Nigeria to get $200 million loan from World Bank to boost Agriculture

The World Bank has approved a $200 million loan to Nigeria to support the government’s effort to boost agriculture.

The loan from the International Development Association, World Bank’s low-interest arm, has a maturity of 25 years with a grace period of
five years.

The loan, is to support small and mid-scale farmers.

The bank, in a statement on Friday, said about 60,000 individuals will benefit directly from the funding, of which 35 percent are women.

Similarly, about 300,000 farming households will be affected indirectly.

Nigeria slipped into its first recession in 25 years in 2016, brought on by low prices of crude oil. It has been trying to diversify away from hydrocarbons, build infrastructure and boost agriculture.

But the World Bank, in its statement, said, “Priority value chains … will include products with potential for immediate improvement of food security, products with a potential for export and foreign currency earnings.”

The funds will help tackle low yields, lack of seed capital to set up agro-factories, low-level adoption of technology and limited access to markets, the bank said.

Records show that Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, spends $20 billion a year importing food.

With the fall in oil prices, it has been running short of dollars, which has also weakened the local currency, the Naira.

In February, the Nigerian government unveiled an economic recovery plan, tagged Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, which included currency reforms to boost tax revenues.

The ERGP, among other objectives, also aims to achieve self-sufficiency in rice by 2018 and in wheat by 2019 or 2020.

By the latter date, it also hopes to be a net exporter of rice, cashew nuts, groundnuts, cassava and vegetable oil, some of the crops the World Bank loan is meant to finance.

In January, a report released by the Famine Early Warning System Network, FEWS NET, an agency supported by the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, had warned that Nigeria faced a credible risk of famine in 2017.

The report noted that due to persistent conflict, severe drought and economic instability, Nigeria and three other countries – Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen – were likely to be hit by famine (IPC phase 5).

The International Monetary Fund, IMF, is expected to warn Nigeria by the end of the month on its economy recovery plan.

The Washington-based organisation is not satisfied with the economic plans put in place by Africa’s largest economy, aimed at dragging it out of recession.

“Further actions are urgently needed,” the IMF said in its 68-page report, due to be released March 29.


Source: Premium Times

Reports of imminent famine in Nigeria are false – Agric Minister Ogbeh

The Federal Government has denied the reports by some United Nations (UN) agencies of imminent famine in Nigeria, saying there is no threat of starvation in the whole country.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, made the denial when he featured at a News Agency of Nigeria Forum in Abuja.

NAN reports that three UN agencies — Food and Agriculture Organisation, World Food Programme and International Fund for Agricultural Development – reported that Nigeria would suffer famine, food shortage and malnutrition.

Mr. Ogbeh stressed that it was virtually impossible for Nigeria to face famine or starvation because the country remained a major source of food for other African countries such as Algeria and Libya.

“I think there’s a danger of mixing the situation in the North-East with the situation nationwide; I have seen that on CNN, starvation in Somalia and Nigeria, and then they go on to talk about the civil commotion in the North-East

“I don’t think that the rest of Nigeria is facing any threat of famine. That is not true and I think these agencies have to be a little more careful in their prognoses.

“I think there are challenges in the North-East because this is a huge part of Nigeria which for five years has not engaged in food production.

“That’s not the same in the North-West or North-Central or South-West or South-South.

“So, I think there is some degree of exaggeration and a mixture of situations, there’s no threat of starvation because we have been feeding Africa.

“People come down from Algeria to buy food in Nigeria, they come from Libya, they come from Sudan and they come from Chad.

“So, to suggest that this country that is feeding the rest of Africa is almost to go totally hungry is not true. “

As regards malnutrition in the country, the minister conceded that this could occur as result of unbalanced food nutrients ingested by some people, wrong approach to food processing and materials used for packaging of food.

Mr. Ogbeh stressed that his ministry was trying to re-engineer food processing procedures in the country.

“As for malnutrition, there is that possibility, the simple reason being that there is a difference between eating much and eating well.

“And there is also the problem of our diet which the ministry is beginning to work on for the first time seriously.

“Eating well means taking all the nutrients the body requires; vitamins and proteins and carbohydrates in an even balance.

“And there are other threats to health — the way we process food. We have to totally re-engineer the processing of food in this country.

“We are trying to remove import duties on stainless steel, using only stainless steel even in the grinding machines in the markets and in the grinding machines for corns and millet and what have you.

“Bits of ferrous oxides are getting into food and metal poisoning is deadly; these are the issues we are looking at.

“If you ingest a lot of ferrous oxide, your kidney and liver begin to fail, there is nothing any doctor can do to help you

“And now we have brought back the three Universities of Agriculture under our ministry.

“One of the faculties of colleges we are going to insist that each of these new universities should embark upon is the School or College of Food and Health Sciences.

“We need to know more about what we eat and the effect it has on our system, so that we can spend less and less on our hospital bills; these are the issues we are looking at.

“If for instance, you use plastic cups to drink your tea or you eat `moi-moi’ (a local beans pudding) made in cellophane or a plastic container put in a micro wave.

“When you eat that kind of food, you are exposing yourself to nearly 50 possibilities of poison.

The minister urged the citizens to use only non-toxic materials for preparing or packaging their cuisines.

Mr. Ogbeh also said the Federal Government is doing everything possible to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production before the end of 2018.

He said there were strong indications that Nigeria would become self-sufficient in rice production by 2018 because many farmers had rediscovered their potential in rice farming.

“First, let me congratulate Nigerians for responding positively to the made-in-Nigeria rice during the last Christmas period.

“Nigerians have discovered that Nigerian rice is better than rice from Thailand and Vietnam, which are the largest producers of rice in the world.

“We are in a rivalry with the two countries for now and we will soon overtake them in rice production and take over the market from them.

“People in Thailand do not eat parboiled rice but white rice. So, all the parboiled rice they produce is exported to Nigeria.

“Nigeria is the biggest consumer of imported rice in the world.

“By so doing, we are transferring our jobs to these two countries and leaving our teeming youths angry and hungry,” he said.

The minister, however, said that rice production in the country had improved appreciably, particularly in states like Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo.

Mr. Ogbeh said that in the northwestern part of the country, Kebbi, Kano, Jigawa, Sokoto, Katsina and Zamfara states were taking due advantage of their dams by engaging in rice production as well.

The minister said that the Federal Government had just imported 110 rice mills, adding that the mills would soon be distributed to communities across the country.

Mr. Ogbeh said that the gesture was aimed at boosting the production and income of rice farmers, adding that some of the rice mills could mill 50 tonnes of rice per day.

“We are distributing the mills to communities, under a programme called `LIFE’, which entails taking industries to villages, because we don’t have the whole population in Abuja, Lagos, Enugu, Port Harcourt or Kano.

“We will satisfy our demand for rice. By so doing, we will be creating 20 million jobs in the villages and saving about five million dollars used for the importation of rice daily.

“Ironically, the recession in the country is not facing people in the villages. If you go to Kebbi now, there are millionaires made from rice, wheat and soya bean farming,’’ he added.

Besides, Mr. Ogbeh said, agricultural extension workers would soon teach the farmers about how to parboil rice, while setting a standard for the usage of good-quality rice seeds.

“The era of soaking rice in a tank and leaving it overnight is long overdue.

“Rice should not be soaked for more than three hours in water with a temperature of about 80 degrees centigrade.

“The rice should also be steamed for about 30 minutes and dried in a proper place to avoid stones,” he said.

The minister said that efforts were underway to acquire rice reaper machines, used for cutting and harvesting paddy.

He, however, noted that Nigeria was currently selling rice to Cameroon, Niger, Chad, Mali and Mauritania.

“All the same, we cannot stop them from buying our rice; we will rather expand our production,” he added.


Source: NAN

OPINION: “Mangoes are out” (Nigeria’s Portfolio of Waste) – By Adewunmi Emoruwa

I often say?—?we (Nigerians) are an unserious people. Though I blurt jokingly most times, the severity of this statement remains intact. Earlier this week, on Monday, I received a message on my WhatsApp from an unrelenting, serial pusher of broadcasts which I usually would not bother reading, but this one caught my attention, luckily. It reads:

Despite all that has been happening in Nigeria, the fight between APC and PDP, Army and Boko Haram, Buhari and Jonathan, EFCC, Subsidy, Fuel scarcity, increase in dollar and decrease of naira, unemployment, inflation and hardship I have good news for you…. Mango is out!!”

It was a widely shared joke, as I happened to see this same post on Social Media with some of the most funny and imaginative comments?—?as usual.

It wasn’t funny to me, not anymore, as soon as the message sank. “Mango is out!”

My mind raced back to the roots of my upbringing that chastised the habit of waste and early social science definition of Economics in respect to scare resources.

Mango is almost free in Nigeria and a lot of it gets to waste as people who live or pass through Gboko or some other rural community in Benue can attest to. Mango eventually becomes scarce in Nigeria and Mango in packed juice form is expensive as a result of rising cost of imports amid the foreign exchange scarcity.

“Mangoes are out and what about that?”

‘No jokes’, Nigeria is the 9th largest Mango producer in the world followed by the Philippines.

Feeling proud, guess what? Nigeria has no place even in the top 30 in terms of exporting the same commodity, and not even top 10 in Africa.

Precisely, Africa exported mangoes valued at about $178.8 million with the following countries topping the trade 1. Côte d’Ivoire: $38.7 million; 2. Egypt: $32.7 million; 3. Ghana: $25.9 million; 4. South Africa: $21.3 million; 5. Senegal: $17.9 million; 6. Mali: $11.1 million; 7. Burkina Faso: $10.7 million; 8. Kenya: $10.4 million; 9. Gambia: $4 million; 10. Cameroon: $2.2 million. To make matters worse, no other country in Africa is on the Top 10 list or close to being at par with Nigeria. 

Meanwhile, Philippines that is a rank beneath us in terms of production, exports about $91million worth of mangoes and Peru which is only about 1/5th of Nigeria’s population exports $194.2 million worth of Mangoes?—?more than Africa’s combined exports?—?and the country is not even a top 10 producer!

In Abuja, One (1) big fresh Mango is sold for about N100 (30¢) but a pack of imported Stute Mango Juice made from concentrates retails for about N1200 (almost $4). In other places, people only sell mangoes in baskets and beg customers to buy. 

Mango to a Nigerian can be likened to the biblical Manna from Heaven, one does not even have to harvest it, it just falls and our part is to pick and eat, saving none for tomorrow. Beyond Mangoes, this is the tale for other fruits such as the Citrus family, which Nigeria is also among the top 10 producers of.

But it is not all doom and gloom, certain Nigerians in the private sector are not just aware of these opportunities but have gone further to harness them. The Agriculture subsidiary of Tony Elumelu’s Transcorp Plc invested about 1 billion Naira in the Ben Fruit plant in Benue state which can produce about 26,500 metric tonnes per annum of fruit concentrates (Mango, Orange and Pineapple).

Affiong Williiam’s Reel Fruit is another inspiring story, the small start-up ventured into the production of dried fruits with decent packaging, initially targeting the middle class, health conscious demographic in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial nerve but is now available to every demography across the country.

Nothing more can drive my point home than the story of Seun and Seyi Abolaji who started the Wilson’s Juice company with just N2000 (about $5 at the time) and turned squeezing lemons into a million dollar business.

The point is?—?Nigerians have shown that success is possible against all the odds and with little resources. It is up to government to remove the odds, among which include infrastructure, access to power, storage and credit facilities and policy push etc. Whenever the Mangoes come out again, we should get all we can out of them and must get them out!

Unemployment: Aregbesola Wants Graduates To Embrace Agriculture.

The Governor of Osun State, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, wants university graduates in Nigeria to shift attention from white collar jobs and embrace agriculture.

He believes agriculture is a good means of stemming the tide of unemployment.

The Governor stated that the present economic situation had shown Nigerians the need to encourage farming as the only alternative to crude oil.

Aregbesola made the demand while addressing a gathering at the 6th convocation ceremony of Fountain University in Osogbo, the capital of Osun State.

He noted that there was no aspect of life that could do without agriculture, saying Nigerian graduates must henceforth stop searching for formal jobs that seem to be no longer in existence.

Food Production Capacity

The Governor stressed the need for productivity, resilience and hard-work among Nigerians, pointing out that the present nation’s economy demands one to be self-employed.

Argebesola Stresses Need To Educate Nigerians On Recession
Governor of Osun State, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, believes increase in agricultural produce will reflate Nigeria’s economy

According to him, there is no other alternative to sustain Nigeria’s economy than to build the required interest in agriculture and brace up with anything that could promote food production capacity.

Mr Aregbesola held that Nigerians must, as a matter of urgency, invest in things that would prevent famine in the next five years if truly the nation was ready to overcome her present economic challenges.

Lamenting the dwindling revenues from the crude oil sales, Governor Aregbesola said “unless Nigeria sees the need to promote agriculture, efforts to bring back the dwindling economy may be gloomy”.

“There is need for us, especially our young graduates, to lead the nation in promoting agriculture as the only realistic surviving alternative to economy.

“We must embrace farming because it is only agriculture that has direct links to all aspects of life.

“Nigeria has grown to the stage her food production capacity must be urgently expanded to meet the general needs of the citizenry and as well enhance exportation.

“The time to enhance productivity has come. We must all embrace productivity. We must produce whatever we desire to consume,” he stressed.

Congratulating the graduating students, Aregbesola charged them to adapt to the virtues they acquired in the institution.

He advised them to get prepared for the challenges ahead and life after university which he described as “challenging”.

“You must all be prepared. The challenges ahead, especially at this period of over saturated tendencies of labour market, you need grim determination to succeed. You must be rational and critical in the application of the knowledge you have acquired”.

He further appealed to those who are using the precious and reputable name of Islam to perpetrate violence, saying “violence is directly antithetical to Islam”.

“All hands must be on deck to end terrorism in the country as the act is tantamount to the tenets of Islam.”

Earlier in his lecture, Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, charged both private and public organisations in Nigeria on the need to invest more in education.

He said the country had gone to a stage where education should be seen by all as a bedrock for national development and called for the need to encourage participation in both basic and higher education.

Professor Rasheed, who is the Executive Secretary, National University Commission, said all hands must be on deck to promote tertiary education.

He implored stakeholders in the private and public institutions in the country to, as a matter of necessity, rescue the nation from her present educational backwardness by establishing more universities in the nooks and crannies?.

Prior to the discovery of crude oil, agriculture use to be Nigeria’s economy mainstay, a position the Nigerian government is pushing to return the nation to by pushing for more youth involvement in agriculture.

Cross River loses N130 million to ghost farmers – Official

Cross River Government lost over N130 million revenue in 2016 due to allocation of cocoa farms to ghost farmers, Oscar Ofuka, Special Adviser to Governor Ben Ayade on Cocoa Development, has said.

Mr. Ofuka made the disclosure on Monday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Calabar.

He said the governor had consequently directed a total review of allocations done by the Cocoa Allocation Committee to ensure that genuine farmers were given allocation.

“The governor has directed me to review the allocations with a view to ensuring that the right farmers are given Cocoa farmlands.

“But, the implication of this shoddy exercise is that the state has lost over N130 million from the projected revenue from cocoa allocation in 2016.

“The projected revenue was N200 million, supposed to be generated from payments for allocation fees by farmers.

“But, only N68 million was realised. This is a huge set back to the government’s revenue drive.

“Also, the state lost a whole farming year, and we are about losing another year due to this discrepancies,” Mr. Ofuka said.

The governor’s aide said that his office had mapped out strategy to begin verification of farmers to ascertain genuine allottees in the state’s three cocoa estates.

“We will first undertake physical verification exercise where farmers will be made to stand in front of their farms to receive their cocoa seedlings.

“And later, we will carry out biometric capture of the farmers,” Mr. Ofuka said.

He lauded the governor’s quick intervention on the matter, assuring the farmers that the state government’s target of 500,000 metric tons of cocoa annually would be feasible.

Mr. Ofuka advised politicians, who were not professional farmers, to allow real cocoa farmers to do their work for the overall benefit of the state.

“We are trying to make cocoa our alternative revenue generating base in view of the dwindling federal allocation,” he said.

Fayose’s Empty Stomach Infrastructure! – By Tope Michael

As usual Governor Ayo Fayose has condemned President Mohammadu Buhari for the rate of hunger in the land including Ekiti state. Does this guy think at all before blaming President Buhari for the problems that other governors are solving?

Ekiti state was once a proud producer of Igbemo Rice. Incidentally, Igbemo Ekiti is the next town to Fayose’s village, Afao Ekiti. So he should tell Nigerians why his government of stomach infrastructure has failed to revitalize the Igbemo rice factory which was once a pride of the Ekiti people.


Has the governor of Ebonyi state not increased rice production to the extent that the state is selling rice to other states right now?  Is the lousy governor of Ekiti state not aware that the government of Governor Akin Ambode of Lagos State decided to partner with Governor Bagudu of Kebbi state for the production of rice? Is Mr. Fayose not aware that the partnership has created opportunities for Lagosians to buy a bag of rice in Lagos at N12,000 while it is sold at N20,000 in Fayose’s  land of empty stomach infrastructure?


Incidentally, Mr. Fayose is one of the governors who have been campaigning for true federalism. Can we have true federalism when an agrarian state like Ekiti has to depend on the federal government to feed its people? Simply because  Governor Fayose is bereft of ideas of good governance? In any case,  if Mr. Fayose seriously wants the federal government to feed the Ekiti people let him refund the N2.5 billion traced to him through the ex-minister of defense, Mr. Musiliu Obanikoro.


From that sum, the federal government can invest N1 billion in agriculture in Ekiti state.

There will be no famine in Nigeria – Senator Heineken

The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri yesterday doused the tension generated by alarm by the presidency that famine was looming in the country.


Lokpobiri spoke yesterday when he visited Dizengoff/Phinada Farms in Bwari.


The minister, who did not deny that such comments were made, however, noted that necessary agricultural activities have commenced to ensure bumper harvest in 2017.


He said the alarm of famine was due to the high rate at which neighbouring countries storm the Nigerian market in the North-West to buy off grains.


The minister stated that agricultural activities in Kebbi, Jigawa, Kano states and other states in the South-East will ensure bumper harvest in the country.


Continuing, “There are a lot of agricultural activities going on and we want to assure Nigerians that there is nothing to fear.


“What the Senior Special Assistant to the President said was because of the drought in the sub-region, a lot of people from other countries are coming to the markets in Nigeria to buy grains which is an opportunity for farmers to scale up production.”


“There is no statistics that there will be famine in January, the Presidency only said that people are coming from other countries to buy our goods.


“And as a government, we are also trying to buy to ensure there is a guarantee price so that farmers are not discouraged.


“Government for now is trying to see how we can buy and store because all our silos are virtually empty.


“The Anchor Borrower Scheme is already guaranteeing one million metric tons of paddies in Kebbi State alone. Government is already making credit facilities and farm inputs available through the Anchor Borrower Scheme.


“We are also investing in processing. Very soon, we are going to launch over 100 small scale rice mill that will be distributed in the rural Cooperatives to enable farmers not only harvest but process, and they can get much more value from rice production.”

Benue Governor Ortom declare Fridays work-free for agriculture

Benue State Government has again declared every Friday beginning from November 11 work-free.

The government said this was to enable civil servants commence harvest of their farm produce.

Recall that the Imo State government proposed similar policy but it was rejected by organized labour.

Benue said it will now enforce the policy it announced earlier in the year.

Its explanation then was that workers should use the last working day of the week for farming in the face of dwindling economy which made it difficult for the administration to pay salaries.

The latest decision was reached during the state executive meeting which was presided over by Governor Samuel Ortom.

A statement by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and ICT, Mr. Tahav Agerzua, said, “The state executive meeting approved that Friday every week be work-free days beginning from November 11, 2016 to end of January next year to enable civil servants harvest the produce in their farms.”

The statement added that the council, however, exempted some workers in education sector, maintaining that the school calendar should be allowed to run normally.

Dangote Group Expands Investments Into Agriculture, Mining

The Dangote Group has expanded its investments into agriculture and mining, Mansur Ahmed, Executive Director, Corporate Communications of the group, said in Kano.

He said at a media forum in Kano that the aim was to beat the economic recession in the country.

According to him, “The group reviewed its business plan to develop its investment directive and commits a greater investment in agriculture and mining to diversify economy.”

The reason is to diversify into areas that are fundamental to consumers and other stakeholders.

Ahmed pointed out that the company planned to expand its sugar refinery to other states, adding that the company had already started acquiring land for the purpose.

“We are actually working towards providing enough sugar and wishing to eliminate the importation of sugar by the next five years.”

The spokesman announced that rice and milk production had already begun in Jigawa, although it wasn’t done directly by the company yet.

 He, however, stressed that the company had worked with about 800 farmers in Hadejia in Jigawa and planned to increase the number to about 2,000 farmers to begin commercial farming.Other areas that the company is venturing into are in the oil and gas sector.

The group would also venture into fertiliser production, petrochemicals and provision of gas pipeline and alternative energy supply.

Credit: dailytimes

World Bank partners Adamawa to spend $7.5m on Agriculture

The Adamawa Government on Friday said it would partner the World Bank to spend 7.5 million dollars (about N3.54 billion) to fund agriculture programmes in the state.

The state’s Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr Waziri Ahmadu, said this at the commencement of training for staff and stakeholders of Fadama 111 – Second Additional Financing (AF11) project for North-East in Yola.?

Ahmadu said that the state government would benefit from the financial support by improving on food security and livelihood of Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the state.

He said that 7.5 million dollars was a huge sum of money to support communities in the state with, especially at this time that the country was experiencing recession.

“The World Bank’s aim of improving food security and agriculture restoration was in line with the state and Federal Government’s agenda to improve the livelihood of the IDPs through agriculture.

“I am assuring the World Bank team of the state government’s collaboration to make sure that the project succeeds and is completed in good time.”

The commissioner said that the government would pay its counterpart fund and that arrangements were ongoing to pay for other outstanding projects of about N100 million.

He thanked the World Bank team led by Dr Adetunji Oredipe for its support, assuring that the project would be implemented successfully.

Earlier, the Project Engineer and AF11 Desk Officer, Mr Ibrahim Alkali, said that AF11 would utilise existing institutional structure of the ministry of agriculture at federal and state levels to coordinate the project implementation.

“The Fadama national office will also be responsible for day-to-day coordination of the project and support with training of staff, solid procurement, management, monitoring, and systems evaluation.

“We will show diligence and follow established World Bank procedure and also report to the national coordinator of our achievement on regular basis,” he said.

Alkali said that the criteria used in selecting the beneficiaries under AF11 as households and displaced persons, included size of household ranging from 10 members to 15 members.

“Others include farmland ownership, relevant enterprises, types of skill, level of distress, level of commitment, partial asset acquisition, IDPs in formal and informal camps,” he added.

Mr Iyiola Akande of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said that all hands must be on desk to address challenges facing the North-East.

“After fighting the insurgency, we have to resettle and rehabilitate these displaced people. NEMA has been in the forefront since the beginning of this challenge.

“The good thing is that both the national and international stakeholders are coming to address the problem under AF 11 for the development of our country.?

“We hope that everything about financial assistance has put in place to ensure the restoration of livelihoods of the IDPs will be well addressed to have a good result.”

NAF explores agriculture to empower barracks youths

Nigerian military is not left out in the nation’s search for a solution to the economic recession the oil-rich nation slid into few weeks ago, as the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, is exploring agriculture to empower youths in barracks.

He is confident that further involvement of youths in agriculture will deepen the economic diversification drive of the government.

Nigeria is battling to get out of its present economic recession made obvious when the National Bureau of Statistics released a second quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report.

The report showed a contract in the GDP by 2.06% in the second quarter of 2016.

According to the report, the decline has caused the Naira to get weaker while lower oil prices dragged the oil sector down.

The output shrunk by 0.36 in the first quarter.

During the quarter, nominal GDP was 2.73% higher at 23.48 million Naira at basic prices.

This growth was lower than the rate recorded in the second quarter of 2015 by 2.44% points.

While launching a scheme tagged ‘Barracks Youth Empowerment Through Agriculture (BYETA)’ held at the Air Force Base in Kaduna State, Air Marshal Abubakar said the initiative would empower youths and create jobs.

The Air Chief was represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans, Nigerian Air Force headquarters, Air Vice Marshal James Gbum.

He explained that the inauguration of the youth empowerment programme was a testimony and determination of the Nigerian Air Force to key into the Federal Government’s policy on diversification of the economy to other non-oil sectors especially agriculture.

The programme, according to the organisers, is designed to engage the youths, particularly those living in the barracks in productive ventures such as poultry, fishery and crops farming that would enable them live meaningful lives independent of their parents or guidance.

While urging the youth to make good use of the opportunity to empower themselves and contribute to the economic development of the nation, the representative of the Chief of Air Staff, enjoined parents and guidance to regularly monitor the progress of their wards in order to achieve the maximum success rate of the programme.

On his part, the Commander, 335 Base Service Group, Air Commodore Bello Garba, said the initiative was launched to further drive home the message of self-reliance and the directive given by the Chief of Air Staff for all secondary schools in the barracks to establish a demonstration farm which he also noted would prepare the youth to be self-reliant.

He told the gathering that in compliance with the directive, the 335 Base Service Group had established a BYETA association with an initial membership of 25 youths at its inception on August 30.

At the moment it has 98 registered members, including 35 engaged in fish farming, 25 in poultry, 26 in livestock and 12 in crop farming.

Some of the beneficiaries said they were pleased with the initiative they believe would empower them, help them feed Nigerians and ensure food security.

The Barrack Youth Empowerment Through Agriculture Programme is open to relatives of Air Force personnel and residents of host communities.

Gov. Ahmed calls for diversification of economy with agriculture

Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State has called for urgent diversification of Nigerian economy with agriculture as the only credible and sustainable solution to the current economic recession in the country.

The governor made the call on Thursday when First Class Traditional Rulers from Kwara South Senatorial District visited him at the Government House, Ilorin.

He also called on the Federal Government to reconsider diversification of economy to agriculture with deliberate effort on advocacy on agriculture as a source of wealth.

He promised that the State Government would continue to assist farmers with information, seedlings and chemicals to boost agri-business in the state.

Ahmed urged the traditional rulers to develop more interest in agriculture and continue to support programmes as well as policies of the state government.

He called on royal fathers in the country to be major players in the promotion of peace and security in their domains.

The governor noted that it was only when lives of people and their property were secured that government’s developmental and infrastructural efforts could yield desired results.

Ahmed said: “Government will continue to partner with our royal fathers on security so that people can live in peace.

“It is only when we have a secured environment that we can truly progress economically.”

Ahmed promised the royal fathers that his administration would be transparent in the area of project execution.

He noted: “Transparency in governance is necessary for people to have confidence.”

The governor said that all projects to be initiated by the state government would be completed before December, 2018.

Earlier, the Olofa of Offa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi Esuwoye, who led the traditional rulers, explained that the visit was to congratulate the governor on a successful Sallah celebration and promised continuous support to the state government.

Oba Esuwoye sought the support of the government to farmers in the state through the provision of farm inputs and fertilisers with a view to solving problems associated with food insecurity.

Ahmed also received traditional rulers from Kwara North Senatorial District, who were at the Government House to pay him a post Sallah homage.

Receiving the royal fathers led by the Etsu Patigi, Alhaji Ibrahim Umar Chatta, Ahmed reiterated his administration’s commitment to quality service delivery through effective and responsive governance despite the prevailing economic challenges.

Ahmed promised that his administration will continue to work together with the traditional rulers and other stakeholders through inclusive governance.

He added that the state government remained receptive to constructive criticism that will deepen democratic governance in the state.

The governor promised that the state government will always ensure judicious use of tax payers’ money through even infrastructure development across the state.

He said: “We are very conscious that Kwara North is a major agricultural environment in the state.

“We will support agriculture in the area with road and other support schemes to ease movement of farm produce.”

Earlier, the Etsu Patigi and Vice Chairman, Kwara State Traditional Council of Chiefs, Alhaji Ibrahim Umar Chatta, commended the governor’s style of governance and leadership.

The royal father promised that traditional rulers from Kwara North would continue to support the State government.

FG to train ex-agitators on agriculture

The Federal Government will train 11, 500 ex- Niger Delta agitators in agriculture as part of moves to diversify the economy, a presidential aide said on Monday.

The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Brig.-Gen. Paul Boroh (retd), disclosed this at the inauguration of some poultry farms in Rivers State, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

The farms are located in Elele, Ikwerre local government area of the state.

“The Presidential Amnesty Programme has resorted to engaging ex-agitators in agriculture in line with the Federal Government Green Alternative Initiative which is designed to diversify and revamp the economy,’’ he said

Boroh said the training for the ex-agitators would commence soon and would be concluded before the end of the year.

Read More:

FG to train ex-agitators on agriculture

The Nigerian Agro-revolution; drive, goal and objective – Oyinkanola Mayowa Hafiz

It is no longer news that oil revenue has suffered an unprecedented drop globally. Economies largely dependent on oil proceeds have been greatly hit, leading to fluctuations in oil prices to between $35 – $45 per barrel. This has forced our leaders to have a rethink on alternative means of driving our economy from the norm of total oil revenue dependence to seeking out other sectors of the economy.


Although Agriculture has always been an efficient option, evident in pre-oil discovery with great potentials, it has yet to be fully harnessed due to several factors such as change of government, inconsistencies in policies, inadequate implementation of policy, lack of technocrat involvement, little or no laid out plan for the future and a top-bottom approach to policy and implementation.
The question is: Are we prepared, as a nation, for the proposed change in economy source or just faffing around as usual?


What’s the hope of common man in this proposed agricultural drive?


What are the plans to make agriculture a sustainable venture?


Recently, different Agricultural program launches erupted across the country from North, East, West to South.


State governments are getting busy trying to wake their agricultural heritage, from Kebbi state leading the revolution in crop production to Lagos state’s readiness to handle the processing, packaging, mass marketing, distribution and export of agricultural products or produce across the nation. Interest in other states is also encouraging as they plan to be actively involve in Agricultural production, processing, packaging, marketing and distribution.


Amidst all this, a crucial point lacking is the zeal and involvement of able, willing and eager youths in the aforementioned sector of agriculture. Its imperative for every state to look inward and choose agricultural specifics that can emancipate their glut of unemployed or underemployed youths.


Significant agricultural development can only be achieved by marrying the undying love of youths for technological advancement with local content development of agricultural practices. Nigerians are known to be creative individuals. All the government needs to do is provide an enabling environment and a level ground to fuse this creativity into significant development .


To achieve this, government should shun politicizing the projects and allow only the few interested and qualified lots manage or run the affairs else the interest will soon become a burden.


The media also has a role to play in making agriculture a worthy prospect for young lads in secondary schools and colleges across the country. The image of agriculture as a poverty ridden venture needs to be transformed urgently within the society, else the prospect of having any significant progress in Agricultural development will be unachievable. The media needs to focus on historic facts that shaped our country’s fortunes long before the discovery of oil; success stories of individuals involved in agriculture before and after oil discovery etc. these must be broadcasted as mainstream messages far and wide.


Agriculture is a venture that requires time to reap the benefits of its investment based on injected input from human capacity to available resources, capital layout and expertise involvement.


Oyinkanola Mayowa Hafiz

Director, QMFarms Limited 


FG To Create 758,500 Jobs For Youths Through Agriculture

The Federal Government says it will create jobs for over 758,500 youths across the country under the Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP) to boost agricultural productivity.


Karima Babangida, the National Programme Coordinator, said this on Tuesday in Katsina during the inauguration of Katsina State YEAP Steering Committee.


Represented by Suleiman Aliyu, Babangida said that the three-year programme was supported by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).


Babangida said that 740,000 jobs would be “market-oriented” for young agricultural producers, while the remaining 18,500 jobs were reserved for university graduates, ‘nagropreneurs’ across the nation.


Under the market-oriented, 20,000 youths will be selected from each of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).


500 graduates will also benefit from the programme in each state of the federation,” she said.


The coordinator revealed that 12 states were selected for the first phase of the programme, two from each of the six geo-political zones.

Babangida explained that the programme was aimed at providing employment to teeming youths through agricultural enterprises.


Rabe Isa, who spoke on behalf of FAO, urged the committee members to dedicate themselves toward achieving the set goal.


He said that Katsina was also selected for the study of grazing reserves and stock routes being conducted with the aim of addressing farmers/herdsmen clash.


In his remarks, the state deputy governor, Mannir Yakubu, said that the steering committee’s terms of reference would assist stakeholders to design and implement value chain development plans and promote young agro-entrepreneurs.


He said other terms of reference include the signing of contracts with service providers and beneficiaries, monitoring the development of agro-entrepreneurs and commodity chains, among others.


Yakubu said the state government would continue to accord agriculture a top priority so as to address unemployment, diversify the economy and guarantee food security.


The 32-member steering committee would be headed by the deputy governor, who is also the commissioner for agriculture.

Civil Servants Are Not Farmers – Onwubiko Emmanuel

It is strange to observe that some state governments are currently using their civil servants as guinea pigs for farming duties. Benue State governor, Mr. Samuel Ortom, called this unknown practice a ‘novelty’, which he said could combat the downturn of the nation’s economy.


He was reported to have told civil servants in the state to embrace farming to augment their meager salaries, which may not come at the end of each month. The governor declared every Friday of the week, a public holiday to enable state workers till the land for agricultural produce. The Governor thereafter proceeded on two-week annual vacation, as he said, to enable him tend crops in his farm.


The State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Odeh Ageh, who made the announcement, said the work- free day was approved by the the state executive council meeting chaired by Governor Ortom. Ageh explained that the idea would help workers to produce enough food to feed their families in the face of the current economic reality which has made the regular payment of salaries a major challenge.


According to him, the work-free day would commence from Friday, June 10 and would last till the end of July, 2016.


The Commissioner also announced that the governor would proceed on a two-week vacation as part of his annual leave to work on his farm while the Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu, would act in his absence.


It is safe to argue that in Benue State, the government opted for persuasion and has set out a timeline when this practice of conversion of civil servants to farmers would end. But Imo State governor took his version of the modern day slavery practice to a ridiculous heights.


Governor Okorocha, who is also of the All Progressives Congress, with the Benue State Governor decided to declare two days work-free days to enable Imo State workers go to farms, to use his words, “to produce food to assist the State’s economy.” The governor said the practice will be for one year in the first instance.


The Imo State governor also looked at the rule book adopted by the then old Rivers State’s governor, Chief Clifford Okilo, to term his new agricultural rule “Back to land for Agriculture” even as he stated through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo, that the policy of not working Thursdays and Fridays is meant to enable the state civil servants invest inagriculturalactivities.Butunlike his colleague, Mr. Okorocha did not lead by example by showing journalists his farm. But, he cancelled all annual leaves which are statutory entitlements of the state workers.

One is of the conviction that it is wrong for any state governor to use the parlous state of the economy as a reason to compel civil servants to start farming as part of their job specification. This pol- icy should be abrogated without further wasteoftime. Thepolicyisalsoabreach of the labour law since workers working for their states have valid employment letters specifying the duties expected of them. I am afraid that the conversion of workers to farmers is not part of these terms of contracts signed by them. Government cannot abridge, amend or alter the original terms of employment without proper, adequate and transparent agreement of all the parties to the employment contract. Let us consult the eighth edition of “Black’s Law Dictionary” edited by Bryan A. Garner to get some insights on the meaning of contract so as to situate it within the context of the illegality by the Imo and Benue state governors to convert their State Civil Servants to farm slaves.


“The term, contract, has been used to refer to three different things: (1) the series of operative acts by the par- ties resulting in new legal relations; (2) the physical document executed by the parties as the lasting evidence of their having performed the necessary opera- tive acts and also as an operative fact in itself; (3) the legal relations resulting from the operative acts, consisting of a right or rights in personam and their corresponding duties, accompanied by certain powers, privileges, and immunities. The sum of these legal relations is called ‘obligation.’


Apart from the fact that state governments are obliged to respect the employment contract it entered into with her workforce without unduly introducing some strange conditionality, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 (as amended) has also made copious provisions making it a legally binding obligation that government is not allowed to turn its workers into agricultural “guinea pigs”.


Section 17(3)(a)(b) and (c) provide as follows: “ all citizens without discrimination on any group whatsoever, have the opportunity for securing ade- quate means of livelihood as well as ad- equate opportunity to secure suitable employment.” “The State shall ensure that conditions of work are just, and humane, and that there are adequate facilities for leisure and for social, reli- gious and cultural life” and “the health, safety and welfare of all person in em- ployment are safeguarded and not en- dangered or abused”.


Globally, the most salient aspects of employment laws state that workers must enjoy basic rights at work which must necessarily include getting a writ- ten statement of the main terms and conditions of employment within two months of starting work. Other basic rights of a worker are: The right to an itemized pay slip. This applies from the day the employee starts work; The right to be paid at least the national minimum wage. How did Governors Okorocha and Orthom arrive at the illegality of converting their workforce to farmers? If I may ask, particularly the Imo State governor, have you set up farm settlement centres and obtained good yielding lands for such an initiative?


Also, Benue state governor should tell Nigerians if his administration has succeeded in getting President Buhari to stop the rampaging armed Fulani herdsmen from destroying farmlands?


Currently, Benue, like most other farming communities across Nigeria is battling Fulani herdsmen.

Thursdays, Fridays Are Now ‘Farming Days’, Imo State Government Declares.

The Imo state government has reduced the working days of some civil servants in the state. Workers are now to work for three days in a week, while they can spend the remaining two days on their farms.


This was as the government introduced a policy tagged: “Back to Land for Agriculture”, which is meant to enable the state workers engage and invest in agriculture for self-sustenance.


Governor of the State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, made the policy known when traditional rulers from the state, operating under the aegis of Royal fathers in Agriculture, paid him a courtesy call at the Government House Owerri on Monday.


He further explained that the State Executive Council has given approval to the new policy.


A statement by the state governor’s Chief Press secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, however assured that the new policy will not affect the salaries of workers.


The statement reads, “Against the backdrop of the “Back to Land for Agriculture” Programme, the governor directed that public servants in the state would now work from Mondays to Wednesdays, and use Thursdays and Fridays for agriculture (farming) while Saturdays can be used for ceremonies. And the directive takes effect from Monday August 1, 2016.


“However, the governor exempted public servants on essential duties like the teachers, nurses, doctors and people involved in Internally Generated Revenue drive. Political appointees are also exempted from the three-days working periods.


“We shall try this programme for the period of one year, starting from 1st of August 2016 and hopefully this will help. Let me make this emphasis before it is misconstrued or misrepresented, that this does not in any way affect the salaries of the workers.


“Workers will get their full salaries as been the practice. So the policy does not mean that there will be a cut in salary rather let us now find a way for our workers to supplement their salaries”.


He continued, “For this reason the issue of annual leave and casual leave is hereby cancelled. Resumption time for work has changed from 8am to 7.30am in the morning and ends by 4pm. Any worker that is not found on his or her seat between7.30am and 4pm on the days concerned will be summarily dismissed.


“Everybody must go back to agriculture. Every political appointee must own a farm. The youths would also be encouraged to take to agriculture. Schools including Universities, Polytechnics and Secondary schools in the state must own farms. The Community Government Council (CGC) must be strengthened for the sake of this agricultural programme.


“Two billion naira (N2b) has been set aside at the micro-finance bank for the purpose of this Back To Land For Agriculture policy so that those willing can access it. And time is gone again when politicians and some Imolites will come to government in the pretence of farming and collect loans and use it to buy cars and marry new wives.


“Again, the June and July Salaries would be paid this week. We are making sure that our workers are comfortable and our pensioners are happy because this is one area the whole nation is having a serious challenge.


“Our problem is not being unable to pay salaries but paying over-bloated salaries. We are also making effort to pay our pensioners once the harmonization is over.


“I also want to announce that government has appealed to families and those who organize burials on Mondays to Wednesdays to please change and have their burials on Saturdays so that we can concentrate on the government’s work and on the agricultural programme.


“Everything that has to do with agriculture no matter what shape it comes, government will support it. So many countries are going through economic crisis because of the fall in oil.


“Our nation is also going through very difficult moment. We have taken responsibility as leaders and we are not blaming anyone. Wise nations and leaders save for the rainy days.


“There were periods the oil price was in our favour. But those in charge then blew the money. They made no savings. Today the oil price globally has crashed and here we are. And we must fall back to agriculture as the panacea.”

Sokoto Government Arrests Racketeers Reselling Free Fertilisers.

Sokoto State Government says it is currently investigating some fertiliser racketeers, who were reportedly arrested in Sabon-Birni Local Government area of the State.


The state Commissioner of Agriculture, Alhaji Umaru Nagwari, made the disclosure at news briefing organised by the Ministry of Information in collaboration with the State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ). He said that those arrested were involved in the fertiliser fraud, as they were buying and reselling the 9,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser bought by the state government at over N 1.2 billion.


”The commodity was distributed to the 23 Local Governments of the state based on their respective farmers’ population. ”The state government also provided 70 per cent subsidy on each bag of the commodity including NPK, Urea and SSP.


”Unfortunately, while efforts were being made to ensure that the commodity gets to the real farmers, these bad eggs were busy buying it off, with a view to resell it to the farmers at exorbitant prices.” he said.


Nagwari also said that the state government was currently conducting a state-wide data-based census of farmers. This, according to him, was aimed at getting a central database of farmers, to ensure that only genuine farmers henceforth get farm inputs, loans and implements. (NAN)

FG Earmarks N600m To Boost Irrigation, Farming In Katsina

The Federal Government has earmarked about N600 million in 2016 budget to boost water supply and irrigation farming at Zobe Dam in Katsina State.

Kurfi, a member of House of Representatives from Dutsin-ma/Kurfi Federal Consistency, stated this during an interview with newsmen to mark the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) one year in office in Katsina.

Kurfi said contract for the supply of water from the Zobe Dam to communities of Dutsin – ma and Kurfi would soon be awarded.

The lawmaker said about N300 million out of the amount had been set aside for irrigation at the dam to boost food production.

Kurfi said that the dam would be used for irrigation farming to generate income for unemployed youth from his constituency.

He said the Federal Government would also established two power sub-stations in Dutsin-ma and Kurfi Local Government Areas to boost electricity supply to the two areas.

Kurfi promised to continue to attract Federal Projects to his constituency to improve the living standard of the people.

The lawmaker disclosed that he was working to launch poverty alleviation programme as part of the move to assist youth from the two councils to become self employed.

“W have planned to distribute empowerment items and cash to our youth from Dutsin – ma and Kurfi Council Areas in an effort to minimise unemployment problem” he said.

Kurfi further said his consistency office had introduced scholarship programme to encourage youth to further their studies, especially in universities and other tertiary institutions. (NAN)

FG To Launch N59.7bn Youth-In-Agriculture Scheme In September

Dr Nteranya Sanginga, Director-General, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), on Sunday said the Federal Government would launch N59.7 billion Youth-In-Agriculture Scheme in September.


Sanginga, who disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan, said the scheme would be sponsored by the federal government and African Development Bank (AFDB).


The director-general said IITA would train those enrolled in the scheme, adding that beneficiaries would be trained on how to make agriculture a business with good networking.


“The programme tagged “Enable Youth Empowerment Agribusiness programme, will engage youths in agribusiness for 18 months to enable them learn how to make agric business plan.

“Each will be given between 25,000 US Dollars and 300,000 US Dollars as loan to start a business.

“The programme started by IITA in 2012, was taken over by the federal government and AFDB to create employment in agric sector.

“To support this objective, the programme will be extended to 36 states and Abuja in September.

“After the programme, we expect the youths to become chief executive officers of factories, companies and creators of jobs rather than job seekers,” he said.


Sanginga urged the youths to develop positive mindset in agriculture and take good advantage of the programme.


“They should be serious with the training because at the end of it only those who did well will be rewarded,” he said.



FG Will Encourage Self-Sufficiency In Food Production With Relevant Policies – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration will implement policies that will revive Nigeria’s agricultural sector and reposition it as the mainstay of the national economy.


A statement by Mr Femi Adesina, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, said Buhari spoke when he granted audience to Bulgaria’s new Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Vesselin Blagoer Delcher.


He said his administration would evolve and implement policies that would help Nigeria become self-sufficient in food production because continued importation of food could expose the country to more external shocks.


According to the president, the unbridled importation of food also contributes to the depletion of the country’s foreign reserves and deprives citizens of job opportunities.


‘‘We must produce what we eat. We don’t have unlimited resources to continue the importation of food that can be produced locally.


“Fortunately, some Nigerians have shown foresight by building factories that process agricultural products within the country.

‘‘They have created a value chain that boosts employment, protects foreign reserves and safeguards the economy from external shocks.

“We will do all that we can to encourage others to join in the efforts to achieve national self-sufficiency in food production’’, he said.


The President said administration would also help and encourage Nigerian farmers to adopt modern technology-driven methods that guarantee higher production and returns on investment.


Buhari also received Mr Paul Lehmann, the new High Commissioner of Australia, Hajiya Afsatu Olayinka Ebiso-Kabba, the new High Commissioner of Sierra-Leone and Thordur Aegir Oskarsson the new Ambassador of Iceland.


The president told the envoys that Nigeria would welcome the further strengthening of relations with their countries, especially in the areas of agriculture, solid minerals and trade.


He wished the envoys, who were at the Presidential Villa to present their letters of credence to him, very successful tenures in Nigeria.



25 Danish Agric Companies Ready To Invest In Nigeria

The Danish Agriculture and Food Council’s Senior Advisor, Ms Susanne Teilmann, on Monday announced the readiness of 25 Danish companies to invest in the development of Nigeria’s agricultural sector.
Teilmann told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the companies had indicated interest in taking advantage of the Nigeria’s huge agricultural potential and share their farming experiences with Nigerian farmers.

My Council is in Nigeria to make presentations to the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Agriculture on what we have learnt on how Nigeria’s agriculture sector can become better.
My Council is very ready to share our agricultural development experience with Nigerians. We are ready to share all our experiences with Nigeria.

Already, about 25 Danish agricultural development companies have indicated their interest in coming to Nigeria to do business, as well as share their experiences with Nigerians.

Nigeria is where things can happen and this is where we want to be,’’ she said.

Teilmann, however, said that the companies were ready to partner with “the right” partners in Nigeria in developing and harnessing Nigeria’s agriculture potential.
The Council’s Advisor expressed optimism that Nigeria’s agriculture sector, if well-developed, had the possibility of making Nigeria a “food hub” in West Africa.
Teilmann urged Nigerian governments to urgently begin to encourage professionalism in the development of her agriculture.
The Advisor also enjoined the Nigerian governments to encourage and create the right environment for the involvement of young Nigerians in professional farming.

“Nigeria has the great potential of being the huge food hub for the whole of the West African region if her agricultural potential are adequately harnessed.
“We need to encourage professionalism in agriculture. We need to have schools for the training of young professional Nigerians in different areas of farming processes,’’ she added.

The Danish Agriculture & Food Council represents the agricultural and food industry in Denmark.



FG To Create Grazing Reserves To Checkmate Fulani Herdsmen – Ogbeh

The Federal Government will soon create grazing zones across the country with a view to checkmating herdsmen/farmers clashes.


The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, stated this in Abuja on Tuesday during a news conference on the frequent clashes between herdsmen and farmers.


“Federal Government would create grazing areas in the country where the herdsmen would take care of their cattle.

“We will grow special grasses in the South to feed the cattle in the North, just as it is being practiced successfully in some parts of the world.’’


He said Nigeria was the only country in Africa in which cattle roamed about and trekked long distances to feed.


He said that cows in Nigeria produced the least milk in the world despite having good breed.


“They produce about one litre of milk per day per female cow, this is not good enough.

“We are reducing their productivity level by making cattle to trek from Maiduguri to Lagos because too much of exercise affects their productivity.

“We have good species of cows but we still spend N1.3 million to import milk to the country on a daily basis.

“You are all aware of what is currently happening in my state, Benue.

“We need to map out grazing areas fast as a temporary solution to the frequent conflicts until cattle owners see the need to adopt other means of rearing their cattle’’, he said.


The minister also stressed the need for all year round farming in order to boost the sector and improve the country’s yield.


“We need to develop more dams and canals across the country so that agriculture becomes an all year round activity and not confined to the rainy season alone.

“Irrigation gives better yields because you can control the water supply level. We have a lot of dams across the country but are not put into proper use.

“If we continue with the current rate of one crop per year with very low mechanisation, Nigerians risk not attaining self-sufficiency in food production soon.

“We are also collaborating with the states to specialise in two crops they have comparative advantage in to improve productivity’’, he said.


Ogbeh added that he would soon come out with a soil map of the country to enable farmers to know the type of fertiliser suitable for his/her farm and know how to apply same for good yield.


He stated that a lot of activities were ongoing to make agriculture attractive to youths and for them to see it as a business.


He said there were ongoing youth programmes at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and urged those interested in agriculture to make use of the opportunity.


“We are working tirelessly to return Nigeria to where she was in the 60`s and 70`s by increasing extension services in every local government across the country.’’


The minister noted that the country had less than 300 tractors serving all the farmers while countries like Europe and USA were completely mechanised.

He said from the statistics, there were 800 million hectares of farm land in the world with 400 million of the farm lands from Africa.

He, however, stated that the Federal Government was working hard to reposition the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria and 19 research institutes across the country to return to their core mandate.



Nigeria, Denmark To Strengthen Ties In Maritime, Agriculture, Security

Nigeria and Denmark on Tuesday, pledged to broaden their diplomatic relations in the maritime and agriculture sectors as well as in fighting terrorism and rehabilitation of displaced persons in the North East.

The pledge was made when the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Mr Kristian Jensen, led a Danish delegation including the Danish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Torbeb Gettermann, on a courtesy visit to Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.

At the event, Osinbajo commended the Danish government for opening an Embassy in Abuja, and a Consulate in Lagos, saying that they were marks of commitment of Denmark to strengthen relationship with Nigeria.

He said the Federal Government was pursuing a strong diversification policy with focus on agriculture, solid minerals and improving the maritime sector.

The Vice President explained that the entire value chain of agriculture was important to the administration in other to use the sector to create more wealth and jobs for the youth.

According to him, the government was paying attention to rice and poultry farming as well as food storage and food processing.

Osinbajo, also said that the administration was keen on improving power supply, adding that the energy mix in the country would be better in two years’ time.

He told the visitors that government had routed Boko Haram and was fighting corruption to create secure and better business atmosphere for investors.

He mentioned the efforts being made to rehabilitate those displaced by insurgency in the North East, adding that the administration was at the point of working with international partners on the needs assessment in the region.

He remarked that no fewer than two million persons were displaced by Boko Haram which was a huge crisis that stretched the facilities in the region.

He, however, explained that in trying to resettle the displaced persons, government was working hard to make the area safe by ridding it of land mines.

“We are working hard to see how we can grapple with the problems in collaboration with some NGOs.

“We hope that in the next few weeks, we will have a clearer picture of how to re-settle the victims, but we are aware that there are thousands of orphans in the area.

The Vice President used the occasion to allay the fears of the international community on a breakup of the nation due to the activities of youths called Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

He recalled the attempt to secede by the Biafra in 1967 which led to a three year old civil war, but that following the declaration of the federal government then of “no victor, no vanquished’’, the warring groups had since been reintegrated.

He explained that what had arisen of recent was that young ones were disenchanted because of lack of jobs affecting 50 per cent of the youth population.

He however said that the agitation by IPOB was not a significant threat to the sovereignty of the nation as the entire Igbo population, like the Yoruba, had seen themselves as major partners in nationhood.

“We are better together and becoming a smaller country is not the mainstream thinking in any of the regions of the country.
Jensen earlier told the Vice President that his country was glad about the effort of the federal government to fight Boko Haram and terrorism, pledging to continue to partner with Nigeria in the fight.

He also said that there was the need for both countries to work together to return normal lives to the displaced persons in the North East.

“We commend your effort in the fight against Boko Haram and corruption.

“We are advanced in renewable energy which in addition to strengthening the SMEs, we hope we can assist the economy of this country to grow,’ he said.

The minister said his country had a diversified energy structure with about 112 per cent of electricity provided by wind power. He said his country would assist Nigeria improve power through solar and bio technology, as well as integration of the energy mix. He assured that Denmark would strengthen the maritime industry in the country where its ships were involved in carrying over 40 per cent of Nigeria’s shipments.

Jensen expressed concerns about the agitation by IPOB and said there was the need to nip the agitation in the bud.



50,000 Farmers In Zamfara To Benefit From CBN Agric Loan – Commissioner

Over 50,000 farmers in Zamfara state are expected to benefit from the Anchor Borrower’s loan programme introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).



Hajiya Fatima Shinkafi, the Commissioner of Commerce and Industry, made the disclosure on Friday in Gusau in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).



She said that the Anchor borrower’s programme was introduced by the federal government through the CBN in collaboration with state governments to assist Nigerians farmers boost food production.



“The programme was launched by Mr President in Kebbi state in November last year. It is aimed at assisting farmers engaged in the production of rice, cotton, wheat, tomatoes palm oil and fish farming.

The farmers will be given loan to purchase agricultural inputs such as improved seeds, fertilizers, pumping machines among others to improve productivity,’’ she said.



Shinkafi said that the state government had commenced the training of 1,000 agricultural extension workers who would train the farmers on how to judiciously utilise the loan.



According to the Commissioner, the training is in line with the efforts of the government to ensure effective implementation of the programme in the state.



She called on farmers, extension workers and other stakeholders to ensure the success of the programme in the state.




Farmer Pledges To Train 100 NYSC Members

An expert on agriculture, Mr Raji Riliwan, on Thursday pledged to train 100 members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Batch `A’ in agricultural production to promote economic empowerment.


Riliwan, who is the Manager of DEKORAJ Farms Ltd, Iju-Isaga, made the pledge in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.


The expert, who disclosed that the training would begin in the first quarter of 2016, also said:


“We intend to empower corps members because they will be able to meet the requirement for producing agricultural goods since they are freshly out of school.


In addition, keeping fresh graduates occupied will be a good way to reduce and curb the growing menace of vices in the society.’’


Riliwan said empowering youths would also help generate income and increase the Gross Domestic Product of the country.


According to him, youths will be trained in the production of poultry and the welded wire mesh cages for housing live birds.


“The cages are fabricated strictly in accordance with international quality standards using superior-grade raw materials.


Our cages are well designed, allowing proper ventilation, corrosion resistance, excellent foot rest and longer functional life,” the manager said.



He said that the youths, after the training, would be able to produce poultry equipment and become self reliant while contributing to the GDP of the country.




Nigeria Seeks British Support To Boost Agric Goods Export

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, on Friday called for British government’s support to Nigeria’s quest to boost the export of its agricultural commodities.


This is contained in a statement issued by the Director of Information of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Alhaji Salisu Dambatta, on Friday in Abuja.


The statement said the minister made the call when he received the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Paul Arkwright, in his office.


Usani said that Nigeria was now focusing on diversifying its economy by boosting the production of agricultural commodities for export to the world market.


He, therefore, solicited for access to British agricultural expertise in order to boost the sector.


The minister praised British government’s assistance to Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram terrorists.


He also called for more British contribution in strengthening the oil industry regulatory agencies in order to ensure high safety and environmental protection standard.


Earlier, Arkwiright said that he was at the ministry to discuss areas of collaboration for the development of the Niger Delta region.


He said that Britain and Nigeria had a strong partnership that would continue to be sustained in the best interests of both countries.




Buhari Recommends Pres. Jonathan’s Minister For AFDB Appointment, Akinwunmi Adesina Get’s President-Elect On His Side

General Muhammadu Buhari, the president-elect of Nigeria, has requested the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to support the candidacy of Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina as the next president of the African Development Bank (ADB).

General Buhari has communicated his backing of Dr. Adesina’s candidacy to the Ghanaian President, John Dramani Mahama, who is the current chairperson of the ECOWAS.

In a statement released in Abuja on Tuesday, April 21, General Buhari said that his support of Dr. Adesina’s candidacy was not just because he was Nigerian.

“Dr. Adesina has a proven track record in a career that predates his position as Nigeria’s Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development,” General Buhari said.

He added that Dr. Adesina had years of experience of working in Francophone and Anglophone countries, and a passion to help eradicate poverty in Africa by reducing unemployment and inequality among African youth.

Dr. Adesina is also an agricultural development expert with 24 years of experience in developing and managing successful agricultural Programmes across Africa.

Until his appointment as the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in 2011, he was the Vice President, Policy and Partnerships Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). Additionally, he has held senior leadership positions in a number of agricultural institutions in the world.

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