It is Throwback Thursday and today we are remembering the Groundnut Pyramids. This was one of Northern Nigeria’s greatest revenue source and a huge contributor the country’s GDP.
The country needs about four million hectares of land given the average yield of four to five tonnes per hectare to be able to achieve that self sufficiency target.
Currently, Nigeria imports about four million metric tonnes of wheat every year, spending around $4bn.
This figure, however, “is expected to reach $10bn by 2030 when Nigerians are predicted to consume over 10m metric tonnes of imported wheat to satisfy their growing demand for non-traditional foods like pasta, noodles, and bread,” Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank and Nigeria’s former minister of agriculture has said.
Although the Lake Chad Research Institute has released wheat varieties such as LACRI WHIT-1 (Seri M82), LACRI WHIT-2 (Cettia), LACRI WHIT-3 (Linfen) and LACRI WHIT-4 (Atilla Gan Atilla), which have potential yields of 3.0 to 4.5t per hectare, the nation is not yet anywhere close to self sufficiency.
To encourage domestic production, the wheat farmers association of Nigeria signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Flour Millers Association of Nigeria to offtake the grains after production.
That MoU left many wheat farmers, particularly in Kano and Jigawa states, in anger and pains because the agreed price per kilogramme is far from the cost of production.
The farmers want a review but the millers are not ready to accept such review. The farmers are threatening to boycott production next season-a threat the Federal Government must take seriously.
Although the MoU has expired, the millers are maintaining a similar condition as contained in the agreement since they are the major buyers- the farmers do not have an option.
Chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (Kano State chapter) Farouk Rabiu, described the situation as an extortion of wheat farmers by the big millers.
Speaking to agriculture correspondents in Kano, he said some governors in the north-west had an agreement with millers to offtake wheat at prices that did not favour farmers.
Mallam Rabiu said millers bought 100kg bag of wheat at N18, 000 and that this price was not good for the farmer to break even from the cost of production.
The National Chairman, Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria and a member of the National Task Force on Rice and Wheat, Alhaji Salim Muhammad, called for a national sustainable policy structure on rice and wheat to protect farmers in the country and to boost production.
“Without a policy supported by the government, I don’t think that this administration will be able to sustain production, and a subsequent government that is not interested may wave it aside and the production of wheat may be mere history in Nigeria,” he said.
How Jigawa waded in
Speaking to agric journalists, Governor Mohammed Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State admitted that the state and the association of flour millers had agreed to uptake and had already bought reasonable tonnes of wheat from the state.
“This year we agreed on price with them, we agreed that they will buy at N18,000, but it was really very difficult for us to get to that negotiation because when we were buying the seeds, the price as at that time (because of the scarcity of seeds) was N32,000 per bag; but now farmers have to sell grains at N18, 000,” he stated.
He, however, noted that there was a difference between grains and seeds.
“When farmers started harvesting, the price was between N24,000 and N25,000 and later went down to N15,000; and at that price we intervened and it has picked up now and is between N18,000 and N19,000,” he said.
Governor Badaru stressed that the state was going to give loans to farmers for the cluster approach they did for massive upscale production from the 100,000 metric tonnes achieved during the last season, adding that, “we are working very hard so that next season will be very profitable and better for farmers.”
The Kebbi approach
While speaking on the issue, Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu noted that Kebbi did not participate in the MoU because the state was worried about future availability of seeds and so decided to buy everything the farmers produced, which they would use as seeds next season.
“We did not participate in selling what we produced and that was what saved the nation: we have to be clear and clever,” he said.
Governor Bagudu, who is the Chairman, Presidential Task Force on Rice and Wheat Production, stated that people who imported wheat were buying auctioned wheat, stressing that, “for us to achieve that four million tones, we have to support our farmers by providing the seeds for planting.”
Kano helping farmers to mechanise
The Kano State government has acquired two combined harvesters for wheat farmers in the state-an effort Alhaji Salim Muhammad, who is the leader of Nigeria wheat farmers, has applauded.
He, however, said the state needed no fewer than 10 combined harvesters to lessen the burden of the farmers as old methods most times resulted in wastage.
For now some wheat farmers who suffered from falling prices caused by MoU with millers are sceptical about going into wheat production this season. They are considering expanding their rice farms as rice is considered more lucrative.
Until the Federal Government and the wheat producing states intervene to sustain production, Nigeria will have to rely on importation for many years, which could reach trillions of dollars as demand grows with the country’s population.
Author: Vincent A.Yusuf
Mr Patrick David who is a representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has said that the AMIS CAPI system which cost $600,000 (which is an equivalent of N240 million) would provide an unparalleled access to agricultural data to various stakeholders across the country and in turn, bring remarkable growth to agricultural stakeholders across the country and this will lead to a growth in the agricultural sector.
In other to ensure that Nigerians have access to valid data on agriculture ,FAO has handed over the CAPI system developed with the support of AMIS for the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Bukar Hassan, who represented the minister said, “the only way agricultural production can be sustained is when the farmers can be able to reach out to various markets to sell their products and make some returns to enable them to invest, and therefore today’s programme gave us a unique opportunity to move away from traditional marketing system to a more digital and sustainable method where we will be able to ensure that whatever we have produced and the figures we are going to have, in terms of production, is accurate, and therefore food security will be ensured.”
According to Mr. Olutayo Oyawole who is the National project Coordinator, he said that CAPI system would provide access to agriculture information and data from various stakeholders around the country that will, in turn deliver tremendous growth for the agricultural sector.
He went on to say that “Real-time data gathering has always been a problem in the agricultural sector. With this CAPI System, investors, agriculture merchants, traders and farmers can make better decisions and optimize their activities in their respective roles. Today, we bring to fore, a system that will bring about a paradigm shift in the way we collect and manage agriculture data in Nigeria. The excess produce of a farmer in Kano, might be key to fulfilling the scarcity of a factory in Kansas or Kentucky in the United States of America, thousands of miles away.”
The Federal Government through the Ministry of Agriculture is set to export 72 metric tonnes of yam to the UK and the United state today.
In what seems to be a major diversification breakthrough, the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, made the announcement yesterday that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the exportation to the United States and United Kingdom.
The Minister however said that Nigerians should not worry about shortage in supply of yam for local consumption assuring them that such will not happen.
He went on to say that “Now, we account for 61% of the total output of yams in the world, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization. The rest is shared between some countries in West Africa and the West Indies. For us to go abroad and not find Nigerian yams in the market is an embarrassment”.
He said that since Ghana is targeting $4 billion from yam exports in the next three years, Nigerians shouldn’t be lagging behind but should be thinking of surpassing that.
He also said that the government is going to provide solar coolers in yam markets and yam producing areas to keep the temperature at 14 degrees Celsius; not to freeze them but to keep them at that temperature throughout the year and can last up to two to three years in the container.
He also said that the Ministry is in talks with Walmarts, the biggest supermarket chain in the US who approached the Ministry to roast cashew nuts for them. Their demand is total 130,000 tonnes of cashew nuts which will lead to a revenue of $7 billion for the country. The government is looking to create six cashew processing factories in Nigeria which will be sited at Enugu, Imo, Benue, Kogi, Kwara and Oyo states
Dr Akinwumi Adesina who is the present President of African Development (AfDB) and the former Minister of Agriculture under the Jonathan administration has been named the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate.
Adesina is set to become the 46th recipient and the sixth African to be so honoured with this prestigious award.
The award ceremony would take place October 19.
Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, the President, The World Food Prize, The Hall of Laureates, during the announcement of the new laureate described Adesina as “someone who grew out of poverty, but whose life mission is to lift up millions of people out of poverty.’’
The prestigious 250,000 dollars prize is given annually to a person who has worked to advance human development by “improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world”.
Over a 31-year existence, the award has become known as the “Nobel Prize’’ for Food and Agriculture.
The announcement was made at a ceremony held at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which had in attendance the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.
Previous awardees which included the Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Nigeria’s Acting Ambassador to the U.S. and Chargé d ‘ Affaires, Ambassador. Hakeem Balogun were present at the announcement.
Others include officials of the World Food Programme, members of the Diplomatic Corps and other U.S. officials.
Since its founding in 1986, the Prize has honoured 45 individuals for their outstanding contributions to food security around the world.
Nigeria is Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest producer of tomatoes and at the same time the largest importer of tomato paste. It is said that the nation consumes more 900,000 tons of tomato paste annually.
The reason for the shortfall in the local supply of tomatoes can not be far-fetched, it is not due to the failure of the farmers to produce tomatoes but the lack of processing plants and storage facilities, hence 75% of locally produced tomatoes get wasted.
So as to meet the demand from the local markets, the Nigerian government now source tomato paste from other countries, these imports mostly come from China and Italy. The imports from China and Italy threaten to completely override the local tomato paste industry if Nigeria fails to come up with measures to step up production and processing of tomato paste.
Imports coupled with the recession which hit the North African country further worsened the situation in Nigeria with companies in the tomato paste industry feeling the negative effects. Most companies have closed shop due and left the country due to the recession that has hit the country. The unfavorable exchange rate has also made it difficult to do business and government has not helped matters at all.
One of Africa`s top tomato paste maker Erisco Foods quit its Nigeria operations to open up shop in Kenya, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Ethiopia. Erisco Foods had the largest tomato paste processing plant in Nigerian and is the 4th largest in the world. Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote also shut his new tomato paste plant in Nigeria months after opening it.
Tomato paste is such a big deal in Nigeria as it is widely used in many Nigerians dishes such as the popular jollof rice soups.
The Sokoto Government has revealed plans to train two million people on poultry farming. This was made in a statement signed by Malam Imam who is Media aide to the state governor, His Excellency, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal
According to the statement, the state aims to become the leading state in poultry production in the country and to serve neighboring countries in the near future.
“We hope to increase production of poultry meat and eggs and to provide employment opportunities to citizens through the intervention as well as tackling poverty especially among rural dwellers,” the statement added.
The statement further revealed that an agency which will enable citizens the opportunity to tap from the potentials available in the sector.
The new agency will work closely with all stakeholders which include the Department of Livestock Development of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and will introduce policy guidelines that would lead to the development of the sector for the benefit of the citizens.
The state government has appointed Alhaji Balarabe Laden as the Director- General of the newly-established Poultry Development Agency.
The Nigerian Minister of Finance, Honorable Kemi Adeosun, says the country will benefit by signing up for the African Development Bank funded ENABLE Youth (Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment) Program.
Nigeria’s signatory to the ENABLE youth program will make the oil-rich country the third African country coming behind Cameroon and Sudan to benefit from funds under the AfDB Feed Africa initiative. . The ENABLE youth program is modelled after the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Youth Agripreneur (IYA) program which has seen a lot of success.
The program is expected to create business opportunities and decent employment for 1000 young women and men along priority agricultural value chains of various enterprises (aquaculture, crops farming, marketing, processing, etc.) per state, including Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, according to the Director General of IITA, Dr Nteranya Sanginga today.
Mrs Adeosun said that she was inspired and impressed with the concept and the testimonials of the young agricultural entrepreneurs.
“We came here – IITA – to assess a project (ENABLE Youth) being considered by the Federal Government. From what I have seen today, I am extremely impressed and inspired! We should work on how we can roll out this project nationally,” the Minister said during a visit to IITA in Ibadan on 10 June.
Like several other African nations, Nigeria is caught in between rising youth employment and food insecurity. In 2012, Dr Sanginga initiated a youth in agriculture program to serve as a model for African nations to emulate and prosper. Under the model, youths are trained – both in theory and practice—and mentored with a view to changing their mindsets towards agriculture. In the end, they key into startups in the agricultural value chains.
Dr Sanginga said the IYA model was a template that would help African countries tackle the challenge of unemployment on the continent and create wealth.
“We have tested it in IITA, Nigeria, and several countries and it is working,” he said.
Testimonials on how the IYA program is creating jobs, wealth, and transforming agriculture abound. For Mercy Wakawa from Biu, Borno state, the training provided by IYA through N2Africa project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 2 years ago had helped her establish a medium scale groundnut oil processing industry that provides employment for seven other youths and supports the local groundnut industry.
Ajibola Olaniyi leads a team of two other young people who ventured into catfish farming. Without prior knowledge about fish farming but with support from IITA, Ajibola and her team resuscitated four abandoned ponds and later expanded to 17 with a capacity of 150 tons of fish production per year. The expansion of the business also created jobs for short-term staff who work with the team in managing the ponds. The business is growing with clients coming from the various geo-political zones in Nigeria to patronize the products.
TOFAN Foods is a subsidiary of IITA Youth Agripreneurs. The business, which is owned by three young people who were trained under the processing unit of IYA, is producing Tidbit. The snack is made from high quality cassava flour and cowpea. TOFAN Foods has been established in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, and will be scaling out the technology learned during the incubation period in IYA.
Oyindamola Asaaju, another Agripreneur, used to serve tables at a restaurant, but after getting involved with IYA, she now leads a group of Agripreneurs in Onne, Rivers State. The group is using the IITA Station in Onne to develop new agribusiness enterprises in poultry, catfish, and micropropagation of plantain, and serve as an incubation center for young people.
Culled from http://reliefweb.int/report/nigeria/nigerian-finance-minister-wants-iita-and-govt-rollout-youth-agriculture-program