Benin Republic Seeks FG’s Collaboration On Rice Production

File photo of President of the Republic of Benin, Patrice Talon, and President Muhammadu Buhari.


The Government of the Benin Republic on Tuesday approached President Muhammadu Buhari to seek Nigeria’s assistance in the production of rice in the country.

The country sent in a delegation of officials who met with the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari at the State House to tap from Nigeria’s experience in reviving rice production.

The Benenoise delegation led by the country’s minister of agriculture, Gaston Cossi Dossouhoui, was led to the presidential villa by Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State and the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed.

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Speaking to correspondents after the meeting, the Kebbi Governor, Abubakar Bagudu, explained that the delegation and Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria met with the Chief of Staff to advance ongoing talks between the two countries on how to replicate Nigeria’s rice farming programme in the Benin Republic.

“Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria met with the chief of staff to the President to progress the discussion which has been going on between them and the Benin Republic for the two countries to replicate the success of Nigeria’s rice farming programme in Benin so that we can stop rice importation in West Africa.

“This is a partnership within the framework of ECOWAS agreement and the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement and our brotherly relationship between President Muhammadu Buhari and President Patrice Tallon who have the safe vision that we can be greater together,” Bagudu said.

NABDA Trains Farmers On Rice Production

NABDA Trains Farmers On Rice ProductionOfficials of the National Biotechnology Development Agency have started helping farmers adopt new skills that will improve their yields and income.

The appears to be a major boost for federal government’s policy towards improving rice production in the country.

The Deputy Director of Agriculture at the agency, Dr Umaru Ismaila who was speaking a demonstration site for some rice farmers in Abuja says the improved planting technique will help reduce the nation’s import of rice as well as ensure food security in the country.

Meanwhile, some of the farmers promised to use the new farming technique to improve their harvest.

Nigeria Will Export Rice In 2017 – CBN

Nigeria Will Export Rice In 2017 – CBN The Acting Director, Corporate Communication, CBN, Mr Isaac Okoroafor, has disclosed that before the end of 2017, Nigeria will begin to export rice to other countries.

He made the declaration during a sensitisation and awareness programme for farmers held on Tuesday in Bayelsa State on the apex bank’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.

Okoroafor said the CBN’s anchors borrower programme has started yielding fruits, insisting that with the progress so far made by the CBN through its agricultural financing policies, the country would begin to export rice by 2017.

He said that the harvest in rice in 2016 has already exceeded the earlier projections, noting that if the tempo is sustained, Nigeria would not only meet its national demands but would export to other countries.

Okoroafor said, “We started a pilot programme in Kebbi State with 78,000 farmers, cultivating an average of one hectare and that was when President Muhammadu Buhari launched the programme in March last year.

“The programme was to enable farmers to plant three times in the year – two dry seasons cropping and one rainy season cropping. I am telling you now that Kebbi State has exceeded one million tonnes of rice.

“Not only Kebbi, Ebonyi State has keyed into it.

“We were there last week and Ebonyi is to give us over 1.2million tonnes of rice in one year. They are harvesting now, they are bagging and they are milling. Nigerians are booking their Christmas rice in Abakaliki.

“Abia State has ordered rice from Ebonyi State Government. Other states are keying in. In Kebbi, Jigawa, Sokoto, Cross River, rice is coming up.

“Nigerians are planting rice, producing rice. You need to taste Nigerian rice, it is fresh. Not the nine-year-old rice from Vietnam, Thailand and India. Let us feed ourselves. Our rice is healthier, it is not preserved with chemicals.

“We have been to Anambra, Niger, Jigawa, Kebbi, Sokoto, Cross River and Ebonyi just to ensure that this is not another talk show. We have seen harvest of rice which brought me to say that the harvest in rice for this year has so far exceeded our projections.

“By the end of 2017, Nigeria will not only meet our national demands which is between six and seven tonnes per year, but we will exceed it.”

Okoroafor urged the people of Bayelsa to look beyond oil, saying that the state was capable of feeding the country.

Benue Reduces Rice Production Deficit By 1.5 Million Metric Tons

Benue Reduces Rice Production Deficit By 1.5 Million Metric TonsThe Benue state government says it is contributing 1.5 million metric tons of rice, to reduce the national rice consumption deficit of 4.3 million metric tons.

This is an indication that the partnership with the International Fund for Agriculture Development is yielding great value.

Governor Samuel Ortom disclosed this to journalists in Guma local council, during the flag off of the harvesting season, where he declared every Friday a work-free day till January 2017.

The move, according to the Governor, who was in company of officials from IFAD, is to meet the national food supply needs, ahead of the full ban on importation of rice in 2017 by the Federal government.

Experts believe states with agricultural potential must take advantage of this window to avert the impending food crisis, considering the planned ban on rice importation beginning from January 2017.

Imo, Kebbi To Collaborate In Agricultural And Educational Development

Agricultural and educational collaboration between Imo State and Kebbi

The Imo State government says it is in partnership agreement with Kebbi State government in agricultural and educational development.

The State Governor, Mr Rochas Okorocha, announced the plans at an executive meeting on Wednesday held at the Government House in Owerri, the capital of Imo state in south-east Nigeria.

He said that the state government was going into the partnership to tackle the current economic situation in Nigeria which had giving room for states to look inward.

Governor Okorocha said that the partnership programme would majorly be in rice production while the educational development will be in the area of Teachers training.

The Way To Go

He also told the gathering that his administration was more determined than ever to deploy all machineries to ensure that the partnership would be sustained for the benefit of Imo people, expressing hopes that Imo state would become an agrarian state which would sustain and generate more Internally Generated Revenue for the state.

Responding to comments of the delegates of Kebbi State the Governor said: “Now that you have heard from the horse’s mouth, this will now corroborate my back to agriculture policy for civil servants.

“Agriculture is still the way to go in this period of economic recession. The government will do all it can to invest in this partnership not for we the officials but for the benefits of all Imo citizens”.

The Governor also disclosed that the partnership would not only be in agriculture but also education.

Highlighting that Imo State is known for educational development and that the state has well qualified teachers, he said the state government would partner with Kebbi State government in training thousands of their teachers.

Apart from the presence of the executive members of the Imo State government, in attendance at the meeting was also the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress led by Comrade Austin Chilakpu. They all met with the Kebbi State government’s delegates led by Mr Saidu Argungu.

Kebbi State has been a success story in agriculture, especially rice production and Imo State is looking to adopt the Kebbi State template to join the list of states producing rice in large quantity in Nigeria.

Mr Argungu had earlier told the gathering that he had inspected most of the communities across Imo state where rice production could be more viable.
He said: “Imo state has all it takes to be one of the state in Africa that will become the largest producer of rice if the state government can invest in it and take farming and agriculture more seriously as the benefits and proceeds cannot be overemphasised”.

“The agricultural potential, especially in rice production, I see in Imo State since the last two days that I have been touring most of the communities is enormous.

“It is even more than the oil you have. If the government pays more attention to this rice farming, at the end of one year, Imo may be the largest exporter of rice in West Africa because Imo has water and favourable soil that is not present in other states” Mallam Argungu said.

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.

Al-Makura To Improve Rice Production In Nasarawa

rice productionNasarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-Makura, has taken steps to improve the quality of rice production in the state through effective mobilization of rice millers across the state.

The Governor visited the Nasarawa State Rice Incubation Plant located in Lafia, the state capital while on a tour to government facilities across the state with some members of the State Executive Council.

At the Nasarawa Rice Incubation Plant, he disclosed his intention to put the place completely into use by mobilizing local rice millers and transforming the area into a huge food processing zone.

Mr Al-Makura disclosed plans to ensure that the transformation compliments the efforts of the Federal Government in the agriculture sector.

He believed this act would boost rice production, improve the quality of rice production and ensure food protection in the state.

Mr Al-Makura also at the location of some silos built by the Federal Government, proposed a collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to get the leverage to make use of the facility.

The Governor had earlier visited the state old library and the modern e-library to see the mode of management and to get first-hand information concerning their challenges.

He also visited a number of schools within Lafia metropolis for a thorough check of infrastructural maintenance.

During a visit to the old site of Nasarawa School of Nursing and Midwifery, the Governor expressed worry over the abandonment of the site and promised a total overhaul to enable it serve its important purposes.

Farmers In Anambra Get Value Chain Development Training

Farmers in Anambra Anambra State Ministry of Agriculture has begun the training of over 100 farmers from the three senatorial zones of the state on the benefits of Agricultural Value Chain Development in the area of rice production.

The two-day training in Awka, done in partnership with International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), exposed farmers to the strategic vision of strengthening the agricultural sector in order to achieve food security, increase production.

It will also help expand and improve rural economy for employment and income generation and most importantly, increase food exports while reducing food importation.

Pursuing Commercial Agriculture

The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Afam Mbanefo, said that the ideas generated in the training would help accelerate agricultural growth and its sustainability in line with the vision of the state government in pursuing commercial agriculture, especially in rice production.

The training would help accelerate the commercial production of rice to the point that the state would become the third producer of rice in Nigeria, Mr Mbanefo said.

According to him, the training will encourage farmers to produce more, knowing that there is a waiting market for their produce.

In the programme, the consultant trainer, Mr Aderemi Osijo, maintained that the active participation of government and off-takers, whose support in providing technical assistance and the market for the sale of the mass produced rice, would go a long way in ensuring that there would not be any missing link in the value chain.

Mr Osiji also emphasised the need for incentives in the Value chain development programme to make it attractive to people, especially youths to be part of the programme.

Farmers and off-takers expressed satisfaction at the training, maintaining that their expectations are high to see production gain momentum.

With government support and the off-takers market opportunities present, it is necessary that farmers swing into action and begin massive rice production for commercial purposes, as the value chain still revolves around benefits in terms of income generation, job creation and food sufficiency.

Ogun State Govt. Boosts Rice Production

The Ogun State government has supplied and installed two sets of rice processing equipment at Moloko-Asipa in Obafemi Owode Local Government and Ago-Iwoye in Ijebu-North Local Government Areas to boost rice production in the state.

Also to enhance the growth of crops, the Governor Ibikunle Amosun-led administration has carried out farm mechanisation services and sold over 500 metric tons of different brands of fertilizers to farmers at approved subsidised rates.

Briefing journalists during a news conference on the efforts so far made by the government, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mrs Ronke Sokefun, disclosed that government had through the Fadama III project affected the lives of beneficiaries positively and created jobs for rural women and youth.

According to her, “Because government has remained committed to prompt payment of counterpart funds for the Fadama III project, income of beneficiaries has increased by 61.4% and income from value addition to agricultural production by 25.4%, while 90.8% Fadama farmers have access to market information on inputs and agricultural outputs. The activities of various Fadama User Groups (FUGs) and Fadama Community Associations (FCAs) have also created 19,963 jobs in rural areas for 8,800 women and 1,500 youths”.

She added that following the payment of N143.5m counterpart fund by the state government which covered 2009-2012, the Fadama communities had drawn a total of N413.5m of the International Developmental Association (IDA) funds for developmental activities such as the construction of culvert and bore-holes.

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.


Farmers to make profit from rice production in 2015

The Federal Government has estimated that farmers in the country would earn about $2 billion by year 2015 with the help of improving rice production in the country.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwumi Adesina, explained that steps taken by the government to improve rice production should lead to the segment becoming self -sufficient by 2015.

The minister added that Nigeria was rolling out an ambitious reform programme across its agricultural sector aimed at cutting the country’s dependency on food imports, creating jobs and generating economic growth..

“Over the next five years, we plan to add 20m tonnes of additional food to the domestic food supply to create 3.5 million jobs in the sector, and to replace up to 40 per cent of wheat flour imports with high-quality cassava flour,” he said.

The minister highlighted some ways in which the keys reforms already introduced would yield results such as, the move to privatize the procurement and distribution of fertilizer and seed. According to him, “As a result, our private sector firms are growing and foreign direct investment is increasing”.

He pointed out that he is optimistic that Nigeria’s banks were well-placed to support the expansion of the country’s agricultural sector.

“The necessary key for successful reform is to turn agriculture into a business that makes money, with a focus on investments as opposed to aid and development. We need to move towards focusing on particular value chains in which we have a traditional comparative advantage,” Adesina said.