using technology.

“Today, quite a number of farmers have internet access and we leverage on the ever-increasing internet penetration rate in Nigeria. This guarantees us of consistent increase in the number of people that can access our eCommerce site. Aside from internet penetration, the GSM penetration rate in Nigeria is high and constantly growing. This means that farmers who do not have internet access will have feature phones to make phone calls. So, we have developed a hybrid system that makes it easy for farmers to buy even without the internet through our dedicated shopping assistants that farmers can call, using their feature phones,” Oyedotun said.
On the market acceptability, Oyedotun noted that over the years, farmers had come to believe and have confidence in them, which he said, transcended to higher patronage.

Speaking of patronage and market acceptability, the Senior Lead Communication Executive of Afrimash Limited, Eshett Goodness Mfonobong, said: “When we started in 2016, a lot of pessimists said that farmers were not online, but we have since realised that they were wrong because a lot of our customers come through referral. We have lots of referrals because we made shopping easier for them while ensuring that we have quality products delivered to these farmers. The market and the farmers have come to accept us over the years for what we stand for which is quality and convenience.”

The firm called on government and financiers to partner with farmers for increased food production and security in the country.

“We have an overriding goal of making agriculture convenient for farmers by connecting farmers with quality inputs and products. This has been Afrimash focus since we started in 2016 and today, we have about 20,000 farmers as clients and customers,” Oyedotun added.

FG to increase agric extension workforce to 75,000

Source: Vanguard News Nigeria

The Federal Government has disclosed moves to increase agricultural extension workforce to 75,000 along various value chains towards efficient food production and self-sufficiency in line with global best practices.

This was made known by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. Mohammad Nanono, while flagging off the training of the extension agents in the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory, FCT, holding in all the 37 Headquarters of the State Agricultural Projects, ADPs.

Nanono who expressed worry over the declining fortunes of the agricultural extension system said was traceable to decreased funding. policy changes, reduced man-power and lack of interest of young people in agricultural entreneurship, which had adversely affected food production and have exposed the country to the dangers of unemployment, youth restiveness, and economic instability.

He also explained that the training is one of several strategies planned by his Ministry to halt the drift in the agricultural extension system with aim of pursuing the “revitalization agenda of the Nigerian economy by the Federal Government.”

He said: “At the inception of this administration, a special committee on the ‘Revitalization of Agricultural Extension Service in Nigeria’ was constituted to, among others, recommend appropriate institutional structures, arrangements and capacity building for the delivery of effective and efficient pluralistic agricultural extension and advisory services in Nigeria using globally acceptable approaches and platforms.

“One of the key recommendations was to build the capacity of youth and existing practitioners in agricultural extension delivery system, exposing and equipping them with best global practices and tools to enable them to deliver with efficiency.

“We are taking off in Abuja and all other states in the federation will do the same and they will continue until we achieve our target of 75,000 extension workers over a period of three years.

“We are already at 45,000 extension workers both government and the private. And I think our target is achievable. Most people especially youths take agriculture as not important but you eat and must remember that somebody is producing these crops and we must enable him with agriculture facilities.

“So it is very important that the pioneers in the extension service training take this training seriously and strive also to become farmers, you will be extension workers but in the process become farmers.

“Agriculture is now becoming more attractive and youth makes up about 75 per cent of our population and therefore if we are going to move forward the youth must make sacrifices and the government must empower youth to go into agriculture and that’s what we are set to do.

“So I am hoping that this is the beginning of a new era in the development of extension service in this country.”

However, the Minister acknowledged and said that “Our problem is that the people are poor at heart, disorganized and being disturbed by politics. We need to organize ourselves and be focused to salvage agriculture in this country to develop this nation.

He also lamented the rejection of beans from Nigeria by the European Union who banned the commodity from entering member countries as a result of chemicals applied in the preservation of the commodity.

“Over the last two years have been banned from the export of red beans which is a very good market because the level of application of chemicals in our crop which is considered high for human consumption and why because we have no extension workers to guide the farmers”, he stated.

NSIA signs agreements with NNPC, others to develop $1.4 billion fertilizer plant

Source: Nairametrics

The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) has signed pacts with the OCP of Morocco, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and some parties for the development of a $1.4 billion plant to produce Ammonia and Diammonium Phosphate.

Other parties to the agreement are the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board (NCDMB), GACN (Gas Aggregation Company Nigeria Limited), Akwa Ibom State Government, the Fertilizer Producers & Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN) and Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN).

This was disclosed by NSIA via a statement issued on Wednesday and seen by Nairametrics.

Here are 5 agreements executed:

  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), OCP Africa and the Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN) to commit to the second phase of the Nigerian Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI II).
  • A Shareholders Agreement (SHA) between the NSIA and OCP Africa for the creation of the Joint Venture Company (JVC) which will oversee the development of an industrial platform that will produce ammonia and fertilizers in Nigeria.
  • An MOU between NSIA, OCP Africa and the Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria on land acquisition, administrative facilitation, and common agricultural development projects in the Akwa Ibom State.
  • An MOU between NSIA, OCP Africa, and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), to evaluate the opportunity of an equity investment by the NNPC in the JVC and for its support on gas.
  • A Framework Agreement between NSIA, OCP Africa, Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN), the NNPC and the Gas Aggregation Company Nigeria (GACN) on gas supply for the MPI

On the development, Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum and head of the Nigerian delegation said, “President Buhari is very committed to actualisation of this project. He has mandated the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and all its agencies, notably the NNPC, DPR, NCDMB and all other government agencies to give maximum support for this project.”

Chairman and CEO of OCP, Dr. Terrab said, “Ultimately, these agreements will strengthen the partnership between the NSIA and OCP Group and the different institutions in the gas industry in Nigeria.

“The outcome of the agreements will translate to knowledge transfer and broader economic opportunities as we build out the industrial platform. The platform will leverage the best of Nigerian and Moroccan natural resources, namely the Nigerian gas and the Moroccan phosphate and create a new basis for stronger ties.”

Uche Orji, CEO, NSIA said, “The project forms a key part of NSIA’s gas industrialisation strategy and will deepen intra-continental trade which is essential to Africa’s development and economic renaissance.

“The project will explore increased levels of synergy between NSIA and OCP and the partners to the transactions and ultimately ensure that Nigeria builds an industrial base that is sustainable and complementary to mutual objectives of developing the agriculture sector in Nigeria.”

What it means

  • The first two agreements relate to the second phase of the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative (PFI II), while the last three contracts underpin the creation of a Multipurpose Industrial Platform (MPI) to be sited in Akwa Ibom State.
  • The agreements on the second phase of the PFI give effect to the presidential directive, which has restructured the PFI programme. Under the revised structure, NSIA’s role moves upstream thereby limiting its involvement to bulk importation of raw materials on behalf of the fertilizer blenders, with bank guarantees provided by the blenders.
  • This approach, according to NSIA, will make the programme more sustainable, strengthen the productive capacity of the blending plants and eliminate financial risk to the NSIA.
  • Agreements are expected to cement the joint resolve of President Muhammadu Buhari and His Majesty, King Mohamed VI, King of Morocco to develop a Multipurpose Industrial Platform project in Nigeria.

Nigerian institute calls for more investment in irrigation farming to ramp up production

Source: www.xinhuanet.xom

The National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS), one of Nigeria’s agricultural research institutes on Thursday called on the government to scale up investment in irrigation farming to ramp up agricultural production and avert food crises.

Speaking at a press conference in Kaduna state, north Nigeria, Emmanuel Ikani, executive director for the institute responsible for the development, collation, evaluation and dissemination of proven agricultural innovations in the country, said the investment would increase production.

He said it has become imperative to abandon the idea of farming only during the rainy season which could not continue to avert the negative challenge.

The expert told reporters that elsewhere there was nothing like farming in the rainy season alone.

“Our agriculture is still rain-fed, but we have the facility and water resources all over the country for irrigation,” he said.

Ikani appealed for a strong political will to move water from rivers and streams to farms.

He also regretted that many farmers in the northeast, parts of northwest and north-central could not go to their farms due to insecurity.

“Farmers are endangered at the moment which is a hint to a looming scarcity of food in Nigeria,” Ikani warned.

Doyin Salami, chairman of the presidential Economic Advisory Council, told a virtual national economic outlook event in January that Nigeria’s national import of food amounted to 1.85 trillion naira (about 4.9 billion U.S. dollars) between January and September in 2020, a 62 percent increase when compared to the same period in 2019. Enditem

Cassava stem demand exceeds N10b, partners harp on integration

Source: The Guardian

Efforts to develop cassava seed system would help Nigeria to transform cassava and meet the growing demand for cassava seeds of about N10 billion from growers, experts from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) and National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) have said.

In 2020, the Central Bank of Nigeria-midwifed a programme to develop cassava seed growers on 100,000 hectares across the country, created a huge demand for improved and disease-free planting materials that surpassed supply.

“Last year, the demand for certified cassava stems from cassava growers was estimated at N10 billion. Unfortunately, this opportunity was not fully taken by farmers as it was difficult to get certified stems of improved varieties,” Dr Alfred Dixon, IITA Director for Development &Delivery, who led a delegation of experts, said during a visit to the Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Muhammad Nanono, in Abuja recently.
The visit was coordinated in the framework of the IITA-managed project known as the Building an Economically Sustainable Integrated Cassava Seed System, phase 2 (BASICS-II), provided opportunity for experts to draw attention of high-level decision makers to the untapped opportunity that cassava seed system offers in terms of food security, jobs and income generation.
Dr Dixon noted that IITA, through the BASICS-II project, was already working with partners and farmers to tap the opportunity, explaining that the project was creating a formal seed system for cassava that links breeder seeds with foundation seed producers and foundation seed producers to commercial seed entrepreneurs.
“The commercial seed producers will thereafter sell to the cassava root producers…and cassava root producers will subsequently process into various end products or sell surplus roots to processing industries in the country. In this fashion, we will be creating jobs and income generation opportunities for young people that will serve as seed entrepreneurs and modern producers of cassava. Furthermore, the use of certified seeds will increase the national productivity of cassava,” he added.
Dr Dixon also called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to support the IITA Go Seeds and NRCRI Umudike Seed—two Early Generation seeds companies that are imperative for sustainable seed production that will feed the demand pool for commercial seed producers.

He made a strong case for greater collaboration between FMARD andIITA and national partners – NASC and NRCRI, and called on the government to scaleout the BASICS-II project model to other cassava growing States as currently the project is working in Benue, Kogi, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Oyo and Delta States.

“Thirdly, we are appealing that the government should ensure that only certified seeds by NASC are procured from the Commercial Seeds Entrepreneurs.  Lastly, you may recallthe great contributions of IITA in the previous Presidential Initiatives on Cassava where we formed National consortia that successfully prevented the entrance of the devastating Uganda variant of the Cassava Mosaic Disease into the country…,” he added.

The Executive Director, NRCRI, Prof. Ukpabi Joseph Ukpabi, said the collaboration with IITA had been beneficial to the country, adding that the partnership made Nigeria the largest producer of cassava.