Friday, 2 September 2016

Nigeria must return to agriculture

The Executive Director, Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN), Dr. Shola Adepoju, has urged Nigerians to return to agriculture, describing it as the hope of the country.

Making this declaration at the third Prof Peter Adebola Okuneye Intervarsity Debate (PAID 2016), organised by the Agricultural Economics’ Student Association (AECOSA) of the Federal University of Agriculture,Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Adepoju, who was the chairman on the occasion, said agriculture held the hope for the country.
He said: “Agriculture is the hope for Nigeria now because that is what everybody has gone back to, but unfortunately, it is not the day we start up that we start to get the result from it.” He stressed the need for government to expedite action towards the approval and disbursement of the country’s agricultural budget.

He lamented that any further delay in the disbursement might result in funds not reaching the appropriate quarters and achieving the set targets before the rain stops.
The Vice-Chancellor and President, Association of African Universities (AAU), Prof Olusola Oyewole, described the theme of the debate: Transition in Government: What hope for agriculture? as apt, given the indispensable role of agriculture to the nation’s economy. He challenged students of the university and particularly, students of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Farm Management (AE&FM), to always set the pace in agricultural advancement and development in the country.
“The theme is very apt for such a time as this, being that we are in a transition, and at a time where there are many challenges facing the country that can be solved through research. We are also at a time when the agricultural system of this country needs attention,” he stated.

Oyewole praised the former Dean, College of Agricultural Management and Rural Development, Prof Adebola Okunneye, whom the debate was meant to honour, for ensuring its sustainability and improving on it with the presentation of awards to deserving agriculturists, who have distinguished themselves in the field of agriculture.
Explaining the rationale behind the third PAID programme, Okuneye said it was to analyse how well agriculture had fared in the country and proffer solution on the way forward.

Nigeria plan to create 758,500 jobs for youth through agriculture

The Federal Government says it will create jobs for over 758,500 youth across the country under the Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP) to boost agricultural productivity.

Mrs Karima Babangida, the National Programme Coordinator said this on Tuesday in Katsina during the inauguration of Katsina State YEAP Steering Committee.
Represented by Mr Suleiman Aliyu, Babangida said that the three-year programme was supported by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).
Babangida said that 740,000 jobs would be `market-oriented’ for young agricultural producers, while the remaining 18,500 jobs were reserved for university graduates, ‘nagropreneurs’ across the nation.

‘’Under the market-oriented, 20,000 youths will be selected from each of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
‘’500 graduates will also benefit from the programme in each state of the federation,’’ she said.

The coordinator revealed that 12 states were selected for the first phase of the programme, two from each of the six geo-political zones.
Babangida explained that the programme was aimed at providing employment to teeming youths through agricultural enterprises.

Mr Rabe Isa, who spoke on behalf of FAO, urged the committee members to dedicate themselves toward achieving the set goal.
He said that Katsina was also selected for the study of grazing reserves and stock routes being conducted with the aim of addressing farmers/herdsmen clash.
In his remarks, the state deputy governor, Alhaji Mannir Yakubu said that the steering committee’s terms of reference would assist stakeholders to design and implement value chain development plans and promote young agro-entrepreneurs.

He said other terms of reference include the signing of contracts with service providers and beneficiaries, monitor the development of agro-entrepreneurs and commodity chains, among others.
Yakubu said the state government would continue to accord agriculture a top priority so as to address unemployment, diversify the economy and guarantee food security.
The 32-member steering committee would be headed by the deputy governor, who is also the commissioner for agriculture. (NAN)

Friday, 19 August 2016

Cassava will become like oil and gas – Dr Fregene

Nigeria will make cassava production so efficient that industrial users will be tempted to invest heavily in the sector, Special Adviser (Technical) to the Minister of Agriculture and Team Leader, Cassava Transformation, Dr Martins Fregene, has said, insisting that cassava in Nigeria will soon start attracting about $500 profit per hectare.

Dr Oredipe said the idea of stable crop processing zone is an innovative policy to make sure that the country has infrastructure line up to support the agricultural revolution that the nation engages in. He stressed that the Stable Crop Processing Zone is a meeting point where things are made to work for farmers

The cassava rollout programme is a joint project between the federal and Kogi State governments with support from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture which provided the cassava stem varieties and Brazilian farmers providing the mechanized technology as project consultant for the processing zone.

World Bank hails Nigeria’s agric policy

A Senior Agricultural Economist at the World Bank, Dr. Tunji Oredipe, has hailed the Federal Government’s policy in the agric sector. Speaking on the agricultural policy of the Buhari administration on NTA in Abuja, Oredipe said the donor community was impressed this administration did not embark on a ‘policy sommersault’ in the agric sector.

He said there was apprehension, being a new government and a different party from the preceding administration.
According to the agricultural economist, “the fear has, however, been positively addressed with the policy document launched today”.

He hoped that with the participation of financial institutions as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Bank of Agriculture (BOA), Bank of Industry (BOI), and others, the “issue of finance for agriculture will be finally resolved as the donor community will support the initiative”.
Oredipe praised the “selectivity in the process of participation with involvement of states and local governments, broadening of focused crops to include livestock and the change of fertiliser from general to location-based utilisation”.