Sokoto Introduces Tractor Hire Scheme

The Sokoto state government said it will start a tractor hire scheme to boost mechanization in farms and assist farmers to enhance their production capacity.

Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal stated this in Kware LGA when he inspected agricultural processing machines to be distributed to farmers under the state’s FADAMA III additional funding scheme.

“We are starting with 30 tractors, with each of the three senatorial districts to have 10 tractors each. This initiative will be implemented with the collaboration of the FADAMA III coordinating office, the state ministry of agriculture and the state investment company which will provide the tractors,” the Governor stated.
He said a strict vetting process will be implemented for those to benefit from the gesture.
“We want to ensure that both the small and large scale farmers have access to the tractors and other machinaries.

“We hope to expand the scheme to ensure we have enough tractors to help our farmers have access to modern farm tools at affordable prices,” he added.

Tambuwal said 127 farmer Processing Groups, made up of 1,385 small-holder farmers, have benefitted from the agricultural processing machines and equipment distributed to farmers across the state by the FADAMA III office in Sokoto.

According to him, in addition to the creation of two agricultural produce aggregation centres in the state, eleven tomato production net houses have been established at various locations in the state.

“This gesture is part of our collective efforts towards modernizing our farming techniques so as to improve yield and income of our farmers,” he stated.

The Governor further revealed that 243 unemployed youths have been trained to embrace agriculture, saying this was done with a view to exploring the agribusiness sector and instilling in the youths and women the technical and practical skills that could enhance their competitiveness in agri-prenueship.

Farmers Commend FG For Support In Borno

The Federal Government has been commended for their support Programme for farmers displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency by the Women farmers in Zabarmari community in Jere Local Government Area of Borno.

According to NAN, The government, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) supported 270, 000 displaced farmers during the rain-fed and ongoing dry season farming activities in the state.

The farmers were provided with fertilisers, seeds, chemicals, tube wells, water pumps and other inputs.

Mrs Maryam Abubakar described the gesture as commendable, noting that it would boost agricultural productivity as well as provide them with sustainable means of livelihood.

Abubakar said that the women were supported in the cultivation of tomatoes, onions, Okro, cabbage and other vegetables.

She noted that her involvement in farming in the past one year had enhanced her socio-economic status.

Ms Fatime Musa, the Head of the Women Farm Cluster in the area, said that no fewer than 61 women were registered in the cluster.

She said that the women were allocated land by the government and the development organisations.

“We are 61 in number, including widows and divorcees, working on the farm. We received fertilisers, inputs and farming implements, in addition to tube wells and water pumps, provided in the farm.

“We preserve some of the produce for our household consumption and sell some, to meet our financial needs,” she said.

Hafsatu Yahaya, however, called on the state government to provide access road to open up the area, to ensure easy transportation of farm produce to the urban centres.

Yahaya noted that the people of the area relied on Ox Cart for transportation, due to lack of access road.

“Besides, the difficulties associated with the movement of farm produce, it is also difficult to take sick persons to the hospital in Maiduguri due to lack of access road.”

Zabarmari is one of the farming communities liberated from the Boko Haram insurgents by the military.

Also, the community is one of the major rice producing areas of the state.

Other produce cultivated by the farmers in the area include maize, beans, millet, sorghum and perishable produce.

 

Food Price Drops By 15% After Harvest

There has been a decrease in the past three months following the harvest recorded by farmers. Traders and farmers have recorded a 15% decrease in price in the space of three months.

A 50 kilogramme bag of local variety of rice was sold for N13, 000; as against its previous price of N15,000, while a measure of the produce was sold at N650.

Refined rice had also indicated similar decrease in prices, as a 50 kilogramme bag sold between N15,000 and N15,500; as against its old price of N17,000, depending on its quality.

Prices of other produce had dropped significantly in the past months; as a measure of maize sold at N280 and millet N350, as against its previous prices of N350 and N500 respectively.

A measure of cooking oil was sold at N380 as against its old price of N500; while perishable produce such as tomatoes and onions showed similar decrease in prices.

A measure of tomatoes was sold at N200 and onions N120.

Traders at the markets attributed the drop in prices to improvement in the supply of food items to the market.

 

Aregbesola Calls On Nigerians To Intensify Efforts On Food Production

Nigerians have been charged on attitudinal change towards ensuring that the country is self sufficient in food production with a view to banishing hunger across the nation.

This charge was made by Governor of the state of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on Tuesday during the foundation laying ceremony of “Sanrot Agro-Allied Rice mill and Fertilizer Blending Plant” in Ijebu-Jesa owned by a business mogul, Chief Rotimi Obeisun.

Ogbeni Aregbesola also joined Chief Rotimi Obeisun to commission other projects under the Timsed group of companies which include: hotel and holiday centre, civic centre and cinema, food and confectionery section, water and beverage bottling plant and Timsed radio and television broadcasting service to mark his 60th birthday celebrations.

He stressed the need for the country to stop exporting raw materials and importing finished items, a situation which the governor said is contributing to the dwindling economic fortunes of the nation.

He explained that the rice mill which has the capacity to produce ten million tons of rice per annum will go a long way in providing a ready market for rice farmers in Osun and environs.

The Governor also commended the fertilizer blending plant saying it will be a major boost to the state’s economy as it will be able to produce about one hundred thousand metric tons of fertilizer when fully operational.

Osinbajo Launches Plan To Boost Agriculture And Power Sector

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday In Abuja, launched the Economic and Growth Recovery Plan (ERGP) Focus Laboratories on power, agriculture and manufacturing to fast-track economic growth.

Osinbajo disclosed that the newly inaugurated Focus Labs would further boost economic growth and ensure that Nigeria continued its journey of building a competitive economy.

“The labs will operate by bringing together all private and public sector officials to achieve the ERGP’s objective of reaching seven per cent economic growth by 2020.

“The Focus Labs are being conducted in three selected areas to accelerate investment and job creation.

“These specific areas are agriculture and transport, manufacturing and processing and finally power and gas sector,” he said.

Osinbajo explained that the laboratory groups were meant to bring private/public sector participants and potential investors together to think through the implementation of the specific areas of focus.

“We believe that working together as a group, we will be able to achieve these specific objectives that have been set out for us,” Osinbajo said.

Sen. Udo Udoma, Minister of Budget and National Planning, said the government was far from achieving the targets captured in the ERGP.

He said government planned to improve power generation and its operational capacity to 10 Gigawatts by 2020, but two years to the deadline, it had only succeeded in generating four Gigawatts.

Udoma said the Focus Laboratories would eliminate the bottlenecks that hinder private sector investment in the agriculture, manufacturing and power sector.

He said this was important because 245.1 billion dollars was required to implement the ERGP, out of which 195.98 billion dollars was expected from private sector and 49.15 billion dollars from the public sector.

Udoma said the three main objectives of the initiative were to create new investment opportunities for critical projects, job creation and resolution of complex inter-agency problems that inhibited private sector investment.

The highlight of the event was the inauguration of the Central Steering Committee which comprised all ministers, permanent secretaries of Ministries of Budget and National Planning as well as representatives of the Vice-President’s office.

He also inaugurated the Core Working Groups for Agriculture and Transport, manufacturing and processing as well as Power and Gas Supply, headed by their respective ministers.

 

Herdsmen: Ministries Of Agriculture Expresses Fear Over Food Shortage

The State ministries of agriculture officials have expressed fears that the constant attacks on farmers by herdsmen will lead to food shortage.

The officials, in the North-East, Middle Belt, and the southern part of the country, specifically warned that the development could lead to malnutrition and poor health.

The Benue State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. James Ambua, said food production in the state would likely drop by 40 per cent this year as a result of constant herdsmen attacks on farmers.

The commissioner lamented that the recent attacks came at a time when farmers in the state were supposed to harvest their crops, stressing that the bulk of the farmers who survived the attacks had been displaced and are taking refuge outside their communities.

He explained that the state had comparative advantage in rice, yam, corn, sesame seed, and beniseed (sesame), adding that some of the farms were also burnt by the attackers.

He said, “Following the New Year attacks, the production of farm crops has dropped by 40 per cent and this will surely have effect on the nation’s food production.

“The dry season farming has been scuttled by herdsmen attacks because Guma and Logo local government areas were attacked. The country will definitely have food crisis this year and in 2019.”

The Taraba State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. David Kassa, also said the herdsmen killings was threatening national food security.

He said, “The Federal Government’s poor handling of herdsmen crisis in Taraba, Benue and other states will definitely throw the country into serious food crisis from this year on.”

The Chairman, Public Accounts and Petitions Committee in the Plateau State House of Assembly, Peter Gyendeng, said, “The impending food crisis from the Middle-Belt will likely spread to other parts of the country.”

The officials in charge of agriculture in the southwestern states of Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti have also raised the alarm that food crisis was imminent in the region this year.

The Ekiti State Commissioner for Agriculture, Kehinde Odebunmi, said, “Definitely, herdsmen attacks will affect food security in the South West region in particular, and the country in general, because the farmers have not been allowed to harvest their crops.”

He lamented that 10 hectares of castor seed, over 20 hectares of cassava plantation and over 100 hectares of rice were destroyed by the herdsmen in Oke Ako, Iyemero and Igede farm settlements, while they also torched more than 50 hectares of cassava plantation in Orin farm settlement.

Bello Promises To Make Kogi ‘Holland Of Nigeria’ Through Cattle Colonies

At a time thatvmany states have refused to go along with the Federal Government’s Cattle Colony agenda, Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi has pledged to make the state be the Holland of Nigeria in terms of dairy milk production and other livestock products for other states to patronise.

Bello made the promise at the Kogi State Agriculture Summit, tagged: “Moving Agriculture To The Next Level”, on Friday in Lokoja, as part of activities to mark his two years in office.

“In Holland, everyone knows that Holland produce more than a quarter of dairy milk and meats for Europe and America.

“Kogi will be the Holland of Nigeria where every other state in Nigeria will come and buy milk and other dairy products.

“They will also buy meat, hides and skin, bones, horns and even cow faeces for manure, which will translate into cash for our people.

“We are looking for opportunities to make money for our people.

“If you have a parcel of land that you are not using, what will happen is that the pastoralists will come and you rent it to them for money.

“Our youths and women will learn how to breed and keep these cows as well.

“And what will happen is that we shall have hire cross breed cows that will produce more milk and high quality meats where other states can come and buy,” Bello said.
Bellp refuted allegations that he was biased in favour of Fulani herdsmen, saying,“They said I am friend to Fulani herdsmen and hate farmers, but they are all falsehood on the pages of newspapers and television.

“We are telling the people that we are tolerant in Kogi, we love our neighbours and seizing and maximising the best of every opportunity.

“Very soon we will tell our Fulani brothers not to take their cows across border to sell again.

“We will ask them to drop their cows in Kogi, and we will rent your land to them to stay.

“A land where people can come and buy, pay tax to government and they will settle the land owners.

“That your land that is there and not generating anything will become a hot cake.

“These are the various benefits we will derive from our coexistence with Fulani herdsmen.

“This is the way we are going to go; in the next six months we shall begin to see the economy of Kogi transforming very rapidly.

“The Federal Government and international agencies are bringing money, grants to Kogi to support livestock production, including keeping these cows in form of ranches in one particular area with facilities called ‘cattle colonies’”.

The governor restated his determination to support President Muhammadu Buhari in implementing his manifestos as far as revolutionary in agriculture was concerned.

He charged youths to forget yhe era of “free money”. “We must return back to farm. Let us key into various programmes of this government, especially in agriculture, he said. “All that is required is your interest and the land… You own your land, we shall give you fund, farm implements and create the market for you, what else are you waiting for?

“Why can’t we tolerate our Fulani bothers and sisters who have lived with us for a very long time? And you want them to leave now to go where?

“We have to be tolerant, we have to tolerate one another, it is out of tolerance that we gathered here today.

“We develop the culture of tolerance by accommodating one another.

“Hold on to your land, we will teach you how to use it judiciously to make huge money in the state; our land is our oil wells that can never dry,” Bello said.

Kogi Government To Empower 99,000 Farmers

The Kogi Government has promised to empower at least 99,000 smallholder farmers across the state in pursuit of its food production and agribusiness policy.

This was made by known by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Kehinde Oloruntoba, at the monthly meeting of the Core Delivery Team (CDT) of the State Partnership for Agriculture (SPA) in Lokoja.

The meeting was organised by the SPA in collaboration with Synergos Nigeria.

Oloruntoba said that the beneficiary farmers in 2018 would be those who engaged in the production of food and cash crops, including cassava, rice, fishery and poultry.

He said that the state had keyed into the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to boost food production and develop the agricultural sector.

He said the state’s agricultural sector was expected to generate about N22.05 billion, 15 percent of this year’s budget of N147 billion.

The commissioner said that all the sub-sectors of the agricultural sector in the state were expected to contribute to the success of the programme.

Oloruntoba urged farmers to change their attitude toward farming, saying: “We cannot continue to do things the same way and expect different results; attitude is everything.’’

He emphasised the need for representatives of the ministry in the CDT to always allow the knowledge they gained at the various meetings to trickle down to other members of staff.

He said that in 2018, the government would establish four prototype cassava peels processing factories in different locations across the state to produce animal feeds.

“This is an initiative that we borrowed from Synergos Nigeria and we intend to replicate it across the state. So, we are planning to execute many programmes in 2018.

‘‘We thank Synergos for their intervention and pledge to do more; we look forward to better a collaboration,” he added.

Speaking, Synergos Country Director, Mr Adewale Ajadi, said that there was high demand for poultry and fish feeds processed from cassava peels.

Ajadi, who was represented by Mr Victor Adejoh, Synergos Field Manager for Kogi, Benue and Kaduna States, thanked the state government for its policies and programmes on agribusiness and its interest in smallholder farmers.

Participants at the meeting gave an account of their various ministries, departments and agencies in their efforts to move the agricultural sector forward.

 

Herdsmen Kill Farmer in Ogun State

A farmer in his 60s, Adetona Owolabi, has reportedly been killed by suspected herdsmen who inflicted various machete cuts on him in Afon, Imeko-Afon Local Government area of Ogun State.

The farmer was said to have been working on his farmland located few metres away to the newly constructed bridge at Afon, along Owode/Abeokuta road when he was attacked by the herdsmen for challenging them when their cattle was grazing and destroying his farm produce such as cassava, yam and vegetables.

Ironically, the incident occurred few hours after the State Government held a meeting with security chiefs and representatives of various stakeholders such as leaders of the Fulani, Hausa communities and Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigera in order to prevent clashes between herdsmen and farmers and also to ensure safety of lives and property.

Osun Produce Board Signs MoU With OSCOTECH On Commercial Agriculture

By Shina Abubakar

In order to boost commercial agriculture in the State of Osun through advance technology, the State Produce Board (OPB) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Osun State College of Technology, Esa-Oke.

The deal was sealed at the Conference Hall of the institution on Tuesday between  the management of Osun Produce Board led by the Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO, Dr Yemi Adegoke and Osun State College of Technology Governing Council led by the Council Chairman, Professor Layi Fagbenle.

Speaking during the event, the Executive Vice-Chairman of the board, Dr Yemi Adegoke hinted that the signing of the MoU was in line with the vision of the present Government led by Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola to boost agricultural production and improve the income for  all  stakeholders in the sector.

Dr Adegoke explained that to achieve the government’s target and vision , it is therefore important to move  away from over 3000 years primitive and subsistence farming method which requires the use of hoes and cutlasses only,  to Mechanised and Commercial farming method which is the only alternative to change the poor condition of farmers and consumers.

He maintained that OSCOTECH, Esa Oke and all other state-owned tertiary institutions are blessed with both human and material resources needed to improve farming method, urging the institutions to establish Commercial Farms, Technology, Research and Demonstration Farms and engage in production of Herbs.

He noted that this will make them a leading light capable of competing with other institutions around the World.

He promised that the Produce Board and Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security will give the institutions all necessary technical support needed to execute the content in the MoU, in order to achieve the target result within a limited period.

In his brief remarks, the College’s Council Chairman, Professor Layi Fagbenle acknowledged that the vision of the government of the State of Osun is a good one and expressed optimism that it will come to reality.

Prof Fagbenle stressed that Nigeria and West Africa sub-region are blessed with fertile agricultural land, good weather and human materials.

He therefore promised that the institution will cue-in and make the vision a reality.

Also speaking, the Acting Rector, Dr Samson Adegoke who described the signing of MoU as a good sign of good thing for the institution, said it is prepared for the task ahead, especially now that it has a department of Agricultural Engineering.

Ikpeazu Rejects Cattle Colony Plan For Herdsmen In Abia

Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, has rejected plans by the federal government to establish “cattle colonies” for Fulani Herdsmen and their cows in Abia State saying that the state will not cede any part of its territory to Fulani herdsman as cattle colony.
According to a press release issued by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary Mr Enyinnaya Appolos, governor Ikpeazu has indicated that Abia state will not accept that any of its land will be used to establish cattle colonies for herdsmen.

“We reject such plan . We don’t have enough land for our agricultural activities and our people want more land. “Giving away any part of Abia land as a colony to herdsmen, wherever they may be from, will be most unjust and unfair treatment to Abia State and her people who are largely farmers.

He added that “such alien land occupation will also cause unrest and crisis that may grow beyond what we can handle when it happens, so the best thing I think we should do is to reject such plans so that those behind it will know that Abia State is not a party to it.”, the press release concluded.