Ministry of Agric commences training of 2000 cassava farmers in 9 States

Source: Vanguard

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Thursday, disclosed commencement of training 2, 000 cassava farmers in nine States including the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, to boost cassava value chain activities and create new innovations in cultivation of the commodity.

This was made known by the Director, Federal Department  of Agriculture, Hajiya Karima Babangida, in Illorin, capital of Kwara State, while speaking on the essence of the training and distribution of 60, 000 cassava planting materials to the nine benefiting States and FCT, which include Ogun, Oyo, Kwara, Kogi, Nasarrawa, Edo, Rivers, Kano and Katsina, as over 10,000 planting materials already have been distributed to farmers in FCT.

 According to Babangida, the cassava planting materials been distributed to farmers are high quality improved type which are also high yielding, early maturing and resistant to pests and diseases, which also responds better to agronomic management practices.

Meanwhile, the distribution train has moved to Kwara, Kogi, Ogun, Oyo and Rivers States.

She said: “Nigeria remains the largest producer of cassava in the world and the present government is desirous to improve and strengthen the cultivation of the commodity so that Nigeria farmers can get a sustainable yield of over 25 tonnes per hectare.

 “With the improved cultivar of cassava been distributed to farmers, yields per hectare will be increased and hence an increase in the revenue to farmer and ultimately a better livelihood for the farm family.

“The training of over 2,000 farmers is to improve farmers’ capacity with the latest technologies of cassava farming, processing and marketing.”

Also speaking was the Kwara State Coordinator, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Yisa Aliu, who described the training of cassava farmers in Kwara State as monumental intervention from the Federal Government.

“This is the first time Kwara State cassava farmers are benefiting from such monumental intervention from the federal government and I believe the training and the planting materials supplied to farmers will produce huge results to the farmers in terms of revenue and enhanced standard of living”, Aliu said.

The Programme Manager, Root and Tuber Expansion Programme, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Deola-Tayo Lordbanjou, urged farmers to put into practice the knowledge gained for high productivity.

Some of the benefiting farmers at the training said their knowledge will increase and will be applied to their business as farmers.

One of the trainees, Dele Shittu, appreciated the Ministry for considering Kwara State Cassava farmers to benefit in the programme which will obviously make a great impact in their lives.

How Emefiele Changed The Narrative In Agriculture Sector

Source: Leadership

Recently the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through its Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) unveiled its first rice pyramids in South West Nigeria, specifically in Ekiti State.

The unveiling is a follow up to the one done in Kebbi and Gombe states where the apex bank also unveiled 13 rice pyramids which housed 50kg bags of rice numbering 200,000.

It is not only rice, recently in Katsina State, the bank working with Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) also unveiled the first maize pyramid in Nigeria.

These exercises clearly show that Nigeria is on the match towards self sufficiency in food.

This is a clear departure from what the situation was before the present governor of CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele assumed office in 2014.

As at 2014, Nigeria was spending N1.3 trillion worth of foreign exchange on the importation of food. This was despite the huge investment made in agriculture by the immediate past administration.

That was even an improvement, between 1990 and 2011, Nigeria imported an average of ₦1.923 trillion worth of commodities per annum. In essence, the nation imported about ₦1.0 billion worth of food per day in the period. This was about $9.28 million worth of food per day in the period.

The result reveals that although the country had a positive trade balance (on the aggregate) annual food import bill was in multiples of five times of the export.

At that same time, Nigeria was also spending about $5 billion annually on the importation of textiles, money that would have been ploughed into the development of infrastructure.

A report by the Global Economic Symposium (GES), also suggested a steady rise in prices of rice between 2006 and 2014, which indicated that Nigeria had been consuming more rice than it had been producing.

“When I assumed office, I felt that that was not acceptable,” Emefiele said while justifying his policy thrust in the agricultural sector.

“My immediate question was: can we not produce these ourselves? After all, only a few decades ago, Nigeria was one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of many agricultural products like palm oil, cocoa and groundnuts.”

He said that food importation fueled domestic inflation, depleted foreign reserves, displaced local production and created unemployment.

“With the fast depletion of rice reserve in the country, it was obvious that Nigeria could not afford to sustain rice importation. We all know that import dependency especially on commodities of comparative advantage was neither acceptable nor sustainable.”

It was this stand that informed the establishment of the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), a programme meant to provide farm inputs in kind and cash to small-holder farmers (SHFs) to boost agricultural production which had been neglected through years since Nigeria discovered that huge cash comes from crude oil.

The ABP launched in November 2015 by President Muhammadu Buhari is re-writing the sour narrative on local agriculture.

ABP is a low-interest loan scheme which gives ample room and flexibility for payment. Interest was as low as nine percent but with the advent of the COVID-19, the interest has been adjusted to as low as five percent. The loans are disbursed through any of the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) and Microfinance Banks (MFBs), all of which the programme recognises as Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs).

Categories of farmers captured under this programme include those cultivating cereals, cotton, roots and tubers, sugarcane, tree crops, legumes, tomato and livestock.

Because of this new push by CBN in the area of agriculture, the nation has witnessed a leverage and quantum leap in agricultural produce. Rice, yam, sundry grains, poultry and livestock among others have enjoyed increased production with some farmers exporting their produce.

With this has also come a significant improvement in the value chain. More and more farmers have upped their game by producing in the farm and processing for the table.

Through the ABP, the CBN governor did not only change the script from the old unimpressive order, he gave force of action to its performance.

The CBN ban on the importations of scores of goods, some of which can be described as low-hanging products for Nigerian entrepreneurs, and Emefiele’s determination to follow the ban through showed the character and the will of a central banker committed to rescuing his local economy from the treacherous vagaries of a globalised marketplace.

So far, according to CBN, the programme has financed over 3.1 million farmers to the tune of over N492 billionfor the cultivation of 3,801,397 hectares across 21 commodities through 23 Participating Financial Institutions in the 36 states of the Federation and FCT, from the inception of the programme till date.

To mitigate against the risk of farmers not being able to pay back the loans, the CBN created the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), which also serves as a micro-finance bank to handle the loan disbursement.

No doubt, the ABP has been of tremendous assistance to farmers which is why those in other crop groups that are not captured in the programme are crying for attention, the problem however, is the implementation which appears to be flawed in some areas.

Commending the efforts of the CBN governor through the anchor borrowers programme, Dr Edwin Uche, National President of Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MGPMAN), the ABP has given us hope. He noted that the pyramids are simply symbolic and to show that efforts are being made.

According to him, “the pyramids signify a lot depending on how you define it. It tells you the level of efforts being put in place to ensure that maize is grown and that the challenges associated with maize farming is being addressed gradually. It also shows you that the farmers are working hard to support food security in Nigeria.

“It is also to motivate people within the value chain that it is possible to attain self sufficiency in food if we all work together. Yes there are questions about why the pyramids when there is scarcity, of course we have to do the pyramids to show the world that we are doing something to address the scarcity.”

One discernible result, according to operators in the nation’s textile industry, is that in 2019, textile industries had enough supply of cotton produced within the country for their raw materials with some still lying in their warehouses.

CBN’s Director, Development Finance Department, Yila Yusuf, said CBN is trying to bring back the glory of textiles of those days where the industry used to employ 10 million people across the country.

“In the 80s, we lost that glory because of smuggling where our country was turned to a dumping ground of textiles materials.”

Bayelsa State to work with South Korea on agriculture, infrastructure development

Source: Nairametrics

The Bayelsa State government has disclosed that it plans on working with South Korea for the development of maritime, agriculture and infrastructure in the South-South state.

This was disclosed by Governor Douye Diri after a meeting with the ambassador of South Korea to Nigeria, Kim Young-Chae, in Abuja on Friday, adding that the state was also interested in improving education, science and technology, as well as oil and gas.

What the Governor said

“The purpose of this meeting is to explore areas of economic partnership and seek the expertise of South Korea in developing our state and its economy.

Bayelsa has huge potential in agriculture and marine resources. We seek foreign investments in aquaculture and deep-sea fishing.

Our terrain is good for aquaculture to thrive, as well as rice cultivation and production with the large expanse of land already in Peremabiri and Sampou.

We are trying to revive the culture of farming in our state. The government is interested in commercial farming as against the culture of subsistence farming that a lot of our people engage in.

South Korean expertise is also required in the production of plastics, in science and technology and the oil and gas sector.

Our administration is taking deliberate steps to open up the state. This can be done through massive road construction and development of infrastructure, including how to control the perennial flooding in our state.

We seek your partnership and expertise too in these areas,” Governor Diri said.

USAID awards $500,000 co-investment grant to boost agric in Nigeria

Source: Premium Times

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Tuesday announced that it has awarded a $500,000 (N205 million) co-investment grant through its West Africa Trade & Investment Hub (Trade hub) to PYXERA Global to boost Nigeria’s agricultural systems and food security pursuit.

This was disclosed in a statement by Michael Clements, Trade hub’s chief of party.

“The USAID-funded West Africa Trade & Investment Hub has awarded a $500,000 co-investment grant to PYXERA Global, a not-for-profit with extensive experience designing training and capacity-building programs, to support the launch of its West Africa Agriculture Resilience Program (WAFARP),” the statement partly reads.

It said the programme will assist 10,000 farmers cultivating rice, maize, and soybean within Nigeria’s Kebbi, Cross River, and Benue States.

According to the statement, these states are focal areas for the Trade Hub in Nigeria, whose work aligns with and supports the mission of the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative.

It said the smallholder farmers PYXERA Global is assisting have faced numerous challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic, including income loss from not producing crops as planned, and that their challenges have resulted in disrupted market channels and food supply chains.

Based on this, Mr Clements said the initiative would be leveraging on the existing agribusiness systems of Dantata Foods and Allied Products Company Limited (Dantata Foods), while PYXERA Global will provide an avenue for smallholders in its programme to increase crop yield and boost their incomes.

“Nigeria’s agricultural sector has been particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, negatively impacting smallholder farmers and the communities of people who depend on their success in growing crops,” Mr Clements said.

He said; “We are excited about the potential of PYXERA Global’s West Africa Agriculture Resilience Program to bolster agricultural systems and expect to co-invest in other such programs as part of our COVID-19 rapid response initiative.”

Ann Oden, the programme’s team lead was quoted to have said; “Under the West Africa Agriculture Resilience Program model, we have designed a program that is based on strengthening systems for three agricultural value chains—rice, soybeans and maize,”

“This initiative leverages private sector resources to deliver a strategic program, with the goal of bringing economic prosperity to smallholder farmers while ensuring sustained food security,” she said.

How the initiative would be implemented

Mr Clements explained further that the goal will be achieved by first bringing all the smallholders into Dantata Foods’ outgrower programme, as the company will both assist the smallholders to increase crops yields and buy from them as well.

He said to ensure quality output for the crops it buys, the company will supply the smallholders with quality seeds and other farm inputs.

While being supported by PYXERA Global, the statement noted that Dantata Foods will also provide training programs to help the smallholders produce higher-quality crops that command better prices.

“The crops produced through the program will be taken to Dantata Foods’ aggregation centers already located in the three target states of Kebbi, Cross River, and Benue, where the smallholders will be paid by the company at prevailing market rates,” the statement noted.

It said to assist Dantata Foods and the smallholders it is supporting within and outside the program, PYXERA Global, will further fund upgrades to the aggregation centers to allow for state-of-the art cleaning and sorting equipment.

Dantata Foods chairman, Tajuddeen Dantata, said, “It is our greatest aim to support and improve the livelihood of everyone in the society, especially the underrepresented women and youth in the agricultural sector.”

Through the program, he explained that the smallholders which will include 50 per cent women or youth are anticipated to produce 25,000 metric tonnes of each of the value chains in the first season and an additional 5,000 metric tons in the subsequent seasons.

Sesame seed, cocoa, cashew nuts top Nigeria’s agricultural exports in Q1 2021

Source: Nairametrics

Nigeria’s agricultural export stood at N127.2 billion in the first three months (January – March) of 2021. This represents a 128% increase compared to N55.8 billion recorded in the previous quarter (Q4 2020).

Sesame seeds, fermented cocoa beans, and cashew nuts led the list of top agro-food exports in Q1 2021, jointly accounting for 66.5% of the total agric exports.

This is according to the foreign trade report for Q1 2021, released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

  • In contrast to the N127.1 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2020, this represents a 0.07% increase and the highest on our tracker, since Q1 2016.
  • However, as agric export increased in the review period, importation of agricultural items also surged by 140.5% year-on-year, and an 18.4% increase quarter-on-quarter.
  • Although crude oil still accounts for the larger part of Nigeria’s export earnings with 66.38%, agriculture still remains the base of Nigeria’s economy, providing the main source of livelihood for most Nigerians.
  • The sector remains the largest sector of the Nigerian economy and employs about two-thirds of the entire labour force in the country.

However, expected growth has been significantly impeded by production hurdles despite government interventions in the sector. According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations, over the past 20 years, value-added per capita in agriculture has risen by less than 1% annually.

It is also estimated that Nigeria has lost about $10 billion in annual export opportunities from groundnut, palm oil, cocoa, and cotton alone as a result of the decline in the production of these commodities.

It is worth noting that Nigeria exported agricultural products worth N321.5 billion in 2020, representing a 19.16% increase when compared to N269.8 billion recorded in 2019 and a 6.27% increase compared to N302.28 billion recorded in 2018

Top Agro export in Q1 2021

  • Sesame seeds – N41.94 billion

Top on the list is Sesame seeds with an estimated export value of N41.94 billion in Q1 2021. Sesame seed comes from a flowering plant mostly grown in Northern Nigeria due to the drought-resistant nature of the seed.

It has many uses, but perhaps, its most important use is as a source of sesame oil which is the most demanded vegetable oil in the world because of its zero cholesterol content.

Nigeria has been one of the highest sesame seed-producing countries over the years, making the seed an important component of the country’s agricultural export. Recall that Nigeria exported sesame seeds valued at N98.27 billion in 2020.

  • Cocoa beans – N35.49 billion

Cocoa stands second on the list with an export value of N35.49 billion. It is worth noting that this estimate includes good fermented Nigerian cocoa beans and superior quality raw cocoa beans.

Cocoa is a small perennial tree crop that primarily comes from the three tropical regions in the world; Southeast Asia, Latin America, and West Africa. Cote d’Ivoire is the single largest producer of cocoa beans, accounting for approximately 31% of the world’s supply.

  • Cashew nuts – N13.71 billion

Nigeria exported cashew nuts (both in-shell and shelled) valued at N13.71 billion in Q1 2021. Cashew is a tree crop that has been cultivated for food and medicine for many years.

The various parts of the cashew fruits are of economic value, which includes apple, nut, and kernel. The primary product of cashew nuts is the kernel, which is the edible portion of the nut. Kernels are used for various end products, which include chocolates, ice creams, cakes, sweets and even for medicinal purposes.

  • Coconuts – N8.66 billion

Coconut export in the review period stood at N8.66 billion, representing the fourth-highest agro-export. Coconut is a cash crop that is grown in 22 of Nigeria’s 36 states and its production is limited to the south-western part of the country, with Lagos State having the largest production area.

Coconut serves as a raw material for numerous industries, such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and food, and beverage, with limitless domestic and export potential; coconut consumption, however, has continued to rise with the growing population, especially dry coconut which is consumed in the northern part of the country.

  • Ginger – N5.57 billion

Ginger stands fifth on the list with an export value of N5.57 for the review period. According to FAO and quoted by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Nigeria accounts for 40% of the global ginger production, producing almost 523,000 metric tonnes annually.

Bubbling under

  • Sesame oil – N3.42 billion
  • Palm nuts and kernels – N2.75 billion
  • Shea cake – N1.79 billion
  • Soya bean – N1.72 billion
  • Frozen shrimps and prawns – N1.29 billion

What they are saying

Despite agriculture being the major primary occupation of most Nigerians, the country is yet to solidify its position in the world in terms of food production both for local consumption and export.

  • Nigeria still spends more on the importation of agricultural items compared to our export value.
  • A PWC report identified poor transport infrastructure and services (road and rail), particularly in the rural areas as a significant cause of the current state of the agriculture and agribusiness sector.
  • According to Suleiman Dikwa, the CEO of Green Shara Farms, a major problem affecting Nigeria’s agricultural sector is the ability to efficiently deliver locally produced products in the country.
  • We have to first go beyond production and have an integrated approach through the horizontal value chain whereby any increase in production capacity has a commensurate increase in primary processing, logistics and capacity,” he added.
  • Adequate processing and storage system for these agro products is also a major problem affecting the agricultural value chain, with farmers losing about 40% of their yields to poor storage facilities, according to Mike Elechi, the CEO of Vintage Farm and Products.
  • The Chairman, Governing Council of Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology (NIIT), Mr John Onojeharho also disclosed that Nigeria loses about N3.7 trillion annually due to improper storage of foods. He said this while speaking on the topic: “Cold Chain Logistics” at the 8th Nigeria Annual Transport Lecture.

Agric Minister urges youths to embrace bee farming

Source: The Guardian

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Nanono, on Friday urged youths to harness the potential in apiculture sector for the growth of the nation’s economy.

Nanono, who made the call at the Nigerian Youth Beekeepers Summit to commemorate the 2021 World Bee Day in Abuja, emphasised that apiculture portends great investment opportunities for the youth.

The 2021 World Bee Day is with the theme “Exploring the Potential of Apiculture in Nigeria’’.

Represented by Mr Victor Egbon, Assistant Director, Department of Animal Husbandry Services, in the Ministry, Nanono described beekeeping as a great development for youths interested in agriculture.

“I implore you therefore to explore and bring up the best potential of the apiculture industry for the growth of the nation’s economy and wellbeing of Nigerians.

“This is really a great development for our youths who are embracing diverse areas of agriculture.

“Apiculture as you know is an area still largely untapped in Nigeria.

“The very many opportunities within the Honey Bee value chain provide employment, means of livelihood, wealth and high nutrition to the teeming populace.

“This portends great investment for now and the future in Nigeria.

“As you are aware apart from honey, other bee products of value include bee wax, propolis, pollen, bee venom and royal jelly to mention a few.

He said that the value chain of bee keeping was also a vast area to be tapped by Nigerian youths for its significant advantages.

“These products are useful in pharmaceutical, confectioneries, beverages, medicine and cosmetic industries.

“It is necessary to take advantage of these strings of profitable aspects of bee production, processing and marketing.

“And I will like to let you know that the ministry is supporting the honey bee value chain in its programmes,’’ he said.

Bee keepers who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) described the practice as a money spinning venture.

Miss Blessing Asapu urged Nigerians to understand that bee keeping goes beyond honey.

“There are other things like propolis, bee wax used for cosmetics.

“If youths embrace beekeeping, Nigeria will be an exporter of this commodity. But unfortunately they are scared to do so,’’ Asapu said.

Mr Bolowaji Durogbola, Secretary, Youths for Apiculture Initiative, urged policy makers to come up with favourable policies aimed at promoting beekeeping in the country.

GDP: Agriculture sector grows by 2.28% in Q1 2021

Source: Nairametrics

Nigeria’s agricultural sector grew by 2.28% in real terms in Q1 2021 compared to a growth of 3.42% in Q4 2020 and 2.20% in Q1 2020.

This was disclosed in the Q1 2021 GDP report, released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Sunday. Real GDP grew 0.51% in Q1 2021 compared to 0.11% in Q4 2020.

NBS added that Crop Production under Agric real GDP grew by 2.31% compared to 3.68% in Q4 2020 and 2.38% in Q1 2021.

  • Livestock under Agric real GDP grew by 1.65% compared to 2.38% in Q4 2020 and 0.63% in Q1 2020.
  • Fishing under Agric real GDP grew by 3.24 % compared to -3.60% in Q4 2020 and 1.49% in Q1 2020.

The report disclosed that Forestry under Agric real GDP grew by 1.28% compared to 1.24% in Q4 2020 and 1.71% in Q1 2020.

What you should know

The 2020 Agric GDP grew by 2.17% compared to 2.36% recorded in 2019.

Positioning agriculture as business

Source: The Nation

In quest to produce what Nigerians eat and create employment opportunities for youth and women,  the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) is supporting the drive for food and fibre security while assisting in diversifying the nation’s economy, improving household incomes, enhancing revenue mobilisation and generation.

The authority, which was established in 1992 but went into extinction in 2000, was resuscitated in 2020 to harness the full potentials of the vast arable lands in Nigeria to empower small holder and large scale farmers.

Presenting its one year scorecard to reporters, Executive Secretary of NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne, said the Authority has identified and recovered its farm estates in Gombe, Borno, Adamawa, Taraba, Niger, Kebbi, Oyo, Imo, Katsina, Lagos, Ekiti, Delta, Bauchi, Yobe, Kaduna, Benue, Kogi, Osun, Anambra, Akwa Ibom and Abia States.

Ikonne noted that NALDA has commenced the reactivation in phases, said the Authority has recovered lands in 21 states so far.

However, stakeholders in the agricultural sector who commended NALDA’s initiative and achievement so far, said year-round employment will be generated in the rural area and increase the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

NALDA soil doctors

Under this programme, the agency said it would train and engage 30,000 youth as soil doctors across the 36 states including FCT.

According to NALDA, the long term goal of the programme centres on engaging young Nigerian into the scientific method of farming to aid better crop yields and food security across the Nation.

It said the core essence of the engagement programme is geared towards creating a pool of qualified Nigerian youth who will carry out soil tests, soil management and extension services for farmers across the nation at a very subsidised rate.

“The programme is targeted at young Nigerian graduates who have a background in agriculture or sciences, the potential graduate must be passionate about agribusiness and food security in Nigeria.

“The young doctors will assist farmers to evaluate their soil, identify soil nutrients and prescribe fertilisers and crops suitable for their farm lands for a better yield,” it said.

Ikonne said the animal husbandry programme has recorded huge success as the agency has harvested over 30,000 litres of rabbit urine and 1,000kg of rabbit droppings, which are being used as fertiliser having subjected it to lab analysis and the rabbit farmers are making income from this.

“The beauty of the rabbit-rearing programme is in harvesting the rabbit waste (urine and droppings) which are sources of an organic fertiliser due to its richness in nitrogen.

“This will help us to grow organic food, which is healthier for human consumption and our aim is to export the organic fertiliser,” he said.

On training and empowerment of 30,000 soil doctors, Ikonne said the program had since commenced and over 500 Soil doctors have been trained in Borno and Jigawa states.

“The essence of this is to equip young graduates with agriculture or science backgrounds with the knowledge of extension services, which include soil testing and analysis and they are being given soil-testing kits in order for them to earn a living while ensuring our farmers are being equipped with best agricultural practices for greater output.

“This programme is in partnership with the state governments,” he said.

In line with NALDA’s mandate of achieving food security, he said they have embarked on establishing fish villages to engage rural women in fish production and packaging in some pilot States of Borno and Abia states.

“In Borno, we have started construction of the fish villages in 10 locations out of the 50 locations provided by the Borno State government to engage 2,200 women. While in Abia, the fish village in one location is 40 percent completed,” he said.

Bem Shija, a fish farmer, said with presence of NALDA in states, many young farmers have indicated interest to be trained in fish farming so as to get value for it.

While noting that NALDA has initiated a programme called NALDA Integrated Farms to be established in the 109 senatorial districts across the country, the executive secretary said they have reached out to the leadership of the Senate for Senators to facilitate land donation with the state governments.

In preparation for the wet season farming, Ikonne assured that NALDA is prepared for the wet season farming across the country on the recovered  farm estates.

He added that the state coordinators where the wet season farming will take place have been fully briefed and are prepared, as they have received more land donations from communities in Akwa Ibom, Cross River Yobe, and Adamawa States, among others.

Ikonne who also said NALDA engaged in dry season farming of rice in some pilot States of Adamawa, Niger, Yobe, Taraba and Bauchi, noted that farmers were trained on dry season farming of which they were not used to and we are expecting harvest in the coming weeks.

“NALDA provided all the farmers required for farming ranging from tractors, boreholes, pumping machines, planters and transplanters, fertiliser and seeds.

“We have a vision to position agriculture in the minds of young Nigerians as business.

“Our major aim is not only to achieve food security in Nigeria, but to show that Nigeria can work through this NALDA integrated farm estate.

This project is directly impacting the rural people in Nigeria, NALDA’s core mandate is to develop the rural area, develop agriculture.

“This will be owned by farmers from the community, that’s why we have reached out to senators so that every senator in collaboration with the state government will donate land within their senatorial zone so that we can have them integrated within the country.”

Economic benefits

Ikonne said the ongoing NALDA project will not only achieve food security, but will reduce unemployment drastically.

”The benefit of engaging our rural women into fish farming and production is not only for local consumption but also for export in order to earn foreign currency”.

An economic expert, Jide Andrew who spoke to The Nation, said the ongoing project initiated by NALDA would encourage industrial development.

”As demand for agricultural products rises around the world, this is the time for the country to grow agribusiness, we have a lot of resources to tap wealth from,” Andrew said.F

Agriculture capable of ending poverty – CDC Group

Source: Punch

The Director of Strategy, Food and Agribusiness, CDC Group Plc, Sami Khan, has said agriculture is a tool capable of ending poverty in countries around the world.

Khan said this on Thursday while speaking about the importance of agriculture at a webinar sponsored by NAHCO Plc and Red Star Express Plc, with the theme ‘Unlocking trade and export opportunities in the agricultural sector.’

“It has been proven that the agricultural sector helps lessen poverty,” he said.

Speaking on the role of the CDC Group to help transform countries around the world, he said the company would continue to stand with Nigeria in terms of partnership in the agricultural sector.

“The CDC Group is fully owned by the UK government, operating over 400 investments since 1948 with countries around the world, especially in Africa. CDC is a well-placed partner in transforming the agricultural sector in Nigeria,” he added.

The President, Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce, Kayode Falowo, noted that the National Bureau of Statistics said the Gross Domestic Product for agricultural sector in the first quarter of 2021 was lower than the GDP for Q4 2020.

The NBS report showed that crop production grew by 2.31 per cent, compared to 3.68 per cent in Q4 2020, and 2.38 per cent in Q1 2020.

According to him, crop production is a major driver of the agricultural sector.

Emefiele Inaugurates Rivers Cassava Processing Company

Source: Proshare

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele has tasked Governors of the 36 States of Nigeria to make their States more viable by investing more in agriculture, particularly crops in which they have comparative advantage, as well as to reduce their dependence on allocations from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC).

Mr. Emefiele dropped the challenge in Port-Harcourt, on Thursday, May 27, 2021, at the launch of the Rivers Cassava Processing Company Limited, which is designed to support improved production and processing of cassava into high-quality flour in Rivers State.

He disclosed that the CBN would no longer support the continued importation of items that can be produced in Nigeria, even as he pledged that the Bank will collaborate with Rivers and other States in supporting the development of a viable agricultural and manufacturing sector across the country in line with the CBN mandate of promoting economic growth for the country.

According to him, principal agencies of government at the federal and state level should continue to work hand in hand towards diversifying the Nigerian economy and creating an enabling environment for further investment by firms such as the Rivers Cassava Processing Company.

Emefiele identified land development as a major constraint to increase in agricultural activities in the Southern parts of the country due to its topography, noting that the CBN had partnered with several States Governments in the region under the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS).

Continuing, he said about N7.436 billion had been accessed by four States in the South-South region to open up more land for cultivation, create access roads to agricultural lands, and provide infrastructure among other support services in the region. “These measures are helping to induce greater activity in the agricultural sector and are enabling the movement of goods from farm to factories, and to the markets,” he added.

While commending the Rivers State Government, working with Shell Petroleum Development Corporation, the Dutch Embassy Investment Nigeria Limited and their technical partners, in setting up the integrated facility, the CBN Governor said investments such as the cassava plant could help in driving economic growth, reducing unemployment and inducing other wealth creating activities in the state.

He also expressed optimism that the project would improve livelihoods, as well as enhance sustainability of farming operations for over 3000 farmers, by guaranteeing the offtake of their farm produce in addition to reducing the country’s reliance on imports of cassava by-products.

Emefiele further noted that the emergence of the Nigerian economy from the recession in the fourth quarter of 2020, and the recent report that the economy continued to experience growth in the first quarter of 2021, was due to significant growth in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors.

Given the multiplier effects of the agricultural and manufacturing sectors, on growth, employment, and wealth creation, he challenged all stakeholders, particularly the State Governors to encourage more investment in the critical sectors of the economy.

“With the decline in our foreign exchange earnings, we can no longer afford to support continued importation of items that can be produced in Nigeria.  Our current situation has also made it imperative for the Central Bank to work towards supporting programmes that will enable greater cultivation and processing of key agricultural commodities in Nigeria,” Emefiele declared.

While also noting that the developmental finance initiatives at the CBN had been focused on creating an enabling environment that will drive both public and private sectors participation in the real sector with strategic deliverables around price stability, job creation, financial inclusion, import substitution and accretion to foreign reserve among others, he disclosed that so far, the sum of N333.196 billion had been disbursed to various projects in the South-South region covering activities in different economic sectors.