LASG to partner FAO on coconut production

Lagos State Government is set to partner with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to boost the coconut value chain in the state, conservatively estimated to be in excess of N350 billion yearly.

Deputy Gov. Obafemi Hamzat, who made this known when a team from FAO, led by its Country Representative, Mr. Fred Kaffero, paid him a visit in Lagos on Wednesday, added that the partnership would ensure that the state’s coconut production improves significantly and the its value chain strengthened.R

“As we all know there are different varieties of this cash crop, FAO will assist with the technical know how and support with the production itself.

“Being a research based organization, FAO will visit different sites in the state, take the soil samples and the coconut; assess the variety and make necessary recommendations to the state government on replacement strategy, procedure and the variety available for planting,” he said.

The deputy governor noted that the collaboration would start immediately with a meeting between the FAO and local farmers, to educate them on planting and harvesting periods.

He added that the Ministry of Agriculture, on its part, will work with the farmers to ensure quality product, while identifying the best way to process it, as the potentials of the coconut sector and its value chain, presents real opportunities for income generation.R

Earlier, in her remarks, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, said that the development of the coconut sector would ensure sustainable food security, income, employment and wealth creation, that would impact on the economic development of the state.

Kaferro commended the Lagos state government for its commitment to food and agriculture production, noting that the issues relating to coconut were important, as it goes from production to variety,  processing and to a healthy coconut and how it is consumed.

He added that agriculture and its entire value chain requires partnership especially, as coconut gives opportunities for income generation for different segments of the society be it in production, export or marketing of the crop.R

The FAO representative disclosed that the organization was in the state to provide the needed technical support required for tapping into employment opportunities.

Nigerian government reiterates commitment on quality fertiliser for crop production

The Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to ensure that quality fertilisers were provided to farmers to boost crop production and food nutrition in the country.

Dr Abdulkadir Mu’azu, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said this at a joint meeting of fertiliser stakeholders and security operatives in Abuja.

This is contained in a statement in Abuja on Sunday, by Mrs Oleh Juliet, Principal Information Officer of the ministry.

Mu’azu, represented by Mr Tunde Bello, Director, farm inputs support services in the ministry , said that the meeting was strategic as it would help to build resilient partnership with security operatives to ensure attainment of food security in Nigeria.

Source: www.today.ng

Nigeria: FG reiterates commitment on quality fertiliser for crop production

The Federal Government of Nigeria  has reiterated its commitment to ensure that quality fertilisers were provided to farmers to boost crop production and food nutrition in the country.

Dr Abdulkadir Mu’azu, Permanent Secretary , Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said this at a joint meeting of fertiliser stakeholders and security operatives in Abuja.

This is contained in a statement in Abuja on Sunday, by Mrs Oleh Juliet, Principal Information Officer of the ministry.

Mu’azu, represented by Mr Tunde Bello, Director, farm inputs support services in the ministry , said that the meeting was strategic as it would help to build resilient partnership with security operatives to ensure attainment of food security in Nigeria.

Source:www.worldstagegroup.com

Enugu: 2000 rural farmers benefit from World Bank $750m Nigeria CARES programme

Source: Business AM

Findings by Business A.M. indicate that the programme is fully aligned with a forthcoming World Bank 2020–24 Country Partnership Framework for Nigeria, and Nigeria’s Economic Reform and Growth Plan 2017–20 and the National Economic Council’s COVID-19 action plan.

The programme outlines a proposed programme-for-results (PforR) operation in the amount of $750 million to support Nigerian states in their efforts to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the livelihoods of poor and vulnerable households and microenterprises in the country. The proposed PforR is an emergency operation designed to support budgeted programme of expenditures and interventions at the state level targeting existing and newly vulnerable and poor households, agricultural value chains, and micro and small enterprises (MSMEs) affected by the economic crisis.

The operation provides financial support to the states to fulfil programme objectives in four key results areas: strengthening institutional support for coordination and delivery; increasing cash transfers and livelihood support to poor and vulnerable households; increasing food security and safe functioning of food supply chains for poor households; and preventing collapse and facilitating recovery of household/ micro enterprises.

The programme development objective is to protect livelihoods and food security of poor and vulnerable families and facilitate recovery of local economic activity in all participating states across Nigeria.

Enugu State government, which is one of the participating states in the $750 million World Bank Nigeria CARES programme, undertook the distribution of the improved agricultural inputs to the farmers in the rural areas. The improved agricultural inputs included cassava stems, rice seeds, fertilizer and herbicides.

Governor IfeanyiUgwuanyi addressed the beneficiaries during the flag-off of the programme, saying that the intervention was aimed at improving the state’s agricultural productivity, create employment, and also act as a catalyst to stimulate the state’s rural economy.

Enugu state with an estimated $5.86 billion gross domestic product (GDP) economy, is a mid-tier 3 sub-national, placing 25 of 36 Nigerian states in a 2016 GDP ranking of Nigeria’s states. The state has fewer industries, but with a bulging civil servant population.

Governor Ugwuanyi, who was represented by his deputy, Cecilia Ezeilo, informed that the improved agricultural inputs distribution was informed by the key pillar of the CARES programme which recommends support to farmers with quality farm inputs such as high yielding seed varieties, in order to ensure sustainability of food production and improved livelihoods of the state’s farming families.

“The improved agricultural inputs for distribution in this event were acquired by the state government, in line with recommendation of the State CARES committee. The agricultural inputs intervention targets the agriculture value-chains in which the state has comparative advantage, namely rice and cassava farming,” the governor said.

He said the exercise will be replicated in the other two senatorial districts of the state; and that the initiative was mainly to reach the poor and vulnerable farmers “for economic empowerment, poverty alleviation, reduction of conflict-inducing social inequalities, boost agricultural productivity and stimulate the rural economy of the state.”

Governor Ugwuanyi commended the state’s CARES committee headed by the commissioner for finance, AdaonahKene-Uyanwune, for living up to expectation. He announced that the state government was making farming an all-season activity, in order to further broaden and stabilize the role of farming as a source of sustainable employment, livelihood and constant supply of raw materials for the local industries, and for export.

According to Matthew Idu,state commissioner for agriculture, the improved agricultural inputs distribution exercise was to increase food production in the state; and is also one of the measures to address the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. He urged the agriculture supervisors to ensure maximum utilization of the inputs, and that they should not sell the products.

Sanwo-Olu appoints Abisola Olusanya Lagos agriculture commissioner

Source: The Guardian

The Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has confirmed the appointment of Abisola Olusanya as the substantive commissioner for agriculture.

Abisola’s appointment was announced in a statement by the government, quoting a circular issued by Lagos State Head of Service, Hakeem Muri-Okunola.

Sanwo-Olu, who congratulated and wished the new commissioner a successful tenure in office, first appointed Ms. Olusanya into the State Executive Council on the 20th of August, 2019, as the special adviser on agriculture.

He later appointed her as the acting commissioner for agriculture on 8th June 2020, upon the resignation and subsequent coronation of the erstwhile commissioner for agriculture, Omogbolahan Abdulwasiu Lawal, as the 15th Oniru of Iru Kingdom.

“Ms. Olusanya is a tenacious and a result-oriented professional with 10 years of experience in leadership roles spanning sales, marketing and supply chain management with a speciality in executing strategies towards food security, SME inclusion, growth and profitability,” the government said in a statement.

“She is a leader with a participatory management style and proficiency in establishing and managing an entire operation with a key focus on sustainable organisational culture in line with global management practices.”

How Nigeria spends billions on coconut importation

Source: Premium Times

Nigeria’s expenditure on coconut importation annually cannot be described as anything short of outrageous, as shown by data from the United Nations Statistical Office.

The data obtained from the UN office shows that Nigeria spent $219,446.53 and $293,214.22 on coconut importation in 2019 and 2018 respectively, an amount higher than $186,094.58 that was spent on coconut importation in 2017.

According to Nma Okoroji, the president, National Coconut Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NACOPPMAN), Nigeria’s importation of coconut has risen over years by more than 80 per cent as the country has not been able to produce enough coconut locally.

“Between 265 tons of coconut are produced in Nigeria presently and 70 per cent of it is produced by Lagos State and 30 per cent is produced by the other states in Nigeria. But, as the national president, the association cannot promote what we don’t have.

“We don’t have enough coconuts in Nigeria presently; 80 per cent of the coconuts that are used in this country are imported and the cost of importation is getting higher and higher everyday,” she said.

“In Nigeria, coconut farming is a cash tree that receives very little attention.

“The farming is a ‘gold mine’ because of its wide range of industrial applications of most of the products. For a crop not indigenous to the country, she is blessed with the trees which could help harness the development of industries through which the standards of living can be improved.

“In Nigeria, low production as a result of old plantations and the varieties, have reduced coconut industrialisation,” she added.

Coconut is one of the important and useful palms in the world. Coconut is a cash crop grown in most of Nigeria’s 36 states.

Coconuts in Nigeria

In 1876, Nigeria established its first coconut plantation in Badagry, Lagos State.

Apart from consuming the fruit and water, the parts of the plant are also used by many industries such as pharmaceuticals, beverages and cosmetic industries.

The extracts are processed into food, fruit drinks, and cosmetics.

The coir can be used to make brushes, ropes, floor mats, mattresses, strings among others while the leaves are used for building and furniture making.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Nigeria ranks 19th, far behind Indonesia, Philippines, and India as the topmost producers of coconut in the world.

s of 2010, the annual coconut production in Nigeria according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) was 263,815MT. In 2011, the figure rose to 265,000MT before dropping to 264,814MT in 2012 and then eventually settled at 266,045MT, 267,520MT in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

The country experienced yet another increment in 2015, thereby bringing the total production value to 269.373MT.

Furthermore, in 2016, there was an increase in production value, at 283,140MT, which was evidently higher than the previous years, before experiencing a slight decline to 281,626MT in 2017.

Moving on, the country had another increment, bringing the production value to 290,288MT in 2019 from 285,200MT in 2018.

Coconut as an income-earning produce

Considering the money spent on coconut importation annually, Nigeria can gain more if more is produced locally.

The chapter chairman of the National Coconut Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NACOPPMAN), Kingsley Isong, attributed the high cost of importation to the country’s production and demand shortfall.

‘’The high cost of importation is because there is a production and demand shortfall. What we are producing cannot adequately address what we are consuming,” he said.

“In fact, it’s going to get worse now that we are going into actual processing when there’s going to be a serious demand for coconut.

“I can tell you that over the last decade, the global demand for coconuts and its derivatives increased by over 500 per cent.”

Speaking further, he stated that Nigeria imports coconut seedlings and its nuts from other neighbouring West African countries.

“We import more… we import seedlings from outside the country, especially Malaysia, but we import the coconut itself from the West African countries – Ghana and Ivory Coast.

“Before now, we did not even know that most of the coconut that we eat is actually coming in from outside, even people on the street did not know that.

“Here in the north, they eat a lot of coconuts, so the coconut comes from Ghana and they truck it everywhere to the north and other parts of the country, immediately after the border closure that is when we realised that the coconut that we are eating is from Ghana.

“At some point, there were about 70 trucks of coconut at the border, and they couldn’t enter and the cost of coconut went up.

“We are the highest consumer, you can imagine if Ghana that has about a million people is producing 400,000MT and Nigeria with its coconut eating population is producing only 290,000MT you can see the shortfall,” Mr Isong said.

“Another thing which is going to happen is that, you know, like Akwa Ibom State has just built a coconut mill factory. That factory can crack about 300,000 nuts a day.

“So, with all this coming up the demand on coconut is going to become higher and the cost on the street is also going to become higher unless something is done.

“Do you know they use coconut for sugar refinery?

“And every drop of coconut oil in Nigeria used in sugar refineries is imported,” he added.

The cost of coconut importation in Nigeria in the last decade was the highest in 2011, a comprehensive data analysed by PREMIUM TIMES illustrates this.

Data obtained from the United Nations Statistical Office show that Nigeria’s cost of coconut importation was highest in 2011, with an import amount of $9,495,210 followed by 2016 with $590,604.00, although there was no recorded data in 2015.

This shows that Nigeria spent more on coconut importation yearly, although the exchange rate of the US dollar in the last 10 years, varies.

Mr Isong urged the government to support farmers with more improved seedlings to cut the cost of importation.

“Government must assist the coconut value chain. The federal government has identified coconut as (part of) six or seven critical cash crops in the country.

“That identification means coconut is very important as a cash crop in the country.

“The problem we have right now is actually seedlings because the local coconut cannot compete – in terms of yield and also the duration for fruiting – with the imported ones.

“Take for instance, our own that we call Guinea tall, starts fruiting between 9 -15 years. This is a long time. There’s what we call the Malaya dwarf. This one fruit between three years, compared to our own.

“If you plant now, in the next three years you are going to begin to harvest.

“If we can support farmers to begin to cultivate the dwarf, which has high yield and earlier harvesting, it will be a plus to increase coconut production in the country.

“And, it will definitely bring down the cost of importation,” he said.

“We need the government’s support, especially in terms of seedlings. We need the government to waive import duty on seedlings. we need their support in the provision of organic fertilizer.

“We intend to emphasise organic production because the world is more interested in organic production, as organic coconut oil sells better than any other coconut oil,” he added.

Buhari launches farming programme for Nigerian youth

Source: Premium Times

President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday in Abuja urged agencies involved in agriculture to further streamline their priorities in the inclusion of youth in driving modern methods of farming while assuring all those interested that an enabling environment will be created for full participation.

In his remark at the launch of National Young Farmers Scheme, designed by the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) to spur more youth interest in farming, the President said agriculture remains the backbone of the Nigerian economy, being the largest contributor to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“We will do more to expand, modernize and revolutionize our agriculture, which is our most important asset.

“I have directed that all NALDA’s abandoned farm estates be retrieved to enable thousands of our young men and women to be engaged in farming. This Administration will be achieving agricultural mechanization through this scheme and I am confident that Nigeria under my watch, we will achieve food security in producing most of what we eat. In good harvest years we may even export our surpluses and earn foreign exchange,” he said.

President Buhari noted that the resuscitation of NALDA will make Nigeria food sufficient and in a few years begin to earn more revenue from export of agricultural commodities.

“By virtue of my passion and desire for agriculture and also as a farmer myself, I am directly supervising NALDA as an authority under the Presidency.

“I am asking the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and State Governments to give full cooperation to NALDA in its activities. With the success of Anchor Borrowers programme spearheaded by the Central Bank of Nigeria and new programmes to revive cotton, palm products and cocoa, the next few years will see a vast difference in our agricultural performance.’’

The President said all the necessary approvals that NALDA requires for effective take-off, beginning with areas of adequate land preparation for crop farming and livestock rearing, had been given, charging the Executive Secretary/CEO of NALDA and his team to continue to live up to expectations and increase their activities in local communities.

“I am told that, so far, 4,333 families have benefited from this scheme and it is expected that many more individuals and families will benefit as the programme is rolled out.

“I now flag off the National Young Farmers’ Scheme. It is my expectation that the Scheme will take in young Nigerians, graduates and non-graduates alike, and be part of this Government’s effort to reduce unemployment and contribute to the regeneration of agriculture and our economy.’’

The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, commended the President for his steadfastness in repositioning the agricultural sector since coming to office, opining that the country had already felt the impact of the policies of the administration.

The Senate President said there was a need to encourage agricultural agencies, like NALDA, to work closely with the research institutions in Nigerian universities.

The Executive Secretary/CEO of NALDA, Paul Ikonne, said the discovery of oil in the country hampered the growth of agriculture and increased poverty in rural communities, assuring the President that the concerted effort to revive interest in farming will tackle poverty and create wealth.

Ikonne said the resuscitation of NALDA after close to 20 years of abandonment will go a long way in reducing unemployment in the country, especially among the youth.

“Our focus is to engage 1,000 farmers from each of the 774 Local Government Areas, thereby creating 774,000, direct employment annually,’’ he added.

Goodwill messages were given by a representative of the Young Farmers, Fatima Usman Musa and Denmark Ambassador to Nigeria, Amb. Jesper Kamp.

Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, also participated in the event.

Nanono seeks youths, women involvement in agriculture

Source: pmnewsnigeria

By Okeoghene Akubuike

Alhaji Sabo Nanono, the Minister, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, has called for a greater involvement of the youth and women in agriculture.

Nanono made the call on Tuesday in Abuja at the “Debriefing of Outcomes of Socio-economic Surveys in Nigeria’’ led by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and its partners.

He said that there was a need to address the issue of the micro level value chain being practised in Nigeria by aiming for a higher one which would help engage more youths and women in agriculture.

“I hope this meeting will also address the link between agriculture and industrialisation and look at the value chain by looking at a higher level of value chain.

“We have to start thinking along that line and see how we can remove a large number of youths from our streets.

The minister said Nigeria needed to look at crops such as soya bean and sesame seed which, according to him, are crops with good potential for export.

He also said the crops had the potential to create jobs for the youth.

Nanono called on women to wake up and come out of their closets, be aggressive and proactive in participating in farming business.

He urged women and the youth to be involved in agriculture to move the nation forward.

The minister noted that though sorghum was becoming an industrial problem the seeds planted in Nigeria were not standardised.

He advised that the issue should be addressed through education and massive orientation programmes to enable the people to understand the importance of standardising sorghum.

Pushing rural prosperity through agriculture

Nigeria has an ambitious target of reducing extreme poverty as envisaged in the Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy. To achieve this, stakeholders say the solution lies in promoting rural agriculture. They suggested multifaceted approaches, including policy changes to promote  job growth, infrastructure improvement, technological innovation, energy security and improving quality of life in rural communities, DANIEL ESSIET reports.

 

The founder of Hastom Nigeria, an agricultural firm, Debo Thomas, is one promising young farmer in Ogbomosho, Oyo State.  Unlike young Nigerians who abandon farming and rural communities, choosing to migrate to urban centres in search of white-collar jobs, Thomas chose to remain and make a difference. Today, he  is a successful crop and cattle farmer.

He noticed that people interested in agriculture were mostly from the city and their major problem was farmland, while in Ogbomosho, they have abundant land. He started helping people to purchase farmlands.

Similarly, he has achieved success in cashew farming. He has cultivated cashew trees on more than 550 acres. According to him, ensuring access to nutritious and affordable food is essential to achieving inclusive and sustainable development in Nigeria.

Those who make this happen, he noted, live in rural areas. He has seen first-hand the powerful role agro entrepreneurs can play in transforming communities, but lamented that farmers were facing unique challenges.

Most of them, according to him,  struggle to earn enough income He urged the Federal Government to enact economic policies that will drive growth and development while calling for the provision of vital infrastructure to enable young entrepreneurs to succeed in agriculture.

He said there should be enough government support to ignite activities across the food and agriculture value chain, provide reliable, consistent credit and financial services, empower communities and strengthen agriculture development in states throughout the country.

Speaking with The Nation, a professor of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, Federal University Oye-Ekiti, Ikole Campus, Ekiti State, Akinwumi Moses Omotayo, said Nigeria‘s rural  agricultural transformation could help the  ongoing fight against poverty, urging for collaboration to strengthen  the vital sector of the economy.

The sector, he further noted, has the potential to reduce poverty and continue driving economic growth, but that emphasis ought to be placed on increasing productivity and competitiveness in the rural areas.

The campaign, Omotayo added, should involve putting  high yielding seed varieties in the hands of farmers, accompanied by investment in rural roads, irrigation, and agricultural extension.  He stressed that boosting productivity in rural areas could lead to more jobs.

His words: “The means of becoming a millionaire in the next decade is by becoming a farmer.”

Omotayo said Nigeria’s agriculture has a strong, diversified base yet it still lags behind other developing nations, largely due to technology gap. He said there should be facilities for rural farmers to get all the information they need to thrive.

According to him, the internet is a great tool for learning and will help farmers seeking ways to increase production. He said there should be loans and grants to help farmers expand economic opportunities.

The Group Managing Director, Gerar International Limited,   Prince Ojiefoh Enahoro, is an agro exporter. He is a supplier of grains and oil seeds to big companies such as Flourmill, Rom Oil, Apple and Pears and Olam Nigeria and Osun Commodity Limited. His biggest achievement was that he first tried everything, gained experience and then advised others. He now offers consultancy services to people involved in rural farming, and has continued to make a difference.

Speaking with The Nation, Enahoro said rural farmers were not having the best of times.  “We face a lot of problems as rural farmers and exporters. The government has not been intentional about developing rural agriculture.”

According to him, farmers are worried about the unsustainable development of the economy and high inflation, adding that policies for agricultural production and consumption have not been paid enough attention.

He said what Nigeria needed was a pragmatic development plan to stimulate growth in  rural areas, including  expanding agriculture, the success of which would be seen in the emergence of exports as  the highest source of foreign currency for the nation.

The wide variety of agricultural produce, according to him, is one of the nation’s major strengths, a result of the country’s different climatic and geographical zones.

His words: “Oyo State can generate over N200 billion annually from cashew nuts. Same thing for Edo and Kogi states. “In Taraba, they have more than 23 flowing rivers across 11 local government areas. The water is not being well utilised. No irrigation, nothing. If we are bringing produce from rural areas to the capital, we have to cross rivers. We have water, we have good soil, and we have population. Things are not working. Rural farmers are suffering. We spend millions purchasing herbicides and seedlings for the farmers.”

High transport costs, according to him, are a big issue that should be addressed as they are undermining competitiveness.

According to him, rural agriculture has continued to lag significantly behind, hindered by logistic challenges. In the longer term, he said there should be programmes to ensure smaller producers are integrated into the attractive export industry.

The Programme Director, Development Dynamics, Dr Jude Ohanele, said rural farmers needed to be empowered to bring productivity back to the agricultural landscape.

In Imo State where he operates, Ohanele has been part of efforts to midwife small agricultural businesses to revive the economy. He has been explicit about his increasing efficiency and food production to replace imports that cost Nigeria hundreds of millions of dollars yearly.

The fact that his   biofortification campaign has produced a number of small agro businesses is a clear sign of how much lack of extension support has held down the progress of rural businesses not exposed to such services.

Ohanele said by most measures rural farmers were not doing well because of waste, poor management, policy constraints, transportation limits, and other problems.

According to him, most farm produce are  wasting because of lack of transportation to bring them to processing centres.

He  was  also worried that the bureaucrats responsible for managing the complex mix of state-run and private agriculture lack the knowledge needed to make the system work.

For a lecturer at the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ibadan, Dr  Kehinde Adesina Thomas, Nigeria  presents a unique case study of a developing country that  has not successfully invested in its agricultural sector and boosted its economy.

Thomas said empowering and investing in rural  farmers was a  pre-requisite to fulfilling the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals that aim to end poverty and hunger.

He was, however, concerned  that rural agriculture has not  shown any  record of tremendous growth. He  attributed this to under  investments in the sector.

With limited non-farm employment in rural areas, he noted that  a vast majority of rural labour force relies on agricultural work for income.

Farmers, Thomas noted, want to see significant improvements in livelihood and rural economy.

The knowledge gap is one of the issues, Head, Operations, Anastasia Marie Nigeria Limited, Sunday Etimensi, wants addressed as rural farmers require training on how to restore productivity using better farm management methods.

Etimensi said operators needed to know the productive protocols and  land management techniques to use, how to scale, and even what crops and animals to farm.

For Nigeria to reduce extreme poverty by 2030, stakeholders called for increased efforts to secure a better standard of living for the people. They believe agribusiness has the potential to boost the livelihoods of ruralites.

According to the Executive Partner, Alfam Insurance Brokers, Gbolahan Adu, prosperity will come from an accelerated transformation of the agriculture sector in the rural areas.

In his interaction with farmers, Adu saw record post-harvest losses and this has a negative impact on their income.

While the provision of reliable storage facilities  could  help reduce  perennial post-harvest losses, improve food security and alleviate poverty, Adu  said implementing agricultural insurance was vital to reduce community vulnerabilities to crises and disasters and to better prepare farmers for future shocks.

He said agriculture insurance has a role to play in easing access to finance and credit by farmers, and cushioning them against losses induced by disasters or diseases that affect their crops and livestock.

He urged the government to encourage rural farmers to adopt insurance policies for crops and livestock.

A crop and social scientist, Ige Oluwaseun, said there was the need to support rural farmers to sustain their businesses. He said there should be programmes to support rural households to improve their food and nutrition security and reduce rural poverty by combining agriculture and social protection.

The Chief Executive, A.K&F Agro Tech and Agro S-ervice, Osuwa Abdullahi, urged the authorities to scale up investments  in rural areas as part of efforts to eradicate poverty.

He implored the government to prioritise the development of agriculture and rural areas and advance a batch of major projects to facilitate production and consumption.

These, according to him, will help to reduce rural poverty, improve food security, boost export revenue, and deepen marketing and distribution chains throughout the economy.

Source: The Nation

Embrace export proceed number, Shippers Council tells operators

The Nigerian Shippers Council has called on shipping companies and terminal operators to adopt the Nigerian Export Proceeds number for exportation.

Executive Secretary of the NSC, Hassan Bello, made the call while visiting terminal operators on Tuesday after disruption of activities during the recent protests.

The terminals he visited included the APM Terminal, Maersk Nigeria and the Tincan Island Container Terminal.

Bello explained that NXP number was produced to smoothen export transactions. He said the the Central Bank of Nigeria gave 90-days transaction period for operators to take that opportunity.

He said, “We are on this round to find out challenges of terminal operators after the disruption of service for the past six days and ensure that there is no spillover that will affect the economy as it will have adverse consequences.

“Shippers were not able to remove their cargoes so there is need to think about it and come up with incentives so that they will be able to do so.

Customer Experience Manager, Maersk Nigeria, Yemi Adenaike, lamented their inability to validate the NXP numbers, urging the Executive Secretary to find a temporary solution until the portal was up to speed.

He said, “We anticipated the rush due to the disruption of last week and we have extended the dues of customers till the end of the month.

“Due to our inability to validate the NXP number, we have stopped loading exports and this is not good as it will impact negativity on the terminal, road and others and so we seek your help.”

Bello encouraged the management of the Tincan Island Container Terminal to come up with solutions to ensure the decongestion of people operating at the port by ensuring operations were done digitally.

He stressed that the government had begun to make transactions at the port easier by investing in the necessary infrastructure which includes an electronic call-up system and the process of linking rails to terminals.

Recently, the CBN vowed to sanction exporters who ship out goods without Nigerian Export Proceed numbers.

The regulatory body said that cargoes would be turned back if exporters did not comply with the auto system that has been put in place.

Source: Punch