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/

Ban Maize Importation- Farmers to FG


Farmers have told the Federal Government to ban importation of maize

Maize Association of Nigeria has called on the Federal Government to ban the importation of maize into the country to encourage local production.
Alhaji Bello Abubakar, the National President of the association, made the call while addressing newsmen in Abuja on Sunday.
Abubakar was reacting to a recent publication by the National Biosafety Management Agency on a request by Grand Cereals Limited to import this particular farm produce into the country.
He said the move was ‘unpatriotic’ and targeted at thwarting the efforts of farmers and the government toward achieving self-sufficiency in maize production.
According to him, farmers produce enough and better maize to feed the country than what is being imported.
He said: “Our last year’s production was 15 million tonnes and this year, we produced 20 million tonnes and the required quantity for all maize processors in Nigeria is about eight million tonnes.
“Government intervention in the agricultural sector has put in place the Anchor Borrowers Programme to encourage local production of agricultural commodities.
“MAAN is executing the ABP in 19 states which has empowered about 100,000 on and off farm employment.
“This contribution of MAAN, if complemented by other large scale grain users, will create more than one million on and off farm employment in the maize value chain.
“Therefore, we request that the importation of maize grain in any form is considered counter-productive to agricultural development in Nigeria and should be discouraged in its entirety.”
On army worm devastation of maize farms, Abubakar said that the Federal Government, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation, had put in place measures to address the disease.
He said: “Members of MAAN were trained and pesticides, fertiliser, seeds were given to them by the Federal Government and FAO to manage the pest.
“This year, there is no infestation of army worm like last year.’’
He, however, appealed to companies who involved in maize importation to provide their preferred maize seedlings to local farmers to grow, to encourage production of improved varieties.
Rufus Ebegba, the Director General of NBMA, said the agency had received a request by Grand Cereals Limited to import maize into the country.
Ebegba, however, disclosed that the permit had not been granted for the maize import.
He said: “It is true but the permit has not been granted.”
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that MAAN was established to provide research on maize production, quality input to farmers, coordinate between farmers and the government.
MAAN is made up of maize scientists and researchers, input suppliers, service providers, farmers, marketers, maize suppliers and processors.
The association, which has its presence in the 36 states and FCT, has over 10 million registered farmers and members.


Pay back your bank loans, FG tells farmers

The Federal Government on Wednesday charged farmers and industrialists to repay the loans they took from banks following the new agricultural lending rate recently announced by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Before the announcement of the new agricultural lending rate of nine percent by the CBN, the Deposit Money Banks provided funds to farmers at 25 percent to 30 percent interest rate, a development that made it tough for farmers to access loans for agriculture.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, stated that the old lending rate to agriculture had stifled many businesses in the agricultural value chain, but noted that the new rate would impact positively on the sector.

He also said the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development would partner the CBN, banks and farmers cooperatives to ensure that Nigerian farmers comply with the conditions put in place to access loans at the current rate, adding that those who borrowed must repay.

Ogbeh said, “We want to urge borrowers especially farmers and industrialists to ensure that whatever they borrow, they repay because banks are not charity organizations. We in the FMARD will join hands with the banks and the CBN to play a major role in making sure that whatever farmers borrow, they repay.

“This is especially as we intend to use the cooperatives to move agricultural credit to the most vulnerable segments of our population, mainly the women and the youths. We believe that under these conditions, our youths, women, big and small-scale farmers can now have access to credit to fulfill their dream and drive Nigeria towards self-sufficiency in food production.”

The minister lauded the CBN for listening to the pleas of Nigerians, particularly farmers, by bringing down the lending rate to agriculture to a single digit.

FG to boost Agriculture through solar powered borehole


The Federal Government has said it will install about 997 solar-powered boreholes to improve agriculture in the country.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh during the distribution of contract award letters to contractors and the broadcast planting of improved fodder seeds in Yobe State.

Ogbeh noted that the projects would be sited in seven states of the federation which include Borno, Jigawa, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara states.

The Minister stressed that the move to develop water harvesting equipment, and the establishment of 3,000ha of community woodlots, shelter belt, and afforestation was because of the fast depleting vegetation in the participating states and the need to touch the lives of about 30,000 vulnerable women and men.

“The projects which would be completed this year will undertake 22 rural roads with support structures such as drainages, culverts, rails, and drifts covering a distance of 59.09km across the participating states,” he added

In his remarks, the Emir of Daura, Dr. Umar Faruq, appealed to the Federal Government to set up a rice mill and develop more dams for irrigation and extension of subsidized mechanized facilities to farmers in the state.


Reduce lending rates for farmers- FG tell banks

Lending rates
Chief Audu Ogbeh has appealed to commercial banks to reduce lending rates to farmers in order to spur Agricultural development in the country.

Chief Audu Ogbeh, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, has appealed to commercial banks to reduce their lending rates to farmers to spur the development of agriculture in Nigeria.

The minister made the appeal on Tuesday in Abuja at a three-day conference on: “Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project’’ organized by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Abuja.

Ogbeh says the high-interest rate being charged by commercial banks on loans to farmers is inimical to the growth and development of agriculture.

The minister pointed out that the government was committed to encouraging youths participation in agriculture.

Ogbeh said some Nigerian youths had signified their interest to go back to the farm but the banks’ lending rate had become a cog in the wheel of actualizing their decisions.

According to him, there is no way the interest rate of between 25 to 29 percent could grow the economy and no farmer could survive the high-interest rate.

“Some banks are saying that the lowest they can give is 25 percent interest on their loans and no farmer can survive with this rate.

“The banks do not give consideration to the gestation period before they start the charges, this is a big challenge.

“Nigeria’s banks’ interest rates have been viewed as one of the highest in the world.

“There is no farmer that could survive the high-interest rates, something needs to be done because it poses a big threat to food security and development of agriculture.’’

The minister said the government was committed to the development of agriculture as part of the determination to feed the growing population.

To this end, the Federal Government was determined to provide more mechanized farming inputs to farmers in the country to boost food production, he said.

The minister said the government was committed to encouraging youths to venture into modernizing agriculture by using mechanized farming inputs such as machines for planting, spraying, tilling and harvesting among others.

Also, Prof. Titus Awokuse, Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Economy, Michigan State University, U.S. said the university and the department had worked in partnership with research and teaching institutions in West Africa for 50 years.

Awokuse, who is the Chairman of the occasion, said the institution would continue to work towards the development of agriculture in Nigeria and African countries.

Dr. George Mavrotas, Chief of the project, Head of IFPRI Nigeria Office, noted that IFPRI work centres around six strategic research areas with gender as a cross-cutting theme.

According to him, IFPRI is working to ensure sustainable food production by enhancing groundwater governance, promoting a healthy food system, improving markets and trade, building resilience and strengthening institutions and governance.

Mavrotas said IFPRI would always do its best to ensure adequate policy for the development of the Nigerian agriculture.

He said this had become imperative because, through adequate policies and research programme, food systems could be strengthened to better serve the interest of smallholder farmers and the poor consumers.

Participants at the conference were drawn from various sectors of agriculture to deliberate on food security, nutrition challenges, food system transformation, and climate change among others.


FG should impose Levies on Imported Cassava Starch

cassava starch


Nigeria spent $654 million on cassava starch product, flours and come other cassava products by-products in the previous year. That is such a huge amount to spend on products that can be produced locally.

Nigeria is still the world’s largest producer of cassava in the world but still imports cassava by-products. But why will the Nigeria import in large quantities cassava by-products that can be produced here? It is simple, the absence of cassava processing plants to convert the cassava into different by-products. Like other raw material that are extracted/ produced and exported from Nigeria, cassava is being exported in its raw state.

Currently, Nigeria imports 96 percent of starch. Reason is that the local demand of 600,000 tonnes could not be met. Aside that, sweeteners, which is another by-product of cassava is completely imported i.e. 200,000 tonnes imported yearly. 88 percent of high quality cassava flour (HQCF) that is demand locally is imported, this means that 504,000 are imported.

As a result of this, the nation imports the processed by-products thereby spending millions on a yearly basis. But what can be done to ensure that this trend changes? The Government needs to create an enabling environment in which the cassava processing business can invest heavily in the industry, this includes imposing levies on importers of cassava by-products.

Cassava wheat can be used to produce the Garri, Cassava Bread, cassava fufu, Ethanol and Livestock feed.

We hope the government will intercede in this area.

Farmers tells Federal Government to ban Maize Importation

On Tuesday, the Nigeria Farmers Group and Cooperative Society (NFFCS), urged the federal government to come up with a time line to ban the importation of maize into the country.

Redson Tedheke who is the group’s National Coordinator said in an interview with the news agency of Nigeria that the ban will protect local farmers which will directly boost local production of the Agric produce.

According to him, the only way you can encourage local farmers to produce more of maize is to protect them by banning the importation of maize which can be produced locally into the country. “you cannot tell people to go to the farm and then allow massive importation of the same thing they are conveniently producing. we feel the insincerity of purpose, and we are telling the government that if you allow continuous importation of maize, you are actually working against those you urge to go to the farm. The Nigeria farmers group, have 2000 hectres of maize farm across the nation, and it is still cultivating more,” he said.

He also said that some Agro-businesses in Nigerian were importing large quantities of maize at relatively “low landing cost”. Although maize is not currently on Nigeria’s import prohibition list, there is a need to curb excessive importation to protect local producers. An action that will help the economy to grow from within.

If Government does not step in quickly, local production of maize will be eradicated and lost to importation which will cause more harm to the nation’s economy as jobs and internally generated revenue will be eroded.

An example Mr.Tedheke gave is a company that shipped in a huge vessel of maize from abroad to be sold at about ₦40,000 per tonne while locally produced maize is between ₦130,000.00 and ₦250,000.00. What this means is that it is cheaper to buy imported maize than buying locally produced maize.

He noted that the cost of imported maize was relatively low because the government of those countries that maize was imported from provided the necessary support and protection to their farmers.

He said if the group is properly supported, it has the capacity to produce 50,000 tonnes of maize quarterly.

“The India government, for example, subsidised agriculture by providing tractors, seedlings, funding and other relevant support and that largely reduced the cost of production for its farmers.

“If the Nigerian government does not want the price of locally produced maize to go beyond a certain level, let it subsidise its production in the best interest of our economy.”

The Nigeria Farmers Group and Cooperative Society is a rural community-based farming initiative with farms spread across Nigeria and its mission is `farm to feed Nigeria’ and creates employment in the process.

ref: www.premiumtimesng.com

Niger State Govt. signs $3.25bn MoU with Firm



Related image

Image source: www.bbc.com


Yesterday, we told you about how the FG is stopping the issuance of fish importation quota as the venture was no longer sustainable, a move that is certain to boost local production both for consumption and exportation.

The Niger state has signed a MoU with a company called All States Investment Ltd on fish farming in the state. This was made known by the Managing Director, Mr. Henry Goiko at the 2017 Niger State Investment Summit tagged “Impact Advancing Agricultural Economy through Innovation”. which took place on Tuesday 15th of August 2017

The MoU was signed by the Secretary to the Niger State Government, Alhaji Ibrahim Ladan.

According the Goiko, the company has acquired 42,948.21 hectres of land in Tegina, Rafi Local Government Area of the state to develop an agricultural estate. He said the estate will have world-class facilities including independent electricity supply facility.

He said the facility “will also have all types of animal husbandry that will be producing and selling products in the world market.”

we want to start aquaculture farming such as Crocker and Tilapia fish farming to stop importation. We have our Chinese partners from Shanghai to assist us” He added.

Goiko said the agricultural estate will have a 40,000 housing capacity and will generate over 200,000 employment opportunities. The establishment of the farm will have industrial clusters where people will be trained with exposure to the latest technology.

The ground breaking ceremony of the project will take place in February 2018.

Weekly Average commodity Price for week starting 13/03/2017

Commodity Present Price ₦ Previous Week ₦ Diff. ₦
Garri (White)                     256.69                      256.12          0.57
Tomatoes (Cooking)                     367.32                     340.04        27.29
Onion (Violet)                    215.78                      221.28        -5.50
Groundnut (Unshelled)                     236.32                      231.06          5.26
Maize (White)                    176.96                      177.97         -1.01
Rice (Local)                    322.96                      317.40          5.56

source novusagro.com


According to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has said that the Federal Government plans to reintroduce the cassava bread initiative. This initiative will encourage the use of cassava in production and processing of food in the country. It is important to note that this initiative was first implemented in the Jonathan administration.

Ogbeh said though Nigeria was the largest producer of cassava in the world, the country was yet to fully explore and utilize the economic and industrial potential of the crop.

The minister also hinted that the FG was working with flour mills to get them to add 15% of the cassava in the wheat they milled

He was optimistic that the initiative will help save a lot of foreign exchange that is being used to import wheat into the country and also encourage cassava farmers to increase their productivity.

He charged Entrepreneurs to be ready to invest in agricultural processing industries such companies that processed flour, bread, and other Agro commodities