Federal government commissions Maska earth dam

The Federal Government has commissioned the reconstructed Maska Earth Dam at Funtua Local Government Area of Katsina State, built in 1996.

The dam was executed by the Ecological Fund Office aim at providing water for agriculture and cattle rearing.

Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, in a statement made available to newsmen, noted that the project would also address the decay and degradation of the dam that provided water for agricultural and other purposes for the communities.

“The overall objective of the dam construction is to increase the capacity of the dam to provide adequate water for farming and grazing purposes,” he said.

Adamu explained that the reconstructed project was to fulfill the promise of the present administration, stressing that no part of the country will suffer neglect owing to its geographical location or political consideration.

“The completion of this project has also underscored government’s concerted effort and sincerity of purpose in tackling environmental problems in our country,” he said.

He, however, charged members of the community to ensure proper management of the dam, to avoid destruction.

In his remarks, Deputy Director, Ecological Fund Office, Mr. Awwal Sani, said the dam was first constructed in 1996 and started the reconstruction process in 2017.

The project is expected to serve communities in Katsina, Dutsinma, Charanchi, Kankia, Bindawa and Kurfi local government areas in Katsina State with potable water.


Ogbeh commends CBN 9% lending policy to farmers


Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development

Chief Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, has commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) new nine percent lending policy to farmers.

Ogbeh, who gave the commendation in Abuja on Wednesday while briefing newsmen assured of plans to further reduce the rates to between six and seven percent.

CBN, on Aug. 23, announced its nine percent new credit policy, called Guidelines for Accessing Real Sector Support Facility (RSSF).

RSSF is being achieved through Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) and Corporate Bonds.

The minister said that the ministry was speaking with the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risks Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) to fashion out ways to further reduce the rates.

He, however, called on borrowers of the loans, especially farmers and industrialists to ensure prompt repayment.

The minister promised that the ministry would collaborate with CBN and banks to ensure that farmers who borrowed repaid the loans.

Ogbeh said the initial high-interest rates had been responsible for the slow growth and high incapacity of Nigerians to create jobs for young people.

He described the new policy as the first and major step toward reversing the damages done to Africa by the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) of the mid-80’s.

“We have been advocating this for many years. I have always had this strong feeling that the lending rates in Nigeria could not sustain growth in the economy.

“We want to thank CBN and the Committee of Bankers for listening to our appeals and I wish to assure them that this bold and revolutionary policy is deeply appreciated by farmers and manufacturers.

“We were pushing for five percent interest rate but they gave us nine percent, we thank them for that.

“We are talking to Nigeria Incentive-Based Risks Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL). By the time they come in fully and we discuss the details, we may get a much lesser figure.

“I don’t know if we will get five percent yet but we will definitely get something less than nine. Maybe six or seven percent, he said.

He said the ministry would join hands with banks and CBN to make sure that farmers, who borrowed, repay the loan.

“We intend to use the cooperatives to impact the people, especially women and youths.’’

The minister quoted the CBN as saying that banking credit to agriculture currently stood at N523 billion from N460 billion in 2015 representing about only 3.41 percent of total credits to Nigerian borrowers.

Ogbeh, who assured farmers of CBN’s caution to banks against hidden charges from the loans, told farmers that there was no excuse for lagging behind in agriculture.

“CBN warns that the money is not for lending to traders and individuals that will come under the guise of agriculture or manufacturing to borrow; they will be denied credit.

“CBN has cautioned banks on hidden charges. We need to feed this nation.’’

Ogbeh also said the ministry would work out a system with the apex bank and commercial banks to ensure that smallholder farmers benefit from the loans.

Under the new policy, agricultural, manufacturing and the sectors considered as growth and employment stimulating, can now borrow long term as much as N10 billion.

However, it is at the consolidated nine percent interest rate.

The guidelines followed the recommendation of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the CBN at its 119th meeting held between July 23 and July 24.

The MPC had emphasized the need to increase the flow of credit to the real sector of the economy to consolidate economic recovery.

FAO Trains 51 Agricultural Workers to Boost Extension Services in the North East

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations says it has trained no fewer than 51 agricultural workers under its Farmer Field School (FFS) in the North East. This was disclosed on August 23 by FAO’s Communication and Reporting Officer, Ms. Patrina Pink, in Maiduguri said that the training was to provide farmers with extension services information (farming and pastoral advice), market access and financial capital.

Pink said the organization had on August 18, graduated the second batch of trainees to support conflict-affected farmers in the northeast with the skills to set up and run at least two farmer field schools. She said the school was an interactive and participatory ‘learning by doing’ approach which involved groups of 20-25 farmers, pastoralists or fisherfolk and a trained facilitator.

According to her, the group members experiment with best practices and discuss challenges and solutions to agriculture-related issues in their own local context.

“FFSs usually comprise of resource-poor participants who typically face limited access to education, information, extension (for farming and pastoral advice) services, market access and financial capital,” Pink said in a statement. She quoted Mr. Suffyan Koroma, the FAO’s Representative in Nigeria, as saying that the school was another entry point for the organization to support the most at-risk farming households in the Northeast. Koroma said in the statement that the UN agency planned to install at least 100 of the farmers’ school in 2018 with regional partners.

“Smallholder farmers face huge hurdles in managing increasingly complex agro-ecosystems. Through FFSs, farmers will learn how to create sustainable solutions to farming and pastoral issues.

“FAO works closely with farmers to ensure that inputs they receive are being properly utilized and that they are employing the most effective techniques in the management,” Koroma said.”

This is good news for the North East.


NIRSAL Says It has Injected Over N77bn into Agribusiness With Positive Impacts

The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) says it has facilitated the flow of N77.7 billion from commercial banks into the Agric-business sector of the country.

Mr. Aliyu Abdulhameed, the Managing Director of NIRSAL, disclosed this at his investiture and award ceremony by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Management of Nigeria (CIPSMN) in Abuja.

Abdulhameed said the money had assisted and supported smallholder farmers, especially to boost production and earn a better livelihood.

The managing director noted that no fewer than 700,000 farmers had also been trained on best agronomic practices and financial education.

According to him, NIRSAL under his stewardship has directly facilitated the distribution of high-quality agricultural inputs to more than 500,000 smallholder farmers.

Abdulhameed said the organization had developed a product known as the Secured Agricultural Commodity Route (SACR), a transportation system designed to facilitate the easy and timely movement of agricultural produce from farms to market.

“With my conferment as a fellow of the institute, I assure you that I will continue to maintain a reputable and high standard expected of any profession in Nigeria.

“NIRSAL is dedicated to abiding by good procurement and supply chain management principles to achieve our goals.

“NIRSAL with me at the helm has facilitated the flow of N77.7 billion from commercial banks balance sheet into agri-business,’’ he said.

The managing director assured that the organization would continue to work toward transforming the agri-business and the agricultural space of the country, within its mandate.



Commodity prices for 29/08/2018



Soybeans 823.01 Bushel (bu.) USD
Wheat 510.36 Bushel (bu.) USD
Corn 339.57 Bushel (bu.) USD
Cotton 82.73 Pounds (lb.) USD
Rice 10.78 Hundredweight (cwt) USD
Cocoa 2324.00 Metric tons (Mt) USD
Coffee 99.10 Pounds (lb.) USD
Oats 258.32 Bushel (bu.) USD
Live Cattle 108.07 Pounds (lb.) USD
Palm oil 2,189 Metric tons USD
Milk 15.02 Hundredweight (cwt) USD
Rubber 158.50 Kilogram (kg) JPY
Sugar 10.41 Pounds (lb.) USD
Tea 3.27 Kilogram (kg) USD
Lumber 447.10 1000 Board feet USD
Wool 2,075.00 100 Kilogram AUD
Lean Hog (Pork) 52.27 Pounds (lb.) USD
Poultry 3.87 Kilograms USD
Beef 9.61 Kilogram BRL


* Rubber priced in Japanese Yen (JPY)
* Wool priced in Australian Dollars (AUD)
* Beef priced in Brazilian Real (BRL)


AfDB, FAO to invest $100m in Africa’s Agriculture

Agitated by the need to end hunger and malnutrition in the continent, the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have signed an agreement which will secure a $100million to boost the agricultural sector in Africa.

The new alliance which is aimed at strengthening the quality and impact of investments in food security, nutrition, social protection, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and rural development was signed by the AFDB President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina and FAO Director-General Jose Graziano Da Silva and at the UN agency in Rome.

While commenting on the agreement, AfDB President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said: “The signing of this supplementary agreement is a milestone moment in the relationship between the African Development Bank and FAO.”

According to him, the agreement “signals our joint commitment to accelerate the delivery of high-quality programs and increased investment for public-private-partnerships in Africa’s agriculture sector.”

“This will help us achieve the vision of making agriculture a business, as enshrined in the Bank’s Feed Africa strategy.” He added

On his part, FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, noted that “FAO and the AfDB are deepening and broadening our partnership to assist African countries to achieve the sustainable development goals”

He stressed that Leveraging investments in agriculture was key to lifting millions of people from hunger and poverty in Africa as well as providing rural jobs for the continent’s growing population.


Abakaliki Rice Mill seal by Ebonyi Govt

The Ebonyi state government has direct that the popular Abakaliki rice mill is shut. This directive was due to the discovery of some bags of adulterated and poisonous rice allegedly found at the rice mill.

The Government has initiated an investigation into the matter.

According to the state commissioner during a press conference, the decision to seal the mill was reached during the weekly state executive council. He also stated that the responsibility of the government anywhere in the world was to protect the life and property of its citizens.

According to Ugbala, “thus the government of the state of Ebony under the Exco directive today ruled that the Rice Mill industry should be temporarily closed so that interested ministries, departments, and agencies could enter the market with security agencies and conduct a full investigation on this issue

“We do not know where the rice was adulterated or poisoned and the state of the poison but what we know is that it was reported to the state commissioner of Environment who brought the matter to the state executive council.

“On the bag brought it was boldly writing ‘Not Fit For Human Consumption,’ Now, the government has taken an adequate step and directed that the line ministries should investigate the matter.

“The order to seal the Abakaliki rice mill is to protect the lives of the people; as a responsible government that is what we have done”, he stressed.

Beekeeping can earn Nigeria multi-million dollars annually —Agric official

Beekeeping if harnessed properly is capable of boosting Nigeria’s economy to the tune of multi-million dollars as profit annually.

A Director and Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Dooshima Kwange, made the revelation in Abuja, recently.

Kwange, who described beekeeping as a highly lucrative agribusiness in Nigeria noted that investing in the bee industry would help earn Nigeria huge assets than crude oil.

According to her, “The market worldwide is huge, almost 2 billion dollars annually and we are really not tapping into it because we have not paid attention to this industry.

She hinted that there would be an international conference in Abuja with the theme, “Beekeeping Industry for Sustainable Development, Wealth Creation and Economic Diversification” by September 20th, 2018.

According to her, the Expo is an intercultural and intercontinental honey show run by an NGO based in Kampala, Uganda, usually held in conjunction with countries to advance the beekeeping industry by promoting the ministry of agriculture and other shareholders.

The director added that the government was also trying to break into other sectors of the economy, majorly in agriculture, and divert from oil saying, the beauty of the industry is that it is not as extravagant as other ventures.

Kwange who stated that the ministry was open to collaboration with foreign partners pleaded with Nigerians to embrace beekeeping for its economic and diverse benefits.

Farmer urges civil servants to invest in Agriculture

A farmer in Gombe, Usman Umar-Yari, has advised civil servants in the state to invest in agriculture ahead of their retirement.

Umar-Yari, a traditional title holder in Akko Emirate, Akko Local Government Area of Gombe State, gave the advice in an interview on Monday in Gombe.

He urged civil servants in the state and those seeking white collar jobs to embrace agriculture because it guaranteed returns on investment.

According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari’s agriculture-driven initiatives have made it imperative for everyone to go into agriculture.

Yari observed that many civil servants often found it difficult to sustain their families after retirement, saying that agriculture was the only solution to overcoming such difficulties.

“Agriculture has better returns in terms of investment than any sector in Nigeria. A farmer cannot lack food and cash if he or she invests.

“I strongly support the agricultural policies of this administration because it has impacted positively on the economy of the rural areas, which in a way has reduced poverty and migration to urban centres.

“This administration is working towards food security while creating thousands of jobs in rural areas.

“Fertiliser and other improved seedlings have been made available by the Federal Government and this has made farming easier.

“With these opportunities, I think civil servants should invest in agriculture and make it their pension instead of waiting for government pension after retirement which takes time.

“I have observed that most civil servants, who failed to invest in agriculture, face certain financial difficulties before their pension comes. The only solution is to invest in agriculture before retirement,’’ he said.

Yari said that the start-up capital for any agricultural investment was not very high when compared to other sectors.

“The start-up capital for any investment in agriculture is not as expensive when compared to other sectors. With N20, 000 one could start something and get better harvest.

“I started my guinea corn farm with little capital but today I grow several other crops. I cater for my family with the income I get from farming.

“As far as President Buhari’s administration is concerned, farmers are the rich men in town,’’ he said.

The farmer advised young people not to wait for white collar jobs, saying huge opportunities are available in agriculture that could in turn guarantee their financial sufficiency. (NAN)

Commodity prices for 27/08/18

27TH AUGUST 2018


Soybeans 829.46 Bushel (bu.) USD
Wheat 507.02 Bushel (bu.) USD
Corn 346.70 Bushel (bu.) USD
Cotton 82.44 Pounds (lb.) USD
Rice 10.74 Hundredweight (cwt) USD
Cocoa 2,280.00 Metric tons (Mt) USD
Coffee 102.20 Pounds (lb.) USD
Oats 258.32 Bushel (bu.) USD
Live Cattle 108.01 Pounds (lb.) USD
Palm oil 2,166 Metric tons USD
Milk 15.03 Hundredweight (cwt) USD
Rubber 162.70 Kilogram (kg) JPY
Sugar 10.41 Pounds (lb.) USD
Tea 3.27 Kilogram (kg) USD
Lumber 441.80 1000 Board feet USD
Wool 2,075.00 100 Kilogram AUD
Lean Hog (Pork) 54.45 Pounds (lb.) USD
Poultry 3.87 Kilograms USD
Beef 9.63 Kilogram BRL

* Rubber priced in Japanese Yen (JPY)
* Wool priced in Australian Dollars (AUD)
* Beef priced in Brazilian Real (BRL)