FG Urges Nigerians To Take Livestock As A Business

Courtesy: nigeriagovernance.org

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture has charged Nigerians to take livestock as a business, rather than considering it as a tradition.

Mr Ahmed Salihu Ahmed of the Department of Animal Husbandry Service of the Ministry, gave the charge in Lokoja, the Kogi state capital.

He said the Federal Government has set machinery in place to mitigate some of the issues that often causes skirmish between herdsmen and farmers in the country.

The representatives from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the Miyeti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, are in Lokoja to interact and sensitize the herdsmen on the need to live and operate peaceful without any crises, but first they pay a courtesy call on the Commissioner of Police.

In his keynote address at the State Police Headquarters the leader of the delegation disclosed that the Federal Government has concluded plans to commercialize production of livestock, which he noted will be stationed in one location to avert the incessant crises between cattle rearers and the farmers.

“The population of the country is growing astronomically, and there is need to cultivate land for crops production and massive investment in livestock.

“I call on the leaders of the Miyeti Allah Cattle Reares Association to always sensitize their members on the need to live with farmers peacefully”.

In his remark, the State Commissioner of Police, Wilson Inalegwu said the command under his watch is in support of the initiative, while calling on Miyeti Allah Cattle Rearers Association, Kogi state chapter to warn their members against indulging in criminal activities.

“I want to assure you that my command will continue to maintain neutrality between the herdsmen and the farmers, so that the state can continue to enjoy absolute peace”.

Cattle Rustling: House Calls For Electronic Animal Identification System

House of Representatives on Cattle rustlingThe House of Representatives in Nigeria is urging the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to formulate a policy that would include Electronic Animal Identification System.

Lawmakers believe the identification system will eradicate the problem of cattle rustling.

This resolution followed a motion sponsored by Representative Ali Isa which noted that crimes related to cattle rustling had become more rampant across states.

The lawmaker said it was imperative for the government to consider adopting modern means of capturing, such as the Electronic Animal Identification System, to tackle the menace.

Cattle rustling has been on the increase in some states in the norther part of Nigeria, with troops of the Nigerian Army arresting some rustlers.

Troops-clear-hideouts
An armed bandit’s hideout set on fire

In September, troops of the Nigerian Army destroyed hideouts of livestock rustlers and armed bandits in operations military said were tremendously successful.

The feat was in continuation of a clearance operation against all suspected livestock rustlers and armed bandits’ and destruction of their camps and hideouts in Nigeria, especially in the northwest region.

Troops of 223 Battalion, One Brigade of One Division on September 24 raided suspected livestock rustlers and armed bandits’ camps at Tofa forest in Gusau Local Government Area (LGA) of Zamfara State.

During the operation, an armed bandit was killed while few others sustained gunshot wounds.

The troops recovered a Dane gun, two locally made pistols and four motorcycles while the camps were destroyed in line with established procedure.

The four motorcycles recovered
The four motorcycles recovered

The Army spokesman, Colonel Sani Usman, revealed in a statement on Saturday that the troops also went on a long-range patrol along Dumburum-Batsari forest axis in Zurmi LGA of Zamfara State and part of Katsina State.

On October 1, troops of One Division, Nigerian Army conducted clearance operations within Kaduna and Katsina states in continuation with the operations against livestock rustlers, armed bandits and kidnappers within their area of operations.

In Katsina State, the troops carried out a joint patrol at Nashambe village near Karoki in which two suspected livestock rustlers, Lawali Nakaduna and Yahuza Suleiman were arrested in Jibia Local Government Area and handed over to the Police.

The troops also arrested a notorious livestock rustler and armed bandit, Gide Maikwasara, who was shot while attempting to escape.

Experts Meet To Discuss Sustainability Of International Agriculture Project

AgricultureAgriculture experts from Federal Government and six benefiting states in the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) value chain programme, converged on Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital to find workable suggestions on how best to improve the programme.

At the event held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in the state capital, participants suggested a paradigm shift in the way agriculture was being practiced with old farm population to involve adequate youth participation.

Seventy per cent youth involvement is being targeted in the six benefiting states to ensure the sustainability of the programme, especially in rice and cassava value chain.

Speaking at the event, the Director of Agriculture in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Salisu Hammed, who represented the Minister of Agriculture emphasised the need for establishing entrepreneurship skill in the youths to ensure the sustainability of the programme.

Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary in the Ogun State Ministry of Agriculture, Oladapo Odeyemi, also highlighted some of the steps being taken by the state government in establishing entrepreneurship skill in the youths.

Beyond this rhetoric, it is suggested that the best practices in the agriculture sector must be embraced if the country must match up its food production with its ever increasing population.

Six states – Ogun, Anambra, Ebonyi, Niger, Benue and Taraba – are currently benefiting from the Federal Government and IFAD value chain programme, aimed at ensuring food security and abundance and the diversification of the economy.

Naval Chief Warns Against Illegal Operation Of Vessels

Nigerian-NavyThe new Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral Atiku Abdulkadir, on Sunday sent a clear warning to sea pirates and illegal operators of the Eastern Naval Command to desist from perpetrating crime along the waterways.

Reacting to an arrest of a vessel operating illegally along the Eastern waterways, he maintained that anyone caught would be made to face the full wrath of the law.

Speaking to journalists along the waterways in Cross River State, the Naval boss said, the vessel which had 14 Nigerians and a Ghanaian on board was operating without a valid permit from the Navy and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.

He noted that violating the regulations of the Navy and that of fishing authorities could endanger the lives of other marine operators

He also raised concerns on the security implications, maintaining that the vessel can be taken over by pirates for criminal activities and thereby scaring others.

Captain of the vessel, Martin Beleta, admitted to operating the vessel without permit.

Navy Arrests Ship Along Eastern Waterways

Navy Arrests Ship Along Eastern WaterwaysThe Eastern Command of the Nigerian Navy has arrested a ship operating illegally along the Eastern waterways.

The new Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral Atiku Abdulkadir, made the disclosure while speaking to reporters along the waterways in Cross River State Nigeria’s South-southern region.

The Navy boss noted that the vessel, which had 14 Nigerians and a Ghanaian on board was operating without a valid permit from the Navy and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.

On the implications of violating the regulations of the Navy and that of fishing authorities, the Rear Admiral stated that such activities could endanger the lives of other marine operators.

Raising further concerns on the security implications, he stressed that the vessel could be taken over by pirates for criminal activities as well as scaring other water users.

The Captain of the vessel, Martin Beleta, also admitted to operating the vessel without permit.

The Command sounded a clear warning to sea pirates and illegal operators of the Eastern Naval Command to desist from perpetrating crimes along its waterways, cautioning that perpetrators would be made to face the full wrought of the law.

NEMA Donates Relief Materials To Jigawa Flood Victims

jigawa floodThe National Emergency Management Agency is collaborating with the Jigawa State Government to distribute relief materials to the victims of flood disaster across the state.

27 Local Government Areas of the state were affected by the flood as over 100,000 people were displaced, while farm produce worth billions of naira were washed away.

The State Government has set up an Emergency Response Team to assess the situation for early stage intervention.

Jigawa State is among the front line states in NIMET’s prediction of worst affected states by this year’s flood disaster.

So far, according to NEMA, seven Local Government Areas of the state were affected and more devastation is expected in the future.

The State Governor, Abubakar Badaru, has expressed concern over the situation of the affected victims.

He said that his government was partnering with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to see the possibility of providing a special arrangement for the affected farmers.

Governor Badaru said that the state’s town planners have also been directed to supply a master plan for the reconstruction of affected villages.

Although, there was no loss of life from the flood, few people were said to have been injured as NEMA supplied food items, medical facilities and other equipment required during emergency situation.

Meanwhile, NEMA said that a team of experts has been assigned to liaise with the State Emergency Management Agency in re-evaluating the situation for the second stage of its emergency response relief materials for the victims.

Anambra Partakes In 174.85 Million Dollars Agricultural Project

obiano on  anambra agric projectAnambra State will partake in the 174.85 million Dollars agricultural project sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the African Development Bank.

About 1.6 billion Naira would be expended on agricultural programme activities in the state.

Anambra State qualified for the project due to the State government’s commitment to rice and cassava production in the last one year.

The leader of a delegation from the Ministry that met with officials of the Anambra Stat government, Mr Akwashiki Haruna, told reporters that the benefits of the project were; job creation for 200 youths while 5,060 youths in the State would be trained aside rehabilitation of some amenities in the project’s host communities.

Other benefits according to Mr Haruna, were the construction and rehabilitation of a five-kilometre irrigation dam, 80 kilometres of feeder road, boreholes, rehabilitation of primary schools and markets in the areas among others.

Governor Willie Obiano while receiving the delegation from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture under the aegis of Agricultural Development Transformation Support Group, in Awka, expressed high hopes that the support would complement what the state was already doing in agriculture.

The Governor further said that the state, especially in rice production, had covered up the gap between rice consumption and production by 50 per cent within one year.

Governor Obiano explained to the delegation what his administration had been doing in Agriculture, which he said almost $700 million had been injected into agriculture and over $200 million had been invested in rice production through the help of investors, thus making a head way in rice production within a space of one year.

According to Governor Obiano, agriculture would help ameliorate hunger and poverty while providing jobs for the teeming youths of the state.

To keep the vision of achieving food sufficiency in the state, the State Government had procured presently 102 tractors for the mechanised farming to be fully in operation while distribution of improved seedlings and stalks had continued since last year.

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.

FG distributes cocoa seedlings to farmers in Ondo

The Federal Government has distributed the first batch of 3.6 million seedlings of high-yield cocoa varieties free to farmers for this year’s nursery season at Owena village near Owena village, Ondo State.

The distribution was supervised by the South West Regional Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Julius Odeyemi, on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina.

Odeyemi explained that the exercise was part of efforts aimed at improving the country’s cocoa production capacity.

He said the country dropped from being the second largest in the world, when it accounted for 20 per cent of global cocoa production, to its current distant fourth position with an abysmal 250,000 metric tonnes, and only five per cent of the world output.

He further said the first batch of the hybrid pods were expected to be reproduced by farmers to form the seedlings of the next generation of high-yield cocoa plantations.

He said they were provided free to the beneficiaries with counterpart funding from the cocoa-producing states.

Odeyemi noted that the production of high-yield and early maturing varieties was approved by the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria.

He said it was “part of the agricultural transformation agenda of the Federal Government, which was being done in partnership with all the cocoa-producing states in the country.”

The minister said with the high-yield seedlings planted in cocoa farms across the country, “the era of government neglect of the agricultural sector is over.”

He said, “Nigeria has a history of a prosperous, viable and vibrant cocoa industry in the past. The cocoa industry provided us with foreign exchange and revenue, which built for us our enduring infrastructure, institutions and edifices.”

 

FG plans technologically powered agricultural sector

The federal government has announced plans to introduce Information and Communications Technology (ICT) into the agricultural sector.

Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Akinwunmi Adeshina said the government plans to distribute 10 million mobile phones free to farmers in 2013 to boost food production in the country.

According to the minister, mobile phones would be used to ensure there is no third-party interference in the distribution of subsidized fertilizers, increase transparency in delivery as well as pass across information to farmers first hand.

The minister also announced that the sum of N37 billion would be set aside to launch a major initiative aimed at developing a younger and more dynamic entrepreneurial class of farmers in the country.

Effective distribution of government subsidized fertilizers to farmers to boost food production has remained a problem over the years.

The minister said “Phones to be shared will be used to curb fraudulent activities and third party interference in the distribution of subsidized fertilizers”.

He also said “it would not be business as usual in the agricultural sector. The target now for the government is to reach out to 20million farmers between now and 2015. Already, the commercialization of cassava to produce Nigerian made food items is saving N2.4 billion every year”.

But in spite of this success; “the minister says the challenge of finance has remained a major obstacle”.

Board Member of the Rockfeller Foundation, Strive Masiyiwa said “the initiative is in partnership with international organizations. The government hopes to reduce the country’s dependency on wheat import within the next four years”.

Already the introduction of a farmer’s help line in each local government area to promote the e-wallet system for farmers to encourage production of substituted food is a major project by the government to completely diversify the country’s economy from oil.

FG launches Growth Enhancement Support Programme Scheme in Yobe

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture today launched the Growth Enhancement Support Programme Scheme designed by the President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to enhance agricultural development in the country.

Launching the programme in Damagum, headquarters of Fune Local Government in the state, Minister of State for Agriculture, Dr. Bukar Tijjani said the scheme is aimed at achieving food security, youth and women empowerment, increase income for farmers as well as curtailing the activities of middlemen in the sales and distribution of fertilizer and seedlings in the country.

The minister who commended the agricultural policies of the state aimed at complementing the efforts of the federal government, said the federal and state under the current scheme will equally share fifty per cent while the farmer will pay the remaining fifty per cent of the cost of the fertilizer.

He cautioned them against allowing middlemen to go between them and the government in the current scheme.

The minister also warned them against consumption of the improved seedlings which will be distributed to them free of charge as part of the current policy aimed at cultivating improved variety crops across the country.

The state Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam, represented by the state commissioner of Agriculture Alhaji Idi Barde Gubana commended the presidential initiative that will address most problems of the agricultural sector in the country.

He said the strategies will greatly enhance socio-economic activities thereby reducing poverty among the greater percentage of Nigerians who are predominantly farmers.

The current scheme he stressed will further create more jobs, foreign exchange as well as reduce over dependence on oil.

Chairman of Fune local government area, Alhaji Maina Digma Gana thanked the state and the federal government for choosing his local logovernment for the launch of the scheme in Yobe state.

He solicits for early fertilizer sales, training of staff with the modern agricultural implements as well as provision of improved seedlings in good time among others.