FG To Recruit 100,000 Extension Workers To Boost Food Production

Audu-Ogbeh-Bank-Of-AgricultureThe Federal Government of Nigeria says it is recruiting 100, 000 graduates as extension workers in rural areas in order to meet the seven million metric tone of domestic rice consumption.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Audu Ogbeh, stated this in Benue State during the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) assessment tour of cooperatives’ rice farms, as the nation battles against rising food insecurity.

Speaking through his Technical Adviser on Donor funds, Mr Auta Apeh, the Minister said, the scheme would help Nigeria achieve the seven million metric tone of rice needed to feed the nation.

The visiting team were in Guma and Gwer West to distribute additional fertilizer and farm inputs to farmers and to assess the progress of the cooperative rice farm and how it will impact on the Nigeria’s food security programme.

 

Nigeria To Make Agriculture Arrow Head Of Economic Development

Agriculture in Nigeria The Nigerian government has announced plans to revive and reposition agriculture as the arrow head of the nation’s economic development.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo told a gathering in Abuja on Monday that the government would recapitalise the Bank of Agriculture before the end of 2016.

He added that the government would lend at a single digit rate to its citizens.

Professor Osinbajo announced the plans at the public presentation of the Green Alternative Promotion Policy in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Economic Recession

In attendance with some ministers, the Vice President told the gathering that it had become necessary than ever to revive the sector owing largely to an economic recession.

The Minister of Agriculture, Mr Audu Ogbeh, says that Nigeria was now number three in the export of cocoa, behind Ivory Coast and Ghana.

Before the discovery of crude oil, Nigeria relied solely on agriculture for its revenue and was Africa’s major cocoa exporter.

The official launch of the green alternative was projected to refocus the economy and make Nigeria food self-sufficient.

In 1960, agriculture contributed 60% to the Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product but had since fallen to 23% in 2016.

US Urges Nigeria To Increase Funding For Agriculture

Agriculture, US, NigeriaThe United States has urged Nigeria to increase funding of the agriculture sector to end poverty and build greater capacity.

The Mission Director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Mr Michael Harvey, made the appeal on Monday at a meeting with the Minister of Agriculture and state representatives at the US embassy in Abuja.

Mr Harvey identified lack of capital and research among other challenges as a major hindrance to job creation and development in the sector.

He said that the neglect of the agriculture sector has given rise to hunger, poverty and a huge population of youths struggling to find jobs.

The US official expressed worry at the challenge faced by the American government in seeking to intensify partnership to assist the sector to be economically productive under the Feed the Future initiative.

The Minister of Agriculture, Mr Audu Ogbeh, on his part commended the support of the US towards improving the sector.

He also hinted that the Federal Government would launch an agriculture fund to improve investment.

FG To Restructure Bank Of Agriculture

Audu-Ogbeh-Bank-Of-AgricultureThe Federal Government says that it is set to restructure the Bank of Agriculture to encourage low interest credit facility to farmers.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Audu Ogbeh, made the disclosure to Channels Television in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

He explained that the restructuring might see interest rate fall to 5% for farmers who seek funds to boost their businesses.

The Minister added that the government wants to encourage young generation to also get into farming.

He said that efforts were being made to attract the teeming youths to the agricultural sector.

Kaduna Lawmakers Reject Creation Of Grazing Reserve

Grazing reserveAs the debate continues on government’s plan to create grazing reserves around the country, federal lawmakers from the southern part of Kaduna State say they are against the policy.

Speaking to journalists in the National Assembly, the group made up of one Senator and five members of the House of Representatives, said the move is ill-advised and they believe the move is not a sustainable solution to the recurring attacks.

The lawmakers advised the Kaduna State Government to encourage herdsmen to acquire land and establish ranches in pursuit of their endeavours.

The Minister of Agriculture, Mr Audu Ogbeh, had suggested grazing reserve as a solution the herdsmen crisis, adding that it will create room for better livestock as well as greater yield of milk, which will cut out the 1.3 billion dollar spent annually on importation of milk to Nigeria.

He also said government has no plans to forcefully acquire any land for the proposed National Grazing Reserves in the country.

The Minister said the Ministry of Agriculture will work with federal lawmakers to fine tune the bill and also make necessary input.

Mr Ogbeh also noted that 50, 000 hectares of land have already been volunteered by 11 northern state governments .

The states that volunteered the 11, 000-hectare land are Plateau, Jigawa, Gombe, Sokoto, Adamawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Taraba, Niger and the FCT.

 

House Summons Agriculture Minister Over Genetically Modified Foods

House of Representatives, Audu Ogbeh, FoodsLawmakers in the House of Representatives have summoned the Minister of Agriculture, Mr Audu Ogbeh, in a bid to address concerns being raised over the importation of genetically modified foods into Nigeria.

The summon followed a motion raised by a member of the House from Imo State, Rep. Austin Ikechukwu, on Thursday at the National Assembly in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The legislators asked the Minister to appear before them over the issuance of permits to a company, Monsanto Agriculture Nigeria Limited, to introduce some of the foods into the Nigerian market.

The House Committees on Healthcare Services and Agriculture Products have been mandated to also meet with the Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

The committees are to get a list of food supplements and genetically modified foods that have been granted NAFDAC registration numbers and have 12 weeks to report back to the House.

‘Tuta Absoluta’ Disease Causing Nigeria’s Tomato Scarcity

Tomato-scarcity-in-NigeriaThe Nigerian government is making efforts to contain the spread of “Tuta Absoluta” the disease that experts identified to have affected tomato farms leading to scarcity of the product in the nation, authorities have said.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Audu Ogbeh, assured Nigerians that the government was working with a team of experts from the United Kingdom who will deliver specialised insecticides for the control of the disease.

According to him, the disease has affected six tomato producing states, including Plateau, Jigawa, Kano and Katsina.Tomato disease, Kaduna, tomato blight, tomato farms

He said Tuta Absoluta had high resistant to the commonly used insecticides and had the capacity of spreading to other crops like pepper and Irish potatoes.

For over a month now the price of tomatoes has gone up due to scarcity of the product, with less than seven seeds selling for 500 Naira, the highest price of the commodity in history.

Many families are depending largely on tinned tomatoes which people fear the price may begin to rise soon.

 

FG To Withdraw Subsidy On Fertiliser – Agriculture Minister

Audu-Ogbeh-FertiliserThe Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Audu Ogbeh, has announced plans by the Federal Government to withdraw subsidy for fertiliser procurement in Nigeria.

The Minister explained on Thursday at a forum in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital that the government’s decision would ensure the availability of fertiliser to farmers.

He said there were plans to ensure that farmers access loans at single digit rates to meet the growing demands for agricultural produce.

The Director of USAID Nigeria, Michael Harvey, and Director of IFDC West and North African Division, Robert Groot, suggested the increased lending to farmers.

They also called on the government to ensure that members of the private sector were involved in the distribution of fertiliser.

The Speakers noted that this would provide income for farmers and ensure food security for all.

Besides all of these suggestions, leaders in the West African region are also expected to back all policies that affects fertiliser production and distribution with action.

Agric Minister Suggests Two Year Timeline To End Cattle Grazing

Audu-Ogbeh--Agric-Minister- economyThe Minister of Agriculture, Mr Audu Ogbeh, has suggested a two year time line to put an end to cattle grazing in Nigeria .

This is part of the position put forward by the Minister when he appeared before the House of Representatives as part of the inaugural sectoral debates on the economy.

The Minister said there is no better way of resolving the ongoing crisis between herdsmen and farmers in the country.

The Lawmakers then put some questions to the Minister, with most of the questions focusing on the herdsmen/farmers conflict and when Nigerians should expect it to be resolved.

The Minister also encouraged the House to also look at the possibility of reviewing the Local Government system.

He said rural development is key to the development of the country, and the local government must function for that to happen.

Agric Ministry Assesses Dry Season Farmers Anchor Borrowers Programme

Rice Farming In Nigeria through Anchor Borrowers ProgrammeThe Ministry of Agriculture in Nigeria is assessing the Dry Season Farmers Anchor Borrowers Programme aimed at increasing the cultivation of wheat and rice in Nigeria and reducing importation.

At the assessment of the programme in Kebbi State, the Minister of Agriculture, Mr Audu Ogbeh, condemned the huge importation of rice, describing it as a major factor crippling the nation’s economy.

The assessment is to enable the ministry identify the success of the programme and grey areas that need to be addressed.

Also the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele, said Nigeria had the capacity and capability to cultivate wheat and rice for the nation’s consumption if the programme would be adequately sustained.

The Governor told Channels Television that there were over 70,000 farmers in Kebbi State that benefited in the programme with over 500,000 direct jobs created.

Over the years the importation of rice had become one of the major factors that affect Nigeria’s economy.

Though blessed with both natural and human resources, the country still spends about $5 million on the importation of rice on a daily bases.

This is one of the major reasons behind the presidential launch of the dry season rice farming which is aimed at empowering farmers towards the cultivation of rice.

The Chairman of Kebbi State Farmers Borrowers, Danjuma Ahmed, said the programme had to accommodate more farmers for maximum output.

With the laudable development, Nigerians will hope the campaign promise of change the present administration made would be sustained in the agricultural sector

Agric Minister Says Nigeria Can Cutdown $4.6bn Wheat Import By 2018

Audu-Ogbeh--Agric-Minister- economyThe Minister of Agriculture, Mr Audu Ogbeh, on Thursday said Nigeria can save N635 billion annually from wheat importation starting from 2018 when the country is expected become self sufficient in wheat production.

Mr Ogbe said 350 thousand tonnes of wheat is expected in the coming harvest season from up to 100 hectares of land cultivated in the northern part of the country, nearly 30 years after Nigeria’s wheat yield was label unacceptable.

He said the new breed of wheat recently nurtured in partnership with a Tunisian firm is gluten free and the Nigerian Milling Association is already queuing up to buy the entire harvest.

The Minister said Nigeria runs a risk of going hungry unless it ceases to engage in agriculture as a one season event, adding that to ensure the needed expansion, land clearing, quality control and crops certification, and mechanization are a must now.

Other areas that, according to him require urgent attention, are irrigation plans for farmlands across the states to rule out the threat of drought, the successful lobbying of banks to bring down interest rates so that as many Nigerians as possible will be encouraged to get into agriculture especially the youth.

Channels Television’s Omelogo Nnadi reports that if global projections that Nigeria’s population will grow up to 450 million by the year 2050 are anything to go by, then Nigeria must start now to produce more food domestically.

She adds that this is to ensure there is enough food to feed Nigerians, plus more to export to North Africa where up to 80 million people are said to depend on produce exported from Nigeria.

Agric Minister Blames Nigeria’s Poor Economy On SAP

Audu-Ogbeh--Agric-Minister-economyThe Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Audu Ogbeh, has blamed the poor run of Nigeria’s economy on the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) introduced by former Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida.

Mr Ogbe disclosed this during an exclusive interview with Channels Television in Otukpo, Benue State, at the flag off of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Benue South Senatorial re-run election campaign for its candidate, Mr Daniel Onjeh.

The Agric and Rural Development Minister, who blamed Nigeria’s over-reliance on crude oil, claimed that the Structural Adjustment Programme pointed Nigerians in the wrong direction.

He advised Nigerian youths to take advantage of the oil crisis in other to diversify into Agriculture and non-oil sectors.

Ogbeh also expressed concern over the high rate of unemployment among Nigerian youths with the advice that they take up opportunities being created in the agric-sector, in other to earn themselves legitimate sources of livelihood.