Hope For Ambitious Climate Change Bill Heightens In Paris Conference

COP21-in-Paris on Climate ChangeThe hope for an ambitious climate change bill that will give birth to a transformed development pathway for different countries has increased, as world leaders meet in Paris Conference of the Parties (COP21).

While the talks are ongoing, the world looks to the COP21 to deliver a new climate agreement that will be realistic and reduce the effect of climate change on different continents of the world, especially Africa.

Success at COP21 can drive and accelerate the transition to a cleaner, healthier and more secure future, locking-in sustainable economic growth and development.

Participants at the conference say a low-carbon, climate resilient world by the end of this century is no longer a hope but a necessity.

Particularly Vulnerable

Talks on how to reduce the effect of climate change topped talks at the conference.

On the sideline of the ongoing COP21 meeting in Paris, the United Nation’s Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, held a high-level meeting on Africa and climate change.

Mr Ban said Africa was particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, where much of the economy depended on a climate-sensitive natural resource base, including rain-fed subsistence agriculture.

“Disruptions in food or water supplies pose serious risk not only for your economies but also for political stability, particularly in fragile states,” Mr Ban said.

He, however, stated that African countries had shown great determination and vision in attempting to reduce poverty and meet demands for growth without jeopardising sustainability.

The World Bank President and the President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, said Africa had every reason to complain, stressing the continent had been short-changed by climate change.

“We must not abandon Africa. Africa must not be short-changed in climate finance,” Dr Adesina stressed.

One message that is common in the series of the meetings by different African leaders at the conference is to see the huge effect of pollution by other continents on Africa corrected through a profitable climate deal for Africa.

Government Demands More Contribution From Nigeria’s Elite

Muhammadu Buhari on Nigeria's Elite President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigeria’s elite to be prepared to contribute more meaningfully towards helping the oil-rich nation overcome its current challenges.

Speaking at a meeting with the outgoing President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Donald Kaberuka, President Buhari said that privileged and influential citizens clearly had to do more now than in the past to help Nigeria deal successfully with its economic and security problems.

President Buhari also told Mr Kaberuka that his administration would welcome more support from the AfDB for projects in versatile sectors like agriculture that could easily be explored to create more jobs for unemployed Nigerians.

The outgoing AfDB boss told President Buhari that some development institutions like the World Bank, German Development Bank and the European Development Bank had already indicated their readiness to provide long term loan facilities to small businesses in Nigeria.

Mr Kaberuka assured the President that the AfDB would always support economic projects in Nigeria.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, the outgoing AfDB President said he was grateful to Nigeria, as the largest shareholder in the African Development Bank with a portfolio of over $4.2 billion, with sixty per cent from the private sector, promising to support his successor at all times.

Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina of Nigeria will replace the outgoing AfDB President next month.

The AfDB currently has a strong capital base of 4.8 billion U S dollars.

Jonathan Orders Investigation Into Morocco Phone Controversy

 JonathanPresident Goodluck Jonathan has ordered full investigations into the controversy that has erupted over whether or not he had a telephone conversation with His Majesty, King Mohammed VI of Morocco.

The Nigerian President on Wednesday said he was shocked, surprised and highly embarrassed by the controversy.

In a statement by the President’s spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, said the the regrettable furore that has developed over the matter is due entirely to misinformation, as President Jonathan had neither spoken with King Mohammed or told anybody that he had a telephone conversation with the Moroccan Monarch.

” It is true that President Jonathan has been speaking with some African leaders to seek their support for Nigeria’s candidate for the position of President of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

“In continuation of his efforts in support of the candidacy of the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina for headship of the AfDB, President Jonathan indicated that he would like to speak with the King of Morocco, the President of Algeria and the President of Egypt,” ,” the statement read.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was consequently directed to make necessary contacts with the embassies of the three countries and arrange for President Jonathan to speak with their leaders.

Dr. Abati said that since that directive was given, President Jonathan had spoken with the Prime Minister of Algeria and subsequently sent Vice President Namadi Sambo to Algiers as Special Envoy to follow-up on his discussions with the Algerian Prime Minister on support for Nigeria’s candidate in the coming elections for the AfDB Presidency.

“The President has, however, not yet spoken with King Mohammed VI and President Al-Sisi of Egypt as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must know.”

As a result the controversy, President Jonathan ordered the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wali, to urgently undertake a full investigation of the claim which emanated from the Ministry that the President spoke with King Mohammed VI.

The investigation is to identify all those who were responsible for the unacceptable act of official misinformation which had resulted in an unnecessary diplomatic row with another country and national embarrassment.

It is also expected to unveil the motives of the culprits.

President Jonathan also ordered that prompt and commensurate disciplinary action should be taken against the culpable person or persons.

While awaiting the outcome of the investigations, President Jonathan urged Nigerians to “disregard the vituperation of opposition elements, who have, true to type, latched on to the regrettable faux pas as a fresh opportunity to unpatriotically denigrate the government of their country and advance their irresponsible quest for victory at any price in the coming elections”.

The Kingdom of Morocco had said that there had never been a phone conversation between HM King Mohammed VI and the President of this country”, the ministry said in a statement.

Cattle Rustlers Steal Abuja Cows

Cattle Rustlers The last may not have been heard about the activities of cattle rustlers in the country as livestock farmers in the Kurudu community in Abuja have lamented over the loss of their livestock to armed Fulani herdsmen.

Taking Channels Television round the empty grazing farms, some of them who lost over 86 cows said that the thieves who come in the night attack their security men before leading the cows out of the farms.

A farm owner revealed that for the past two weeks, farms in that area have been raided every night and all efforts to get the Police to act have proved abortive.

The farmers in the community said that this unfortunate occurrence has affected them financially and they are asking the government to pay more attention to livestock farming so as to help control the ugly trend.

They also pleaded with the Federal Government to come to their aid and help fight the Fulani cow thieves.

The development was reported to the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, who wonders if actually the thieves were from Nigeria. He called on security agents to do something about it.

Kurudu is a community in the Federal Capital Territory. Many of the residents are self employed at a time the Federal Government lays emphasis on employment generation.

Their activities range from trading to cattle rearing.

Agric Minister Says Ranches For Fulani Herdsmen May Not Solve Crisis

Akinwunmi-AdesinaThe creation of ranches for Fulani herdsmen may not be the solution to the recurring crisis between farmers and herdsmen in Nigeria, the Minister of Agriculture has said.

At a meeting with journalists in Abuja on Saturday, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, said the Federal Government understood some of the factors contributing to the crisis.

He said the crisis was an unfortunate outcome of the factors which include the need to gazette more grazing reserves.

“The government is determined to address the issues squarely.

“We cannot say let there be ranches and there will be ranches. We have to be realistic, pragmatic and sequential about it.

“The President has appointed a committee, which I chair, to look at the issue. What is driving the problem is more than what you see,” he said, citing climate change as a major driver of the crisis.

He explained that countries Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso and the Mauritania were losing a lot of vegetation because of hot environment due to desertification, which had resulted in the movement of herdsmen down to Nigeria.

“So we are having more animals in Nigeria than our own. Our animals are not so much that they will give us troubles.

“The second problem is urbanisation and we have encroachment between farmers and some of the grazing reserves,” the Minister of Agriculture said.

There are a total of 415 grazing reserves in Nigeria but only about 100 of them are gazetted, a development Mr Adesina pointed out needed to be addressed by gazetting other grazing reserves and improving the grazing facilities in the area.

There have been several clashes between suspected Fulani Herdsmen and farmers in the north central part of Nigeria, a development that had led to the signing of a peace agreement brokered by the police, which many said had not yielded result, as clashes between both groups had occurred after the agreement was signed.

Earthfile: Achieving Food Security And Fighting Off Land Grabbers

Earthfile AdesinaOver the years the term land grabbing has been evolving, it is not only petroleum companies and home developers that grab lands, those in agric business have also joined the league, and it is becoming ever so difficult to be able to tell which activities of these companies affect the food supply.

Confusing laws on land, much of which is owned or claimed by government officials, also mean it is difficult to expand. That has left 60 percent of Nigeria’s arable land fallow.

The government wants to add 20 million tons of domestic food production by 2020 and rice, corn, sorghum, palm oil and cocoa have already increased.

Farmers have said that one backlash has been a rise in smuggling of rice and sugar from neighbouring countries and into ports.

Higher cassava output has been used to make flour, reducing wheat imports mostly from the United States by almost 9 percent

The world’s second-largest importer of rice, Nigeria aims to become self-sufficient by 2015 after introducing a 100% tax on polished rice imports, likely to mostly affect countries like India, Thailand and Brazil.

There are many policies being implemented in the Agriculture sector but question still remains, who is taking up the land and making the nation hungry?

This is our focus on this edition of Earthfile.

It features the Minister for Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina.

Nigeria To Establish Grazing Reserves To End Clashes

grazing_reservesDisturbed by the ugly clashes between cattle grazers and farmers in various parts of the country, Nigerian  government on Monday approved the constitution of a committee to work out modalities for establishing grazing reserves across the country.

Consequently, a meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) made up of governors of the 36 states of the federation and some ministers has been set for Thursday, this week to give teeth to the proposed policy aimed at finding a lasting solution to the clashes that had led to the death of over 50 persons since the beginning of 2014.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, who disclosed this at the Presidential Villa, after a  meeting chaired byVice President Namadi Sambo,  cited recent communal clashes between Fulani cattle grazers and farmers in Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau States and other parts of the country, noting that government has resolved to address the issue head-on.

He disclosed that the grazing reserve would also help to check the smuggling of arms and ammunition across the Nigerian borders by foreigners who come into the country disguised as cattle grazers

Dr Adesina announced that the government had put in place short term measure including the creation of new functional grazing reserves, deployment of satellite imagery, remote sensing and GPS maps to track movement of animals across the country.

President Jonathan To Attend 22nd AU Summit In Addis Ababa

President Goodluck Jonathan will leave Abuja on Wednesday to attend the 22nd Summit of African Union Heads of State and Government, which begins in Addis Ababa on Thursday.

The African Union has declared 2014 as ‘The Year of Agriculture and Food Security in Africa’ and the 22nd summit of African Union Heads of State and Government will have “Transforming Africa’s Agriculture: Harnessing Opportunities for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Developmentas its theme.

According to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, Reuben Abati, President Jonathan and other participating Heads of State and Government will formally launch the ‘Year of Agriculture and Food Security in Africa’ which coincides with the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme.

They will also consider and adopt the reports of high-level committees on the Assessment of the African Standby Force and the Operationalization of the African Capacity for Immediate response to Crises, as well as the reports of other high-level committees on United Nations Reforms, the post-2015 Development Agenda, African Trade and Climate Change.

President Jonathan will be accompanied to the summit by Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, the Supervising Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Viola Onwuliri, the Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe, the Minister of Health, Dr. Onyebuchi Chukwu and the Supervising Minister of Environment, Mr. Darius Ishaku.

He will return to Abuja at the conclusion of the summit on Friday.

Nigeria Registers 10million Farmers For Mobile Fertilizers

The Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina has revealed that the Ministry of Agriculture now has a data of over 10 million farmers, who can access fertilizers procured by the federal government via mobile phones or e-wallet.

According to the Minister, Nigeria is the first African country and probably the first in the world to launch such a scheme.

Dr. Adesina made this known on Friday, in Abuja at the Ministerial Platform on his ministry’s performance.

FG To Create Cocoa Corporation of Nigeria

A new company, the Cocoa Corporation of Nigeria is in the works to revive the nation’s cocoa industry and diversify the economy beyond oil.

During a meeting of the World Cocoa Foundation in Washington, Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and rural development, Dr.  Akinwunmi Adesina revealed that the new company, to be known as the Cocoa Corporation of Nigeria will double production of the cocoa beans to 500,000 metric tons in two years.

Part of the plan is to invest in processing to allow for 25 percent local consumption, while new warehouses will provide necessary storage.

Nigeria earned about $900 million from cocoa exports in 2012, while agriculture was responsible for about 44 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

Jonathan To Lead Dangote, Otudeko And Others On Economic Mission

President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria will on Monday lead a team of key members of Nigeria’s Economic Management Team to the World Economic Forum on Africa holding in Cape Town, South Africa.

The Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity), Reuben Abati in a press release described the trip as part of the president’s efforts to promote rapid national economic growth and development; as well as an opportunity to assemble with global leaders to brainstorm on new strategies for accelerating economic diversification and the availability of essential infrastructure in Africa.

“President Jonathan is scheduled to leave Abuja for Cape Town tomorrow and will, at the invitation of President Jacob Zuma, undertake a state visit to South Africa ahead of the opening of the World Economic Forum on Wednesday.” Abati said.

The Forum themed “Delivering on Africa’s Promise” is expected to provide a platform for African leaders in government, business and civil society and their counterparts from other regions of the world to discuss further on the continent’s integration agenda and “renew their commitment to a sustainable path of growth and development that will further unlock Africa’s potentials and talents.”

The President will be accompanied on the trip by the Governors of Zamfara, Anambra and Bayelsa states, Senator Smart Adeyemi, Honourable Abubakar Momoh, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Mr. Jim Ovia, Chief Oba Otudeko and Mr. Tony Elumelu.

Several ministers including the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina and the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Alhaji Musa Mohammed Sada will also be on the presidential delegation.

The President will also participate in the Grow Africa Investment Forum and thereafter honour an invitation by his South African counterpart, Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma to discuss ways of improving trade and economic relations between Nigeria and South Africa.

During the visit, he will also deliver an address to the South African Parliament, co-chair a meeting of the South Africa/Nigeria Business Forum with President Zuma and hold separate meetings with the Chairmen of the Management Boards of MTN, Toyota and Nissan in South Africa.

At the conclusion of his visit to South Africa on Thursday, President Jonathan will proceed to Namibia for a one-day state visit to hold talks with President Hifikepunye Pohamba and attend a meeting with the country’s business community.

President Jonathan is expected to return to Nigeria on Friday, May 10.

FG Prepares N3 Billion Loan For Mechanised Farming

The Federal Government said on Wednesday in Abuja that it had set aside N3 billion for mechanised farming, to enable farmers to access modern implements.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said this at the signing of an agreement between the Bank of Agriculture and the Nigeria Cassava Growers Association.

Adesina said the money would enable farmers to access loan through the bank for mechanised farming.

He said government had received an order to export 3 million tonnes of cassava grit and dry chip to China.

“The last order we sent to the Chinese, we got a call that our cassava grit and chip was the best among those imported to China last year.

“So, in terms of quality, it beats other ones that are produced in other countries.’’

He said the Federal Government had also concluded plans to set up six cassava grit and chip processing centres across the country.

He commended the association for being forthright in its dealings on matters relating to agriculture.

Managing Director of the bank, Dr Mohammed Santuraki, said the agreement was a result of a lengthy dialogue that had been going on between the bank and the association.

Represented by Executive Director, Wholesale Finance of the bank, Mr Waziri Ahmadu, Santuraki said both parties had agreed on modalities for the association to access the loan through mutual partnership.

“The bank has worked out appropriate loan processing procedures that will ensure smooth and timely packaging of loans, so long as applicants meet the bank’s requirement.’’

He noted that the interest rate pegged at 12 per cent would be at the discretion of the Central Bank of Nigeria and Nigeria Incentive-based Risk Sharing for Agricultural Lending.

He assured that the bank was convinced of its capacity to meet the expectations of its partners because of the strength and spread inherent in its operations.

He said the bank had been in partnership with the association since 2008 when it set aside N200 million for disbursement to its members to cultivate cassava.

Santuraki added that not long after that, the Flour Millers Association of Nigeria established the Cassava Endowment Fund and domiciled it with the bank.

“It was from this fund that a total of N121.8 million was disbursed to members of the association.

“Unfortunately the performance of the two loans has been less than satisfactory.

“We were, however, encouraged to give the association another chance not only because it promised to turn a new leaf, but because the executive endorsed to recover all liabilities soon to be booked.’’

He added that the association made an agreement to recover all old loans without an exception.

Mr Segun Adewumi, President of the association, said it would cultivate one million hectares of cassava in the 2013 planting season.

He assured the bank that members of the association had resolved to re-pay the loan when due.