FG targets N6bn from 20 silos’ concession

The Federal Government is to get about N6bn from the concession of 20 silos in different parts of the country to private sector operators.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, told State House correspondents in Abuja that the Federal Executive Council approved the plan at its meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday.

According to Ogbeh, who briefed reporters after the council’s meeting, the concession of the 20 silos will be for a period of 10 years.

He said despite the concession, the Federal Government remained the owner of the 20 silos as the deal could be revoked or renewed after the 10-year period.

The minister stated, “FEC approved the concession of 20 silos, most of them with a capacity of 100,000 tonnes each, after council members were convinced about the positive benefits accruable to the country from the concession.

“We informed them that the fact that we are conceding some of the silos does not mean we are reneging on our responsibility to guarantee food security. We are keeping six of the silos, which is according to international standard that we keep five per cent of all the grains we harvest every year; the rest will go to private sector groups.

“Those who bid and have shown capacity have been the ones allocated the silos; those who are unable to manage them will have the concession revoked. Government will earn N6bn in the 10-year period of the first instance.

“The Federal Government remains the owner of the silos and at the end of the 10 years, we can either renew, revoke or take over the silos and operate them ourselves.”

Ogbeh added that the Federal Government currently had a total of 33 silos located in different parts of the country.

“A total of 33 silos exist with a capacity of 1,360,000 metric tonnes of grains, and they are spread almost evenly through the geopolitical zones of the country,” he stated.

He said the process for the concession, which began in 2014, was delayed because the government wanted to ensure accountability.

The minister added, “The process was carried out by the World Bank, the Concession Committee of the Government, NGOs, the private sector and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

“It has taken this long to arrive at this because the processes are very slow; we wanted absolute accountability.”

As part of the benefits of the concession arrangement, Ogbeh said the private operators who won the silos would help to organise local groups to produce grains, to dry them properly, store and market them or even export.

He gave assurance that the private operators had the capacity to maintain the silos effectively.

Ogbeh added, “We have requests for grains from different parts of the world — soya beans, sesame, sorghum and millet. We also have massive rice production going on and the likes of Dangote and Coscharis going into rice production now need these silos. So, concession of the silos to them means they will organise local groups to produce grains for them to dry properly and store and market when the need arises or even export.

“We have confidence that these private sector operators have the capacity to operate and maintain these silos successfully.” – Punch

– Sept. 20, 2018 @ 8:55 GMT |

Kogi ADP inaugurates enterprise planning system to aid extension workers

Kogi Agricultural Development Project (ADP) has inaugurated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to aid agriculture extension workers’ easy capturing of farmers’ data across the State.

The Managing Director of ADP, Mr Oyisi Okatahi, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lokoja that ERP was the final phase in its effort of ADP to fully automate its operations.

He said that the extension workers would be able to access the enterprise resource planning system, using the link website of ‘staff.kogiadp.org.

Okatahi said that the inauguration of online market, farmers` database and ICT training centre were all parts of the efforts to ensure that technology was optimised, especially where resources were scarce.

According to him, technology makes things faster, easier, and cheaper.

The ADP boss added that the extension workers had been able to work remotely from any part of the state, once they had internet connectivity.

Okatahi noted that Kogi ADP currently had over 2,000 N-Power Agro volunteers working in the field, adding that the need to use technology to manage information has become imperative.
He commended the Gov.Yahaya Bello-led administration for its assistance to ADP, especially some members of staff OF the organisation involved in auto crash recently.

“The Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Kehinde Oloruntoba, Secretary to State Government, Dr Folashade Ayoade and State Coordinator, Fadama III, Mr Paul Ogunmola, provided support to the injured and families of the deceased.

“We are indeed very grateful,” Okatahi said. (NAN)

– Sept. 19, 2018 @ 15:35 GMT |

CPC confiscates adulterated sesame seeds in Jigawa

The Jigawa Consumer Protection Committee (CPC) said it confiscated eight sacks of adulterated sesame seeds worth N240,000 in Gugunju International Grains Market, in Taura Local Government Area of the state.

CPC Chairman, Alhaji Faruk Abdallah, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the commodity was confiscated from a trader during an unscheduled visit to the market on Sept. 15.

He explained that the suspect had already been charged to a Magistrate Court in Taura where he was sentenced to eight months imprisonment with an option of N20,000.

The chairman added that the court ordered the confiscated commodity to be destroyed.

According to him, the committee will continue to ensure that traders do not shortage customers and people consume products that are genuine. (NAN)

– Sept. 19, 2018 @ 15:05 GMT |

Consultant advises fish farmers to use locally made feeds

An Agriculture Consultant, Michael David, has advised fish farmers in Nigeria to adopt the use of locally made feeds instead of depending on imported fish feeds.

David gave the advice on Wednesday during a Fish Feed and Management Workshop held at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan.

The workshop was organised by American Soyabean Association (ASA) and Transforming African Agriculture Technology (TAAT Aquaculture Compact).

The consultant wondered why fish farmers would continue to import fully compounded feeds, when Nigeria could now produce more quality feeds.
According to him, companies in Nigeria now have the capacity to produce better feeds capable of creating more profit margins for fish farmers.

“The feeds imported are good, but the local feeds produced in Nigeria are much better.

“Fish farmers using locally made feeds have better chances of making more profit than those using the imported feeds,’’ he said.

He, however, called on government at all levels to do more by creating enabling environment for fish farmers to strive, adding that the private sector would rise if governments would effectively play its roles.

Prof. Bernadette Fregene, Leader, TAAT Aquaculture Compact, said the organisation was saddled with the responsibility of developing low cost feeds that would lead to the production of fast growing and disease resistant fishes.

Fregene said that fish feed contributes 60 to 80 per cent of the operating cost of fish farming; hence the need to reduce the cost of fish feeds in order to break even.

“If a farmer feeds his fish with imported branded fish feeds, such a farmer may not be able to get higher profit margin compared to those feeding theirs with locally made fish feeds.

“The plan of Aquaculture Compact is to work with local farmers that grow maize, cassava, soya bean and groundnut and see how we can make use of their products in making fish feed,’’ she said.

In his remarks, Chris Slemp, Programme Manager, ASA said the workshop was to demonstrate and present the results of local feeds to fish farmers.

“It will also help to see some of the ways the association can work with local aquaculturists and other stakeholders to improve local production,” he said. (NAN)

– Sept. 19, 2018 @ 14:59 GMT |

Governorship aspirant to prioritise agric sector in Nasarawa state

MR JA’AFARU Ibrahim, a governorship aspirant under the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Nasarawa state, has said that agriculture would be given top priority when elected in 2019.

Ibrahim, a lawmaker representing Nasarawa/Toto Constituency at the Federal House of Representatives, stated this on Tuesday when he visited the Osukwo of Obi, Alhaji Aliyu Dangiwa-Orume in Obi.

Ibrahim said that the sector have the potential of providing adequate jobs for the teeming unemployed in the society through direct and indirect involvement in farming and its value chain.

“Aside job creation, the agriculture sector has the capacity to increase the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the State, thereby making it self relient.

“This is why I am going to make it my top priority if I become governor in 2019,” he said.

Ibrahim said he would support farmers in the state with soft loans and other farming tools so as to motivate them to take farming activities as a serious business.

“My focus is to create more jobs in the state through agriculture. So, I will do everything possible within my power to make it viable,” he said.

The aspirant assured the residents of total safety of their lives and property in the state, noting that peace breed development in any society.

Ibrahim told the paramount ruler that his visit was to seek royal blessings, adding that his desire to join the race was out of his passion to contribute to the development of the state.

Responding, the Obi thanked the aspirant for the visit and urged him to be peaceful, mature and Godly as he go about canvassing for votes and support across the state. (NAN)

 

– Sept. 19, 2018 @ 8:59 GMT |

Africa sharpens expertise in agricultural statistics

The Economic Commission for Africa, the African Development Bank, AfDB, and the National Institute for Statistics and Applied Economics, INSEA, of Morocco launched on Monday, September 18, a joint training on agricultural statistics.

Agriculture currently contributes more than 40% of Africa’s GDP and employs more than 70% of its population while current priorities include the Sustainable Development Goals and regional integration through Agenda 2063. “Statistics will [therefore] play a key role as a measurement and control tool to observe countries’ progress towards these goals,” Lilia Hachem Naas, director of the ECA Office for North Africa said in her opening speech.

For a week, about 70 experts, trainers and officials from African national statistical institutes and Ministries of Agriculture will study and share their experiences in the field of agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, and post-harvest loss statistics.

Some twenty countries benefit from the training including Benin, Burkina, Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Comoros, Congo Brazzaville, Congo DRC, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Sao Tome, Senegal, Togo and Tunisia.

The ECA African Centre for Statistics is organizing this training in collaboration with the ECA Office for North Africa as part of the UN Global Strategy to improve agricultural and rural statistics-Action Plan for Africa; and in support to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in the region.

– Sept. 18, 2018 @ 18:49 GMT |

Value chain: NGO registers 27,000 tomato farmers in 3 states

An NGO, Pyxera Global YieldWise Nigeria Project, has registered more than 27,000 tomato farmers in its database in Jigawa, Kano and Katsina states as part of efforts  to strengthen the tomato value chain.

The Project Director of the initiative, Mr Lekan Tobe,  disclosed this at a stakeholders meeting in Kano on Tuesday.

The YieldWise project, which is being funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, is aimed at reducing post harvest loss for tomato in the country.

He said the project had also been able to train the aggregated farmers on improved agronomic practices and post-harvest management as well as link the tomato farmers to alternative buyers and processors among others.

Tobe said the capacity building was aimed at introducing improved and good agricultural practices for better yields.

“We also want to ensure there is coordination among stakeholders in the value chain,” the project director added.

According to him, the project has introduced 16 affordable technologies such as zero energy clean chambers to hold the tomatoes before being transported to markets.

He lamented that due to lack of market access, poor handling practices and bad road networks, most of the tomatoes never make it to the markets.

Tobe called on the Federal Government to ensure that the ban on importation of tomato was enforced to save farmers from going out of the business.

Also speaking, the Vice President, Nigeria Agri-business Group, Chief Emmanuel Ijewere,  called on federal and state governments to support tomato farmers by establishing aggregate centres and cold rooms to enable them to store the commodity before disposal.

In his remarks,  the Secretary-General of the Tomato Growers Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Sani Danladi-Yadakwari,  urged farmers to embrace the newly introduced plastic crate for transportation of the commodity to other parts of the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)  reports that the meeting was attended by  stakeholders,  including representatives of federal and state ministries of agriculture as well as operators in the private sector (NAN)

– Sept. 18, 2018 @ 16:59 GMT |

Address post-harvest losses, Denmark tells Nigerian farmers

Jacob Erikstrup, the Minister Counsellor of Denmark in Lagos on Tuesday expressed concern about post-harvest losses by Nigerian farmers.

Erikstrup told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that Nigerian farmers should adopt strategies that would reduce losses in the value chain from production to harvest stage.

He said it was also imperative for Nigerian farmers to imbibe the culture of preserving their produce for future needs.

The agriculture development expert at the Consulate General of Denmark also advised the farmers to ensure that agricultural produce including meat and dairy were properly packaged.

“Nigeria is a land of opportunities for farmers if well harnessed. Let me say that the potential in Nigeria is large.

“But from my interactions with some farmers and visits to some places where tomatoes are sold, I have observed the problem of post-harvest losses in Nigeria and this should not be the case.

“Nigerian farmers need to be conscious of the economic and health implication of poorly preserved foods,’’ Erikstrup said.

Erikstrup also advised Nigerians not to overcook their food, saying there is the possibility for the food to lose key vitamins and nutritional value because of over cooking.

There is an extent to which food should be cooked to retain its nutritional value and for one to stay healthy after eating, he
stressed.

“The benefit should be that Nigerians get the nutritional value from every food consumed.’’ (NAN)

– Sept. 18, 2018 @ 12:45 GMT |

Akeredolu appeals to CBN to extend intervention funds to cash crop farmers

GOV. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State on Friday appealed to Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to extend intervention funds to cash crop farmers.

Akeredolu made the call at the inauguration of Bambi Farms, a factory that produces vegetable oil from palm kernel, at Okeigbo in Odigbo/Okeigbo Local Government Area of the state.

The governor said that if the Federal Government could extend the funds to the sub-sector and fund it well, Nigeria would earn reasonable foreign exchange.

Akeredolu pledged that the state government would support the factory.

According to him, the factory will create jobs for the unemployed and serve as available market for farmers in the area, hereby generating income.

” We want to look at usefulness of this industry; It needs the support of all because it would grow in no time.

“From records available to me, it can produce 120 tonnes of soya beans and palm kernel oil per day.”

He added that his administration had revived the moribund Okitipupa Oil Mill, saying that the private sector would be engaged in its sustenance.

Earlier, Mr Ade Ayoola, the Chairman of Bambi Farms, said that he planned to increase the capacity of the factory.

” Our dream is big and it is only God that can achieve it for us.

“In the next few years, we hope to have filled the land with oil mills, refinery; we are targetting 1,000 workers per shift.

“We cannot achieve this without the support of government because our desire is to change the narrative.”

He, therefore, thanked Mr Akin Olootu, the Special Adviser on Agriculture and Agri-Business to the governor, for his assistance.

Also speaking, the royal father of the day, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, Ooni of Ife, thanked the state government for its immense support toward the realisation of the factory.

He applauded the chairman for locating the factory in his home town and appealed to other indigenes of the state to always remember their source for development.

Oba Victor Kiladejo, the Osemawe of Ondo kingdom, congratulated the state governor, noting that he had passionate disposition toward projects benefitting the state.

The monarch also thanked Ayoola, saying it was a clarion call to others to invest in human value projects, promising him that he would be of help within his capacity.

Archbishop Gabriel Akinbiyi of the Anglican Church, Ondo Province and Alhaji Salaudeen Adesanmi, said they were happy that indigenes of the town for taking the necessary measures to develop it.(NAN)

– Sept. 15, 2018 @ 8:10 GMT |

Experts task agric engineers to sustain growth of diversified economy

Some stakeholders on Tuesday urged agricultural engineers to proffer measures of sustainability of a diversified economy through agropreneurship.

They made the plea in Lagos during the 19th International Conference and 39th Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Institution of Agricultural Engineers (NIAE) tagged: “Eko 2018’’.

The theme of the conference is: “Agropreneurship for Sustainability in a Diversified Economy’’.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Agropreneurship has to do with entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector, making sustainable business ventures off agro-commodities; goods and services

Mr Adekunle Mokuolu, the National President, Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) in his welcome address, described the theme of the conference as “current and germane’’.

Mokuolu said that the theme was germane because it would make the Nigerian economy, which in last couple of years was faced with price fluctuation, less-dependent on crude oil.

According to him, government is focused on the drive in the non-oil sector, especially agriculture, which is arguably the highest employer of labour.

“Data shows that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) recorded in agriculture was the second highest GDP and this is cheering news for us.

“The focus as engineers is how we can sustain growth of the agricultural sector in a diversified economy and innovative ways of enhancing the quality and quantity of our produce.

“The fruits that gets rotten in some states when they should have been processed as juice. Same goes to other farm produce.

Dr Shu’aibu Musa, National Chairman of NIAE, said that agriculture was one of the key promoters of the institution and the key sector that had the potential to contribute to the growth of the economy.

Musa said that agric engineers could raise a very large proportion of the population to produce food and increase the GDP.

He, however, explained that the conference would look at innovative ways to help in sustainability of a diversified economy.

The Chairman of the Local Organising Committee, Mr Aliru Alade, in his address, said that the theme of the conference was chosen to key into the Federal Government’s effort to diversify the economy from a mono-revenue economy to a multi-revenue economy.

Alade said that the dependent on oil revenue as a mono-revenue had done more harm than good to the economy of the nation.

According to him, the government seems to be succeeding in its efforts to diversify the economy according to the statistics from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics in the first quarter of 2018.

“The main contributors to this growth were manufacturers of foods; contributing 0.9 per cent; wholesale and retail contributing 0 5 per cent; and construction contributing 0.4 per cent.

“However to sustain the tempo of the economic diversification efforts of the government, entrepreneurs in agriculture has to be taken seriously.

“Hence, the theme: Agropreneurship for sustainability in a diversified economy,’’ Alade said.

NAN reports that special awards were given to Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State; Gov. Jibrilla Bindow of Adamawa and the Director General of FIIRO, Prof. Gloria Elemo.

The five-day conference holding at the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO), Lagos, started on Sept 10. (NAN)

– Sept. 11, 2018 @ 16:19 GMT |

2018 Agric Show to showcase evolving technologies — Coordinator

The exhibition of evolving technologies in the Agriculture sector will be the focus of the 11th edition of the National Agricultural Show, Dr Samuel Negedu, the National Coordinator, National Agricultural Foundation (NAFN), has said.

Negedu gave this indication in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday.

According to him, assorted agricultural equipment and machinery will be on display at the show organised annually by the foundation, an NGO incorporated in 2008.

The 2018 show, as in previous editions, would also feature the exhibition of agricultural produce and products, seminar and symposia and special days for states and organisations, Negedu said.

Negedu listed some expected participants to include state governments, federal institutions and agencies, agro-allied companies and farmers/commodity associations.

He said that donor agencies, banks, local governments and foreign participants were also expected at the show, scheduled to hold between Oct. 15 and Oct. 18 , Kms-28, Abuja-Keffi Road, Nasarawa State.

He said that the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, would be the Guest of Honour at the show and that prizes would be award to outstanding exhibitors and participants.

NAN recalls that the maiden edition of the show staged in 2007, followed discussions between the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) and Nasarawa State Government.

It was organised based on experiences gained at the UK Royal Agricultural Show held in Coventry in 2006.

The aim of the show is to showcase Nigeria’s abundant agricultural potential, resources and products.

It is also designed to consolidate on past achievements and chart the way for agricultural and development in the country. (NAN)

– Sept. 11, 2018 @ 16:05 GMT |

FG partners faith-based organisations to boost agriculture

The Federal Government has called on the Faith-Based Organisations (FBOs) to collaborate with the government by investing in agriculture to ensure food sufficiency in the country.

Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) made the call in Abuja on Tuesday at the 2018 Faith-Based Organisations Agricultural Summit.

The summit has its theme: “The Sustainable Agricultural Revolution; The Role of Faith-Based Organisations.”

Adefulire noted that the summit was apt as it would focus on how to strengthen and promote self-sustenance in food production and as well provide meaningful employment to our teaming unemployed population.

She reiterated the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in its resolution to explore meaningful ways and means of improving the lives of all Nigerians.

According to her, this is focused on the engagement and empowerment programmes for Nigerians through agriculture.

“Partnership with FBOs in agriculture will help fast-track the achievement of the SDGs 1 and 2 in Nigeria.

“Undoubtedly, the achievements of these two goals will produce multiplier effect on other goals.

“In view of this engagement, the FBOs are expected to play critical role in the achievement of the SDGs.

“This summit will provide the platform to guide us as we fashion out strategies to strengthen our relationship and collaboration as we work together for the common goal of ensuring that Nigeria makes significant progress in achieving the SDGs by 2030.”

She, however, urged Nigerians to make use of all available funding in the aspect of loans and grants as there were lots of possibilities in making Nigeria a wealthy and healthy nation.

In his message, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, was optimistic that the new development of partnership would impact greatly on the development of the country.

Abubakar, who was represented by the Emir of Keffi, Dr Shehu Yamusa, said the key actor in promoting sustainable agriculture for the country were the FBOs.

He called on the leadership of the FBOs to manage the tithes and offerings of their members judiciously and channel it into agriculture so as to provide food for the vulnerable in their midst.

He appealed to the Federal Government to also adopt a proactive measure to assist farmers in developing modern farming equipment that would aid food production.

He, therefore, urged the FBOs not to relent in discharging their duties but also ensure they preach tolerance and peace for the purpose of nation building.

Also, President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Dr Samson Ayokunle, said the initiative would minimise crisis in the country as well stop food importation.

Ayokunle, who was represented by Bishop Peter Ogunmuyiwa, Coordinating Chaplain, National Christian Centre, appealed for more enlightenment in the churches and mosques on how to access funds for agricultural development.

He, however, pledged the commitment of CAN to the realisation of the initiative.

“Agriculture play a dominant role in the empowerment of our people, so this initiative will go a long way in minimising crisis and also stop food importation.

“CAN is fully in support of this because engaging the FBOs will engender a speedy result expected by the government and people of Nigeria,” he said.

Also, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, welcomed the new development, while calling on Nigerians to access agricultural loans and grants to enable everyone participate in agriculture.

Ogbeh, represented by Mr Nasir Adamu, Director, Planning, Policy and Coordination, said the involvement of FBOs would drive the efforts in diversifying the nation’s economy thereby withdrawing dependence on oil.

He said with the commitment of the FBOs, the future of the country would be promising, adding that the country would see less poverty.

In a similar view, the Ambassador of Israel, Mr Ismail Halid, explained that though Israel as a nation do not have natural resources like Nigeria but was able to galvanise its human resources to make available technology for food production.

Halid urged the Nigerian government to take a clue from Israel to develop the best brains to bring this technology to bear in Nigeria in order to make every farmer self sufficient in farming activities. (NAN)

– Sept. 11, 2018 @ 15:39 GMT |

Jigawa RIFAN to produce 3.5m tonnes of rice in 2018, says official

THE Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Jigawa Chapter, on Tuesday said it would produce 3.5 million tonnes of rice in the 2018 wet and dry planting seasons.

The state Chairman of RIFAN, Alhaji Adamu Maigoro, made this known to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Hadejia, Jigawa.

Maigoro was optimistic that the target would be met, considering the state and Federal Government’s numerous interventions in rice farming.

“The production target of 3.5 million tonnes of rice is realistic given the enormous interventions of the state and Federal Governments. We have never experienced this in the past.

“The state government has identified over 6,000 rice farmers in clusters and provided farm inputs such as improved seeds, fertiliser, irrigation pumps and pesticides, among others, to them.

“The Federal Government, on the other hand, also provided similar inputs to over 11,500 farmers under the dry season edition of the Anchor Borrowers’ Scheme,’’ he said.

According to him, 40,000 registered rice farmers are to benefit from the wet season edition soon.

“With the availability of the inputs and the new farming techniques introduced, rice production in Jigawa has increased by 300 per cent to 400 per cent because rice farmers are being encouraged to cultivate more.’’

“About 80 to 100 bags of rice are now being harvested per hectare, contrary to the 30 to 35 bags harvested per hectare in the past using the local seeds.

“It will interest you to know that some of our members now plant rice thrice in a year due to these unprecedented support we are receiving,” Maigoro said.

The chairman said there were over 500,000 rice farmers in the state, saying that the major rice cultivation areas included: Auyo, Hadejia, Kirikasamma, Guri, Jahun, Ringim, Taura and Miga.

Maigoro said that `Dan Maude Rice’ and `Three Brothers’ were the two biggest rice processing plants in the state, noting that there were four smaller ones in Ringim, Gujungu, Birnin kudu and Hadejia. (NAN)

 

– Sept. 11, 2018 @ 14:25 GMT |

Yam Export: Traditional ruler wants government to support farmers

A traditional ruler, Eze Emmanuel Oparachukwu, says farmers cultivating yam in the Eastern part of the country needed government support to plant enough for export.

Oparachukwu, the traditional ruler of Ahiazu, Mbaise in Imo, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos.

According to him, yam farmers in Ebonyi, Anambra, Imo, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Rivers have yet to queue into yam export because of lack of government support.

“What yam farmers plant and harvest now is just enough to feed local consumers around the country and not for export.

“I think yam farmers have not looked at that possibility of export but with government support they can start thinking along that line,” he said.

Oparachukwu said that yam was cherished in the eastern part and indeed all over the country and it had always been regarded as the king of crops.

He said that in the East, yam was preserved in barns where it would be fresh and good till the next planting season.

According to him, in preparing the barns, trees that will germinate and keep fresh all year round is used.

He said this was to avoid the incidence of the trees drying up and falling and destroying the yams.

The traditional ruler said that in the barns, yams were skillfully tied front and back around special trees in two rows with each containing about 16 yams, adding that a barn could contain up to 2,000 yams.

Oparachukwu said that yam farmers that had up to 100 barns was automatically awarded the title of “Ezeji” which means “King of yam”.

He said that the barns could be located in the farm or in the farmers compound, but that it had to be covered with dry leaves to shed it from intense sunlight.

The traditional ruler said that besides the barn, there was no other special thing added to preserve the yam till the next farming season.

Oparachukwu said that the celebration of the New Yam Festival was key to the preservation of yam.

He said that during new yam celebrations, prayers were offered to God, thanking Him for the good yields and imploring Him to keep the yams fresh till the next planting season.

NAN reports that yams from Ontisha and Abakaliki were of good grades and were among the first to hit the market every harvest season in the eastern part of the country. (NAN)

– Sept. 10, 2018 @ 15:15 GMT

We are ready to support more Nigerian farmers – Netherlands

The Deputy Ambassador of the  Netherlands to Nigeria, Mr  Michel Deelen, on Friday expressed his home government’s readiness to support more Nigerian farmers to boost the nation’s food production.

Deelen gave the promise at a networking event for journalists in Lagos on a post Dutch Roots Conference recently organised by the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists(IFAD).

The deputy ambassador and Head of  the Netherlands Representation in Lagos also restated the Netherlands government’s commitment to supporting Nigeria in increasing milk production and other dairy products.

“We are really ready to support more small and medium Nigerian farmers in increasing their food production especially those in dairy farming.

“We are willing to increase their productivity. We are going to be doing a study on how best to assist these Nigerian farmers.

“We are also looking at the possibility of introducing the seeds improvement project to enhance the use of improved seeds by Nigerian farmers,’’ he said.

Deelen said his office had also decided to invite different agricultural experts from the Netherlands to train farmers in different parts of Nigeria to scale up food production.

The deputy ambassador added that his home government has had discussions with President Muhammadu Buhari on how to increase milk production in Nigeria.

According to Deelen, plans are underway to encourage more young Nigerians in farming as well as increase exchanges between Nigerian farmers and their dutch counterparts.“We need to establish a better situation whereby Nigerian farmers are better informed on how best to have impact in boosting food production in Nigeria.’’ (NAN)

– Sept. 7, 2018 @ 18:35 GMT