Nigeria Agriculture Weekly News Review…


Here are Agro Nigeria top picks for the week…

Blood and tears dominated the news for the last seven days as farmers in Benue State and other parts of the country mourned and buried their dead. In order to bring an end to Farmer/Herdsmen clashes, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said that the Federal Government will establish cattle colonies across the country. Ogbeh said the move will protect investments in Agriculture and also tackle apathy among farmers.
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In a related development, there are plans by the Federal Government to convene a stakeholders’ conference to proffer lasting solutions to the incessant herdsmen-farmers clashes in the country. The confab will also make recommendations on the provision of relief supplies for victims and long-term plan for the expansion of agriculture in the country.

Similarly, a coalition of eminent Nigerians has suggested ways to end the incessant farmers’ herdsmen clashes in the country.
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Nigerians, under the aegis of the Nigerian Working Group on Peace Building and Governance, suggested the establishment of grazing reserves, and development of a new policy framework on farmers-pastoralists relations, as some of the solutions to tackle the crisis.

The Group has Professor Ibrahim Gambari, General Martin Luther Agwai (Rtd), Professor Jibrin Ibrahim, Professor Attahiru Jega, Dr. Chris Kwaja, Ambassador Fatima Balla, Dr. Nguyan Fesse, Mrs. Aisha Muhammed – Oyebode and Mallam Y. Z. Ya’u as members.

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Also, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has debunked reports that plans by the Federal Government to establish cattle colonies, was aimed at reallocating community lands to herdsmen.

Ogbeh, who said this when Plateau Governor, Simon Lalong visited him in Abuja maintained that the measure was aimed at quickly curbing the incessant bloody clashes between farmers and herdsmen.

And on the bright side…

Nigeria has emerged as the fourth largest producer of cashew in the world according to the National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN). This feat was made possible by an annual production of  220,000 metric tonnes of cashew nuts out of the global total of 2.1 million tonnes last year. NCAN added that the country exported 120,000 metric tonnes and also earned N123 billion ($402 million) from the export of cashew in the year under review.
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Also last week…

The Nigerian Army Farms and Ranch, a major component of the Army’s agricultural programme has been inaugurated in Giri, Abuja. Feed making equipment and feeds were donated to the Nigerian Army for the initiative by the Federal Government.

Such moves by the Army must be emulated by other agencies and institutions of government to further drive the momentum of diversification of the Nigerian economy.

Relatedly, the declaration by the Technical Committee on Nigeria Yam Export Programme that it has set a target for the monthly export of about 480 tonnes of yams, this year is, to say the least, a welcome development. This comes on the heels of promises to train exporters of agricultural produce on the international standard for exporting yam.
It is our considered view that efforts in this regard must transcend mere declarations. Clear strategies must be adopted to make the goal achievable, bearing in mind the recent incident that led to the return of exported yams from the United States.

Achievements beneficial to the grassroots…

Jigawa State Government plans to engage about 10,000 youths in the cultivation of rice this year. The rice production programme is part of the Federal Government’s Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS).
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Also, Kebbi State Government has enrolled over 26,000 livestock farmers as beneficiaries of the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS), which is run by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Members of the Bauchi State School Feeding Multi-Sectoral Team (SSFMT) have met with the Local Government Area Desk Officers, with a view to reviewing the programme implementation in the state. The school feeding programme aims among other things, to cater for the nutrition needs of children who often stay away from school due to hunger.

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The Katsina State Government has signed an agreement with an Indian firm, ABC Ltd. for the construction a $70 million irrigation dam in Gwagwaye, Faskari Local Government Area of the state. As stated in the MoU, the firm will also support farmers to grow wheat, rice, cotton, maize, and groundnut. They will also be given improved seedlings.

Our Northern Bureau Chief, Isa Ampah reports that the Aminu Tambuwal administration has promised 3,500 pasta-making machines to Sokoto Women as a boost to their productivity under its poverty alleviation programme. While we applaud this move, it is important to indicate that it should necessarily include arrangements to help these women acquire technical skills that will make them sustainable business owners and longterm entrepreneurs.

Nigeria Agriculture Weekly News Review... - Brand Spur

Still, on grassroots impact, one million jobs are what Agriculture Minister, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has said will be created through the egg production, processing, and marketing activities under the National Egg Production (NEGPRO) Scheme. He expressed hopes that the scheme would facilitate the country’s attainment of self-sufficiency in egg production. With unemployment in Nigeria at an 18% high, the country certainly needs the jobs and we join Chief Ogbe in believing that his projections will not end up being a case of “egg on our faces”.

Some confusion was however raised by statements credited to Governor Lalong of Plateau State who is alleged to have rebuked leaders of sister states (Benue and Taraba) on their alleged anti-pastoral stance. Dalong is said to have spoken during a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja in which he affirmed that Plateau State has no plans to enact a law banning open grazing in the state, as grazing areas for cattle ranching have not been developed.
Our newsletter this weekends on a not too heartwarming note…

Stakeholders in the tomato industry have lamented the one-month closure of Tiga Dam in Kano State, noting that the move has destroyed their Tomato production business and threatens the overall Tomato Self-sufficiency Policy of the Federal Government. The closure of the dam, they noted, will lead to a hike in the price of locally produced tomatoes and create an opportunity for neighboring countries to profit at the Nigerian economy’s expense. Indeed, Alhaji A. Kaita, Managing Director of the Dangote Tomato Processing Plant in Kadawa, Kano expressed suspicion that going by the scale of the impact of the closure, there exists some level of collusion between the Dam Authorities and Tomato paste importers.

In all, AgroNigeria believes this to be a serious indication of recklessness in the execution of public office by officials of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and we stand by the farmers in demanding for a full-scale investigation into the occurrence. We are quick to add that these agribusinesses deserve to be compensated.

Accordingly, this concludes our review of the Nigerian agricultural space, this week.
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