CBN: Rebuilding the Agricultural Pillars

AGRICULTURAL development is one of the five major strategic combination methodologies needed to create quantum leap growth and sustainable development in the Nigerian economy. Other methodologies are the application of ‘The Big Push’, Schumpetarian growth model, Endogenous growth model and Interventionist policies.

Briefly, ‘The Big Push’ ‘’suggests that countries need to jump from one stage of development to another through a virtuous cycle in which large investments in infrastructure and education coupled with private investments would move the economy to a more productive stage.” The Nigerian economy, by now, needed to have jumped from the factor-driven stage where it has been for 58 years to the efficiency-driven stage which is next in the concentric rings of economic development, but not so.
Gbolahan Folarin, Chief Agronomist at PS Nutrac measures the growth of a young yam plant on June 5, 2018, in Wasinmi, near Abeokuta.
PS Nutrac Int. Ltd is an agriculture venture in Nigeria that aims to lead the agriculture industry into the future through utilising new aeroponics technologies and growing methods to address efficiency in food production, security, research and development. / AFP PHOTO

The Schumpetarian growth model hinges on creative destruction, which is about innovation and technology. Innovation is crucial for economic development; economies which fail to innovate are noted to fall off the path of growth. Endogenous growth model argues that economic growth is generated from within a system as a direct result of internal processes and not external forces. There is a need to look inwards to maximize our potentials including our huge population.

Interventionist policies are needed at one point or the other to promote industrialisation and protect local industries until they had reached a level of development when they are able to compete in the global market. Major developed countries, including the USA, used interventionist economic policies at one point. In the 1970s, the USA used Import Substitution Industrialisation, ISI, as a means to promote national and regional development in the ‘’Buy American Campaign.” It is therefore commendable that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, evolved an interventionist policy by the exclusion of 41 items from the Interbank foreign exchange market to encourage local manufacturing and conserve foreign reserve.


US Bans Imported Nigerian Fish

America has placed an embargo on processed Nigerian fish as the commodity has been denied access to the United States of America’s market since February this year. The Catfish and Allied Fish Farmers Association of Nigeria (CAFFAN) disclosed this while speaking with newsmen.

National President of CAFFAN, Mr Oloye O. Rotimi, who revealed this shortly after the inauguration of the newly elected executive of the Abuja Chapter of the association said, “The problem with us is dual but the first is caused by our civil servants. There is a documentation they needed to go through the United States Department for Agriculture that was requested for three times, they refused to comply so America banned our processed fish. That has been since February. And you won’t believe that up till November, this problem is still there.

“A lot of the fish people had on the way to America were seized and destroyed. This is serious, I know a farmer who exported fish worth $55,000 and he lost it to this carelessness on the part of the civil servants.”

He said other people around Africa are taking advantage of Nigeria, adding that “they will come here, take our products, package it as the products of Ghana and Kenya and send it to this same America. I have been there and at least I have studied some of the African shops in America, the fish that comes from Nigeria is the best.”

Mr Oloye highlighted the challenges facing the aquaculture industry in Nigeria today to include access to finance, marketing, cost of inputs and lack of farmers’ adequate knowledge of the sub sector.

Also speaking, the newly elected chairman of the Abuja chapter of the association, Alhaji Mundu Mohammed, promised to put a structure in place that would enable fish farmers in the FCT reap good benefit from their investments.




Low Irrigation cause of set back in Nigeria’s Agriculture

According to the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, poor irrigation practice is one of the challenges facing agriculture production in Nigeria.

The Minister made this known during the Second National Borehole Masters Drillers’ Conference themed “Borehole Drilling: Its Social, Economic and Environmental Effect in our Fragile Environment.”

Ogbeh who lamented farmers’ negligence on irrigation, said the role of water in agriculture cannot be over emphasised.

‘‘One of the setbacks in Nigerian agriculture is that there is very little irrigation.”

‘‘Irrigation covers just about 2 per cent of our production, and yet the yields on irrigated agriculture are much higher than those of rain-fed soils.” He said

He commended the inputs of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources in preserving dams for water conservation, stating that with water preservation, farming in dry season would be a lot easier.

Ogbeh revealed that FMARD was working with the Association of Water Well Drilling Rig Owners and Practitioners (AWDROP) to drill more wells in order to increase access to water, which he believes would help reduce the clashes between farmers and herdsmen.

On his part,  Acting Executive Director, Nigeria Integrated Water Resources Management Commission (NIWRMC), Mr. Peter Onoja,said that water was a natural resources and therefore needs proper management.

He urged the National Assembly to pass the approval of Water Use and Licence Regulations 2016 and the National Water Resources Policy and Strategy 2016 bill establishing the commission into law, so the commission would have some legal backings while carrying out its duties.


NCX moves to reduce N2.7tn post harvest loss

The Nigeria Commodity Exchange (NCX) has entered into an agreement with the New Nigeria Commodity Market Company to ensure a massive boost in the trading of agricultural produce in the country.

The Managing Director of NCX, Zaheera Baba-Ari, signed the Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of the Exchange while the Managing Director of NNCMC, Mr Abubakar Musa, signed on behalf of his company.

The framework is expected to stem the tide of post-harvest losses which the Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute estimated to be $8.9bn (about N2.71tn based on the N305 to a dollar official exchange rate of the Central Bank of Nigeria).

Baba-Ari said the agreement marked a renewed commitment to reposition Nigerian commodity trading sector.

She said under the arrangement, NNCMC would store and trade its commodities of interest on the trading platform of the NCX.

She explained that the agreement would enable the Exchange to avail NNCMC of its contacts across the world under its trading operations.

Speaking further, the NCX boss said the  implementation of the MoU would enable the exchange connect more sellers with buyers across the globe.

She said, “With the implementation of this MoU, NCX is now able to link sellers with buyers across Nigeria and indeed around the world of commercially viable agro-commodities  such as maize, sorghum, soya beans, sesame seed and cashew , among many others.”

Zaheera commended the board and management of NNCMC for the cooperation in ensuring the partnership to boost agro-commodity business in the country.

The NCX Managing Director said the agency had established a network of warehouse as delivery locations for trading operations, adding that integrated trading system had also been inaugurated.


Forest and Farm Facility phase II launched in Ghana

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and Ghana’s Forestry Commission have launched the Forest and Farm Facility (FFF) phase II in Ghana to empower forest and farm producers for sustainable development, poverty reduction and climate change

With Forest and Farm Producer Organisations (FFPOs) as major agents of change, the FFF phase II specifically intends to contribute to the achievement of at least 11 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly, SDGs 1, 2, 5, 13 and 15 on livelihoods, food security, gender equality, climate change and life on land.

Speaking at the launch, FAO representative to Ghana, Abebe Haile-Gabriel said that the facility in Ghana would help rural producers diversify local economies, increase resilience, reduce poverty while restoring and managing landscapes.

Abebe pointed out, “Forest and Farm Facility provides a useful framework to integrate and organically link two significant activities and actors – forest and farm – by putting people’s lives and livelihoods at the centre of sustainable management of resources, including land and forests.”

The Forest and Farm Facility (FFF) is a partnership between FAO, IIED, IUCN and AgricCord that focuses on strengthening FFFPOs in forest and landscape linking with enabling partners.

Since the launch of Phase I in 2013, FFF has empowered forest and farm producers through their organisations in order to develop climate resilient forest landscapes and improved rural livelihoods.

The FFF Phase II comes at a time of renewed global efforts toward sustainable development, notably the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its goals (SDGs) and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to fight climate change as part of the Paris Agreement.

The launch is timely as a growing number of governments are developing integrated climate responses and strategies for sustainable rural economies and reducing poverty.

In 2018, FFF is significantly increasing the scale and range of its impacts by building on its past support to FFPOs and governments. This will strengthen the capacity of forest and farm producers and their organisations, deepen engagement in innovative cross-sectoral processes in government, and increase the delivery of landscape-scale climate responses.

Underpinning all of these include more inclusive and sustainable economic opportunities, increasing returns to FFPOs, while opening opportunities for improved social and cultural services for the rural poor.


200 farmers in Kano get trained by FG

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has organized a training program for over 200 farmers across the 44 Local Government Areas of Kano State on Good Dairy Practices.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 2-day training which began on Wednesday in Kano was organized in collaboration with a private firm, L&Z.

Declaring the training open, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Abdulkadir Mu’azu said it was aimed at improving productivity in the livestock sector in the country.

The Permanent Secretary was represented by the Assistant Director, Commercial Ruminant and Dairy Production of the Ministry, Mr. Hakeem Bolaji.

He added that the participants would be trained on how to improve the milk productivity of their animals, and improve their knowledge on the kind of food and drugs to give their animals during the dry season.

“At the end of the two day training, the beneficiaries are expected to pay attention to learn more on the modern way of livestock productivity”, he added.

Earlier in his remarks, the Kano State Director of Livestock and Poultry Services, Alhaji Uba Yusuf commended the Federal Government for choosing Kano to benefit from the initiative, and efforts in supporting Agriculture and livestock sector.

According to him, livestock plays a vital role in providing food in form of animal protein, employment and income generation and income generation.

He noted that the growing Nigeria’s population means that the “demand for livestock products such as meat, egg, Dairy, and leather will subsequently increases correspondingly to population rise.

“In view of the above, therefore, the urgent need to increase animal production cannot be overemphasised.”

According to him, several Government interventions to turn Agriculture to business have yielded meaningful results, likewise the bold steps taken in making Nigerian Dairy sector a profit making industry.

He explained that in order to derive benefits and take full advantages of government economic diversification, stakeholders must be abreast with issues, gaps, existing challenges and mitigation approach in the sector.

“It is in this regard that the Federal Government in pursuance of its statutory mandates continue to build capacity through trainings, workshops and seminars across the geo-political zones of the country”, he said.

In an interview with NAN, one of the participants from Doguwa Local Government Area of the state, Malam Haruna Mu’azu commended the federal government for the training.

According to him, at the end of the training, the participants including women are hoping to improve the productivity of their livestock through adoption of modern methods. (NAN)


Farmers get trained on Shea Butter processing

FARMERS in Ibadan have received tutelage from Agric Investors and Resources Development Forum (AIRDEF), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), on the production of tomato, bitter kola, sheabutter, kenaf and other farm crops.

While speaking with the Nigeria Tribune on the sideline of a seminar put together by AIRDEF themed: Soil and grass: Building potentials, which held at Jogor Centre, Ibadan, the President, AIRDEF, Oluwaseun Olla, informed that the seminar is aimed at disseminating research results through detailed information about agricultural processes.

She said: “We try to educate people and inform them about the latest and innovative technology about agricultural processes and production. We are trying to sensitise especially the youth to get into agribusiness, telling them how to go about it from scratch to the table.

“At the long run, we intend to put together new set of farmers that would do agriculture in the right way, I mean the modern way and getting it right from the beginning to become successful agrientrepreneurs.”

Speaking on agricultural practice in Nigeria, Olla, said:”Nigeria is not practicing agriculture the right way and that is why we found ourselves where we are today. We are still far away from practicing agriculture the way it supposed to and that is why AIRDEF has come together to start sensitising and teaching people, talking to people about doing agriculture in the right way. We hope to get there soonest but we are still very far from it.”


Ban Maize Importation- Farmers to FG


Farmers have told the Federal Government to ban importation of maize

Maize Association of Nigeria has called on the Federal Government to ban the importation of maize into the country to encourage local production.
Alhaji Bello Abubakar, the National President of the association, made the call while addressing newsmen in Abuja on Sunday.
Abubakar was reacting to a recent publication by the National Biosafety Management Agency on a request by Grand Cereals Limited to import this particular farm produce into the country.
He said the move was ‘unpatriotic’ and targeted at thwarting the efforts of farmers and the government toward achieving self-sufficiency in maize production.
According to him, farmers produce enough and better maize to feed the country than what is being imported.
He said: “Our last year’s production was 15 million tonnes and this year, we produced 20 million tonnes and the required quantity for all maize processors in Nigeria is about eight million tonnes.
“Government intervention in the agricultural sector has put in place the Anchor Borrowers Programme to encourage local production of agricultural commodities.
“MAAN is executing the ABP in 19 states which has empowered about 100,000 on and off farm employment.
“This contribution of MAAN, if complemented by other large scale grain users, will create more than one million on and off farm employment in the maize value chain.
“Therefore, we request that the importation of maize grain in any form is considered counter-productive to agricultural development in Nigeria and should be discouraged in its entirety.”
On army worm devastation of maize farms, Abubakar said that the Federal Government, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation, had put in place measures to address the disease.
He said: “Members of MAAN were trained and pesticides, fertiliser, seeds were given to them by the Federal Government and FAO to manage the pest.
“This year, there is no infestation of army worm like last year.’’
He, however, appealed to companies who involved in maize importation to provide their preferred maize seedlings to local farmers to grow, to encourage production of improved varieties.
Rufus Ebegba, the Director General of NBMA, said the agency had received a request by Grand Cereals Limited to import maize into the country.
Ebegba, however, disclosed that the permit had not been granted for the maize import.
He said: “It is true but the permit has not been granted.”
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that MAAN was established to provide research on maize production, quality input to farmers, coordinate between farmers and the government.
MAAN is made up of maize scientists and researchers, input suppliers, service providers, farmers, marketers, maize suppliers and processors.
The association, which has its presence in the 36 states and FCT, has over 10 million registered farmers and members.

India Cashew nut exports may fall to 25 year low.


India’s cashew exports could drop to an over two-decade low this fiscal year as traders continue to go slow on shipments due to falling prices in overseas markets.

Processor exporters—who depend on imported nuts for over 60% of their requirement—are saddled with raw nuts bought at high prices and are loath to export the ready products as rates in global market have dropped. “Exporters are saddled with raw nuts purchased at high prices which they are processing and exporting under contractual obligations. They can make profit only if the prices touch $5 per pound,’’ said P Sundaran, MD, Sreelakshmi Cashew Company. Last year, India exported 84,352 tonnes of cashew valued at Rs 5,871 crore. According to industry executives, the export quantity this year is expected to fall below 70,000 tonnes, a level seen almost 25 years ago. For the five months ended August 2018, exports showed a 34% slide from a year ago to 25,765 tonnes. In value terms, the drop was 33% from the year-ago period to Rs 1,788 crore.

2018-19 is turning out to be a tough one for Indian cashew trade, with exporters having little choice but to sell kernels processed out of expensive imported raw nuts at lower prices. “Cashew kernel prices dropped over $1 this year to $3.50-3.60/pound. The exporters are booking losses,” said K Prakash Rao, managing partner of Kalbavi Cashews.


Military deployed In Tanzania’s Cashew Nut Crisis

Tanzania has deployed the military to buy cashew nuts from farmers to solve a row over price.

As the crisis escalates, President John Magufuli gave a Monday deadline to buy the crops at the government approved rates.

Farmers had refused to sell the harvested crop for weeks sighting low offers from private traders.

Mr. Magufuli rejected offers from 13 trading companies who wanted to buy the crop for $1.3 per kilogram.

The Tanzania People’s Defence Forces were ordered to buy the produce from farmers in the southern Mtwara region at $1.43.

On Saturday, Mr Magufuli sacked the agriculture and trade ministers over the crisis, which has seen a fall in the prices of cashews.

The president said he wanted to ensure that thousands of farmers got a fair price for their cashew nuts and secure vital export earnings.

But some say his real motivation is to boost his popularity in the Mtwara region, an opposition stronghold.

Opposition politician Zitto Kabwe said the government should seek parliamentary approval for buying cashew nuts.

Mr Magufuli appointed two other ministers and four deputies after dismissing Agriculture Minister Charles Tizeba and Trade and Investment Minister Charles Mwijage.

He also disbanded the Cashew nut Board of Tanzania and revoked the appointment of the board chair, Anna Abdallah.