FG Inaugurates Smallholder Farmers’ Programme

The federal government has launched the Agriculture for Food and Job Plan (AFJP) programme targeted at about 1,100,000 smallholder farmers across the country.

AFJP is expected to create between five million and 10 million jobs in 12 months and also mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic by creating more access to food production, processing and distribution in Nigeria.

The federal government has launched the Agriculture for Food and Job Plan (AFJP) programme targeted at about 1,100,000 smallholder farmers across the country.

AFJP is expected to create between five million and 10 million jobs in 12 months and also mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic by creating more access to food production, processing and distribution in Nigeria.

He noted the plan was also in tandem with the three pronged action plan of the Ministry to deal with the impact of the pandemic on Nigerian agriculture and farmers.

According to him, “these measures include among others, the life-saving humanitarian assistance to vulnerable households to buffer the impact of COVID-19, such as the release of about 100,000 metric tons of assorted food commodities from the National Food Reserve to several groups and communities.”

He explained that the deliverables of the AFJP as contained in the NESP in 12 months includes, “creation of between 5- 10 million jobs in the agric sector, produce about 10,000,000 MT of food, cultivate between 20,000 – 100,000 hectares of land per state based on land availability to an aggregate of 2.4 million farmers tied to farmlands, input financing loan to farmers will be zero interest, land clearing and preparation support, among others.

“This symbolic launch represent over 1,100,000 smallholder farmer beneficiaries in 36 states and the FCT on the Batch A list under 6 partners namely AFEX, BabanGona, Value Seeds, Universal, Thrive Agric and Oxfam. We will soon be announcing Batch B beneficiaries,” he stated.

However, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, stressed that the agric sector is the bedrock of the economy and appreciated the efforts of the federal government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari for his policies in the agric sector.

On his part, the Chairman, House Committee on Agric Production Services, Hon. Muntari Danduste, said the policy would cushion the effects of the pandemic on 2020 farming season in the state and the nation.

Source: https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2020/07/28/fg-inaugurates-smallholder-farmers-programme/

U.S. Tasks Nigeria To Leverage On Agriculture For Wealth, Economic Growth

Mr John Bray, the U.S. Consul General in Lagos has urged Nigeria to leverage on its vast agricultural potential to create wealth and boost its economy. Bray said this on Friday in Lagos during the African Food and Products Conference and Exhibition (AFPE) with the theme, “Sustainability and Innovation: Pathway to Business Success for SMEs’’. Bray represented by Brent Omdahl, Commercial Counselor, U.S. Commercial Service, said that the world knew Nigeria as an oil country not as an agriculture rich nation.

The task before Nigeria is to show the world its enormous potential in agriculture. “Nigeria needs to use agriculture to create wealth, employment and grow its economy, U.S. is doing that and Nigeria can do that too. “In the next 50 years, what produce will be known around the world as a signature product from Nigeria.

“Would it be shea butter, tiger nut, cashew or palm oil; Nigeria has the comparative advantage in these produce and more and should explore it the same way the U.S. explored cranberry potential to create wealth,” he said. Also, Mr Abubakar Suleiman, Managing Director, Sterling Bank, said that achieving sustainable growth in the country was about the ability to reduce poverty, boost employment and improve citizen’s welfare. Suleiman, represented by Mr Shina Atilola, Divisional Head, Retail and Consumer Banking, Sterling Bank, said that any initiative or policy that did not lead to employment creation would not catalyse development.

Read More at: https://leadership.ng/2019/05/24/u-s-tasks-nigeria-to-leverage-on-agriculture-for-wealth-economic-growth/

FAO launches framework to support agriculture in Nigeria

The United Nations Food for Agriculture Organisation (UNFOA) has launched the Country Programme Framework (CPF) in Nigeria as part of the organisation’s efforts to promote agriculture in the country.

The launch took place on Tuesday at the Nicon Luxury Hotel in Abuja.

The CPF is a medium-term priority framework, derived from nationally defined priorities and objectives to be achieved over a five year period of the programming cycle.

The framework covers the main areas of FAO work in Nigeria, with the aims to achieve zero hunger and contribute to the attainment of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

Speaking at the launch, the FAO representative, Suffyan Koroma, said the framework will focus on food and nutrition security, support effective and operational framework, support Nigeria’s economic diversity and decent employment, and enhance disaster risk management in the country with resilience.

He said it aligns with the FAO strategic objectives of sustainable inclusive development growth.

He said the CPF preparation started from a formal request by the Nigerian government in 2017.

Mr Koroma said the framework also looks forward to helping in creating peace between farmers and herders, especially in Benue and Nassarawa states.

It also aims at improving the efficient and sustainable management of natural resources, he said.

Mr Koroma said the current CPF is building on the 2013- 2017 CPF by noting its achievements and learning from its challenges.

He listed the objectives of the framework as promoting school garden for better nutrition and learning skill, mainstreaming nutrition education in Agriculture, and learning extension and urban food system development.

The CPF will also offer support for appropriate and operationally effective agricultural policies.

Speaking at the event, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, said climate change has been a major issue for agriculture across the country.

He said beyond that climate change has been a danger to human inhabitation. He also noted the danger of tree falling across the country for firewood and for export.

He said part of the disappearance of the forest today is responsible for the drying up of the Lake Chad.

“Desertification is on its way to Nigeria so far we continue the cutting down of trees,” Mr Ogbeh said

He said the country also needs quality seeds that can endure high temperature and also give good yields.


Dangote tasks Northern governors to invest more in agriculture

Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the President of Dangote Group, has called on the 19 Northern State Governors to invest more in the agricultural sector for the steady development of the region.

Dangote made the call on Wednesday while delivering his keynote address at the ongoing fourth edition of the Kaduna Investment Summit, tagged KADInvest 4.O in Kaduna.

He said Nigeria had been ranked 157 out of 189 countries on the Human Development Index, attributing the rating to the myriad of challenges confronting the country.

According to him, the widening gap between the rich and poor Nigerians as very alarming as such collective efforts must be made particularly in agriculture to change the narrative.

Dangote, however, commended Gov. Nasir El-Rufais drive to address the critical issues of development by attracting investments to the state, stressing the need for other governors to take a cue from the laudable initiative.

According to him, agriculture is one of the priority sectors that can create employment opportunities especially in Northern Nigeria, adding that with sustained investments, significant progress would be recorded in rice and sugar production.

If we have 10 Governors like El-Rufai, Nigeria would move forward in the next 10 years. The sector can create more revenue better than crude oil with proper investments, he maintained.

He expressed concern that more than 60% of the population live in extreme poverty in the Northeast and Northwest of Nigeria, saying Northern Nigeria will progress more if the 19 state governments would work together close the widening development gap.

He expressed the conviction that only private investments can create jobs and reduce unemployment and poverty in the region with agricultural potential, vast land and conducive climate.

According to Dangote, his conglomerate is working towards building 10 rice mills with a combined capacity of one million tonnes, which would come on stream before the end of 2019.

He said the Dangote Fertiliser Plant will also be ready in 2019, and has the capacity to produce three million tonnes of Urea and Ammonia per annum.

He added that project is geared towards making Nigeria the highest exporter of fertiliser sub Saharan Africa.

The business tycoon further said there were plans to build East-West Gas Pipeline which can produce power equivalent to Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG), with the capacity to generate 12,000 Mega Watts.

He gave assurance that his company is committed towards exploring new opportunities to invest in the state especially in the agricultural sector.

Dangote said:As a group, we are willing to partner state governments to address the menace of poverty, in the North in particular and the nation in general.

Source: Pulse.ng

Africa: AU Commission Conducts Malabo Declaration On Agriculture Training of Trainers for Biennial Review Process

The African Union (AU) Commission’s Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA) and the AUDA-NEPAD last week organized a workshop for the Training of Trainers on the AU Malabo Declaration Biennial Review process.

The Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods was adopted by African Union Heads of State and Government in June 2014 at the 23rd Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly. It commits leaders to a set of actions that will accelerate agricultural growth and transformation across Africa. The Declaration was a recommitment to the principles and values of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) as well as additional commitments and targets for results and impact.

To ensure mutual accountability and to institutionalize a system for peer review that encourages good performance on achievement of progress made in implementing the provisions of the Declaration, the AUC was tasked to conduct a review on a biennial basis, the progress achieved by its member states in securing their CAADP and Malabo Declaration commitments.

The workshop was attended by officials from RECs, partnering institutions (including IFPRI/ReSAKSS, FAO) and Trainers from respective countries.

Opening the workshop, Mr. Ernest Ruzindaza, CAADP Team Leader, AUC, said the outputs of the training would be critical in the upcoming BR process in 2019 by improving the capacities of the trainers and the existing reporting tools and mechanisms.

During the five days training, the participants undertook a thorough review of the performance indicators captured under the various Performance Themes captured in the Technical Guidelines for reporting. This was vital in bringing the participants on the same wavelength in terms of understanding of the indicators measurement to adequately support the countries. It should be recalled that the Technical Guidelines is the output of an extensive review undertaken by the seven technical working groups tasked with revising the BR indicators in light of the lessons learned from the previous edition and the emerging issues. The participating experts therefore went through the updated metrics, while providing critical inputs to ensure technical soundness, relevance and usability by the countries.

Source: https://allafrica.com/stories/201902270614.html

Agriculture, Panacea To Unemployment -Expert

The Managing Director of Jor Farms Limited, Jenkin Ben has described agriculture as a major panacea to the problem of youth unemployment and self sustenance among the youths in the country.
Ben who made the assertion on Saturday in Port Harcourt, during an interview with The Tide, said agriculture advances development and unlocks the potential of unrealized markets at the bottom of the economic ladder.
He charged government to create enabling agricultural environment to boost youth engagement in the sector, saying that government should commit more resources to youth agro-skills acquisition, research institutes, modern farm implements, agro inputs, extension services, availability of improved variety of crops and microcredit loans to young farmers.
The agric consultant also urged the youth to embrace agriculture, integrate themselves and create more cooperative societies in order to tap from the enormous resources available via financial institutions and donor agencies.
He encouraged youths to learn the art of advanced farming techniques and use of better quality seedlings to boost their annual yields.
According to him, there were influx of empowered, independent and skilled individuals into the agricultural industry, who were set to be contributors to achieving sustainable development in the country, but noted that the government had not shown serious commitment towards encouraging and supporting the sector.
He therefore, called on governments at all levels to make more financial and material input that would attract more youths and agro-allied industries into the sector.


4 Ways Artificial Intelligence Will Drive Digital Transformation In Agriculture

The United Nations reports that about 1/3 of the food produced globally each year is lost or wasted, and I’d reckon that number is not too surprising. Those of us in the United States see evidence of waste each time we go out to eat or do a weekly purge of jam-packed refrigerators. Outside the waste, however, there’s a greater problem many of us don’t realize. Just as the amount of food wasted globally is skyrocketing, the global demand for food is, ironically, set to rise.

With exploding populations, global warming, and less land available for cultivation, we’re actually facing a global food shortage of epidemic proportions. How will we manage to feed and sustain 9 billion humans estimated to populate planet earth by 2050? And how will we support the 59-98 percent increase in food consumption that population is likely to need? Like many issues humans are facing in the world today, we are seeing digital transformation in agriculture, most specifically in the form of artificial intelligence (AI).

Sensors and Data

By far, the greatest development in agricultural technology (AgTech) comes in the form of connected sensors and the IoT. As you’d expect, successful agricultural production in digital transformation is becoming a numbers game. With the help of AgTech, connected farmers are beginning to share data, and make improvements in input, efficiencies, and operations processes, largely due to AI-driven sensors. These sensors can be ground, aerial, or machine-based, and all hold huge potential for agricultural production.

On the ground, for instance, sensors can monitor the quality of plants, soil, animal health, and weather. They can determine the best place to plant for the highest yield, and how much to plant to prevent waste. In the air, drones and satellites can monitor crop health and pest disease, preventing the surprise of a lost crop at harvest time. Farm equipment can also capture data on anticipated crop production. For instance, high-speed planting equipment can provide “as planted” estimates on crop yield and harvest output, allowing farmers to plan for sales forecasting, overflow and shortage. That’s not all. Robotic harvesting equipment can even use AI to pick ripe fruit and vegetables at just the right time, saving time, manpower, and waste. Talk about digital transformation in agriculture!



On Wednesday 19th December, Governor David Umahi swept another outstanding laurel from the presidency, exclusively awarded by President Muhammadu Buhari himself, in appreciation of the governor’s towering strings of accomplishments in Agriculture and undying political will to concretize the president’s vision of diversifying the economy.There is everything positive to say about Ebonyi State  when it comes to Agriculture where her name is already etched in the golden books of records. The state proudly recorded major milestone in all areas of the sector in the outgoing year, comparatively setting records that have not been achieved in Nigeria, but one achievement worth re-emphasizing is the recent establishment of a gigantic fertilizer plant.Yes, the state has welcomed with open arms a brand new ultra modern 40 tonnes per hour fertilizer blending plant, first in the entire South East and South South zones. This plant which is commemorative of the state’s advancement in agricultural services and preparedness to drive the sector was symbolically inaugurated by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh. How the state managed to set this project in the face of teething economic challenges is still a stuff of legends.It is no coincidence that Ebonyi state is at the top of every national ranking in Agriculture. The state has singlehandedly brought a revolutionary change that has positively upset the entire firmament of agriculture. Governor Umahi’s agricultural revolution, especially in the areas of rice production is widely acknowledged. It transcends party, ethnic and racial boundaries.Even though PDP, the administration has continued to endear itself to the presidency and policy makers in Agriculture through watershed agric policies and programmes.Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe further confirmed this when he said, “… Anywhere, anytime we mention our successes in Agriculture, your name (Umahi) comes up. Your rice is in every supermarket in Animal and in Lagos and you are one of the five governors who have succeeded in making Nigeria attain almost food sufficient in rice production. You have reduced rice importation by 90 percent and we have saved some seed import in the last 34 months to the tune of 21 billion dollars as a country…”Ebonyi as a state has unknowingly unlocked the potentials of Nigeria Agriculture. The state is now a prominent name and a major player in the current efforts to diversify the nation’s economy and discourage over reliance on oil revenue.Ebonyi has further revved up its agricultural programme with mechanization of farming, assistance in procuring necessary Agricultural inputs like seedlings, fertilizers and pesticides, grant of soft loan to local farmers under the CBN Anchor Borrowers programme.The state is sharpening up plans to introduce six-mega rice cities in the state and any local government area that covers 5,000 hectares for rice production.The governor himself is a farmer who takes more than a passing interest to turn around the fortunes of the state in agriculture. That’s a man who the cap fits!

Reference: http://scannewsnigeria.com

Experts Advocate High-Level Technology For Agriculture Development

A group of experts have advocated a paradigm shift in the way agriculture is being practised particularly in some emerging economies around the world.

While speaking during one of the sessions at the 7th Atlantic Dialogues in Marrakech, Morocco, on the topic: “Agribusiness and Agritech in Emerging Economies.”  Agriculture experts are drawn from Nigeria, Morocco, US, Argentina, Brazil, France, Cape Verde to mention a few, argued that the use of improved technology would in no small measure help in the development of agriculture in emerging economies.

They were of the opinion that Drones can be used on crop field for scanning with compact multispectral imaging sensors, GPS map creation through onboard cameras, heavy payload transportation and livestock monitoring with thermal-imaging camera-equipped drones. It was also discussed that high-income countries have seen significant improvements in their agricultural management systems through modern remote sensing technology, such as satellites and aircraft and the information they collect. As a result of this, from the vast amount of data collected, the advice is provided to farmers to inform their decisions.

One of the participants at the conference, Seyi Oyenuga, who is the founder and Chief Executive Officer, Securefarmer noted that the use of small unmanned aerial vehicles better known as drones for agricultural purposes is a new emerging technology which could revolutionise the way agricultural entrepreneurs interact with their land, water, crops and infrastructure.

“Drones can be made specifically for business use and farming in particular, they can capture geo-referenced,
overlapping, high-resolution images of 400 hectares in a single flight; can seamlessly upload data and produce agricultural analytics from their data management systems, and fly autonomously from take-off to landing.”


CBN: Rebuilding the Agricultural Pillars

AGRICULTURAL development is one of the five major strategic combination methodologies needed to create quantum leap growth and sustainable development in the Nigerian economy. Other methodologies are the application of ‘The Big Push’, Schumpetarian growth model, Endogenous growth model and Interventionist policies.

Briefly, ‘The Big Push’ ‘’suggests that countries need to jump from one stage of development to another through a virtuous cycle in which large investments in infrastructure and education coupled with private investments would move the economy to a more productive stage.” The Nigerian economy, by now, needed to have jumped from the factor-driven stage where it has been for 58 years to the efficiency-driven stage which is next in the concentric rings of economic development, but not so.
Gbolahan Folarin, Chief Agronomist at PS Nutrac measures the growth of a young yam plant on June 5, 2018, in Wasinmi, near Abeokuta.
PS Nutrac Int. Ltd is an agriculture venture in Nigeria that aims to lead the agriculture industry into the future through utilising new aeroponics technologies and growing methods to address efficiency in food production, security, research and development. / AFP PHOTO

The Schumpetarian growth model hinges on creative destruction, which is about innovation and technology. Innovation is crucial for economic development; economies which fail to innovate are noted to fall off the path of growth. Endogenous growth model argues that economic growth is generated from within a system as a direct result of internal processes and not external forces. There is a need to look inwards to maximize our potentials including our huge population.

Interventionist policies are needed at one point or the other to promote industrialisation and protect local industries until they had reached a level of development when they are able to compete in the global market. Major developed countries, including the USA, used interventionist economic policies at one point. In the 1970s, the USA used Import Substitution Industrialisation, ISI, as a means to promote national and regional development in the ‘’Buy American Campaign.” It is therefore commendable that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, evolved an interventionist policy by the exclusion of 41 items from the Interbank foreign exchange market to encourage local manufacturing and conserve foreign reserve.

Ref: http://news.bestnaira.com