Britain To Support Osun In Agriculture, Education, politics, tourism and infrastructure.

Paul Arkwright

The British Government has expressed its readiness to collaborate with and complement the efforts of the Osun State government in the areas of education, agriculture, politics, tourism and infrastructure.

The British High Commissioner, Mr Paul Arkwright, gave the assurance during a courtesy visit to Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, in Osogbo.

The envoy accompanied by the Political Adviser at the Deputy British High Commission in Lagos, Mr Wale Adebajo, said the British Government will do everything possible to support Osun’s economy by strengthening her potential for the betterment of her citizenry.

Arkwright noted that the commission would help to facilitate and attract investors to the state from his country in all aspects of the economy.

He acknowledged the tremendous achievements of the Aregbesola administration, saying the British Government will help to promote all the policies of the state.

“The present administration in the state has done so well and this has made the British government to deem it fit to render assistance to the state so as to strengthen her economy.

“The British government is interested in boosting the economic opportunities of Osun; we want to work with the state in order to galvanize her economic potentials for the betterment of all.

“Since Osun is rich in mining and mineral resources, our government is ready to do everything possible to revive the state’s potentials in this regard and ensure that the sector enjoys necessary attention from government.

‎”We are also ready to assist the state in the areas of tourism, agriculture, mining and human capacity development. Our keen interest to support the state in the area of agriculture is aimed at bringing back the lost glory of the sector and putting-in the required values to every aspect of the sectors.

“It is a pity that 90 per cent of cocoa production in the world comes from Africa but sadly to know that just 10 per cent of the benefit is what Africa gets, so we want this to change.‎

“Politics is another critical area we are planning to render support on. We want democracy to be entrenched in the land; we are not interested in whoever becomes what but our interest is to ensure politics is practiced in accordance with democratic tenets and principles.‎

“We are interested in a smooth transition, free, fair, credible and peaceful elections in the quest to deepen democracy in Nigeria.

“As part of efforts to accomplish this, the British Government has resolved to monitor and supervise both Ekiti and Osun states governorship elections”, he added.

‎In his remarks, the Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola commended the British Government for extending the hands of economic support to the state.

He described Britain as the most accommodating, tolerant and diplomatic nation in the world, saying the country had demonstrated the hallmarks of diplomacy in the annals of governance in the world.

Aregbesola lauded the British Government for showing interest in the policies of his administration particularly in the areas of education, agriculture, tourism and mining, among others.

“As a state, we thank the British government for the prospect of economic development and the move to deepen the democratic process of our land.

“As a government, we are so passionate about human development to the extent that nothing will be spared to make life better for them. One of our strong point as a people is agriculture, especially cocoa production, which makes us the second largest producer of the product in the country.

“There is also mining; there is a huge deposit of gold in commercial quantity in our state and we would love you to assist us in attracting investment in this very lucrative area.

“Tourism is another significant area of interest for us; Osun is the historical centre of the Yorubas from all over the world. The state has the highest number of traditional towns with the longest history. We will also want you to assist us in our mid-region market under the O-hub project”, he added.

While reacting on the need for state police in Nigeria, Aregbesola called on necessary authorities to support the quest in the interest of internal security.

According to him, “We all need to work on decentralising policing in Nigeria as we are the only federation in the world where central policing system is still being operated.

“if we decentralise the police, it does not remove the authority of the Federal police, it only means that the state police will only be able to work more efficiently for the protection of lives and properties.

“Some people will argue against it based on funding, but the truth is that the fund has already been made available in the federation account, it is already included in the account.

“State policing will be funded out of the Federation Account on First Line Charge just as National Judicial Commission is being funded”, he posited.

 

10 States benefits from FG’s construction of large rice mills to cost N10bn, ready by Dec 2019 ,

The Federal Government of Nigeria has officially awarded contract for construction of 10 large rice milling plants, The states would have them for production of large quantity and quality rice towards achieving self-sufficiency in rice. This was disclosed by the Minister Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, Monday, as he signed ECP Contract Agreement on establishment of 10 Integrated large-scale rice processing plants in Nigeria, along with the Minister of State, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, on behalf of the federal government with management of Messers MV Agro Engineers Nigeria Limited and MV Agro Engineers PVT Limited, India, led by Movi Baba, in Abuja. According to Ogbeh government will advertise for those who want to off-take the rice milling plants from the states identified, which they will come and show they capacity to off-take them, and have the capacity to pay 10 per cent down payment, along with the technical capacity to own a unit before it will be given to them. He further stated that when the contractor arrives they will install the mills and then Bank of Agriculture, BoA, will take over the repayment of the loan over a period of 10 years. The benefiting states include Benue, Bayelsa Anambra, Ogun, Bauchi, Kaduna, Niger, Kebbi, Kogi and Zamfara. He said: “We are using this method of agro-industrialization because of the reality of the economic situation in our country. It is extremely difficult for any individual in Nigeria now to walk to the bank and raise a loan in less interest rates for long-term investments, and these interest rates have been like this for the past 30 years, standing weigh 25 per cent on the average, is impossible for any investor to go and raise money of this size and put in investment and hope to make a success of it. “We will advertise those who want to off-take from the states identified, which are Bayelsa, Benue, Anambra, Ogun, Bauchi, Kaduna, Niger, Kebbi, Kogi and Zamfara. They will come and show they can off-take, and have the capacity to pay 10 per cent down payment, and have the technical capacity to own a unit then we give them. When the contractor arrives they will install these mills and then Bank of Agriculture will take over the repayment of the loan over a period of 10 years.” The Minister also charged MV Agro Engineers Nigeria Limited and MV Agro Engineers PVT Limited, India to make good machines and deliver the best, “Because if you do well now you will do more in future. We assure you more mills would be bought in the future. Supply adequate stock of spare parts”, he said. The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Sen Lokpobiri Heineken, in his remarks urged the contractor to deliver the project as planned by December 2019. “We express gratitude to the President and Federal Executive Council, FEC, for unanimously approving the Memo that was approved by council. We have been ministers for three years no memo has enjoyed that level of acceptability as it happened to this memo we presented. “That is essential because rice has become a staple food and rice produced in Nigeria is one of the best in the world. Before now Nigeria has been a dumping ground of all types of parboiled rice reason being that Nigerian rice is filled with stones. But today those who are eating Nigerian rice can attest to the fact that Nigerian rice is fresh and best in the world in terms of quality because of the sweetness. “We are happy that today that we are adding another capacity of milling rice for the benefit of Nigerians. We don’t have large scale rice mills in Nigeria, but with we have very limited number, which government decided to be increasing the capacity from time to time. We are happy we have gotten to the point of signing the agreement. I call on the contractor ECP India-Nigeria Group for the delivery should be done as planned”, Lokpobiri stated. Giving an overview of the project, Director of Agribusiness and Marketing, Muyiwa Azeez, said documents supporting the realisation of the mills have been put in place, and also adverts will be placed for bidding to get the plants installed in the states that are benefiting. “The Minister calculated through a survey that Nigeria requires 50-70 large scale rice mills. It was against this backdrop the current administration in the Ministry submitted to the Federal Executive Council, FEC, the need to facilitate the acquisition of 10 large scale rice mills which will be made available to the off-takers in the country. “Business proposals are being expected, all arrangements have been concluded. Like the contractor has said all of the parts are to be procured from Olam, which is the best rice mills manufacturer in the world. The rice mills will be ready by December 2019. We have also constituted implementation committee that would work with the Bank of Agriculture, BoA”, he added.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Programme collaborates to support conflict-affected people in northeastern Nigeria,

Using a “twin track” approach, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization is providing enough seed and fertilizer to produce up to eight months’ worth of food during the 2018 rainy season, while WFP covers the food needs of households until these crucial harvests in September. 
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Programme have launched a joint effort to support conflict-affected people in northeastern Nigeria to increase their food production and reduce dependence on food assistance.
Using a “twin track” approach, FAO is providing enough seed and fertilizer to produce up to eight months’ worth of food during the 2018 rainy season, while WFP covers the food needs of households until these crucial harvests in September.
In Rann, Borno State and close to the Cameroonian border, WFP is providing life-saving support to all 67,000 people living in the town.
Meanwhile, FAO provided seeds and fertilizers to about a quarter of Rann’s households who have safe access to land and who, through a community-based assessment, proved capable of growing food.
This includes families who have sought refuge in Rann as well as the host population.
Fanna Kachella, from Rann, has eight children. She and her husband are keen to resume farming. Kachella said: “Not having anything much to do has been hard for us, we are used to planting our own food. I hope we will get a good harvest from the seed.”
Farmers in Rann and more than 30 other locations can plant maize, sorghum, millet and cowpeas following the distributions. In most places, they also received sesame, groundnuts, sweet pepper and watermelon seed for income generation.
Altogether, FAO and WFP are supporting around 600,000 conflict-affected persons in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States in northeastern Nigeria during the rainy season.
“Families in northeast Nigeria have been affected by conflict for nine years, and many have gone through terrible times. We need to work harder and together to put people back on the track of self-reliance, to rebuild their livelihoods and to restore their dignity. This joint assistance by FAO and WFP is a step in that direction,” said WFP Representative in Nigeria, Myrta Kaulard.
“FAO is assisting both the growing number of farmers who have returned to their villages to resume production, as well as the many still forced to live in camps,” said FAO Representative in Nigeria, Suffyan Koroma. “In addition to distributing inputs like seed, we are expanding our farmer field school and savings and loans programmes in the region to strengthen both farming skills and access to finance for agri-business development.”
During the rainy season spanning June to September, FAO will assist over one million people to become more food secure through farming.
The Organization is midway into its distribution of disease and drought-tolerant varieties of crop seed and fertilizer using a kit system.
In Kit 1, FAO is distributing maize, millet or sorghum alongside cowpea seed and fertilizer.
Kits 2 and 3 are solely for women-headed households and contain vegetable and cash crop seed, respectively.
The vegetable kit features okra and amaranth, a green leafy vegetable.
Income-boosting groundnut and sesame, relished by women for their good market prices, round out kit 3.
Every month, WFP is for its part providing food and cash assistance to around 1.2 million food insecure and vulnerable people.
To prevent malnutrition, WFP is also distributing specialized food to around 200,000 young children and almost 150,000 pregnant or breastfeeding women.
In its 2018 appeal for northeastern Nigeria, FAO requested $31.5 million to assist farmers recover from the impact of the conflict.
About $13.2 million has been received, leaving a gap of $18.3 million.
WFP urgently requires $49 million to continue lifesaving support until the end of 2018 to assist the most food insecure and vulnerable Nigerians.

NICERT,ECOCERT partners to provide organic certification for Nigeria farmers,

Ecocert Group, a global leader in conformity assessment and certification, is now in Nigeria to help develop the agricultural value chain by ensuring Nigeria products meet international standards.

Speaking yesterday at the ongoing Nigerian Organic Agriculture Business Summit in Lagos, the Chairman of NICERT Limited, Prince Ajibola Oluyede, announced that his company, NICERT was now the Nigerian partner of ECOCERT and that they had opened offices in Nigeria to serve Nigerian farmers.

He stated that organic agriculture was the high end of Agriculture around the world and the demand for organic products was enormous.

He said it was overdue for Nigeria with its natural capacity for organic agriculture to take its own share of the market.

He said the partnership between NICERT and ECOCERT now provided Nigerian producers the affordable opportunity to have their products assessed and certified as being in conformity with these commercial and legal international standards, including organic standards.

He explained that with this certification the international markets will welcome Nigerian goods and we will no longer have the decayed Nigerian yam to US and banned Nigerian beans in Europe experience of recent times.

He said organic agriculture practice in Nigeria will grow with 3rd party certification by NICERT-ECOCERT which will enable such products attract higher prices than conventional products.

He said even now certified organic rice, for example, was being bought by Nigerian based consumers at prices up to 3 times the price of conventional rice, because people are becoming more careful about their health and the well-being of their environment which certified organic farming guarantees.

Food Crisis Looms, As Herder-Farmer Clashes Hamper Crop Production

Indications have emerged that Nigeria faces drastic food shortage and price hike in the nearest future if herders-farmers’ clashes in the North Central Nigeria continue unabated.

These are hinged on displacement or killings of farming households in the conflict zones.

The UN Commission for Refugees said in April that over 2,193,769 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) had been recorded in the region as a result of the insurgency.

The number keeps rising because the crisis has escalated.

Job loss and dependence of the IDPs across the states have ripple effects on household economies, food availability and disposable incomes of not only the IDPs but also every Nigerian.

In the North-east geo-political zone comprising Adamawa, Yobe and Bornu states, intensive farming and food production have been truncated because of terrorist activities of the Boko Haram sect.

The states were known for production of grains, beans and animal husbandry before the crisis started in 2009. The situation has deteriorated since then.

The North-Central, for several years, have also been enmeshed in clashes between cattle herders and farmers, with killings and displacement of hundreds of settlements and communities.

Benue State, renown for massive agricultural production, has been engulfed in the clashes with heavy causalities and mass burials for farming households, able men and women, as well as children.

Nasarawa State is not spared. Farming activities have been hindered in several local government areas flanking Benue State and in the hinterlands, making experts to raise the alarm of food insecurity

Views are that if the country fails in taming the crisis, and farming activities are continuously hindered, Nigeria’s food security drive is heading towards failure.

Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations defines food security as “when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food which meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.”

FAO adds that “Household food security is the application of this concept to the family level, with individuals within households as the focus of concern.

Food insecurity, the UN organ said, exists when people do not have adequate physical, social or economic access to food as defined above.”

Early in March, a new report from FAO had listed Nigeria as one of the 37 countries in need of external food assistance.

It said food insecurity persisted in the world due to conflicts. Also listed, among others, were Ethiopia, Guinea, Haiti, Iraq, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi and Mali.

Executive Director, National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB), Dr Sunday Aladele, said the danger is obvious because there is no farming activity in the north-east and some states in the North-central.

Implications of these are one, food will not be sufficient and seed security is lost because they have lost their seed banks.

Moreover, army warms are ravaging maize farms and this will negatively affect food availability, animal feeds, and industrial materials. Importation may intensify and foreign reserves will be depleted.

Professor Samuel Olakojo, a maize breeder at the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T) of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ibadan, said the clashes had been affecting food production for almost a decade, but got intensified in the last three years.

“It affects food, feeds and confectionery production, and companies may lay off more staff, produce below capacity, and lose revenue to the trend,” he added.

Olakojo added that the food security threat was escalating.

For example, he stopped cultivation of 350 acres of land this year because he suffered devastation of about 15 acres last year.

“I have stopped maize and cassava cultivation because of this,” he said, saying that if 10 farmers of his capacity pulled out of farming in one city, one could imagine the quantity of food that would not be available.

Mr Adeniji Lucas, an agro-allied machinery fabricator and processor, said the crisis had been taking tolls on food production.

Tomatoes, beans, yam and other food items had become scarce, reducing disposable income of households in Nigeria.

Boko Haram crisis/north-central crises

Professor Olakojo said over 90 per cent of annual crop production in the North-East geo-political zone was already lost, and the North-Central is closely following the trend. These states are the food baskets of the country.

“If we do not suffer food crisis, then we must be importing food massively, and we will deplete the national foreign reserves. This will be self-contradictory,” he said

A political economist, Professor Femi Mimiko, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, said Benue State as a hub of food production had been the most wracked in recent times.

As Mimiko said, “displaced farming families have been forced to relocate; farmlands that were destroyed have not been replanted; and farming communities that were sacked have not been rebuilt.”

“My hunch is that general insecurity can only get deepened by reason of the impending possibility of collapse of agriculture,” he added.

He said adding the reality of food insecurity to the bouquet of security challenges, the situation of the country in the months ahead could only become more critical

Poor funding of agriculture

Poor access to financing has been contributing to inadequate farming activities in the last few years. Farmers have complained of inability to obtain loans due to stringent conditions attached to loan application in the specialized and commercial banks.

Some of the farmers said conditions such as certificates of occupancy, owners’ equity and existing cash-flows, among other requirements, make it practically impossible for the majority of small-scale farmers to obtain credit facilities from banks.

Managing Director of Oluji Cocoa Products Ltd, Mr. Akin Olusuyi, recently described Bank of Agriculture (BOA) as too far away from real farmers, contending that having branches in the state capitals implied lopsidedness and remoteness of the bank activities.

Climate Change

One of the other factors affecting farming activities, apart from clashes, is the climate change.

This has been evident in the forms of erratic rainfall patterns, and scorching sunshine. Poor rainfalls affect not only the crops’ growth but also yields.

Extremely hot whether affects poultry production, leading to bird mortalities and losses.

Aladele attributed climate change charcoal production, saying it had been depleting the forest, causing climate change which might also aggravate the Nigerian food production.

Adding his voice to the call for actions against impending food crisis, a Lagos-based farmer, Mr Babalola Orodeji, who has crop farms in the Oke-Ogun area of Oyo State, revealed to The Guardian that in the past few weeks, rainfall patterns in the agrarian area had been very unstable, causing crop stress and pest infestation.

Orodeji said farmers in the area could not plant maize in the first planting season around April to May, and that the dry season planting season starting around June was also being affected by the rainfall patterns.

He added that people of the area had been buying fresh maize from Ogbomoso area because of the inability to produce. This, he said, pointed to imminent food shortage.

Way forward

As part of the way forward, the NACGRAB boss advocated the use of mechanised farming in the crisis-free zones to enhance productivity per hectare of land. This, he opined, could mitigate the situation.

In addition to mechanised farming, he recommended the use of improved seeds, especially of maize, that can give times three of what farmers have been getting per hectare, emphasising intensification of research to adapt crops cultivated in the troubled zones to crisis-free areas.

Olakojo said the government must be sincere about its willpower to check the herdsmen and the attendant killings of farmers, expressing pessimism that ranching might not work because herders are naturally nomadic.

He frowned on the idea of the government to secure land for ranches to be used by the herders who are running private cattle businesses.

He said if the government would do that, it should be ready to provide land and feeds for poultry, fish and pig farmers too.

He suggested that the Abacha loots being recovered should be given to the Bank of Agriculture (BOA), and herders, who want to own ranches, should approach the bank for loans, buy land, cultivate pastures for their cattle, and repay the loans.

The police at the various checkpoints, he suggested, should be redeployed to the crisis-torn areas to protect farmland and farmers, and maintain law and order.

Former Executive Director, Institute for Agricultural Research, Samaru, and Vice Chancellor, Al-Qalam University, Katsina, Professor Shehu Garki Ado, a plant breeder, said that the crisis has lead to the death of humans, animals and the implications are that protein available is reduced and human capital available for farming is drastically affected.

Professor Mimiko said though it was not clear what the government was doing to mitigate the effects on food availability, incentivising the unaffected areas to produce more might mitigate the impending crisis.

Switzerland committed to promote organic Agriculture sector development in Africa

The Consul General of Switzerland in Lagos says the Consulate will continue to strongly support sustainable organic sector development in Africa.

Yves Nicolet, Consul General, represented by Mrs Ngozi Anyanso said this at the 3rd National Organic Agriculture Business Summit, 2018 organised by the Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) Initiative in Nigeria in collaboration with the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture.

The summit’s theme is “Organic Agriculture: Abundant Opportunities for Health and Hospitality Businesses”.

He said the Consulate would support development that embraces holistic production systems, sustains the health of humans and the ecosystems and relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions.

“Switzerland is very concerned about healthy agricultural development that can be sufficient for the whole population.

“We are committed to supporting the implementation of the AU declaration on organic farming in Africa and the EOA initiative as a continental initiative supports farmers, practitioners and policy makers alike.

“This commitment extends to designing effective and efficient technologies, practices and strategies to improve welfare and livelihood in a healthy environment that contribute to food security and poverty alleviation.”

According to him, this continental initiative holds noticeable promise for increasing the productivity of Africa’s smallholder farms with consequent positive impacts on food security and ecological sustainability.

“We recognize the need for stronger partners with resilient institutional structures for EOA initiative to be mainstreamed by 2025 into national policies and programmes.

“We also encourage and acknowledge efforts and results achieved by Nigeria in engaging more partners in order to spread out EOA nationwide.”

Dr Olugbenga Adeoluwa, the Country Coordinator of EOA said that the overall goal of the EOA Action Plan was to mainstream ecological organic agriculture into national agricultural production systems by 2025.

Adeoluwa said that the aim of the summit was to improve collaboration among stakeholders and increase knowledge on organic agricultural practices, and to enhance the promotion of organic agricultural practices in Nigeria.

“Organic agriculture reduces cost of production in the long term due to non use of synthetic fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides.

“Organic farming controls pests through the natural way called biological pest control, the procedure which utilizes living organisms to control pests rather than hazardous pesticides.

“It has higher nutritional value, and food free of unhealthy elements, organic fruits and vegetables, taste even better, and moreover, the shelve life of organic produce is longer than those from the conventional system.”

He said that research had discovered that organically produced meat processes better combination of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids good for heart conditions.

“It also helps lessen the greenhouse effect through the fact that it promotes the retention of carbon of the soil,” he said

Feeding Futures Africa 2018 Forum for young Nigerians

Deadline: 10th August 2018

In creating the much needed awareness and pushing for the active participation of youth in the country’s agricultural sector while campaigning on food security, HEDA Resource Centre has come up with a forum tagged ‘Feeding Futures Africa’ that is aimed at discussing with about 500 Nigerians issues as they relate to Agriculture and policy making on the 14th and 15th of August 2018 at Lagos City Hall, Lagos.

Feeding Futures Africa is one of the major events that will be happening in 2018 in collaboration with OXFAM Nigeria.

About the Event

 It’s a two-day youth focused agro-summit and exhibition that will bring together 500 young farmers / agropreneurs as well as key policy and business stakeholders in the agriculture sector to analyze and explore ideas and initiatives for addressing critical issues for the sector in Nigeria.

The 1st day will be focused on policy talks and agro-connect launch, while the 2nd day will be focused on innovations and business talks.

As part of the 2nd day activities, there will be an idea-fair where young agropreneurs pitch their ideas to a panel of judges who will in turn select the 5 top bankable ideas which will be rewarded.

It’s the coolest hangout for young and aspiring farmers and value chain entrepreneurs.

Who Should Attend?

  1. Young Farmers
  2. Policy makers
  3. Business Developers
  4. Investors
  5. Tech Enthusiast
  6. Researchers
  7. Students

How to Apply to Attend

To apply, register at Feeding Futures  http://united4food.ng/feeding-futures-2018. You will be contacted if finally selected. Limited slots available.

For more information: Email –  a.oladipo@hedang.org or Call: 08057794378

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Feeding Futures Africa

Ministry, NIRSAL, IITA, AFDB, Others seek indigenous technology to boost agriculture in Nigeria,

Hopes of improved agricultural yields in Nigeria and indeed Africa brightened yesterday as the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) Plc, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and other players in agriculture have planned a robust investment in technology to boost yields and generate gainful employment for the the country.

This is even as the AfDB has pledged to invest $120 million over the next three years to boost productivity and transform nine commodities which include cassava, rice, maize, sorghum/ millet, wheat, livestock, aquaculture, high iron beans and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes in Africa.

To this end, the multi-stakeholders’ deal seeks to adopt regional and homegrown technologies that are enhanced by strategic partnerships of agriculture experts.

Speaking at the meeting, the Managing Director of NIRSAL Plc, Mr Aliyu Abdulhameed, said that “one of the objectives of the partnership with IITA and the AfDB through the Technologies for African Agriculture Transformation (TAAT) programme was to support the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), even as he described it as a successful venture of the Federal Government.

“The transformation of these nine commodities will be achieved through TAAT, a key platform for driving the Feed Africa strategy of the AfDB.

However, the resources required to achieve the objectives of Feed Africa strategy are huge and well beyond what could be achieved by the AfDB alone, the bank is, therefore, developing strategic alliances and partnerships to help mobilize resources to achieve these objectives. This is why NIRSAL has convened decision makers from IITA, FMARD, AfDB, TAAT Programme Management Unit and Clearing house, representatives of commodity technology delivery and enabler compacts from various international agricultural research institutes across the globe, international and local stakeholders to explore ways of bringing TAAT technologies to scale, facilitating adoption and delivering them to millions of Nigerian farmers efficiently, effectively and sustainably.

“Even if you have sufficient yield, the yield itself is another factor because while the government can provide NIRSAL all the financing required, it is one thing to make the farmer raise his yield from half a tonne of 800kilos to about 4-5 tonnes that is required. Again, we believe that when we consolidate this partnership with IITA and AFDB, using the TAAT veritable tools to ensure that farmers under the ABP, immediately increase their yields from the average of what they have now to almost double or triple what they produce typically in the country.

Source: The Sun

France and Nigeria plans to Collaborate for Development of Organic Agriculture

The French Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Denys Gauer, has expressed optimism that France through its Development Agency will explore areas of collaboration with Nigeria through Contec Global Agro limited (CGAL), a subsidiary of Contec Global for the development of organic agriculture production.

Speaking during the tour of the company’s tissue culture and bio-solution fertilizer plant facilities in Maitama, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), while being conducted by the Chairman of Contec Global, Dr. Benoy Berry, Gauer, commended the company’s effort to develop organic farming in Nigeria and across West Africa with the aim of solving the problem of food insecurity.

The Ambassador said: ‘’I hope that we will be able to speak up with the French Development Agency to cooperate with Contec Agro Global in what you are doing because we want to contribute also to the development of agriculture in Nigeria as this is one of our priority sectors for the French cooperation. So, we are open to finance projects in that field and this approach is really what is needed.’’

‘’I am very impressed by all what I have seen here. I really didn’t expect to see this here in Nigeria in terms of scientific approach or what is done here in terms of research. Also, in terms of use of new technologies including; agro technology and telecoms technology for farmers. The most impressive is establishing the link with farmers to manage the system with them.

‘’These all together is very unique, very impressive. For me, it is a great satisfaction to see this and at the same time great surprise. I am also very impressed by the fact that you are really willing to develop organic agriculture, to use normal insecticides, normal pesticides which will improve enormously the quality of food in Nigeria and also allow Nigeria to export food to foreign markets which at the moment is not possible because of that massive use of chemicals.’’

On the need for government and private sector to solve the current food challenges in the country, he acknowledged that the country has enormous population that is growing very rapidly and must be provided with food, explaining that the collaboration will help Nigeria meets this need.

Underscoring Nigeria’s agricultural potentials, he said it is a step in the right direction that the company is massively investing in organic agriculture, adding: ‘’Agriculture has not been a priority for many decades because of the revenue came from oil and so agriculture has not been sustained in Nigeria but it now has to be developed.

According to him, Nigeria needs to develop its agriculture first of all to feed its people and to reach that, Nigeria has too develop proper agriculture policy. It will not come alone; you have to develop policy and implement it and with a company like Contec Global Agro with this approach can bring a lot to the definition and implementation of that kind of policy.

In a remark, Dr. Berry expressed optimism on the potentials  of the collaboration, adding that the impact of chemical fertilizers in growing crops in the country, has made it unattractive to European markets.

THE International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA expresses thoughts over complicated Nutritional problems in Nigeria.

THE International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA, Monday, expressed worry over complicated nutrition problems in Nigeria as malnutrition and obesity get worse. This was stated by the Head of IITA, Abuja Station, Dr Gbassey Tarawali, at the 2-day Technical Stakeholder Workshop on Food Systems for Healthier Diets in Nigeria: Diagnosis and Foresight, hosted by International Institute for Tropical Agriculture and Wageningen University and Research, Netherlands, in Abuja. Tarawali said one of the major problems confronting IITA remains nutrition issues in Nigeria, and expressed optimism that with the conference solutions will be proffered which a policy will be expected from the government to ensure implementation. The nutrition programme phase 1 has a duration from 2017-2022, and the objectives of the workshop focus on the progress made on gap analysis at the household level, foresight on national food system in Nigeria, the entry points for food system interventions and preliminary policy implications, next steps and future research collaboration under A4NH research programme Food Systems for Healthier Diets. It will end on Tuesday July 3, 2019. He said: “In fact, nutrition is one of the major problems that we are encountering now. In the past people are just thinking of producing food and they don’t take the quality into consideration they just eat any junk not looking at productivity but now quality is important because you will see from these conference that people are already talking about. “People who don’t use the right quality of food get obesity some of them are malnourished some of them are not well and they lose in terms of physique and so many other things. That is why actually we are holding this meeting today. It is interesting that this meeting is an international conference, it has people from Waganingen University, it has people from IITA and it also has people from the universities and the national institutions of the country.” He also said the government ought to come up with a policy to tackle the challenge after the workshop as a way of intervening in the issue of nutrition that has become a major health issue “At the end of the day there has to be a policy intervention, and that is why we are here. Policy makers know the dangers not giving attention to peoples’ diet. Whatever is decided here will get to the policy makers that nutrition is important aspect of human needs”, he stated. According to him the institute has supplied farmers bio-fortified crops that are more nutritious than they used to be including cassava that used to have up to 80 per cent carbohydrate or 90 per cent carbohydrate, but has been made more nutritious by introducing some nutrients and vitamins into it, which has been distributed to farmers. “It will be more nutritious to the people who eat cassava, and also maize for instance, maize in those days was just maize now we have now fortified maize which is more nutritious and healthier for the consumers. He also disclosed that IITA will provide these fortified varieties, research, analysis, and the critical mass and taking the lead for the project in Nigeria and Cameroon. In responding to the increased consumption of processed food in Nigeria, a researcher from the Wageningen University, Thom Achterbosch, advised that there should be balance in using ingredients by processors considering the health of consumers. “What we do see is that food processing is often going together with adding additives or adding ingredients to the foods which you have to use in moderation such as sugar and fats and oil. “You need these ingredients to process foods but what you would want to have is a balance between the use of those ingredients and also the use of other more healthy ingredients so it’s all about a balance and the programme will help to identify where those balances can be found and also the program will help to identify where there could be a market for processed foods that are actually combining both the healthy and convenient products so they have power to sell in the market and are also good for your body”, Achterbosch said