Foundation tasks Nigeria Federal Government, others on cocoa value chain to replace oil

Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) has urged government at all levels and other development partners to utilize the economic potentials available in cocoa production to cushion the effect of global oil doom.

PIND Executive Director, Dr. Dara Akala, who said this yesterday at the cocoa value-chain study validation workshop in Akure, hinged the assurance on a recent analysis carried out on cocoa value chain in the country.

Akala noted that it is the tradition of the organisation in the Niger Delta region to gather stakeholders to validate the interesting findings from researches conducted into any area of focus.

According to him, PIND initiated the cocoa value chain study to diagnose the cocoa sector with a view to understanding the structure of the industry in the Niger Delta.

The executive director said it is imperative for key stakeholders to take advantage of the increased market opportunities in the sector, identifying key value chains and conduct cocoa stakeholders’ mapping.

The PIND Market Development Projects Manager, James Elekwachi, who led the value chain study, said: ‘’Cocoa sector has the growth potential and the opportunity to increase income and employment for millions of people, especially the unskilled and semi-skilled in the region.”

Meanwhile, Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, represented by his Senior Special Assistant on Agriculture and Agric Business, Pastor Akin Olotu, stated that the state government had embarked on several revolutionary measures to optimally utilise the cocoa potentials in the state for massive development.

Another group, under the auspices of Synergos Innovation Development Nigeria and Farmcrowdy and Civic Innovation Hub, has disclosed plan of integrating agriculture to technology to drive small farm holders and guarantee food security nationwide.

Synergos Innovation Development Nigeria was founded by the Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation (BMGF) with head office in the New York, focused on bridging the gap between technology and small farm holders across the country while Farmcrowdy is a model that connects investors with small farm holders.

Main focus;

• Says 300,000 tonnes increase can mitigate oil doom
• ‘Integrating agriculture into technology will guarantee food security’

Mauritania, Sudan sign new Agriculture conventions

The joint technical and agricultural commission between Mauritania and Sudan has signed a number of conventions, as part of revitalizing farming cooperation agreement reached in 2007  .They also covered the implementation of the terms of the executive program signed by the two countries in May 2018,

The new agreements concern a work plan covering the period 2018-2020.

In particular, they provide for Khartoum to welcome a first group of Mauritanian experts in market gardening and fruit tree cultivation in November and a second in green cattle feed in December of the same year.

A third group of Mauritanian experts in water retention and a fourth in land management and irrigation are expected in Sudan in April 2019.

As for the Mauritanian side, it will welcome Sudan’s experts in date-palm production and pest control in July and others in wheat cultivation in December 2019, to support the Sudanese technical staff.

A third group of Sudanese experts in modern irrigation techniques and standardization will also come to Mauritania in January 2019, while a fourth in agricultural investment and partnerships through pilot farm management will stay there in February of the same year.

The conventions also cover the areas of development and coordination with international and regional institutions.

They were signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Mauritanian Ministry of Agriculture, Ahmedou Ould Bouh, and his Sudanese counterpart, Bedreddine Cheikh Mohamed El-Hassen.

Central Bank of Nigeria, [cbn] Intervention favours Agriculture, Aviation, Petroleum, Others with $293m

The nation’s currency strengthened on Friday following the intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the Retail Secondary Market (SMIS) of the inter-bank Foreign Exchange Market with the sum of $293 million.

The intervention was in favour of interests in the agricultural, airlines, petroleum products, raw materials and machinery sectors.

Naira on Friday gained N0.37k over the U.S dollar as it was quoted at N360.85k to the dollar compared to N361.22k traded the previous day at the investors and exporters forex window, data from FMDQ revealed.

The local currency was stable at the CBN’s official window, trading at the rate of N305.85k per dollar on Friday. However, naira lost N1.00k at the Bureau De Change (BDC) segment, where it closed at N364 per dollar as against N363/$, data from Naijabdc revealed.

At the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Fixing (NAFEX), naira also strengthened marginally by 0.01 percent as it closed at N361.26k on Friday from N361.30k on Thursday.

A statement from Isaac Okorafor, the Bank’s Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, indicated that the objective of the CBN intervention in the foreign exchange market remained to ensure liquidity in the foreign exchange market and enhance production activities.

He explained that the CBN would continue to ensure liquidity in the interbank sector of the market as well as sustain its interventions in order to drive economic growth and guarantee market stability.

At the money market on Friday, the 30-Day Nigeria Inter-Bank Offered Rate (NIBOR) decreased to 13.62 percent, whilst 90-Day and 180-Day increased to 15.31 percent and 16.99 percent respectively, according to a report by FSDH Research, a subsidiary of FSDH Merchant Bank limited.

Nigerian Treasury Bills (NTBs) rates dropped further by an average of 15 basis points as there was continued demand for bills.

The bearish sentiment in the bond market persisted with particular sell-off on the March 2027 and April 2037 FGN Bonds. Overall, bond prices dropped by an average of 35 kobo from the day’s opening level.

Nigeria Speaker Hon. Yakubu Dogara tasks Lawmakers on new agriculture bills,

Just recently, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, called for the enactment of new legislation that can foster, guide and revolutionize agricultural activities in the country.

Overview of Nigerian agriculture sector

Indeed, since the nation’s independence in 1960, agriculture had been the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy, providing the largest chunk of foreign exchange inflow into the country. Moreover, it contributed about 63 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to official statistics from the National Bureau of Statistic (NBS).

The incomes as at then were derived from the export of major cash crops such as rubber, cocoa, palm oil, cashew nuts, groundnut and cotton, among others. Notwithstanding the low prices that agricultural products suffered at that time, the sector remained resolute by continually sustaining the country’s economy. Indeed, the sector was the largest employer of labor in the country then.

However, on assuming office as the Head of State in 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari pledged to introduce diversification program where agriculture, solid minerals and manufacturing sectors were identified to stabilize the moribund economy.

Particularly, the government floated the various economic policies including the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), in order to stem the steady decline in the country’s economic fortunes.

For agriculture, the present administration launched the Green Alternative: Agriculture Promotion Policy (2016-2020) as a road map towards the revival of country’s agricultural sector.

According to the government, it is a comprehensive plan and a well thought-out strategy -to meaningfully and systematically address the myriad of challenges militating against the growth of the agricultural sector, with a view to providing innovative solutions for reviving and re-positioning the sector for accelerated national development.

However, the agriculture policy of the government became the toast of some eminent industrialists, commercial farmers, foreign/ local investors and agro-allied industries as they ventured into different aspects of farming in order to provide food sufficiency and security for Nigerian populace.

Nigerian agricultural policy

Indeed, Nigeria has a robust agricultural policy set out in the Nigerian Agricultural Policy 2000, which provides the framework for the implementation of programs and guidelines for agricultural development. The overreaching objectives of the Policy are:

The achievement of self-sufficiency in basic food supply and attainment of food security, increased production of agricultural raw materials for industries, eradication of poverty, development of the rural economy, and protection of environment.

This is expected to be achieved through the: Creation of a conducive macro-environment to stimulate private sector investment in agriculture, rationalization of the roles of the three tiers of government in their promotional and supportive activities to stimulate growth, articulation and implementation of integrated rural development as a priority, National program to raise the quality of life for rural people, increased agricultural production through increased budgetary allocation and promotion of the necessary developmental, supportive and service oriented activities, increasing fiscal incentives and promotion of increased use of agricultural machinery and inputs through a favorable tariff regime.

The policy is successfully implemented in areas of food crops such as maize, beans, sorghum, yam, millet, cassava, pineapple, and oranges.

However, the policy is less successful and greater investment will be required in areas of cash crops such as oil palm, cocoa, rubber, groundnut, cotton, cashew and sugar cane, and food crops such as potato, rice, wheat and fruit crops. House of Reps’ new agricultural laws However, having realized that the country had lots of agricultural laws that are no longer relevant and obsolete, the House of Reps called for the enactment of new laws that will take the agricultural sector to new highs while turning it into a major foreign exchange earner for the country in the nearest future.

The Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara while speaking at a two-day public hearing organised by the House Committee on Agricultural Colleges and Institutions in Abuja, recently affirmed that it was time for legislating new agricultural laws for the country.

He said that there was need to ensure bills processed by the legislature were cost-sensitive and did not increase the financial burden of the nation through the multiplication of agencies.

The proliferation of agencies, according to him, is not conducive to the economic well-being of the nation as a new agency “comes with its complement of bureaucracy.”

Instead, he advocated for the amendment of the functions and mandate of existing agencies, where possible. Dogara added: “Furthermore, in cases where there is need to reinvigorate a particular sector and lay emphasis, it may become necessary to carve out an agency from an existing one.”

He reiterated that the agricultural sector requires up-to-date legislation for continuous growth and development. He said, “It is very gratifying to note that giant strides are being made in the sector.

“Up-to-date legislation is required to aid the drive to modernize agricultural practices, drive economic diversification, achieve food self-sufficiency, and ultimately turn agriculture into a major foreign exchange earner in the nearest future.”

New agric bills

The bills being considered by the committee include a Bill for an Act to Regulate the Profession of Agriculture and to make provision for the Establishment, Functions and Administration of Nigerian Institute of Agriculturists, and for Other Related Matters. (HB.838). Also under consideration, is a Bill for the Act to Repeal the Veterinary Surgeons Act. Cap. V3, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and for Other Related Matters (HB. 836). In his remarks, the Speaker urged the committee to ensure the bills were in accordance with legal, regulatory and economic goals set out for the agricultural sector through appropriate scrutiny.

Last line

Agricultural experts, under the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), are however, pessimism about the lawmakers’ stance to promulgate new agricultural laws given the lifespan of the current administration, saying the bills could be waste of national resources.

Ghana Speaker summons Agriculture Minister over fake cocoa insecticide.

The Speaker of Ghana’s National Parliamentary, Mike Oquaye has directed the Food and Agriculture Minister to appear before the house on June 5 to present a report on a fake cocoa insecticide causing havoc in cocoa growing areas.

The directive followed a question from Juaboso MP, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh on what the Ministry is doing about the unapproved insecticide on the market.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Kennedy Osei Nyarko told the house, an investigation had already been constituted.

Giving his ruling on the matter, the Speaker called on the ministry to issue an immediate disclaimer on the said insecticide, Rockstar.

“Since the report will be ready by the end of May, the first Tuesday in June, he [Minister] should be ready to appear before this House and apprise us of the situation. The first Tuesday of June, the house will like to know what the report says. ”

Minority angry over Minister’s absence
On Thursday, the Minority in Parliament demanded that the Speaker forces the Agriculture Minister to the House to answer questions on the issue after he failed to show up.

The leadership of the Minority rejected an explanation for Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto’s absence, describing it as disrespectful to the House.

The Minister’s letter communicating his absence from the House was only made known when the Speaker directed the question to be asked.

The Lagos State Government spends over N1billion on rice subsidy.

The Lagos State Government says it has subsidised its local rice; LAKE Rice to the tune of over one billion naira from December 2016 till date.

It said this was part of efforts aimed at sustaining food sufficiency and food security in the State.

The Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Oluwatoyin Suarau, while giving the scorecard of the Ministry of Agriculture in the last one year noted that LAKE Rice which was being sold at a highly subsidised rate of N12, 000 per bag of 50kg, has helped crashed the skyrocketing price of rice in Nigeria.

According to him

“The State Government has subsidized LAKE Rice under this review period with One Billion, Forty Nine Million, One hundred and Forty Thousand, Three Hundred and Ninety Five Naira (N1, 049, 140, 395.00) This is targeted towards ensuring food sustainability and food security in the state and as an end result, making Lake rice a  national brand”.

The Commissioner explained that the subsidy d cost of transportation, bagging and difference in cost price of the rice from other brands.

Partnership
The Commissioner while restating the commitment of the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode led administration to boost the production of rice said that the State government has completed an agreement to acquire and establish a 32 tonnes per hour rice mill with AG (“Bühler”), a leading rice-mill producer in the world.

He said that the establishment of the rice mill was targeted at enhancing food security and creating employment in the State.

 “It is estimated that the partnership would facilitate the creation of  274,000 jobs across the agriculture value chain, and will also bring about the cultivation of 32,000 hectares of farm land to produce rice paddy, equating to an estimated 130million Kg of processed rice per year which is an equivalent of 2.6milion 50kg bags of rice,” he explained.

The Commissioner noted that the establishment of the state-of-the-art rice mill would serve as a platform for Lagos to partner with other South-West States aside the existing collaboration with Kebbi State.

He noted that the move was in consonance with the region’s resolve towards achieving economic integration, ensure that adequate rice was supplied to the 32 metric tonnes per hour rice mill and make provision for empowerment programmes for farmers across all the value chains of Agriculture.

Suarau who stated that the present administration has since inception embarked on agriculture policies and programmes aimed at enhancing food security in the State noted that the government has made deliberate efforts to enhance agriculture with the introduction of programmes in Vegetable farming, poultry, cassava farming and various forms of agro- processing programmes to the youths.

He opined that the commitment of the State government towards the attainment of food security depends largely on cooperation of every resident of the State.

The commissioner stressed that food security and hygienic environment occupies the front burner of the present administration’s plans to facilitate job and wealth creation as well as reduce poverty in the state.

Empowerment
Mrs Suarau maintained that a total of 1,500 farmers and marketers across the Five administrative divisions of the State has ben empowered and that  the Agric Youth Empowerment Scheme has trained over 600 youths in various agricultural enterprises such as Poultry, Fishery and Crop production.

He also stated that the State government has provided 12 units of coconut processing equipment for coconut processors in the State and this include Stainless two ton per hour coconut greater, 7.5 H.P Electric motor, Industrial burners, Aluminium bowls and spoon among other equipment.

He however assured the government’s commitment  to continue to ensure food security and demonstrate its all-inclusive system of governance as a means to deliver the dividend of democracy.

He said that a total of 150 marketers and other ancillary service providers have been empowered through the sales of LAKE Rice.

Source: VON

The Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF)/IFAD call for rural youth groups in agriculture and agribusiness related enterprises

Application Deadline: June 6th 2018

The Eastern Africa Farmers Federation in partnership with IFAD is calling on rural youth groups in agriculture and agribusiness related enterprises to apply for support to help them access
  • Technical support to develop enterprise ready investment proposals,
  • Agri-business incubation services and mentorship
  • Potential funders/ investors and other partnership opportunities.
The intention of this support is to build existing businesses/start ups run by youth with a view of creating employment.
Application
  • The support is intended to reach at least 10,000 youthful farmers in groups/individuals aged 35 years and below in Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda.
  • If the applicants are youth groups, the group dynamics should have at least 70% youth as members.
  • The project will last at least 3 years with the first round of support expected to culminate in possible business pitching to potential investors.
1st pitching in 2018, 2nd pitching 2019 and 3rd pitching in 2020.
The next two rounds of support will focus on scaling up capacity building with practical trainings and linkages to potential funding support. We shall also form a national and a regional knowledge sharing platforms through which information, support and opportunities will be shared. The support will seek partnerships with re-known business schools, business incubators, experts and mentors who will assist in developing a tailor made approach to capacity building.
Submission:
Submission of innovative ideas in any of the following areas of Agribusiness:
The support cuts across all sectors of agriculture–crops, livestock, agroforestry,apiary etc. see below more areas in agricultural investments
a) ICT in agriculture and agribusiness sector
b) Appropriate technology and innovations ready for scale up/ commercialization/ investments e.g. irrigation, storage, cultivation
c) Agricultural Production, Post Harvesting and value addition/ processing
d) Agriculture finance and services
e) Aggregation, supply chain management and distribution.
f) Agriculture inputs (seeds, fertilizer, pesticides etc.)
g) Business development service providers (BDS)
h) Cottage industry
i) Any other relevant areas
Application format
The proposal should have the following
  • Name/ title of the project/ enterprise
  • Contact persons details
  • Introduction
  • Goal, objectives;problem statement and justification
  • Business plan– (logic of work, work already done–outputs/ results achieved)
  • Structure of governance and management (state position and qualifications) if in group
  • Project revenues; contracts in place; lessons; investment or financing structure, risks and mitigations and expected project impact
  • Cash flow– with break even points, return on investment
  • Attach the business registration certificate and excel list of members (names, age, sex, ID number) signed by the group chair, treasurer and secretary).
For unregistered groups EAFF will assist them with the registration process with the social services.
Important dates
  • This call shall be open for 3 weeks from 16th May 2018 to 6th June 2018 Please note: Eligible applicants should be from Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda.
  • Send applications to
    To EAFF secretariat Youth entrepreneurship and employment program
    P.O. Box 13747-00800 Nairobi
    Email: youthproposals@eaffu.org

Download Call for Application

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the EAFF)/IFAD call for rural youth groups in agriculture and agribusiness related enterprises 

President Buhari urges youths to embrace Farming, Agriculture Is Our Future

A statement released by Garba Shehu, the president’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, after the meeting of President Muhammadu Buhari with the United States’ President, Donald Trump at Blair House, Washington DC has reiterated government’s call on youths, both educated and the uneducated to embrace agriculture.

The President who made a call out to the Nigerian youths advised them to embrace agriculture, a very important sector of the economy and also seen as the future. He also pleaded with them to earn respect for themselves as they engage in farming.

He stated that the government has to aid youths in planing their future, pleading with them to grab the easily accessible opportunities in agriculture because “agriculture is the future.”

Report has it that the president had meetings with the Chief Executive Officers of six American agricultural companies and their Nigerian counterparts including Aliko Dangote and John Coumantaros.

While taking on the factors of climate change and a blossom youth population, the president promised the youths of the promotion of skill development, innovation and entrepreneurship.

He said, “We realized, rather belatedly that we ought to have been investing in agriculture. We are now aiming at food security because of our large population.

“Our youths, the ones who have gone to school and even those that have not, should go to the farm, to earn respect for themselves.

“Agriculture is providing jobs for millions of our citizens and we are doing well towards the attainment of food security and jobs.

“The media may not appreciate the work we are doing but we will shock them by the success we are recording.”

Buhari welcomed several investment proposals being put in place by the Americans and their Nigerian counterparts.

Nigeria’s agriculture sector can generate $40bn yearly – AFAN

The Federal Government’s quest to grow the country’s agriculture sector through exportation of agriculture products would earn Nigeria about $40 billion per annum, the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) has revealed. chairman of AFAN Lagos chapter, Otunba Femi Oke, in a chat with New Telegraph, stated that the country’s potential for agricultural exports would attract $40 billion into the Nigerian economy if well harnessed.

He maintained that agriculture has what it takes to save the fast-dwindling Nigerian economy, adding that the non-oil export market was key to national development. Oke explained the need to boost production and add value to Nigeria’s agricultural exports.

Speaking further, Oke noted that activities in the agricultural sector had the potential to reduce hunger; create jobs and wealth; and enhance food security and economic development. He said: “If we take agriculture seriously and deliberately build our capacity in production, processing and marketing of agricultural products, we can generate and earn $50billion annually as revenue.”

He canvassed for greater focus on value addition to farm produce, as opposed to exporting them in their raw state noting that, “exporters can earn more by adding value to farm produce. As agribusiness people, our wealth comes from growing the crops, selling them and everything in between.”

Federal Government of Nigeria commended over agricultural revolution.

 

The Managing Director of Crown Flour Mill Limited, Mr. Anurag Shukla, has lauded Federal Government’s strategic initiative of moving Nigeria from oil dependent to agriculture economy.
He noted that the country had huge potential in agriculture economy if well harnessed, and that this could put Nigeria far ahead of other peer nations.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja, Shukla said the agricultural arm of his firm- Olam, increased its leap in animal feed business.
“The current administration has taken the right step in the area of agriculture. It is obvious that Nigeria is moving from an oil based economy to an agric economy. The youths’ venture into agriculture is a very good move and government is doing a lot in this regards,” he noted.

On rating of Olam, the agric chain of Crown Flour Mill’s contribution to the Nigerian economy, he said, the firm’s performance was remarkable.
According to him, “we are proud to say our chicks have been accepted in the market very well. Olam has been the largest non-exporter of these chicks in the country. In our own endeavors in Olam green business, what we are doing is maize and soya beans business. In poultry feed business as well as the aqua feed business, we have the nation’s largest consumers of soybeans as well as maize.

“We are growing the segment of the agriculture in a very big way as well as supporting the poultry and aqua farmers to grow their business. In our bakery business, we support our bakers just as we are supporting the aqua farmers,” Shukla added.

Speaking further, he said, the preceding and current year had been eventful for his organisation, noting that his administration would seize the momentum to deepen its economic activities.
“This year has been an eventful year for our operations. We would grow our market and move into our animal feed business. We have two large factories, one in Kaduna and another in Illorin in Kwara state. Presently, we are the leading players in the day old chick market as well as in the feed market.

“I must commend the Kaduna State Government for the way they supported our Kaduna factory. The basic materials we need are all available, the only challenge we face from time to time is infrastructure, which the government is working on, and we know it will improve in future.”
He said the customers’ interactive forum was organised to afford customers the opportunity to interact with one another.
“We are using this occasion for customers to interact with each other, they come from all parts of Nigeria; they discuss the business challenge they have and we all come up with a solution. The forum is also to say thank you for helping Crown flour Mill to grow and we in turn are helping them to grow,” he said.