Poor Conservation May Disrupt Agricultural Production

Poor conservation policies and programmes of the government may hinder agricultural production in the country, environmental experts have warned.

This warning was recently given at a one-day seminar organized by the Department of Applied and Environmental Biology at the Rivers State University.

Professor Godfrey Akani who is the Professor of Wildfire and Biodiversity Conservation stressed that conservation is the key to ensuring sustainable agricultural production.

He said the need to maintain conservation policies and programmes was important in all spheres of agricultural activities as he feared that many species which included animal and plants were facing extinction.

He recommended that the State Ministry of Agriculture should engage in tree planting programmes in order to revive lost forest resources.

The event was also attended by Director of Forestry in the state Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs. Nkemdiri Odoya. She stated that many forests in the conservation area of River State have been encroached upon.

She went on to state that the Niger Delta accounts for 50 percent of freshwater fish in Africa, but observed that, “over hunting and over-harvesting of wildfire is such that it has depleted the growing ones”.

Odoya called on the relevant authorities to enforce the forestry laws in order to curb the activities of people who encroach into restricted areas to hunt and fish.

The Director of Forestry wants to staff members to be trained and equipped so that they will be able to monitor conserved forests and lands.

FG in talks with foreign countries regarding agric produce




According to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, the Federal Government is currently negotiating with some foreign countries to facilitate the exportation of Nigeria’s agricultural produce.

The minister mentioned this while on an official visit to the Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State. He said that “the aim of the discussion with the countries is to boost the country’s economy.”

The minister said that the agricultural policies of the Federal Government in the last two years were aimed at promoting the diversification of the economy.

He said that the ministry had identified the agricultural produce in which each state of the federation had a competitive advantage.

He said that the ministry would ensure that the commercial production of the agricultural produce so as to generate raw materials and finished goods for export.

The minister said the agricultural produce included staple foods such as rice, maize, wheat and millet and tuber crops, as well as dairy products, livestock, and fisheries.

Ogbeh stressed that the enhanced production of food crops and livestock would facilitate the growth of the national economy.

He said that Katsina was one of the major states under the focus of the new initiative because of its rich soil, expansive land mass and a large number of farmers.

In his remarks, Masari said that his administration had gone into several partnerships with the Federal Government, private investors and international agencies to boost agricultural production.

He said that the state government had procured 225 modern tractors from an Indian firm, as part of its efforts to fast-track agricultural production to achieve food security.

The governor said that over five dams across the state were currently undergoing rehabilitation to facilitate dry season farming.

Source: Pulse.ng

Don’t Lift The Ban On Importation Of Rice- Farmers Tell FG

Alhaji Jamilu Ibrahim who is the Chairman of Rice Farmers in Daura, Katsina State, has asked the Federal Government not to lift the ban on importation of rice so as to boost local production.
It will be recalled that the Federal Government banned the importation of rice through land borders in 2015, the policy was to protect local farmers and promote local rice consumption in the country.
Ibrahim briefed journalist on Monday after a meeting of Local Rice Farmers of Daura, that there was a need for the present administration to maintain its stand on rice importation to boost local production.
The ban will help the local rice farmers to produce more at affordable prices for local consumption as well as assist the government to conserve foreign exchange
“In Nigeria, we have fertile land in no fewer than 25 states where rice can be produced in large quantities for local consumption,” he said.
The chairman also urged the Central Bank of Nigeria should make funds available that could be used to grant loans to local rice farmers in the country.
“The CBN should continue with the Anchor Borrower Programme that was introduced to assist local rice farmers with loans.
“The programme has assisted farmers in producing rice in large quantities during the 2017 farming season.
“We are now set to go back to our farms for the production of rice during the dry season farming,” he said.
Ibrahim told the rice farmers to use the loan given to them judiciously in order to increase rice production.
He praised the Federal and State Governments for giving the much-deserved attention to the agriculture sector, which, according to him, has the capacity to guarantee food security in the country.
According to NAN, the Federal Government has introduced Anchor Borrowers Programme to boost cotton and rice production in the country.
Source: http://agriculture.einnews.com

USAID gives 5,400 Farmers, Agro-Dealers $3M in Agric Scheme




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).


Ref: Newsdairyonline.com

Obge calls for increased collaboration between Agric Universities and the Ministry of Agriculture




Image result for audu ogbeh

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


FG to provide more funds to Agriculture- Buhari

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.

How to get Agricultural grants in Nigeria

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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

  1. What type of agriculture business to venture into?
  2. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:
    1. All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN).
    2. Youth Empowerment in the Agricultural Program (YEAP);
    3. FADAMA.

It is simpler for a cooperative to access government loans and grants from commercial banks, the basic requirement includes the following:

  1. Form  a cooperative society;
  2. 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.
  3. Submit a detailed feasibility study on the business.


reference: Naij.com


Sesame Seed!!! A business worth going into.









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.