British Airways Propose To Fly Nigerian Yams To UK

The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, disclosed during the weekend in chat with the press in Abuja, that British Airways has offered to fly Nigerian yams to the United Kingdom in a bid to sustain the export of the produce.

 

He insisted that there was no alternative to exportation of agricultural produce as the realities of oil and gas export had made the future very bleak. He said:

 

“British Airlines just called and said they are willing to fly the yams. You know when they are leaving Nigeria they carry no cargo, it is only when Nigerians are coming back that they overload the whole place with hand luggage. So they said the luggage holes can take one or two tons of yams.

 

“DHL flies cargo planes into Nigeria daily, 747 planes and they go back largely empty. They have to fill the aircraft with sand bags to balance the weight. They said arrange let’s fly this thing, we will give you discounts.

 

“The Russian Ambassador came to my office to ask if we can sell them fruits— pawpaw, avocado pears, bananas, mangos. He came in with his jet.

 

“Many countries, we have been told will in 10years or 15years be using electrical cars; it is time for us to get ready because in five years, they will probably get there.

 

“Tesla is a group in the US, their electrical cars are now able to drive 500kms on a single charge and it takes eight minutes to recharge, almost faster than your cell phone and you can clock another 500kms.

 

“What do we do when that time comes and oil is gone and there is nothing to export? Some people are there and anything you try to do they attack you, they harass you and how do you earn forex?

 

“Nigeria is owing N18trillion in debt right now and 20% or so of that is foreign, the rest is local debt. How do you pay the foreign ones if you have no earnings in dollars? How do you import medicines and vaccines if you don’t have dollars?

 

“The argument that yams would be short is not true; 30% of the yams we grow rot away and we are the largest producers of yam in the world. The figure is not mine, it is that of the Food and Agricultural Organisation, FAO.

 

“I think generations past have made many serious mistakes, we mismanaged oil and gas. If not, by now, Nigeria should be talking of $200 billion foreign reserves. Between food and petroleum products we blew 60billion a year on imports, it made no sense.

 

“Why couldn’t we refine our petrol here, why import rice, sugar, milk, tomato paste, fruit juice concentrate, fish, apples, grapes and what have you?

 

“So the big question is where are we heading because if we cannot sort this thing out quickly enough, I can assure you like when I talked about Boko Haram many years that trouble lies ahead.

 

“On the other hand, if we can turn it around, this country could be a paradise but we don’t have that much time.

 

“Too many young people are angry, they are all over the streets, kidnapping, and stealing, killing and what have you. What kind of country are we in that people kill each other so happily. You just enter a village 40 people have been killed, 11 people have been killed, you kidnapped somebody and shot him; are we sane?”

 

 

ALGON Unveils Agricultural Plan To Create Over 1 Million Jobs

The Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), has unveiled an agricultural plan called Comprehensive Local Agriculture Plan, C-LAP, that is set to create over 1 million jobs in the rural areas.

 

This was disclosed during the official launch of C-LAP yesterday, in Abuja, by the Director, Projects and International Cooperation, C-LAP, Dr Tanay Joshi, who said the project will facilitate utilization of scarce natural, physical and financial resources, therefore create wealth and jobs for the teeming population.

 

Joshi said the initiative was targeted at the integrated action plan to fast-track development of local government areas through agriculture sector, and also for infrastructural development that would support the agricultural development at the grassroots. According to him, the plan will enhance the ability for achieving sustainable agricultural growth with food security and the cropping system that will improve farmers’ income.

 

The project strategy includes creating opportunities by building food processing industries in the LGAs and a customized mega food park for each state, making farmers, traders and processors as the principal’s agents of commercialization. Establish primary, secondary, tertiary markets at local levels to support distribution and export markets at national and level linking the farmers to markets and opportunities.

 

ALGON, therefore, adopts a bottom-up approach through the C-LAP at local government level of the agricultural sector. It will add value to agricultural raw materials and integrate Nigeria into world agricultural markets. He said: “C-LAP is a bottom-up approach which aims to eliminate hunger through agriculture policy reforms and initiatives that will help small-scale farmers achieve sustainable food supplies, provide jobs, access markets and increase exports significantly. It will be implemented in the 774 local government areas over an initial five years period.

 

“Under this project, a component of food security and livelihood enhancement have been given top priority. The project will intervene in all sectors of agriculture and in other to combat poverty and improve livelihoods across the nation and assure food security.”

 

In his remarks, chairman, local organising committee, Dr Balraj Sikka, explained that project will create a wide range of opportunities for investors to come into the food value chains, which will take the business to the capital market that would make ALGON have major benefits that would help it sustain its own. “Aggregating 774 farms and linking these farms to a national retail chain, wholesale markets and mega food parks.

 

To address the forward linkages; the project will design food mart retail chain model to create a network that delivers the agricultural produces straight to the doorstep of the consumers. “It will help to create opportunities for private investors to invest in food chains and finally the business can be taken to the capital market so that ALGON has a major benefit and sustain on its own”, Sikka stated.

Palm Oil: Malaysia 2018 Output To Rise By 2.5%

The world’s second largest Palm oil producing country, Malaysia is expected to increase by 15.5 percent this year and will grow by 2.5 percent in 2018, the government said on Friday.

 

Malaysian output is forecast to rise to 20 million tonnes this year and to 20.5 million tonnes in 2018 due to better yields and expansion into matured areas, according to forecasts given in the government’s annual economic report released ahead of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s announcement of the 2018 budget. In 2016, production was 17.3 million tonnes, the report said. Average prices for palm oil are also projected to rise because of higher demand.

 

“Palm oil price (in 2018) is expected to increase to an average of 2,750 ringgit per tonne bolstered by higher demand, particularly from China, the (European Union) and India.”

 

The government expects an average palm oil price of 2,700 ringgit ($638) per tonne this year. ($1 = 4.2330 ringgit)

 

Obasanjo Fires Shagari Over Rice Production

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday speaking as chief launcher at the global unveiling of Okun Rice at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta, Ogun State blasted Alhaji Shehu Shagari for scuttling the progress made by the country to be self- sufficient in rice production.

 

He recalled that in 1979 when he handed over power as military Head of State, the country was almost achieving self- sufficiency in the production, adding that inconsistent in policies by his successor who later set up a committee on the importation of rice, stifled the laudable move.

 

Obasanjo noted that the shift in policy focus served as a disincentive to farmers who were sent packing as the imported bags of rice began to arrive. He commended the promoter of the new product, Biodun Onalaja, for rekindling the hope of the country at achieving self-sufficiency in rice production and ensuring food security for the nation.

 

Make Agric Attractive To Youth, AfDB Urges African Leaders

The World Food Day celebrated yearly on October 16, promotes worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and the need to ensure food security and nutritious diets for all. This year’s theme focuses on the need to ‘Change the future of migration; Invest in food security and rural development’, and as the world marked the 2017 World Food Day, the African Development Bank has highlighted how Africa’s food security depends on attracting young people to agriculture and agribusiness. The bank also noted that the sector can potentially create wealth and employment for African youth, thereby stemming migration.

The AfDB’s ENABLE Youth programme, which grooming a crop of young agriculturists, is on course to make this happen, according to a release to mark the day, issued in Des Moines, Iowa, United States. Mahmud Johnson, 26, is the Founder of J-Palm Liberia, which works to improve income for Liberia’s smallholder oil palm farmers by 50-80 percent. He is also creating additional jobs for over 1,000 young people to work as sales representatives for his products.

“Despite the tremendous odds, we (African youth) are determined to maximise our abundant agricultural resources to create wealth, jobs, and socioeconomic opportunities in our countries and across the continent. We need our stakeholders to view us as serious partners in Africa’s transformation, and to work with us to expand our enterprises,” Mahmud said. Mahmud and some of his employees have benefited from capacity building programmes under AfDB’s Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment for Youth initiative.

Like Mahmud, many African youths are passionate about staying back on the continent to create wealth and employment, if given the tools and opportunities to put their skills to use. Under the ENABLE Youth programme, the Bank is working with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to develop a new generation of young commercial farmers and agribusiness entrepreneurs. “We must get youths into agriculture and see it as a profitable business venture, not a sign of lacking ambition,” said the President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina.

“Our goal is to develop 10,000 such young agricultural entrepreneurs per country in the next 10 years. In 2016, the Bank provided $700 million to support this program in eight countries and we’ve got requests now from 33 countries,” said Adesina. The Bank considers investment in agriculture as the key to making Africa youths prosperous, thereby stemming the tide of migration. This goal and theme of 2017 World Food Day are well aligned with two of the AfDB’s High 5 development priorities – Feed Africa and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa – said Vice-President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development at the AfDB, Jennifer Blanke.

“A thriving business sector in Africa will provide the jobs and returns that will attract and retain Africa’s best talent on the continent while improving the quality of life of all Africans,” she said. With more than 70 percent of Africans depending on agriculture for their livelihoods, it is imperative for the sector’s full potential to be unlocked, and by doing so help to vastly improve the lives Africans. Accordingly, one of the goals of Feed Africa is to eliminate hunger and malnutrition by 2025.

Due to the finite nature of mineral resources such as gold, diamonds, crude oil, among others, African countries must diversify their economies. This cannot be done without a significant emphasis on agriculture given that the great majority of Africans depend on it for their livelihoods, the release noted. Increased food demand and changing consumption habits driven by demographic factors such as urbanisation (internal migration) are leading to rapidly rising net food imports, which will grow from $35 billion in 2015 to over $110 billion by 2025 if trends are left unchecked.

Given that African smallholder farmers are on average about 60 years old, Africa’s food security depends on attracting young people into agriculture and agribusiness and empowering them. Governments can support these shifts through the right enabling environments via policy reforms for increased private investment in agriculture and agribusiness.

“Food security and rural development are closely interlinked with issues of migration, fragility and resilience. The Horn of Africa and the Sahel provide compelling examples of how global factors such as food insecurity, radical extremism and migration reinforce state fragility and have devastating effects on development,” said AfDB Vice-President for Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery, Khaled Sherif.

“The lack of economic opportunities, infrastructure, employment opportunities and unpredictable climatic changes in these countries are key sources of fragility that often times result in the forced migration of peoples seeking a desperate alternative. The Bank has, where appropriate, adopted risk-based approaches at both country and regional levels in addressing fragility”, he added.

Rice Farmers Loss Millions As Rainstorm Washes 100 Hectares Of Rice Farm

A rainstorm which occurred in Panyam on Monday,has washed away 100 hectares of rice farms, worth millions of naira, at Panyam village in Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau, affecting more than 150 farmers.

One of the farmers, Rev. Joshua Dayong, said: “I don’t know where to start from after this unfortunate and devastating incident, which has rendered all my efforts void and worthless.

“Some of us have invested a lot of capital in rice farming, in line with calls from the Federal Government on Nigerians to invest in agriculture, as part of its economic diversification programme.

“But what do we have at the end? Wailing, discouragement and despair for what has befallen us, just when we were about to harvest our produce and smile.’’

Another victim, Mr Luka Zugumnaan, said: “I don’t know why this kind of misfortune happened to me at this time. How to cater for my family and what to do in the next farming season are my major concerns now.’’

He said that all the farms affected by the downpour could have produced over 300 bags of rice for the farmers, while fetching them nothing less than N4 million.

However, Chief Aminu Derwam, the District Head of Panyam, urged the victims to take solace in God and consider the incident as an act of God.

“I am so worried and pained that this happened to my beloved subjects who are trying to make a living through farming, only to face disappointment at the end,’’ he said.

Derwam called on the federal, state and local governments to come to the aid of the affected farmers so as to cushion the effects of the losses they had suffered.

Mr Danjuma Haruna, the Chairman of Mangu Local Government Council, who visited the affected farmlands on Tuesday, bemoaned the extent of the devastation at the farms.

Describing the incident as saddening and unfortunate, Haruna advised the farmers to take solace in God who could only explain why the incident occurred.

He, nonetheless, pledged the readiness of the council to assist the farmers in order to cushion the effect of their losses.

AfDB To Create 10,000 Agric Entrepreneurs

The African Development Bank (AfDB) is to make agriculture a profitable business as well as create 10,000 young agricultural entrepreneurs per country in the next 10 years.

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the continental bank, gave the assurance at the 2017 World Food Day celebration.

The celebration with the theme: “change the future of migration; Invest in food security and rural development’ held in Des Moines, Iowa, United States, on Monday.

The World Food Day is celebrated yearly on October 16, to promote worldwide awareness for those who suffer from hunger and need to ensure food security and nutritious diets.

Adesina said that Africa’s food security depended on attracting young people to agriculture and agribusiness.

He added that the sector can potentially create wealth and employment for African youth, thereby stemming migration.

Adesina, therefore, urged African leaders to make agriculture attractive to young Africans to stem migration.

“In 2016, the bank provided $700 dollars to support this programme in eight countries and we’ve got requests now from 33 countries.

” We must get youths into agriculture and see it as a profitable business venture not a sign of lacking ambition.

“Many African youths are passionate about staying back on the continent to create wealth and employment if given the tools and opportunities to put their skills to use,” Adesina said.

According to him, under the Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment (ENABLE) Youth programme, AfDB is working with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to develop a new generation of young commercial farmers and agribusiness entrepreneurs.

Adesina said that the bank considered investment in agriculture as the key to making Africa youths prosperous, thereby stemming the tide of migration.

He said that the goal and theme of 2017 World Food Day, were well aligned with two of the AfDB’s High 5 development priorities.

According to him, the High 5 priorities are Feed Africa and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

“With more than 70 per cent of Africans depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, it is imperative for the sector’s full potential to be unlocked.

” And by so doing help to vastly improve the lives of Africans.

“One of the goals of Feed Africa is to eliminate hunger and malnutrition by 2025.

” Due to the finite nature of mineral resources such as gold, diamonds, crude oil, among others, African countries must diversify their economies.

” This cannot be done without a significant emphasis on agriculture given that the great majority of Africans depend on it for their livelihoods,” he said.

AfDB president said that increased food demand and changing consumption habits driven by demographic factors such as urbanisation are leading to rapidly rising net food imports in Africa.

He said that if the trends are left unchecked food imports will grow from 35 billion dollars in 2015 to over 110 billion dollars by 2025.

“Given that African smallholder farmers are on average about 60 years old, Africa’s food security depends on attracting young people into agriculture and agribusiness and empowering them.

“Governments can support these shifts through the right enabling environments via policy reforms for increased private investment in agriculture and agribusiness,” Adesina said.

 

 

Source: NAN

Edo Farmers To Cultivate 250,000 Hectares Of Land In Two Years – Obaseki

The Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has disclosed that the goal of his administration in the next two years is to ensure that farmers in the State cultivate a minimum of 250,000 hectares of farmland.

Obaseki said this at the weekend during the 13th Esan Economic Empowerment Workshop, with the theme: “Modernising Agri-business in Esan Land for Economic Empowerment,” organised by the Association of Esan Professionals.

He explained that agriculture is at the centre of the economic reconstruction programme of the Federal Government as well as Edo State government due to the sector’s potential to create millions of jobs.

“This initiative is in line with my administration’s commitment to creating 200,000 jobs for Edo people, which we promised during our electioneering campaign,” the governor said.

He said agriculture is being embraced in Edo State due to the incentives his administration is providing to make access to land, fertiliser and other inputs easy for farmers.

He further said that his administration has revamped the Edo fertiliser plant in Auchi to enable farmers to have the same type of fertiliser after proper examination of the soil to ensure healthy crop production.

“We have equally revamped the College of Agriculture in the state to train our farmers and help them with the required knowledge to grow healthy agricultural products for export.”

Obaseki said the Gelegele Sea Port is another important project that will help in the export of finished agricultural products.

He urged the youths to embrace agriculture as his administration is creating the enabling environment for large-scale farming, easy access to land and improved seedlings.

“Agriculture is now scientifically done and mechanisation will help us compete in the international agricultural market.”

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbe, congratulated the organisers of the workshop and pledged the support of the federal government for their programme.

The Minister who was represented by the State Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Edo State Office, Omoragbon Wellington, assured that the Federal Government would support the group in the area of capacity building and supply of processing machines at a subsidised rate.

The president of the Association of Esan Professionals, organisers of the workshop, Barr. Mathew Egbadon, said the association was established with the sole objective of serving as a non- political platform for the Esan people to contribute their quota to the development of Esan land.

He said the association has established Esan Education Trust Fund to assist indigent students in accessing quality education.

Egbadon said the association is focusing on agriculture because Esan people have a comparative advantage in the sector with the vast land available for farming.

A highlight of the event was the presentation of a cash gift of N500, 000 to three schools for coming tops in a quiz competition organised to test their proficiency in Esan language.

The cash reward was to encourage proficiency in Edo languages in line with the state government’s resolve to promote Edo culture.

 

Yam In Nigeria Is Far Better In Taste, Quality – Exporter

Managing Director, Wan Nyikwagh Farms Nigeria Limited, Mr Yandev Amaabai, revealed that after the official flag-off of the policy on June 29, 2017, his yams were made to pass 12 ports before arriving the United States of America, USA.

Mr Amaabai stated this while explaining why some of the exported yams got rotten, and also debunked reports on social and conventional media that alleged that there was an outright rejection of exported yams from Nigeria.

According to him all his exported yams were bought on arrival, which was because by all standards yams from Nigeria were far better in terms of quality and taste, and now they are out of stock. He said:

“I moved my yams from Benue to Lagos on 25 and 26 of June, 2017, while the flag-off for the yams exportation was on the 29th June 2017, by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh.

“When we got to Lagos, I discovered that we needed a certain containers to export the yams. I discovered such containers were not available so we were given a space at the port to pack the yams.

“After the flag-off, I was able to get the required container. So my yams were loaded on July 7, 2017, and left Nigeria on July 9 to the United States of America, USA. The yams did not get to US until Sept 1, 2017.

“Movement within the ports took us more than two to three days. To move a container from Tin Can Port to Apapa Port, just a close distance was hectic for us.

“My yams went through 12 ports before it finally got to US, and if we can get ships that are going direct route, that will have been better and the cost will also be reduced.”

According to him a particular government agency that supposed to educate yam exporters on how to package and handle yams before export lacked the capacity to do so. “From my experience, the government agency that was supposed to supervise how we were packaging the yams did not know the exact thing they were supposed to do.

“We were asked to cut the bottom of the yams and put wax but when we got to US, we discovered that that was not necessary. The moment you cut the bottom of the yam, it makes it rotten quicker.

“Then we packed our yams to the warehouse. So, wherever this story is coming from that America government says that yams exported from Nigeria are not good, I don’t know about that.

“Even on the shelves in US, you can still see some Ghanaian yams rotten. I have pictures as evidence to show in case of any doubt. “There is no way these yams could have been 100 per cent ok because of the time wasted to ship them to US.

“So some of the yams when we arrived US were actually not too good again, but most of them were good and we sold all out. So far, it was a successful story. I believe this is a learning process. I have learnt a lot. Next time, I should be able to cut the cost at least half of what I inquired from this last experience”, he said.

Parliament Bans Forestry Activities in Osun

The State of Osun House of Assembly has banned the activities of Timber contractors and Fletchers until the new guideline and regulations of forestry operation is provided in the state.

The Speaker, Honourable Najeem Salaam made this known on Tuesday at the stakeholders meeting held by the committee of the whole House in the State House of Assembly complex, Osogbo.

The stakeholders’ meeting comprises of sawmillers, fletchers, timber contractors, forest guides and officials of the forestry in the state.

Salaam observed that the meeting was called to shed more light on the allegations raised against the officers, which according to him, had been affecting the state economy.

He said a lot of fraud cases were reported during the committee meeting held with the Chairman House Committee on Environment and Sanitation.

According to him, “this meeting is necessary to clear some difficult issues in Osun forestry activities and we all need to redeem the forest from collapse for our next generation”.

The speaker who hinted that the state Assembly would make new rules and guidelines for forest activities in the state to save it from collapse said, “There is a need to get to the bottom of the fraud in our various forests in the state”.

He then urged the forest guides to be committed and sit tight in their duties to save Osun Forest against illegal lumbering.

He said, “Osun Assembly will review all forestry activity laws for the betterment of the state and its entire people”.

In their separate remarks, members of the Assembly urged the forest guides to desist from taking bribes from fletchers and timber contractors in order to avoid embarrassment.

They advised the forest guides to change their attitude towards the forest henceforth and appealed to timber contractors and fletcher to peacefully co-exist with the interest of moving the state forward.

In his response, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Environment and Sanitation, Mr. Tunde Ajilore urged the state House of Assembly to amend Osun forestry laws to save the forests in the state.

 

Israel Afolabi

Bumper Harvest Reduces Cost Of Local Rice In Jalingo

A survey conducted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday at Gadar Bobboji, Kasuwan Bera and Mile Six Markets, has shown that the price has significantly decrease.

Rice worth N650 and N750 weeks ago are now sold for N480 and N550.

Similarly, a bag of local rice sold between N28, 000 and N30, 000 two to three weeks ago is now selling at between N23, 000 and N24, 000.

When contacted for comment, the leader of rice sellers at Gadar Bobboji Market, Alhaji Nura Mohammed, attributed the price decrease to availability of the commodity in the market.

He said that the bumper harvest recorded by farmers in the state had contributed to the increase in supply.

Mohammed predicted that the price could drop further ahead of the Yuletides if the current supply of rice to the market was sustained.

It was however discovered that the price of foreign rice has slightly increased in the markets.

A measure of foreign rice which costs N950 two weeks ago is now selling at N1, 000, while a 50kg bag of foreign rice has gone up from N18, 500 to N19, 000.