The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is asking the Federal Government of Nigeria to formulate policies that will encourage young people to go into farming and also reduce farmers’ risks.
According to the President of IFAD, Kanayo Nwanze, agriculture provides a better revenue and job creation alternatives to Nigeria.
He also attributed the growing number of rural-urban migration experienced in most cities to lack of development policies that consider rural dwellers who are mainly farmers.
A large number of Nigeria’s youth are unemployed and according to IFAD agriculture is a good means to get them engaged.
At a meeting of representatives from Central and West African countries in Abuja held to brainstorm on best ways to encourage young people into agriculture, IFAD decried the rate of rural-urban migration among young people.
For the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the forum, good initiatives of the government alone are not enough to change the narratives.
He stressed that implementation framework must be developed for impactful programmes.
Nigeria has participated in several fora of this kind in the past, with successive governments formulating policies aimed at developing the agricultural sector.
Yet, the practice of agriculture has continued to remain in the hands of peasant farmers with low capacity to produce food for Nigeria’s growing population.
This has led to a growing import index for food items including some perishables that could be grown locally.
Oil giant, Shell has made an out-of-court settlement to the tune of 55 million pounds to Bodo, Niger Delta, for oil spills which led to the destruction of the community’s livelihood, mainly fishing and farming.
The £55m will be split between £35m for 15,600 individuals and £20m for the community.
Two oil spills occurred at Bodo in the Niger Delta in 2008, the first in August and the second in December, after which Amnesty International and CEHRD gave backing to the community to secure compensation and clean up.
In 2011, the people of Bodo, represented by a UK law firm, began court proceedings in the UK against the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria.
“While the pay-out is a long awaited victory for the thousands of people who lost their livelihoods in Bodo, it shouldn’t have taken six years to get anything close to fair compensation,” said Audrey Gaughran, Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International.
Shell had initially admitted that the oil spills were the fault of failures on the company’s pipeline at Bodo, but claimed that the volume of oil spilt was approximately 4,000 barrels for both spills combined.
However, In 2012 Amnesty International, using an independent assessment of video footage of the first oil spill, calculated that the total amount of oil split exceeded 100,000 barrels for this spill alone.
In the course of the legal battle, Shell admitted that its figures were wrong and it had underestimated the amount of oil spilt in both of the Bodo cases. It also noted that it had been aware, at least since 2002, that most of its oil pipelines were old, and some sections contained “major risk and hazard”.
The Labour Party, represented by Bolanle Badekunle-Bruce on Saturday told Channels Television that it is the party to beat in the Ekiti governorship election, describing the Kayode Fayemi administration a government of billboards and publications.
Appearing as a guest on Sunrise, 20 days to the election, along with House of Reps member and leader of the Fayemi Campaign Organisation, Bimbo Daramola, Mrs Bruce claimed that there were 400,000 unemployed youths in the State, a figure which had given rise to political thuggery and violence.
She further claimed that inidigenes of the State were still practicing subsistence farming, attributing this to the non-performance of the current administration and noting that the LP was offering a new hope, new dawn, a government that would be unusual, real democracy and a government that would be accountable to the people.
“Right now in Ekiti State, we still practice substance farming,” she said, adding that the first love of the State was agriculture. Therefore the LP is also promising mechanized farming as well as youth empowerment to the 400,000 employable youths who are roaming on the streets.
The LP representative also took on the issue of Local Government elections in the state which had not been held and which she alleged to be a deliberate move by the APC administration to control the Local Governments.
However, Congressman Daramola, representing Ekiti North Federal Constituency, debunked the claims made by the LP representative,claiming that the Governor could not have conducted the elections because there was a case in court which arose from its previous attempt to conduct the elections.
After arguing his way out of allegations that the court case was an orchestration of the Government, who purportedly made a party member the head of the electoral body to provoke litigation, he went on to list the achievements of the Fayemi-led government.
“The only man who is coming to this election with a paid cheque is Dr. John Kayode Fayemi. His cheque is paid, not promissory notes. Every other person is coming on promisory notes,” he said, in defence of the Governor, although the Labour Party woman later refereed to it as “dud cheques”.
Presenting a newspaper publication containing the progress made in over 3 years, Daramola further stated that each one of the 131,000 villages and towns in the State had no less than 5 projects running.
He noted that Ekiti state had moved beyond subsistence farming 3 years ago and had gone further to set up the Youths In Commercial Agriculture policy.
In what turned out to be a fierce debate, with claims and counterclaims, Bruce alleged that all the achievements the Fayemi administration had publicized were not real.
She went ahead to state that the social security scheme for the elderly, put together by the State was merely a ruse to appreciate loyal supporters of the All Progressives Congress.
The Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Ogun state, Oluwande Muoyo says the 2014 Investors Forum holding in Ogun State will be focusing on agriculture and urban development.
she stated that one of the important roles of the government in the state is to strengthen the agricultural sector and help reduce the rate of unemployment.
“Agriculture and urban development are areas that can provide job opportunities and create wealth amongst the people of the state,” she said.
Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mrs. Muoyo exolained that the forum holds every two years and the first was held in 2012.
She mentioned that after the 2012 forum, investors were able to acquire lands at a subsidized rates to help attract other investors into the state. She also noted that the state is working on expansion and development of roads which will enable farmers transport their produce from one location to another.
Mrs. Muoyo further stated that raw materials for building infrastructure can be purchased in the state at a cheaper rate.
Speaking on agriculture, Muoyo she stated that most crops grown in Nigeria are gotten from the state and that Ogun has about 16.4 million hectares of land while about 32% of the land has been taken off by investors.
She noted that the focus on the forum is how to strengthen the agriculture business in the state and how the government can invest in it, to enable the farmers go from subsistent farming to mechanised farming and later to a larger scale of production.
Farmers in Ossomala, Ogbaru local government area of Anambra state have said the flood relief fund distributed by the government had little or no effect on their recovery process, as it was not properly and equitably distributed.
The 2012 flood ravaged over seven local government areas in the state but Ogbaru and Anambra West local government areas, which are water logged areas, were the worst hit.
At St. Patrick’s Catholic Parish, Reverend Father in-charge Chris Ossomala recalled the untold devastation of the flood which caused the destruction of properties and complained of the process of government intervention.
Also, Mrs. Omelogo Eke, a commercial cassava farmer, who produced over eight basins of cassava for sale in the local market, complained of the poor intervention from government. She said she was forced to lend money to ensure that her business did not collapse, as it was her family’s only source of livelihood. On his part, Mr. Obiorah Oranyelu, a physically challenged cassava and yam farmer commended the government for intervening at all but expressed bitterness over the way the flood relief fund was distributed, maintaining that it did not really serve the purpose it was meant for.
Although the government had said it would assist the affected communities, the farmers said their hopes were dashed and called on the government to device a better means of distribution, so the donations can get to the targeted people.
The farmers say cultivation of a hectare of land costs between fifty to sixty thousand naira. While the dissatisfaction goes on, the farmers suggested that government should distribute any relief to targeted farmers to achieve result and in his suggestion; Rev. Fr. Odimegwu said government should extend the relief to school fees to support the struggling parents.
In his reaction, the Secretary to the State Government and Chairman of Flood Intervention Committee, Oseloka Obaze explained that all the money the federal government released to Anambra for the flood intervention was properly channeled.
Analysts have said that the recent intervention in the agricultural sector by the Federal Government is late.
While examining ways by which food security can be achieved in Nigeria on Business Morning, the executive director, Admiral Agricultural and Environmental Care, Shedrach Madlion said events in Northern Nigeria, in the past 2 years, are not only natural disasters but they are human disasters.
Professor Bola Okuneye of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta supported this and added that activities of insurgent groups have led to a ‘high level of food insecurity’.
Farmers face constant oppression from terrorists, curfews placed by security agents also restrict them from attending to their farms.
While shedding light on the extent of the damage done to the sector in Northern Nigeria, Mr Madlion said the structure needed to distribute the grains appropriately is not on ground.
However, Mr Okuneye expressed hopes for the sector but called on the government to encourage youth participation by providing easy access to lands for farming.
Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi says he is ready to establish a massive farm project of about 10,000-hectares in Oyigbo Local Government Area of the state, if the council and the people of the area will provide land for the scheme.
He was speaking during a town hall meeting with the people of Oyigbo Local Government Area at the Oyigbo Council headquarters in Afam yesterday.
Governor Amaechi who promised to give them an agricultural project that will employ people in that area said, that would be the first step to solving economic crisis, especially now that crime is providing the people as source of livelihood.
shortly after being welcomed by the people of Oyigbo local government area led by its chairman and counsellors, chief, elders, men and women also the youths, Governor Amaechi soon took over the stage as he enumerate the achievements of his administration in Oyigbo.
He used the opportunity to emphasize that education at the primary and secondary school level were free and directed that school principals found to have collected any form of fees from pupils and students be suspended.
Later at the interactive session, participants who came forward to ask questions praised Governor Amaechi for his people-oriented projects in the state.
Welcoming the governor to his council in an address, the Chairman of Oyigbo Local Government Area, Felix Nwaeke, noted that Governor Amaechi’s policies has had positive impact on all Rivers people of Oyigbo Local Government Area.
Nwaeke also used the occasion to listed some of his achievements in Oyigbo Local
The town hall meeting is a regular interactive forum between the state governor and the people of the 23 local government councils in the state as it gives the people of the state irrespective of class to participate, an opportunity to ask governor Amaechi questions on his governance in the state.