Who remembers the Cocoa House?
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has come out to say that 5,400 farmers and Agro-Dealers have benefitted from the $3 million feed the Future Nigeria Agro -Inputs Activity.
Stephen Haykin who is the Nigerian Mission Director of USAID said in a statement over the weekend in Abuja that the three-year activity had built about 1,400 agro-inputs dealers and 4,000 smallholder farmers.
Haykin said “the activity worked with microfinance institutions to improve access to credit and easing the burden normally faced by farmers during the planting season
“Through this partnership, 60 percent of beneficiary farmers and agro-inputs dealers were able to access finance to grow their business.”
This USAID scheme has strengthened the capacity of Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. It also helped to regulate the agro-inputs sector and improved the entrepreneurial capacity of agro-dealers to extend their network to rural areas.
Smallholder farmers’ demands for high-quality input, technologies and good agricultural practices were also impacted as the scheme helped increase activities in these areas.
Women and Youth farmers were able to get access to agricultural inputs and new agricultural technologies.
He said, the scheme has strengthened the private sector-led agricultural inputs market, as this has enabled farmers to access quality inputs and increase their agricultural productivity.
”We are heartened to see that the strong actions of the Government of Nigeria and other stakeholders have fortified these gains, and we are confident that we will continue to see progress,” he said. (NAN).
The Minister of Agriculture who was at the 23rd, 24th, and 25th combined convocation ceremony of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, called for an increased collaboration between Universities of Agriculture and the Ministry of Agriculture and other relevant agencies of the government as efforts to boost agriculture in Nigeria. The convocation ceremony took place on the 27th of October.
According to the Minister, “the University of Agriculture should probably be our most important partners in the agricultural sector because agriculture cannot thrive without knowledge. We are determined to remodel the universities of agriculture as nodal centres of excellence and I assure you that our approach will be friendly and inclusive.
“The universities of agriculture are fertile grounds for the accomplishment of this objective and that is why I have directed that the UAs should review their curricula and grading system to give more weight to practical agriculture activities rather than mere theory.
“I therefore seek your cooperation in ensuring that this university and the other two are truly remodeled and focused as specialized institutions of agriculture education and training in line with the vision of the founding fathers, “he said.
He also lamented the deviation of UAs from their core mandates, describing it as ” a dangerous signal and a disincentive to agriculture development in the nation”
There are currently three Universities of Agriculture in the country namely the Federal University, Abeokuta (FUNNAB), University of Agriculture, Makurdi and the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia state.
The minister urged the three Universities of Agriculture to take advantage of their reintegration into the Ministry of Agriculture and get enlisted as reliable allies in the agricultural sector.
Ogbe also promised that the ministry under his watch would build a dam and blocks of hostels in the school as well as provide mini-tractors at 60% discount and also develop the institutions’ seed faculty for production of more improved seedlings among other areas of support
President Buhari over the weekend said that the FG which has created measures to diversify the economy will sustain these measures by providing more funds to agriculture in the 2017 budget.
While speaking to reporters in Nairobi, Kenya over the weekend on the margins of the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI), He said African nations had a lot to learn from Japan on the development of the agricultural sector.
According to him, the FG intends to put in more resources in 2017 budget, with focus on the procurement of machinery for land clearing, fertilizers, pesticides and training of less-educated farmers, as farm extension instructors.
He went to say that some success has already been recorded this year in a number of states, as the government identified 13 states that will be self-sufficient in the production of rice, grains, and wheat before the end of 2018.
“We are positive that soon we will be able to export those food products. We are also lucky that the farming season in the northern part of the country has been very good and we are expecting a bumper harvest this year,” the president said.
The president said that African countries should take a cue from Japan in the area of rapid economic growth, hard work and advanced technology and that these factors should encourage Africans to work harder and solve its development challenges.
The President also requested for Japan to increase participation in the Nigerian economy.
With more people going into the Agricultural sector, it is no longer news that the sector has started yielding positive results. Agriculture has been identified as the largest employer of labour, especially in Nigeria. The Government is also encouraging more people to go into the sector by giving loans and grants to potential agriculturists.
Nigeria has about 84 million hectares of arable land and out of that number, only 40% has been cultivated. The climate condition in Nigeria makes it possible to grow crops like groundnut, cassava, palm oil, etc
Two things that give entrepreneurs dilemma when trying to invest in agriculture are
- What type of agriculture business to venture into?
- How to raise capital for the intended agricultural business?
We will focus on the second issue as this article will explore some government grants and loans available to Nigerian farmers.
- CBN Agricultural loan: The loan scheme which is being set up by the Federal Government provides low-interest loans to farmers in Nigeria. The bank recently disbursed N75 million as loans to farmers and cooperative societies in the 36 states including the FCT. This loan can be accessed through the Bank Of Agriculture.
- Bank of Agriculture (BOA) loans: The bank which is owned by the federal government with the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Finance incorporated as shareholders provide loans and grants to the public for the purpose of agriculture. The requirement for accessing this loan can be found on their website http://www.boanig.com/boa/products-and-services. It is important to note that the requirements for obtaining a loan from BOA are subject to negotiations and may depend largely on the feasibility of your agricultural venture.
- Agricultural Co-operative societies: If you are worried about all the requirements of obtaining a loan from BOA or commercial banks that have partnered with BOA, then cooperatives societies come in handy as they are the surest and easiest means of securing agricultural loans. But to access these loans granted by cooperative societies, one will have to join them. Some of the notable agricultural cooperative you can join include the following:
- All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN).
- Youth Empowerment in the Agricultural Program (YEAP);
It is simpler for a cooperative to access government loans and grants from commercial banks, the basic requirement includes the following:
- Form a cooperative society;
- Fill and submit a loan application. The application must be signed by the cooperative’s representative and also a letter must be written in cooperative’s letterhead.
- Submit a detailed feasibility study on the business.
The current trend shows that more people are getting into agriculture, aside just getting into agriculture to produce for local consumption and make money from the sector, some agriculture businessmen are also producing to export their agricultural produce.
Today, we will talk on Sesame Seed and why you should consider doing a business in Sesame business.
So what is Sesame? According to Wikipedia, “Sesame is a flowering plant in the genus Sesamum, also called benne”. it can be found in temperate and tropical regions of the world. It is highly tolerant to drought and can grow where other crops fail.
Sesame seed is one of the world’s oldest oilseed crop ever known, spanning over 3000 years. It is protected with a coat which is fibrous in nature and its variety comes in two colorations which could be brown and white.
Sesame has one of the highest oil contents of any seed and it is between 44%-60%. The Sesame seed is cultivated twice in a year, the first planting is usually done between April and May and the second planting is done between August and September. Based on the period of cultivating, the first harvesting is between July and August while the second harvesting is between November and December.
The seed is an important source of vegetable oil, which contains no Cholesterol. It can also be used in the pharmaceutical, cosmetics, and confectionery industries.
In identifying your buyers, it is important to know what your buyers (in different regions) call it. Whilst the global name is Sesame, the Indians call it” till”, In western and eastern Africa, it is called “benniseed” and “simsim” respectively. Back in Nigeria, the northerners call it “Ridi”; in Benue state, the Tivs, Idomas, and Igalas call it “Ishwa”, “Ocha” and “Igogo” respectively. The Yorubas refer to it as “Ekuku” or “Eeku”.
All around the world, there are 4.8 million tonnes of Sesame seed produced. In Africa, Nigeria is the seventh (7th), largest produce after Ethiopia and Sudan. The top importers are China, Turkey, Japan, South Korea, and Isreal.
Nigeria currently produces about 300,000 tonnes of Sesame Seed, the largest producing state include Nassarawa, Jigawa, Benue, and Taraba state
If you are thinking of going into farming and exporting Sesame Seed, you should start with learning to understand the best practices and how to get improved seeds. If you want to own the farm rather than buy directly from the farmer, then it will be better to site your farm in Taraba State with its two farming cycles a year. It is important to note that Taraba state is the only state with this unique feature as mentioned above. You can also have farms in Jigawa, Niger, and Bauchi.
When you want to get a land, think of space to production ratio. It is advisable to get a hectare of land that can produce between 1-1.5 tonnes of Sesame Seed. You will also do Land preparation, seeds, fertilizer planting, and harvesting. You can either do your planting with a mechanical planter in ridges or by broadcasting on plain land. For a hectare of land, you will require 4kg f seed, 4 bags of NPK and 1 bag of urea.
As you already know, there is an available local and international market, Nigeria Sesame Seed are majorly exported to India, Japan, China, and Turkey. In Europe, countries like Poland and The Netherlands receives Nigerian Sesame Seed but in small quantities. The Middle East has started to show interest in Nigeria’s Sesame Seed and we should expect an increase in demand from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait.
Nigeria is known as an Oil producing country and it sure makes a lot of money from the oil industry, but in as much as the sector is responsible for contributing immensely to the GDP, it is not the only natural resource that keeps the Nigerian Economy moving. Agricultural products also contribute to the Nigerian economy, it does not only provide and supply food to Nigerians but also export crops and fruits to other countries as well.
According to Naij.com, “the agricultural sector is considered the strongest and most developed branches of the economy in Nigeria. Up to 30% of the population is engaged in this industry”. Across the country, you will find small, medium, and large-scale businesses involved in the agricultural sector and given the diverse nature of the Nigerian climate, which varies from tropical and sub-tropical climate, it is easy to grow almost all agricultural products in the every region.
Agricultural products in Nigeria can be divided into two groups namely;
- Agricultural products produced for national/ local consumption.
- Product for export.
The article will focus on the top agricultural products that are exported to other parts of the world.
Palm Kernal Oil Extracts
Due to its use in the production of various types of cosmetics, there is a commercial demand for it. Not only can you use it for cosmetic production, you can use it to cook food due to the fact that it contains minerals and proteins.
Sesame is in the second place of products that are exported from Nigeria and the country is ranked the 5th largest producer of sesame seeds in the world. This product is usually produced in Benue and Jigawa state as it can not be found in other regions of Nigeria.
Nigeria started exporting yam in July 2017 when it exported 72 metric tonnes of yam to the UK and US. Nigeria accounts for 61% of the total output of yam in the world, a fact that is credited to the Food and Agricultural Organization.
Nigeria has a high volume of unprocessed raw cashew nuts, and the government is looking at the possibility of processing these nuts before there are exported. At the moment, the unprocessed raw cashew nuts are shipped to Brazil, India, and Vietnam, where they are processed into kernels and then shipped to Northern America or Europe.
Chilli pepper is a spicy component that is on demand in Asia and Africa. This product can be produced all year due to the favorable weather conditions.
Nigeria accounts for 20% of the world’s cassava production and about 34% of Africa’s production. Mostly grown in the southern part of the country and it is mainly cultivated by small-scale farmers and is used only by the local population.
With high demand in countries like Portugal, France, Belgium, Spain, and the USA, Shrimps which are being produced in Nigeria for local consumption can also be exported for gains. In recent years, Nigerians have built special farms to produce shrimps which do not only cater for local consumptions but also export to other countries.
The Federal Government has released 5,000 improved Cocoa seedings to Adamawa Government who are to distribute these seeds to farmers. This was released through the National Cocoa Production Programme.
Mr. Ilyasu Mu’azu, who is the state desk officer, National Cocoa Production Programme said these in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Yola.
Mu’azu said that the distribution of Cocoa seeds was part of the Federal Government economic diversification programme.
“After nursing the 5,000 improved seedlings for the next four months at the National Cocoa Production Centre in Toungo Local Government Area.
“Government will then sell it out to the farmers at subsidized cost to support them to produce more,’’ Mu’azu said.
He also said that government has also provided pesticides, fungicides and spray machines at subsidized rates to the farmers.
Till date, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council had trained over 200 farmers on Cocoa beans processing, packaging, and transportation in 2015 following complaints by farmers in the state.