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Showing posts from August, 2015

FG receives reports on revitalisation of agric sector

FG receives reports on revitalisation of agric sector
By Jimoh Babatunde THE four National Committees on the revitalization of the agricultural sector in Nigeria inaugurated last month by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on the directives of President Mohammadu Buhari have submitted their reports. The four committees on the operationalization of Federal Government storage and Agro Processing facilities Resuscitation of Cotton, Textile and Garments, strategic Action Plan for the Development of Grazing Reserves and Stock Routes Nationwide and Revitalization of Agricultural Extension Services in Nigeria, made far reaching recommendations based on their terms of reference. For instance, the committee on the resuscitation of Cotton, Textile and Garments (CTG) called for the injection of N37.20 billion in the sector between 2016 and 2019 as well as the exploitation of the existing N100Billion CTG fund domiciled with the Bank of Industry which has now been convert…

AUC seeks cooperation among standard organisations in Africa

By Jimoh Babatunde THE Head, Trade Division of the African Union Commission, AUC, Mr. Nadir Merah, has disclosed that cooperation among standard organisations in Africa can boost sustainable agriculture and food security in the continent. Mr. Merah, who represented the Chairperson of the Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Zuma , at the just concluded 52nd African Organisation for Standardisation’s, ARSO’s meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, said Africa was close to realising the lofty dream given the rate of collaboration and cooperation among the ARSO members. “We see a clear role that standards can play in boosting intra-African trade, promoting sustainable agriculture and food security in Africa. By working together on standards, we will promote continental trade integration and facilitate access to African markets. “I would like to recall the historic 2012 Summit Decision on Boosting Intra African Trade. Our leaders, determined to trade Africa out of poverty and to chart a new forward for o…

Pearl Universal Impex invests $100m in rice cultivation

By Jimoh Babatunde A major importer of rice in the country, Pearl Universal Impex , is set to commit one hundred million dollars into the cultivation of 7,500 hectares of rice farm and construction of two rice mills in Niger state.
The chairman of the company, Pulkit Jain, who disclosed this while receiving the Governor of Niger State, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello , at the farms recently said they will be creating 4000 direct jobs and 20000 indirect jobs through their outgrower scheme. Pulkit Jain, said they intend to grow rice three times a year on the land. “We have some challenges, such as the bad road here. But we’re bringing $2 million of our own money to invest in the road, bringing the total of the entire project to $100 million. Jain disclosed that the company has been a major importer of rice in the country with imports of 350,000 metric tonnes of rice annually in the past, but chose to invest in cultivation and milling of scientifically tested, high yielding varieties of rice…

Activities of rice importers hindering local production — Perm Sec

By Jimoh Babatunde The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Arc. Sonny Echono, was in Lagos recently for the inauguration of the Nigerian Agric Business Group. He took time out to talk on the vex issue of rice waiver, the Growth Enhancement Scheme and the efforts of the ministry in creating jobs through youth empowerment as well as what they are doing in terms of agric financing. Excerpt: On the issue of waivers for rice Let me state that the federal ministry of agriculture is not in the business of waivers, we are primarily engaged in increasing local production of all our stables and cash crops. However, we do recognised that in certain critical sector current production is below the demand for these products and in order to exercise some elements of control and to mitigate what we observed as reckless importation into the country, we sort approval and put in place a system of quotas for two main commodities to ensure that the total quantities…

Food safety: Nigeria needs mycotoxin policy — Fapohunda

By Jimoh Babatunde A biotechnologist, Prof. Dele Fapohunda, has urged the Federal Government to formulate a mycotoxin policy in the country that will among other things determine and regulate the amount of aflatoxin in food consumption.
Speaking against the background of the recent ban of some of the country’s food commodities from entering European Union (EU) member countries. Prof. Fapohunda, who is the founding Chairman of the Mycotoxicology Society of Nigeria, disclosed that Nigeria had on several occasions been given alert on aflotoxin in melon and some other products by the European Union. “If a country refuses to take advise from the EU and then go on to exports products that will not comply, products that will have levels of toxins that are permissible limit then the result is what we are having now.” The University Don said the EU has a rapid alarm system that monitors what ever food item that is going into their territory as they have a way of monitoring, testing and “telli…

AUC seeks cooperation among standard organisations in Africa

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L-R:  DIRECTOR OF ETHIOPIA STANDARDS AGENCY, MRS, ALMAZ KAHSAY DR JOSEPH ODUMODU, PRESIDENT AFRICAN STANDARDSATION OF ORGANISATION (ARSO)/DG, SON, MR NADIR MERAH, HEAD OF TRADE DIVISION, DEPARTMENT  OF INDUSTRY, AFRICAN UNION AND DR HERMOGENE NSENGIMAMA, ARSO, SECRETARY GENERAL  AT THE  ARSO 52TH GENERAL COUNCIL FORUM IN ETHIOPIA.


AUC seeks cooperation among standard organisations in Africa
By Jimoh Babatunde
The Head, Trade Division of the African Union Commission (AUC), Mr. Nadir Merah, has disclosed that cooperation among standard organisations in Africa can boost sustainable agriculture and food security in the continent. Mr. Nadir Merah, who represented the Chairperson of the Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Zuma , at the just concluded 52nd African Organisation for Standardisation's (ARSO's), meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, said Africa was close to realising the lofty dream given the rate of collaboration and cooperation among the ARSO members. “We see a clear role that stan…

Upgrading the rice value chain in Africa

Increasing domestic rice production on its own may not be enough to tilt the balance toward self-sufficiency. For example, Senegal boosted domestic production in 2008 in response to the crisis, but according to AfricaRice former agricultural economist Demont (2013)*, “when rice farmers [brought] the rice surplus generated by the program to market, the market was temporarily flooded as there was no commensurate increase in demand for local rice, resulting in a steep decline of prices.” This story is likely to be repeated elsewhere on the continent, especially in coastal countries that import large quantities of rice and whose urban populations have become accustomed to the quality attributes of imported rice.
AfricaRice consequently added its voice to those of the World Bank, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and FAO in the call to widen investment to cover the whole value chain rather than simply focusing on production. Upgrading the whole value chain requi…

IFAD gets commendation on agric devt in Nigeria

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The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Arc. Sonny Echono has commended the International Fund Agricultural Development (IFAD) for helping Nigeria to address the issues of agricultural development and poverty alleviation. Arc. Echono gave the commendation on Thursday, 6th August, 2015, when he received a delegation led by the President of the organisation, Prof. Kanoyo Nwanze in his office. The Permanent Secretary stated that the robust collaboration with IFAD which spanned over 30 years has brought tremendous growth especially in financing of agricultural projects sector. Arc. Echono, however pleaded with IFAD to increase the loan and Grant Portfolio to Nigeria to support agricultural development. He also requested IFAD to engage young, vibrant Nigerian youths in IFAD Graduate Internship Programme and Associate programmes. The Permanent Secretary, while appreciating the Leadership of the organisation, said he was optimistic that Nigeria would …

Weaver ants can boost cashew yield, study shows

By Jimoh Babatunde with agency reports
THE cashew (Anacardium occidentale) was introduced from Brazil in the 16th century and has become an economically important cash crop for a number of African countries. In the Benin Republic, for instance, raw cashew nuts have replaced cotton as the number one agricultural export produce and account for over 13% of export earnings. Production is, however, severely constrained by infestation by several insect pests, sap-sucking insects, leaf miners, branch borers, coreid bugs, mirid bugs, and thrips, which adversely affect the quality of harvestable nuts and causes yield losses of up to 80%. In a recent report published in the Journal of Agricultural and Forest Entomology, a team of researchers that includes Dr Jean-François Vayssières, IITA entomologist, present remarkable findings. Cashew nut yields can be boosted by as much as 78% with weaver ants only, and 151% with ants and GF-120 bait sprays, when treatments incorporating the African weaver…