Ogun Govt. Seeks Partnership In Mechanised Cassava Production

Ogun government on mechanised cassava productionOgun State Government has expressed its readiness to collaborate with development partners in the area of mechanised cassava production and its value chains.

The government explains that the partnership is a way of diversifying the economic base of the state in southwest Nigeria.

The expression of interest was communicated by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Taiwo Adeoluwa, who represented the State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, at a workshop on mechanised cassava production.

The government informed the gathering that there was a provision in the 2017 Budget for the opening up of about 1,000 hectares of farmlands for cassava farming in the state.

The training which took place on Tuesday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital brought together agriculture experts and development partners from Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and the United States.

Some experts, Enorck Chikava and Adebayo Sangobiyi, raised concerns over the best practices in commercial and mechanised cassava production and agro-processing, stressing the need to ensure that such engagements sustain grow and develop the nation’s economy.

They also addressed some of the challenges facing the sector with a view to exploring some of the available options such as effective government intervention, more funds for research and development as well as improved seedlings among others.

Economy In Recession

Nigeria is the highest cassava producer in the world with at least 50 million metric tonnes per year.

However, the output per unit is very low as a result of the numerous challenges grappling with the agriculture sector, one of which is the recession in Africa’s most populated country.

While the government is making effort to address the economic challenges, a World Economic Outlook report released by the International Monetary Fund had predicted that the Nigerian economy would grow by 0.6% in 2017.

The report revealed that Nigeria’s real Gross Domestic Product was expected to increase marginally by 0.6% with Consumer Prices rising by 17.1%, effectively lifting the country out of an officially declared recession.

Attacks On Oil Facilities

The recession was triggered by the drop in the price of crude oil and the attacks on the nation’s oil facilities by some militant groups in the Niger Delta region.

The militants under the umbrella of the Niger Delta Avengers have claimed responsibility for most of the attacks which have drawn the attention of the Nigerian Government and some other foreign governments.

Disturbed by the spate of the militants’ activities, the Nigerian Army launched a special team code named “Operation Crocodile Smile”, amidst agreement between the government and the militants to hold talks after a ceasefire agreement from both sides.

Despite this agreement, several other attacks have been launched on oil installation by the Niger Delta Avengers and another splinter group.

Both military and militants have continued to point accusing fingers at each other, alleging a breach of agreements, as the military said it would not hesitate to repel militants’ attack in the region.

Ogun State Partners With IFAD On Rice, Cassava Production

Ogun, IFADThe Ogun State government is partnering with the International Funds for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to develop about 500,000 hectres of farmland in three local government areas for rice and cassava production.

The development is part of the aggressive plans of the state government towards widening its economic base.

Governor Ibikunle Amosun made the partnership known while addressing the members of the IFAD delegation on Friday in Ogun State in southwest Nigeria.

He reiterated the commitment of his administration towards agricultural development and its value chain in rice and cassava production.

In his response, the leader of the delegation, Dr. Samuel Iremi, commended the effort of the state government and expressed the organisation’s willingness to effectively partner with the Ogun State government.

Ogun Govt. To Benefit From $104million Loan From IFAD

ogun stateThe Ogun State Government says it has paid its counterpart fund in order to benefit from a $104.4 million loan agreement between the Federal Government and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

This is towards developing the agriculture sector for food security and employment generation,especially through rice and cassava production and its value chains in the state.

The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mrs Ronke Sokefun, who represented Governor Ibikunle Amosun, made the disclosure in Abeokuta, the state capital, during the inauguration of the state steering committee.

The committee is saddled with the responsibility of giving direction to the programme’s management unit, as stated in the project document.

Addressing members of the steering committee, the Commissioner asked them to make their experiences to bear on the effective oversight and monitoring of funds to be disbursed.

Anambra, Benue, Ebonyi, Niger, Taraba are currently being listed among beneficiary states and Ogun State remains the only state in the South-western part of the nation to benefit from the loan scheme.

Experts affirm that flood will not affect Nigeria’s food security

Just as the Minister of Agriculture recently dispelled fears over the possibility of food insecurity as a result of the flood disaster, experts in the agriculture sector have also affirmed that there is no reason to worry.

Speaking on our weekend breakfast show; Sunrise, the director of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) for West Africa, Dr Roberts Asiedu, stated that “with the quantity of food produced in the country, with proper planning and mobilization, we should not have a situation where we have a on long term impact of the flood.”

According to him, the flood will even improve the soil quality because the flood will deposit rich top soil on the flooded farm lands as the flood water is moving fine soil materials from other areas and it will deposit it on the flooded plains.

The agronomist also argued that a number of disease causing organisms that would have damaged crop plants that are surviving in the soil will also be suffocated and killed.

But he warned that their will some level of pressure after the flood as it recedes as farmers rush to late planting.

He enjoined both the government and private sector to ensure that food are transported across the country in the immediate aftermath of the flood disaster to avoid an expected rush.

“There is enough food production in the country and neighbouring country; all efforts must just be made to re-direct the exported farm produce for internal consumption at a good price for the farmers.”

According to the IITA expert, Nigeria produces 67 per cent of the yams produced in the world and the country is the largest producer of cassava in the world, so he emphasised that there is no need to worry.

On addressing the challenge of post-harvest losses, the country director of Harvest Africa, Mr Paul Ilona, also affirmed that the federal government purchases and store a great deal of grains produced across the country, but added that he is not able to confirm the condition in which they are stored.

According to Mr Ilona, the current flood disaster on rough estimate has affected just about 300,000 hectares of cultivated land while the nation’s cultivated land mass exceeds 40 million hectares, so the crop expert also agrees that with adequate planning, there will be no worries about food security after the flood.

Bayelsa partners with Denmark firm to boost cassava production

The Bayelsa State government on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding with DPP international Denmark, on the production and processing of cassava in commercial quantity.

Signing the partnership document, which is set to make the state a cassava exporting state, the Bayelsa State governor, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Gboriobiogha John Jonah expressed pleasure with the signing of MOU, asserting that the State’s low GDP is as a result of the nonexistence of industries.

Mr Jonah said the partnership will benefit the people of Bayelsa state as well as the investors.

“The factory will employ Bayelsians, the farms you are going to establish will employ Bayelsians and these are the issues that excite most of us,” he said.

The Deputy Governor used the opportunity to call on investors to come to Bayelsa state as the state is quickly becoming an investor haven.

Cassava which is processed into garri, starch, noodles and lots more is a very important crop to Bayelsa and Nigeria.

Studies have shown that Bayelsa state has potentials to cultivate and export cassava in large quantity this informed the state government’s partnership with Dpp international to aid the state in achieving its objectives.

The General Manager and CEO of the company, Wolfgang Holz, assured the State of the ability of his company to process and refine cassava into products that can be sold in the worldwide market.

“The first thing we want to establish here is a farm to grow cassava. We want to make cassava cultivation more professional and develop that agricultural industry by developing better farming methods,” Mr Holz said.

He said his company will introduce partial mechanization so that jobs can be created for interested residents in Bayelsa state.

FG secures $74 million loan to boost agriculture

The Federal Government has signed a $74 million loan with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to boost cassava and rice production in the country.

President of the organization, Dr. Kanayo Nwanze said that the programme is expected to improve the value chain of rice and cassava production in six states of the federation targeted at reducing unemployment and improving household income, at the signing ceremony in Abuja,.

Present at the  ceremony were the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and her counterpart from the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adeshina.

The Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala stated that the federal, state and local government will provide a counterpart fund of $31 million to be paid for a period of six years.

Okonjo-Iweala said the IFAD credit would be beneficial to the country as it would help create jobs and help the country to be self-sufficient in food production.

She said the agreement comprised an IFAD credit of $74m, which would attract zero interest rate and a repayment period of 40 years, as well as a grant of $0.5m.

The minister explained that the credit was on soft terms, adding that the three tiers of government would provide counterpart contribution to the tune of $31.2m.

Okonjo-Iweala said, “We are signing this credit to underscore the importance of IFAD’s commitment to the development of agriculture in this country, and it also demonstrates that our relationship with IFAD is yielding benefits to this country.

“The IFAD partnership development programme, which is what we are kicking off today, is valued at $105.2m and comprises of an IFAD credit of $74m and a grant of $0.5m.”

She added, “The credit is on soft terms and the Federal Government, states and local councils will provide counterpart contribution to the tune of $31.2m. This project will be implemented over a period of six years and there is no doubt that it will be a strong contributor to the very important plan for the agriculture sector.

“The IFAD credit is one of the most beneficial because there is no interest, only 0.75 per cent commitment charge and 40 years’ repayment period; and so, it is really a very great credit for the country to access.”

Also speaking at the event, Adesina said the funding would be used to boost rice and cassava production in six states.

The project, he noted, would cover 40,000 households in Anambra, Ebonyi, Ogun, Niger, Benue and Taraba states.

“IFAD is working very closely with us and they are supporting us in rice and cassava production. The programme will target 40,000 households in six states and it will help us to strengthen the agriculture value chain, improve market infrastructure, particularly feeder roads between the production centres and the markets, and enhance productivity of farmers,” he said.

Nwanze said the organisation had financed nine projects valued at $229m.

He said Nigeria was currently receiving 40 per cent of the total loans given to West and Central African countries.

“Funding for this project was approved in April this year. We have financed a total of nine projects valued at $229m, and currently, Nigeria receives about 40 per cent of total loans to West and Central Africa, comprising of 21 countries, and this shows how important Nigeria is to the continent,” Nwanze said.