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Dry season farming cycle: ThriveAgric targets production of 300,000MT grains



In its second phase of the distribution of agricultural inputs, ThriveAgric, Nigeria’s leading agricultural technology company is targeting the production of over 300,000MT of grains by empowering over 100,000 smallholder farmers.

In a statement, ThriveAgric said it would provide farmers with irrigation facilities, drought-resistant input, access to technology, storage, and premium markets to help optimise output in this farming cycle.

The flag-off of the second phase was announced at an event in Jigawa state, Nigeria. The event brought together various stakeholders including financial institutions, government officials, farmers, and representatives of the farming communities from Jigawa, Bauchi, and Kano.

Conversations centred on the challenges and opportunities of crop cultivation during the dry season. Participants shared valuable insights on optimising crop yields, implementing effective water management, and developing coping mechanisms for the drought conditions often associated with this period. Smallholder farmers encounter challenges during the dry season, stretching from August to September in the South of Nigeria and September to April in the North.

With sparse rainfall and high temperatures, dry-season farming is extremely dependent on irrigation- access to water sources and drought-resistant seeds become crucial, affecting food security. According to the World Bank, only 1 percent of Nigeria’s agriculture is irrigated, and expanding and optimising irrigation infrastructure is key to increasing sectoral productivity.

Speaking on the significance of the dry season to Nigeria’s agriculture, Oshone Anavhe, Vice President, Operations at ThriveAgric said, “In Sub-Saharan Africa, approximately 95 percent of food production relies on rainfed agriculture. The dry season however remains mostly under-utilised for farming due to the absence of necessary infrastructure and widespread unavailability of drought-resistant inputs. For this 2023/2024 farming cycle, ThriveAgric is leveraging partnerships to impart thousands of smallholder farmers, especially those in the wheat, rice and maize value chain, by providing them with access to technology, irrigation facilities, drought-resistant input and premium markets. If harnessed at national scale, dry season farming has the potential to jumpstart food sufficiency in Nigeria, therefore we call on the government to invest in enabling infrastructure that would in turn attract investors and engage more farmers for dry season farming.”

Regional Manager, Sterling Bank, Matthew Omega commented, “We believe in the transformative power of agriculture to drive economic growth and sustainability. Our collaboration with ThriveAgric exemplifies our commitment to providing innovative and accessible financial solutions for farmers. By joining forces, we aim to empower smallholder farmers, and the agricultural communities, promote responsible financial practices, and cultivate a future where prosperity and sustainability co-exist.”

In line with its mission to build the largest network of profitable farmers, over the years, ThriveAgric has utilised strategic partnerships with both private and government institutions to implement initiatives that directly improve the social condition and economic prospects of hundreds of thousands of smallholder farmers in Nigeria. By providing farmers with access to irrigation facilities during the dry season, ThriveAgric farmers are able to 2x or 3x their regular yield thereby increasing their profitability, positively impacting their standard of living while also boosting food security in the country.

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PAN advocates nationwide replication of Lagos goods discount market



The Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) has called for the widespread adoption of the ‘Ounje Eko’ Lagos Food Discount Market model across the nation, particularly in South West states.

Speaking to journalists on Monday in Lagos, PAN’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Godwin Egbebe, emphasised the importance of replicating the successful initiative to ensure broader access to affordable food items.

The ‘Ounje Eko’ scheme, which was launched on March 17, spans across various locations in Lagos, including 27 in Ikeja, six on Lagos Island, nine in Ikorodu, five in Epe, and 10 in Badagry division.

Egbebe commended the Lagos State government for its food subsidy program, which operates exclusively on Sundays, and called on other states to follow suit by implementing similar initiatives to alleviate the burden of food insecurity among citizens.

The endorsement from the Poultry Association of Nigeria underscores the significance of government-led efforts to address food affordability and accessibility challenges, especially in the wake of economic uncertainties.

“As an association we want to express our profound gratitude to the governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his team, especially the commissioner for agriculture for the ‘Ounje Eko’ initiative.

“We have driven round all the food hubs across the local governments where they are situated, and the report is really encouraging,” he said.

He called on other governors across the country to replicate this initiative in their states to douse the tension over food inflation.

“We want, especially the governors in the South West geopolitical zone, to replicate the Ounje Eko template in their states.

“The positive impact of the Ounje Eko initiative is felt by both farmers and the consumers, but would have been better if other states emulated the initiative.

“Other state governments should take up the initiative and start their own food subsidy plans,” Egbebe said.

He also urged the Lagos State government to extend the period of the initiative as more residents of the state were still hungry.

“The initiative was meant to last for a period of three weeks, but an extension will really be beneficial.

“We want this initiative to be extended because the people are really hungry,” he said.

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FG to host agriculture, food summit – Minister



The Federal Government has announced plans to organise an agriculture and food security summit this year.

The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Abubakar Kyari, disclosed this during a meeting with Dr Donal Brown, Associate Vice-President, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said the summit aimed to bring together a diverse community of organisational partners and strategic stakeholders representing the public, private and social sectors.

Kyari said stakeholders would be committed  to innovation and new technologies for Inclusive Agri-Food System Transformation and Smallholder farmers’ empowerment.

He commended IFAD for being a formidable force in addressing unprecedented challenges facing the global food system.

“Nigeria is committed to working closely with IFAD on Inclusive Agri-Food System Transformation and Smallholder farmers’ empowerment.

“Also, our commitment to partnership with IFAD on Innovative Finance for Food System is evident in our participation in the United Nations Food System Stocktaking moment in July, 2023,” he said.

He expressed confidence that promoting Inclusive Agri-food system transformation, smallholder farmers’s empowerment and innovative financing was the way to go.

The minister assured IFAD of the federal government’s strong commitment to their multilateral partnership.

Earlier, Brown reiterated IFAD’s continued support to the Federal Government.

He said that Nigeria was one of IFAD’s strongest partners, saying that one of his missions was to strengthen and deepen the partnership.

Brown said that some of the key projects which Nigeria had identified with have had significant impact at improving production.

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Group calls on FG to subsidise farming implements for farmers



By Aminu Garko, Kano

President of Dawanau International Grains Market, Kano State, Alhaji Muntaka Isa, has called on the Federal Government to provide subsidised farming implements to farmers, to ensure the production of assorted foodstuff  in the country.

Isa made the call while speaking with journalists in Kano on Wednesday.

According to him, the provision of enough and qualitative farm inputs to farmers at subsidised rates would give room for massive production of foodstuff.

He explained that Nigeria is blessed with vast land for farming, but high cost of farming inputs and inadequate utilisation of the vast available land were the major challenges bedeviling the development of agriculture.

“I strongly appeal to the Federal Government to urgently provide adequate and modern farm inputs at subsidised rates to farmers with the aim of ensuring food security.

“We are blessed with vast lands to produce assorted food crops for both local and export consumption but inability of farmers to access farming implements is affecting the growth of production.

“We believe if inputs are subsidised during the farming season it can still bring down the price of food commodities.

“Many farmers cannot access the tractors because they were given to some political farmers.

“Let the government make available modern farming implements to our rural farmers and see how many assorted tones of foodstuffs would be produced,” he said.

He noted that the association had taken bold steps in ensuring that the prices of commodities were slashed, to address the hike in commodity prices.

“The association’s decision to slash the prices was also to boost sales as dealers in the International market had been lamenting low patronage for some time now.

“If you go round the market now, you will notice that the prices of grains such as maize, guinea corn, millet and beans have been reduced compared to what was obtained here about two weeks ago.

“A bag of maize now sells for about N53,000, as against the old price of N60,000, while that of guinea corn now sells for N49,000, as against the former price of N55,000, depending on the quality.

“Also a bag of millet which used to sell for N60,000 now costs N53,000 and that of beans now costs between N85,000 and N90,000, as against the old price of between N95,000 and N100,000, depending on quality,” Muttaka said.

He also disclosed that a bag of soya beans now sells for N65,000 as against N68,000 before, while a bag of sesame seed which used to sell for N225,000 now costs N220,000.

He further said that a big bag of local rice which was hitherto sold for between N110,000 and N115,000 was now being sold for between N95,000 and N100,000 while that of wheat now sells for N60,000 as against N63,000.

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