| By Vincent Nzemeke |
THE federal government loses more than 70 percent of the earnings from the exportation of kolanuts and bitterkola due to the activities of some illegal exporters who have taken over the business. Adebayo Babadara, president of the Kolanut and Bitter Kola Marketers and Exporters Association of Nigeria, KBMEAN, made the disclosure last week, in Abuja.
Babadara said even though Nigeria produces more than 70 percent of the global kolanut and bitterkola in the global market, the activities of the illegal exporters were robbing the government of the revenue accruable to it.
“The revenue accruing to the government from the exportation of the nuts is not at par with their local production volume. We call on the government to put control measures in place to check illegal exportation of these important medicinal and economic crops. For the government to earn more income from these crops, we will like to work with it in this regard.’’
Babadara also called on the government to support local production and modern processing of the nuts to boost the country’s economy.
He announced the 3rd International conference on Africa’s Indigenous Stimulants, ICAIS, will be hosted by the Oyo state government in collaboration with the federal ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, from October 22 to 23. ICAIS is an initiative of Vertical Inspirations Organisation and the African Business Roundtable, ABR.
Samuel Ortom, the minister of state for industry, trade and investment, said the conference was part of government’s efforts at boosting local production of the nuts. Ortom added that the conference was aimed at sensitising the public on the investment opportunities in the stimulant sub-sector, which has huge potentials for national economic development. The minister added that if the need arose, government would come up with a policy to drive the stimulant sub-sector at the end of the sensitization campaign.
Desirable Farmers and NAFDAC Partnership
FARMERS in Nigeria have called on the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, to partner with them in order to improve agricultural production in the country. The farmers under the aegis of the “All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, made the call in Abuja, last week, during a sensitisation workshop organised by NAFDAC on the management of Aflatoxin in Nigeria.
Segun Dasaolu, president of the association, said farmers need close supervision from organisations such as NAFDAC to enable them to farm with ease. He added that the country would be better of if “NAFDAC conducts research and collaborate with farmers to implement the results of the research. If farmers are well supervised and financed, farming will be better in Nigeria. There will be groundnut pyramids and other crops that used to fetch money for government in the past. We cannot continue to depend on oil alone; we must look for ways to improve agriculture.”
Paul Orhii, director-general, NAFDAC, said the objective of the workshop was to highlight and expose the extent of Aflatoxin contamination on staple food in Nigeria. He said Aflatoxin are highly toxic cancer-causing fungal agents known to cause immune system suppression, growth retardation, liver disease and death in both human and domestic animals. Orhii, who was represented by Stella Denloye, said aside from enlightening farmers on how they can improve export trade, the workshop also exposed them to the potential health implications of consuming Aflatoxin.
“The focus here will be on outlining preventive and monitoring measures that will lead to the reduction of the mycotoxin menace in Nigeria. Records have shown that there are concerted efforts all over the world directed at the introduction of preventive strategies to reduce the risks associated with Aflatoxin contamination and toxicity.
“These efforts are seen from the backdrop of introduction of mitigation products and stringent monitoring and control measures of the quality of food products by NAFDAC.”
The NAFDAC boss, however, expressed optimism that the workshop, which was the first of its kind in West Africa and Nigeria, would achieve its objectives.
N32 Billion FADAMA 111 Credit Facility
THE Federal Executive Council, FEC, has approved $200 million an equivalent of about N32 billion World Bank and International Development Association, IDA, credit facility for the National FADAMA 111 development project. Yerima Ngama, minister of state for finance, made this disclosure last week, when he briefed journalists about the outcome of the FEC meeting which was presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Ngama said the budget for the FADAMA III was 250 million dollars out of which the 200 million dollar would be sourced through the IDA. He also said in sourcing the balance of the fund, 7.95 million dollar would be provided by the three tiers of government, while the balance of 42.05 million dollars would be provided in kind by the benefitting communities.
The minister said that the loan would be negotiated and signed by the federal government, while the participating states which are Lagos, Niger, Anambra, Enugu, Kano and Kogi, would enter into subsidiary agreement with the federal government. According to him, the terms of the grant includes zero per cent interest rate, 0.75 per cent service charge and 0.5 per cent commitment charge on the available balance not utilised. The minister said the facilities would also attract 100-years moratorium and repayment term of 40-years.
Akinwumi Adesina, minister of agriculture, who also spoke on the project, said the country had 24 million hectares of FADAMA land most of which were productive. Adesina said the crops being focused on, under the new financing, rice, cassava, sorghum and horticulture, were critical for food self-sufficiency, reduction of import and job creation. On the six benefiting states of the facilities, he said Lagos, Niger, Anambra, Enugu and Kano, would benefit for rice production, Kano for horticulture and sorghum and Kogi for cassava.
“The project will reach 317,000 farmers and will impact on 1.7 million beneficiaries. The facility will support the development of the value chain for the targeted commodities, strengthen the farmers’ associations in the FADAMA areas and provide extension services for them. It will improve irrigation facilities for small scale farmers and most importantly 50 percent of the grant will go specifically to women who form the bulk of farmers in the country,’’ Adesina.”
He said the ministry was spending so much on the project because the FADAMA land could get two to three times a yield that could be realised from dry land agriculture when cultivated. “We feel that it is important to optimise the utilisation of FADAMA land, and we are going to scale this up across the country. The farmers all across the country, where we have the projects, have organised themselves into what we call a FADAMA micro-finance fund, a small micro finance facility of their own, which will allow the programme to continue to be sustained.”
— Sep. 16, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT