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FG to improve cattle breeding, signs MoU with farms

The Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Kiyasa Farm Ltd, on cattle breeders Improvement Project, and Cikasoro Farm Ltd, on Livestock Market.

The ceremony was performed at the Minister’s conference hall Thursday in Abuja.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh signed on behalf of the Federal Government, the Managing Director Kiyasa Farm Ltd, Alh. Mohammed Sambo Bashar signed on behalf of Kiyasa Farm Limited, while Amb. Abubakar Cika signed on behalf of Cikasoro Livestock Market Limited.

Chief Ogbeh said that for over 50 years, Nigeria has never paid enough attention to improve livestock production in the country which was the major problem Nigeria is facing for over two years which generated to Farmers/Fulani-Herders clash.

He was very delighted that Kiyasa Farm Ltd has started planning ahead on cattle breeders improvement programme in Sokoto and Zamfara states to compliment the present administration’s efforts in livestock value chain.

The Minister assured Kiyasa Farm Ltd that the Ministry will give the farm Bio-Gas production machine and federal government support and assistance whenever the need arises.

Chief Ogbeh commended the vision and foresight of Cikasoro Livestock Market Ltd for the establishment of livestock market at Tunga Maje, Abuja to supply wholesome meat to Abuja and its environs, adding that this will surely minimize the transportation of cattle in trucks from the North to the Southern parts of the country.

The Minister assured Cikasoro Livestock Market Ltd. that government will complement its efforts by the provision of infrastructures (roads, water and electricity) in the market and offer ideas and technical support to ensure the market is of international standard.

Speaking earlier, the Managing Director Kiyasa Farm Ltd, Alh. Mohammed Sambo Bashar said that Kiyasa Farm Ltd is engaging on Cattle Breeding Improvement Programme in Sokoto and Zamfara states with the aim of promoting modern beef and dairy industry in the two states.

He further said that the farm is creating necessary incentives for nomadic herders towards government efforts by providing modern facilities for training and production in new ranch initiative as transition to modern cattle farming.

Alh. Bashar said that they are here to sign the Memorandum of Understanding and to solicit for support and collaboration from the Ministry for the successful implementation of its programmes.

The Chief Executive Officer, Cikasoro Livestock Market Ltd, Ambassador Abubakar Cika disclosed that the objective of establishing the Livestock Market was to supply wholesome meat to Abuja and its environ.

He further said that it will also minimize the transportation of cattle and other livestock from the North to the Southern part of the country.

Amb. Abubakar further disclosed that have secured enough land from FCTA with Certificate of Occupancy and also imported some machinery from Turkey, adding that civil work has already commenced at the site.

He further explained that Cikasoro Livestock Market Ltd is seeking for non-binding MoU with FMARD for exchange of ideas and technical support.

Nigerian ginger now best worldwide

Chief Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, says Nigeria is presently a major leader in yam and ginger exportation and has the best quality ginger in the world.

Ogbeh made this assertion in Abuja on Thursday at the Africa International Investment Summit and Expo (Africinvest) 2018, which also featured the Commodities International Summit and Exhibition.

According to him, government is promoting the export of ginger and Nigeria is the third largest exporter of ginger after China and India, with Nigerian ginger considered as the best in the world.

“Government is committed to enhancing increase in the volume of our ginger exports and to ensure that our various exportable food and cash crops are developed to meet global export standards.’’

Ogbeh was represented by Alhaji Azeez Olumuyiwa, the Director, Agric Business Processing and Marketing.

The minister said that President Muhammadu Buhari launched a time bound aggressive plan to unlock Nigeria’s agricultural potential through the Agricultural Promotion Policy (APP) 2016 to 2020.

According to him, this is called the Green Alternative which is meant to provide a disciplined approach to building a resilient agribusiness ecosystem.

“This will solve the core issues at the heart of limited food production and delivery of quality standards,’’ Ogbeh said.

He maintained that the success of the new policy hinged on engagement of market place participants, farmers, states, investors, financial institutions and communities as well as research laboratories.

The minister also disclosed that in first quarter of 2017, agricultural export increased by 82 per cent over quarter fourth of 2016 levels.

He said that export earnings from agriculture goods stood at N30 billion made up of Sesame seeds export of N3.7 billion to Turkey, N1.6billion to China and N1.6 billion to India.

He also listed others to include soya beans export of N3.4 billion to Russia and N1.2 billion to Greece.

He said that there was frozen shrimp export of N2.2 billion to the Netherlands, cashew nuts export of N1.8 billion to Vietnam and crude palm kernel oil export of N1.2 billion to the Netherlands.

On the Africinvest 2018, the minister said that the gathering was in the quest by the present administration to boost agricultural production, self-sufficiency, food security and investment in the sector.

Mr Anglo Elosia, the Chairman and Chief Coordinator of the Expo said: “We look at various ways by which under this platform, we can identify first of all our natural resources and all human resources.’’

“We then harness them together from nation to nation,’’ he said.

Elosia said that good leadership would ensure that the natural country’s resources were protected against predators who under value resources and profit from them in the black market

AfDB to create 10,000 agric entrepreneurs -Adesina

The African Development Bank (AfDB) is to make agriculture a profitable business as well as create 10,000 young agricultural entrepreneurs per country in the next 10 years.

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the continental bank, gave the assurance at the 2017 World Food Day celebration.

The celebration with the theme: “change the future of migration; Invest in food security and rural development’ held in Des Moines, Iowa, United States, on Monday.

The World Food Day is celebrated yearly on October 16, to promote worldwide awareness for those who suffer from hunger and need to ensure food security and nutritious diets.

Adesina said that Africa’s food security depended on attracting young people to agriculture and agribusiness.

He added that the sector can potentially create wealth and employment for African youth, thereby stemming migration.

Adesina, therefore, urged African leaders to make agriculture attractive to young Africans to stem migration.

“In 2016, the bank provided $700 dollars to support this programme in eight countries and we’ve got requests now from 33 countries.

” We must get youths into agriculture and see it as a profitable business venture not a sign of lacking ambition.

“Many African youths are passionate about staying back on the continent to create wealth and employment, if given the tools and opportunities to put their skills to use,” Adesina said.

According to him, under the Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment (ENABLE) Youth programme, AfDB is working with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to develop new generation of young commercial farmers and agribusiness entrepreneurs.

Adesina said that the bank considered investment in agriculture as key to making Africa youths prosperous, thereby stemming the tide of migration.

He said that the goal and theme of 2017 World Food Day, were well aligned with two of the AfDB’s High 5 development priorities.

According to him, the High 5 priorities are Feed Africa and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

“With more than 70 per cent of Africans depending on agriculture for their livelihoods, it is imperative for the sector’s full potential to be unlocked.

” And by so doing help to vastly improve the lives of Africans.

“One of the goals of Feed Africa is to eliminate hunger and malnutrition by 2025.

” Due to the finite nature of mineral resources such as gold, diamonds, crude oil, among others, African countries must diversify their economies.

” This cannot be done without a significant emphasis on agriculture given that the great majority of Africans depend on it for their livelihoods,” he said.

AfDB president said that increased food demand and changing consumption habits driven by demographic factors such as urbanisation are leading to rapidly rising net food imports in Africa.

He said that if the trends are left unchecked food imports will grow from 35 billion dollars in 2015 to over 110 billion dollars by 2025.

“Given that African smallholder farmers are on average about 60 years old, Africa’s food security depends on attracting young people into agriculture and agribusiness and empowering them.

“Governments can support these shifts through the right enabling environments via policy reforms for increased private investment in agriculture and agribusiness,” Adesina said.

FG to probe export of rotten yams to US – Minister

The Federal Government has resolved to investigate the firm that was said to have exported poor quality yams from Nigeria to the United States.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who spoke with journalists after a meeting of the Federal Executive the government had decided to investigate a company that exported a consignment of yams found to be of poor quality to the US.

He said, “One of the developments we were mandated to brief you on is about the consignment of yams which was exported from here to the United States and which according to the reports we have today, was found to be of poor quality.

“The ministry will investigate because the ministry is not an exporter. The exporters are private people.

“We will investigate the company that exported it and ask our quarantine department to check and find out why such a consignment left here.”

Ogbeh also said the government was concerned about the high cost of rice which he described as the most consumed commodity in Nigeria.

He said rice growers and millers have been meeting in the last two days and have agreed to the plans government has been pursuing to arrive at a certain price.

“That means that in the next one month, the price of rice will become reasonable and the cost of rice would have reduced substantially,” the minister said.

Olam’s $100m integrated poultry feed mill good to go

An integrated poultry farm and animal feed mill built by Olam at a cost of $100m ($36bn) and expected to produce over one million high-quality layers (for eggs) and broilers (for meat) weekly will be commissioned next week.

Conducting journalists round the state-of-the-art animal feed mill, poultry breeding farms and hatchery last week, Business Head, Animal Protein, Dr. Vinod Mishra, Olam Grains, stated that the feed mill would be supplying local farmers with about 360,000 metric tonnes per year of competitively priced and specially formulated poultry feed.

The firm, according to him, sources about 180,000 metric tonnes of corn and 75,000 metric tonnes of soybeans from local farmers in Kaduna. He said when commissioned that the hatchery would have the capacity to produce four billion eggs and 100 million kilogrammes of poultry meat annually and also employ about 600 workers directly and 400,000 workers indirectly.

He said, “We want to increase the per capita consumption of eggs from the current 80 to about 120 by 2020 at an affordable price to consumers. This we believe is part of contributing our own quota in ensuring that Nigerians get easy and affordable access to quality nutrition.

“We are supporting Nigeria’s agricultural transformation agenda by producing quality chicken that can compete with imported products in the domestic market.”

Mishra added that making the country self sufficient in meat production can save $150-200 million per year in foreign exchange. While noting that high quality source of protein is guaranteed for Nigerians, he said there will be strict adherence to rigorous international benchmark for quality and safety.

According to him, the 50,000 metric tonnes of on-site storage, in addition to a similar capacity of outsourced storage, will support food security and price stabilisation for farmers.

“This will be spurring the domestic poultry feed crop production as the company will be buying soybeans from more than 200,000 smallholder farmers who produce approximately 200,000 metric tonnes.” He said this will be helping soybeans farmers to increase their income due to Olam’s global market access as they export over 100000 metric tonnes of soybeans to Europe annually.

Mishra said while they plan to develop an agronomy programme that will increase local soybeans production from 0.5 metric tonnes to two million metric tonnes over the next five years that training on farming practices will be offered to farmers.

He said that local farmers were receiving training in poultry best practices through the firm’s 20 field veterinarians while 60 veterinarians from top 10 Nigerian colleges were on a two-year in-house internship.

“We have a pilot programme for modern cluster poultry farms as each cluster will be collectively owned by 20-30 farmers and with Olam support employ 250-300 people directly”, he added.

Mishra said the firm’s total investment in Nigeria, including working capital had exceeded $1bn across its various businesses, adding that in line with the Federal Government’s agricultural agenda, the firm had developed a 10,000 hectares rice farm and fully integrated mill in Nassarawa State, supported by an out-grower programme.

During the groundbreaking ceremony in April , Olam’s CEO for Africa, Mr Venkataramani Srivathsan, had said “This new venture into animal feed is a win-win for Olam and Nigeria. Domestically produced meat is being hampered by a lack of good quality feed, support for farmers and availability of young stock, but consumption is set to increase.

“By investing in poultry and fish feed, we can utilise the wheat bran from our wheat milling operations, as well as maximise our sourcing networks to buy corn and soy from local farmers. Our investment in the hatchery will help boost poultry production and, in the long run, help reduce the country’s reliance on imports.

This development underlines the continued confidence we share in Nigeria’s ambition for self-sufficiency. At full capacity, the Kaduna facility will be supplying mainly to the Northern markets.

 

Nigeria begins registration of yam farmers for export

Yam Farmers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria says it has commenced the registration of its members in the 36 states of the federation to facilitate the yam export programme.

The Acting President of the association, Prof. Simon Irtwange, on Wednesday in Abuja said the registration was to organise yam farmers across the country to actualise the targets of the export programme.

“We are registering yam farmers, yam processors, yam marketers,” said Irtwange, who is also the Chairman, Technical Committee on Nigeria Yam Export Programme.

“At the corporate level, we are registering corporate organisations that are doing yam farming, corporate yam farmers, yam exporters, yam off-takers, yam aggregators and affiliated cooperatives.

“Registration has commenced all over the country.

“So, that process is ongoing now; it is after we have registered that all this training in collaboration with IITA can commence effectively.’’

He advised yam farmers across the country to form and join cooperatives societies to facilitate export of their produce.

According to him, a container of yam is about 12,000 tubers and if you have 12,000 to 14,000 tubers as a cooperative, you can export a container.

Irtwange said that the committee would assist any farmers’ cooperative society by giving them the templates and requirements to avoid rejection of their produce at the international market.

“Whatever we are doing at the level of the technical committee, we are doing for the benefit of the yam association.

“We are creating that environment for them to be able to export their yams.

“They should farm as much as possible; we are here to ensure that they get the best price for their farm work.

“They will get premium price for the export quality yam they are going to sell.

“So we have to develop the market in such a way that there are people over there in other countries that will be ready to off-take from our people here who are also ready to export.

“We want to build an exporter-off-taker relationship.’’

Irtwange appealed to the Federal Government to establish more modern yam conditioning centres to aid storage before export.

(NAN)

 

VP commissions Africa’s largest rice mill 

The Federal Government’s diversification programme yesterday received a boost, with Acting President Yemi Osinbajo commissioning Africa’s largest parboiled rice mill in Argungu, Kebbi State.

The over N10 billion state of the art WACOT Rice Mill, which is privately owned, is capable of processing over 120,000 metric tonnes of paddy rice annually.

Speaking at the commissioning, Prof. Osinbajo said that the project  underscored the policy of the government that the private sector must be the engine of economic growth and sustainable job generation.

He noted that the project had proved that the country could actually feed itself.

The Acting President urged Nigerians to consume what we grow; stressing that the agriculture policy of the Federal Government is to empower the largest number of farmers and encourage young ones.

Speaking on the importance of the rice mill to the government diversification policy, Osinbajo said: ” This Mill is important for several reasons: The first is that it is the policy of the FG  that it is the private sector that must be the engine of devt. It is not just the private sector leading growth, but the growth must be growth with jobs, it cannot be jobless growth we have seen a lot of jobless jobs.

“But one of the critical things we are seeing today especially with the growth of agriculture is that this is growth with jobs, several thousands of our people are farming and are engaged in farming. I spoke to the MD earlier on and he was saying that in this coming year they are expecting to be engaged with 50000 farms and that is the kind of private sector led growth that we want to see.

“The second is that the president laid out in the budget of scheme of 2016  that we must grow what we must consume what we grow, it is up to us to grow what we eat.

“This is a landmark achievement here, it is a signal to the rest of the countries that Nigeria is not just opened for business but it is set for development.”

The Group Managing Director of WACOT rice mill, Mr. Rahul Savara, hinted that the company had a plan of investing further over N100 billion over the next years in various agricultural value chains.

He noted that so far, over 5,000 small-holder rice farmers had been trained on good farming practices, financial management, production cost optimization and yield enhancement techniques.

India interested in Nigeria’s $100m pigeon pea market

The government of India has confirmed that there is a market for $100 million worth of pigeon pea import from Nigeria.

The National Coordinating Director, Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), Dr. Vincent Isegbe said in Abuja that the Federal Government got the offer from India after conducting its Pest Crop Survey (PCS) for some agriculture commodity in conjunction with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

The NAQS coordinator disclosed that essence of the crop survey was to determine the kind of pest that affects a particular local agricultural commodity and proffer a solution to boost agriculture.

Isegbe said: “We do what we call PCS. We have done for pineapple, sugar, rice, cashew, palm oil and of recent we did for the pigeon pea. We wanted to know the pest peculiar to some commodities, what extent and in what location nationwide so we keep data on them.

“The government of India wanted a confirmation that we can export a pest-free pigeon pea to their country and even if we have pests, they will want to know which pest, to what extent and their location. That was the report that our group of scientists worked on. They eventually sent it to the government of India and they that saw that it was okay for them to import. That is why they said we have a market worth $100 million and we can export.”

Describing the offer as a new opportunity to boost foreign exchange for the nation and create jobs, he added that the NAQS was already working with the pigeon pea value chain to meet demands of the Indian government.

According to him, as member of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), the NAQS was responsible to stop the spread and prevention of pests including diseases and contaminants into and outside the country.

He said the Service at its 56 stations across the country worked in partnership with the Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and airport officials to prevent foreign birds from entering the country.

On bird flu invasion, Isegbe described the virus as a disease that could be transferred through infections, migrating birds and other forms of contaminations.

He said the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, on daily basis conducts surveillance on the Avian Influenza (AI) virus and provides notices on status of AI in the country.

On why farmers still fall victim to the AI infection, he explained that the virus was already in the country since its first outbreak in 2006.

He said, “It is the duty of Nigeria to ensure that new variant of bird flu did not come into the country since it came in between 2006 and 2008. The second wave of AI came in through migratory birds and we have wetlands. So as they pass their wastes into the water, ducks which serve principally as carriers hardly get infected but they spread the pathogen home and infect the local stocks.”

However, he called for more sensitization of farmers to reduce further spread of the virus, stressing that sources of the virus are numerous.

He emphasized that once a nation is declared free, there should be consistent effort to prevent a re-occurrence.