Masari Restates Commitment To Agriculture, Commissions Rice Farming Centres

 

Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, has restated the commitment of his administration to improve agriculture and other sectors of the economy in the State.

This, he said, is part of measures taken by the government to ensure food security and sustainable means of livelihood for the people as the state remains an agric-based economy.

Masari disclosed this on Friday when he commissioned two rice farming centres at Makera and Raddawa villages in Matazu and Dutsinma Local Government Areas of the state.

The commissioning of the two centres is coming under a project undertaken by the State Government in partnership with a South Korean Company geared towards improving the rice-cultivating skills of the farmers.

The project, he explained, also intends to discourage rice importation and improve the social and economic status of people living in rural areas thereby bringing them out of abject poverty.

According to Masari, the project had since its inception last year, transformed the way local farmers produce rice from one point five tonnes per hectare to six tonnes per hectare with the skills they have acquired.

“They gave a history of how they started because in 1960 they were poor.  They cannot even feed themselves. And by 1970, they adopted this method and today they are among the first world

“So, if we apply the knowledge they have given to us and use agriculture as the foundation for our development, the sky is the limit for our people and our country.

“50 years back, South Korea introduced this foundation to strengthen agriculture across all villages and communities in the country.

“Through their struggle to feed themselves and by extension exporting the rice to other countries, God assisted them to have their economy improved and now they are among the first world economy,” Masari disclosed.

In his remarks, the Dutsinma Local Government Area Chairman, Hon. Suleiman Muhammad Namadi projected that at the end of the project which he said will last for three years, over a million farmers will benefit.

On his part, the Director General of the Katsina Investment Promotion Agency (KIPA), Alhaji Ibrahim Tukur Jikamshi, assured of the agency’s readiness to continue to promote micro, small and medium enterprises in the state in order to attract local and foreign investors into the state.

Earlier in his keynote address, the Country Representative of the South Korean company, Mr. Keith Kyungbok Lee, observed that Nigeria has great potential for increasing rice productivity, especially in Katsina State where there is an abundance of land to cultivate by local farmers.

He recalled that the company had on arrival to Katsina State shared its wealth of knowledge and experience and so far successfully tested its philosophy in the Dutsinma research centre.

Channels Television recalled that in June last year, the State Government in collaboration with the South Korean company began training 230,000 rural local farmers on local rice farming.

The South Korean way of rice cultivation is aimed at not only improving the rice cultivating skills of the farmers but also discouraging rice importation and improving the social and economic status of people living in rural areas thereby bringing them out of abject poverty.

Customs Intercept Petrol Tanker Loaded With Rice Along Nigeria-Cameroon Border

 

The Nigeria Customs Service in Adamawa says it has intercepted bags of foreign rice concealed in a PMS tanker and Urea fertilser concealed in black polythene bags, among other banned items worth over N144 million.

The seizures were made along the Nigeria-Cameroon border route over a period of two months.

Other items seized include 165 kilogram of pangolin scales and 1,000 kilogram of donkey skins wrapped in 10 sacks and PMS worth over N12 million.

Briefing the media in Yola, Comptroller of Customs, Adamawa/Taraba Area Command, Olaniyi Alajogun, said the seizure was as a result of the measures put in place to nib smuggling activities along the route in the bud.

Smuggling: Border Drill Officers Intercept Two Canoes Laden With Rice

A screen grab of the canoes laden with rice, intercepted by men of the Nigeria Customs Service during a border drill.

 

Officer of the joint border drill within the Southwest zone, have intercepted two canoes laden with 50 kilograms of foreign parboiled rice along the Badagry waterways.

Authorities say the rice, about 415 bags are suspected to have been smuggled into the country from the Republic of Benin through the creeks.

Speaking at the Gbaji operational base, the Sector Two Commander, Comptroller Nurudeen Hassan explained that the officers carried out the operation inline with international best practice to achieve the result.

Sector 2 of the Southwest zone of the combined military and paramilitary interventionist team popularly known as the joint border patrol or border drill are headed by Comptroller of Customs, Nurudeen Hassan.


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According to the Comptroller, the operation was carried out by officers who were diligent, professional in their duty, adding that their dedication yielded a good result.

“This is not a marine outfit, but here we are, celebrating professionalism, we are celebrating diligence and we are celebrating great confidence and willingness to serve,” the comptroller stressed.

Mr Hassan advised the perpetrators of this crime which he terms economic sabotage, to desist, adding that whatever method criminals may want to adopt, the unit will always counter them.

He thanked the sister agencies (DSS, NIA, Immigration, Customs, soldiers and others), for their commitment and their level of collaboration in the fight against economic sabotage and the quest to ensure genuine businesses thrive in the country.

On his part the head of operation of the Gbaji axis of the unit, Dinya Sabo said a lot of intelligence and cooperation went into getting the result which also includes an insider informant among the smugglers.

He noted that the smugglers were initially arrested with the canoes, but that at the point of trying to move the canoes near the anchor point, they jumped into the water and promptly swam away unseen.

A member of the intelligence arm of the unit who would rather remain anonymous added they have been trailing these particular set of smugglers for long and diligently monitored their movement before finally apprehending them with their cargo.

Mr. Afolabi, one of the officers of the unit said the border drill is a unit set up by the office of the national security adviser who they report to directly and that as one can see, it is made up of officers and men from divers government entities who are dedicated to duty and of course the reason for the success acheived so far.

He advised Nigerians to be more patriotic in all situations and stay away from nefarious activities such as this.

The two canoes of rice were promptly discharged and taken to the Seme Command of the Nigeria Custom Service where they were counted and stored in the warehouse as the officers in charge at the command will be waiting for further directives by higher authority on the seizure.

Finance Minister Blames Rising Cost Of Rice On Smuggling

 

The Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, on Thursday, said smuggling is responsible for the rising cost of rice in the country.

Speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Thursday, the Minister said smuggling is affecting the market and hurting the citizens.

“Unfortunately there is a lot of distortion and the distortion is arising from smuggling of goods into the country,” the Minister said.

“We have unpatriotic Nigerians that will bring rice that is poor quality, some of it not even fit for human consumption and come and dump it in the market.”

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She also reiterated the Federal Government’s efforts in fighting smuggling, noting that there is a combined team of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Police, the Department of Security Services (DSS) among others to rid the nation of economic saboteurs.

The Minister also reacted to the fresh borrowing request by the Federal Government which was recently approved by the National Assembly.

According to her, the Federal Government has created a Medium-Term Debt Management Strategy, noting that the borrowings are not being done by fiat.

The borrowing that was approved by the lawmakers, the Minister noted, has been in the National Assembly since early this year.

“It is encapsulated in a plan, we are guided by the Fiscal Responsibility Act that sets the limit of how much you can borrow at any particular time.

“We have also structured the borrowing to make sure that we have the balance between domestic borrowing as well as external financial borrowings,” she added.

President Muhammadu Buhari had in May, asked the Senate to approve the loan request.

The 2018-2020 External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan contained a request for approval in the sum of $36.8 billion, €910 million, and a grant component of $10 million.

Lawmakers of the upper chamber have since then been making approvals in bits.

They approved $8.3 billion and €490 million in July. They also approved $6.1 billion in the same month.

FG Targets 10million Tons Of Rice Production By 2021

 

 

The Federal Government says it is targeting the production of ten million metric tons of rice in the country by the end of this year’s dry season farming.

The Federal Government has said that already a total of five million metric tons have been produced in the wet season, while five million metric tons will be produced during the dry season.

According to the Central Bank of Nigeria, this will be made possible through increasing the cultivation of the commodity to an expanse of one million hectares of land.

At the flag-off of 2020/2021 dry season, rice farming and distribution of inputs in niger state, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and the Niger state Governor Abubakar Bello are of the view that the country can be self-sufficient in rice production relying on the anchor borrowers’ programme of the apex bank.

Niger state is one of the leading states in rice production, with vast arable land.

At least three hundred and eighty thousand metric tons of rice are produced annually in the state, but even that is considered far lesser than its capacity, and it’s the reason the state government is now taking advantage of the dry season farming.

With the closure of Nigeria’s borders by President Muhammadu Buhari, rice importation has also been banned, thereby increasing the volume of local production of the commodity. But the policy has also led to a hike in the price of rice, a concern the rice farmers association of nigeria hopes to address through its triple ‘a’ agenda.

Kebbi Flood: Buhari Laments Loss Of Lives, Over N1bn By Rice Farmers

Buhari Condemns Gombe Killings, Condoles With Victims' Families
A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari is concerned over the flood that claimed a number of lives in Kebbi State, north-west Nigeria.

The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed his principal’s worry in a statement on Wednesday.

According to the statement, the flood also submerged thousands of hectares of farmlands and houses, as well as destroyed farm produce and personal belongings in the affected communities.

“With the loss of six lives and still counting, thousands of hectares of land flooded and estimated economic losses of more than one billion naira by rice farmers in Kebbi State, we face a major setback in our efforts to boost local food production,” the President lamented.

He added, “I am particularly sad over this incident because it’s a setback to our efforts to boost local rice production as part of measures to stop food importation.”

A map of Kebbi, a state in north-west Nigeria.

 

President Buhari described Kebbi as the focal point of the Federal Government’s policy to produce rice locally.

He explained that this was part of his administration’s commitment to agricultural revival which he said suffered relative neglect in favour of food importation.

“This bad news couldn’t have come at a worse time for our farmers and other Nigerians who looked forward to a bumper harvest this year in order to reduce the current astronomical rise in the costs of food items in the markets,” the President noted.

He sympathised with those who lost their loved ones to the incident and the farmers affected by the devastating floods.

President Buhari assured them that the Federal Government would work closely with the Kebbi State government in order to bring relief to the victims.

COVID-19: Lagos Govt To Provide Staple Foods To 200,000 Households

 

The Lagos State Government has announced that it would be providing staple foods such as rice, beans, garri, pepper and water to the indigent and the most vulnerable in the society.

The state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu announced this during a briefing on Friday, saying that it was part of efforts to cushion the effects of the 14-day stay-at-home directive, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the governor, this distribution of the “economic stimulus package” to the 200,000 is the first phase and is expected to last for a period of 14 days.

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“We have packaged dry food stimulus for about two hundred thousand families in the first instance for a household of husband, wife and about four children. We would be giving bags of rice, bags of beans, garri, bread, dry pepper and we are trying to see if we can add water and some elements of vitamin C. Each ration, we believe is going to be able to last them at least minimum 14 days just so our advocacy around the stay at home, stay with your loved ones will be respected,” Sanwo-Olu said.

“This is a catalytic initiative of our administration with the hope that well-meaning corporate organisations and private individuals can step up to complement the efforts of the government”.

Meanwhile, the governor also announced that food banks will be provided at the various local governments starting from Saturday, March 28, 2020, to ease commuting of people to markets to get basic daily needs.

As the number of confirmed cases in the state has risen to 44 and a total of 65 in the country, the governor urged residents to refrain from gathering or congregating in order to reduce the risk of further spread.

In an earlier briefing on Tuesday, the governor stated that the accepted maximum for any congregation is 25 persons.

While civil servants in the state have been ordered to stay at home, to reduce the number of people out on the roads, the governor urged private sector organisations to allow their non-essential staff to also work from home or resort to online services where possible.

Rice Importation Must Be Discouraged In Nigeria, Says Jigawa Governor

Jigawa State Governor, Badaru Abubakar, with the Governor of Hunan Province of China, Mr Oufang Huang, and others at the Government House in Dutse on October 9, 2019.

 

 

Jigawa State Governor, Badaru Abubakar, has stressed the need to discourage the importation of rice in the country.

In an attempt to meet the demand in Nigeria following the border closure, he announced that the state would become one of the leading producers of quality rice.

The governor disclosed that the state government has completed plans to begin local production of farming implements and tools to boost rice production in the state.

He gave the hint when he hosted a Chinese delegation led by the Governor of Hunan Province, Mr Oufang Huang, on Wednesday at the Government House in Dutse, the state capital.

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Governor Abubakar explained that in order to improve farming activities in the state, the government would explore the option of solar power for gravity irrigation which would cover between 70 to 100,000 hectares of land.

As a leading producer of quality sesame in Africa, he said Jigawa would soon commence the exportation of the oil-rich seed to the tune of 30,000 tonnes to Huanan Province for extraction.

The governor added that his administration was using the Research Institute of Huanan Province to improve the yield and quality of rice production in the state.

He was confident that Jigawa would be the leading rice producer in the country in the next five years.

Earlier, Mr Huang said they were on a return visit to Jigawa State to have a strong partnership on agricultural production.

According to him, the visit was at the request of Governor Badaru who paid a similar visit to the province in China.

Prices Of Tomatoes, Yam, Rice Decrease In June – NBS Report

Tomato disease, Kaduna, tomato blight, tomato farms
File photo.

 

 

The average price of major food items such as tomatoes, yam, and rice reduced in the month of June.

This is according to the ‘Selected Food Price Watch (June 2019)’ report published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The report revealed that the average price of one kilogramme of tomatoes reduced from N317.67 recorded in June 2018 to N226.07 in June 2019, representing a 28.84 per cent decrease.

It added that the price of one kilogramme of tomatoes reduced from N249.52 recorded in May 2019 to N226.07 in June, also representing a 9.40 per cent reduction.

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NBS also disclosed in the report that the average cost of one kilogramme of rice (imported high quality sold loose) decreased from N373.47 in June 2018 to N352.82 in June 2019.

The price of one kilogramme of rice, according to it, reduced from N361.39 recorded in May 2019 to N352.82 in June 2019, representing a 2.37 per cent decrease.

The bureau explained that fieldwork was done solely by more than 700 NBS staff in all states across the country,

It added that the fieldwork was supported by supervisors who were monitored by internal and external observers.

NBS noted that the prices were collected across all the 774 local government areas, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) from over 10,000 respondents and locations, stressing that they reflect actual prices households said they actually bought the items.

It said the average of all the prices was reported for each state, adding that the average for the country was the average for the state.

The report read, “Selected food price watch data for June 2019 reflected that the average price of 1 dozen of Agric eggs medium size decreased year-on-year by -8.23% and increased month-on-month by 6.55% to N495.32 in June 2019 from N464.87 in May 2019, while the average price of piece of Agric eggs medium size (price of one) decreased year-on-year by -5.01% and month-on-month by -8.20% to N39.30 in June 2019 from N42.82 in May 2019.

“The average price of 1kg of tomato decreased year-on-year by -28.84% and month-on-month by -9.40% to N226.07 in June 2019 from N249.52 in May 2019.

“The average price of 1kg of rice (imported high quality sold loose) decreased year-on-year by -5.53% and month-on-month by -2.37% to N352.82 in June 2019 from N361.39 in May 2019.

“Similarly, the average price of 1kg of yam tuber decreased year-on-year by -36.27% and month-on-month by -15.68% to N182.15 in June 2019 from N216.03 in May 2019.”

FG Approves N60bn To Boost Rice Production

President Muhammadu Buhari with Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Bagudu, at the National Food Security Council in Abuja on November 16, 2018.

 

The Federal Government has approved the sum of N60 billion to support rice production in the country and crash its market price ahead of the festive period.

Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, disclosed this to State House correspondents on Tuesday at the end of the National Food Security Council in Abuja.

“The government has approved some money to support the rice industry to bring down prices, but we are going to handle it differently,” he said.

The Minister added, “We don’t want to get into the petroleum subsidy problem, so a committee is looking at it with the Ministry of Finance.

“And we think that it is better for us to lend money to the millers, the farmers, and the distributors, at a very low interest rate so that the capital doesn’t disappear.”

President Muhammadu Buhari presides over the National Food Security Council meeting in Abuja on November 16, 2018.

 

Mr Ogbeh thereafter revealed some of the measure being out in place by the government to tackle the crisis between farmers and herdsmen which has claimed many lives since the beginning of the year.

According to him, the government is devising ways of ensuring that the waste products of one part are made useful to the other.

The minister explained, “We are putting in place a programme now to see if we can aggregate all the wastes from harvest – maize stalks and sorghum stalks and millet, rice stalks, beans and so on, and process them to feed the cows instead of letting them (the herders) roam around and getting into these conflicts with the farmers.”

Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Bagudu, who is also part of the council, reacted to reports by the U.S. Department for Agriculture suggesting that Nigeria imported three million tonnes of rice.

He said, “The only official importation in Nigeria is about 4,000 metric tonnes of rice.”

“The U.S. authorities responded by saying that their assessment was based on satellite imaging of flooded areas. Even in spite of the flooding, upland rice production has been quite strong this year,” the governor added.

Meanwhile, the council also announced a decline of Foreign Exchange expenditure on food items from $1.4 billion in 2013 to about $628 million in 2018.

President Muhammadu Buhari presided over the food council meeting which held inside the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa.

Those who also attended are the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, and Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode.

Global Warming May Have ‘Devastating’ Effects On Rice – Study

 

As carbon dioxide rises due to the burning of fossil fuels, rice will lose some of its protein and vitamin content, putting millions of people at risk of malnutrition, scientists warned on Wednesday.

The change could be particularly dire in southeast Asia where rice is a major part of the daily diet, said the report in the journal Science Advances.

“We are showing that global warming, climate change and particularly greenhouse gases — carbon dioxide — can have an impact on the nutrient content of plants we eat,” said co-author Adam Drewnowski, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington.

“This can have devastating effects on the rice-consuming countries where about 70 percent of the calories and most of the nutrients come from rice.”

Protein and vitamin deficiencies can lead to growth-stunting, birth defects, diarrhea, infections and early death.

Countries at most risk include those that consume the most rice and have the lowest gross domestic product (GDP), such as Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, Drewnowksi said.

The findings were based on field studies in Japan and China, simulating the amount of CO2 expected in the atmosphere by the second half of this century — 568 to 590 parts per million. Current levels are just over 400 ppm.

For the experiments, 18 different strains of rice were planted in open fields, surrounded in certain areas by 56-foot wide (17-meter) octagons of plastic piping that released extra CO2.

According to study co-author Kazuhiko Kobayashi, a professor at the University of Tokyo, the experiment is designed to be more accurate than growing in a greenhouse.

“This technique allows us to test the effects of higher carbon dioxide concentrations on plants growing in the same conditions that farmers really will grow them some decades later in this century,” said Kobayashi.

– Vitamins cut –

Researchers found that iron, zinc, protein, and vitamins B1, B2, B5, and B9 — which help the body convert food to energy — were all reduced in the rice grown under higher CO2 conditions.

“Vitamin B1 (thiamine) levels decreased by 17.1 percent; average Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) by 16.6 percent; average Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) by 12.7 percent; and average Vitamin B9 (folate) by 30.3 percent,” said the report.

On average, protein content fell 10.3 percent, iron dropped eight percent and zinc was reduced by 5.1 percent, compared to rice grown today under current CO2 conditions.

Vitamin B6 and calcium were unaffected, and vitamin E levels rose for most strains.

The reasons for the changes have to do with how higher CO2 affects the plant’s structure and growth, increasing carbohydrate content and reducing protein and minerals, said the study.

Higher CO2 means less exposure to nitrogen, which also may affect vitamin content, researchers said.

Not all rice varieties saw the same drops in nutritional value, raising hope that future research could help farmers develop strains of rice that would be more resilient to atmospheric changes.

A separate study out last year by researchers at Harvard University found that global warming would cut protein in a number of key staples, including rice, wheat, barley and potatoes.

The result: an additional 150 million people globally may be at risk of protein deficiency by 2050.

Thailand Plans To Establish Rice Mills In Nigeria

Rice Imports Will Stop This Year, Says Buhari

The Federal Government has announced plans by Thailand to establish rice mills in Nigeria.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, made the announcement during a tour of some rice farms in Kebbi state.

The Minister says this was made possible because of the reduction on Nigeria’s rice importation by over 90 percent.

The minister also mentioned that Nigeria been able to cut down on the importation of rice from Thailand from 644,000 metric tonnes two years ago to a little over 20,000 metric tonnes currently.