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FG trains, empowers 360 poultry farmers in 12 states

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Fertiliser scarcity, price hike worry farmers in N/East.

Some farmers in the North-East have expressed concern over the difficulties experienced in accessing fertiliser due to unavailability and hike in price of the commodity.

The farmers, who spoke in Bauchi, Damaturu, Gombe, Maiduguri and Yola, said the situation would result to low yields at harvest.

The decade-long Boko Haram insurgency and other forms of insecurity have adversely affected crop production as many farmers had abandoned their farms in parts of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.

Farmers in areas prone to insecurity now rely on close-by, often overstressed lands to farm in resettled communities, thus, making significant surge in the demand for fertiliser to boost soil fertility for bountiful output.

The farmers’ concerned stem from their inability to access fertilisers such as Urea, and the Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorous (NPK) due to exorbitsnd prices.

The situation was further compounded by the ban imposed on circulation of granular fertiliser in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.

The ban was to prevent Boko Haram insurgents from accessing granular fertiliser to make Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

A check in markets across the region showed that prices of the commodity had shot up by over 100 per cent in the last one year.

A 50 kilogram bag of fertiliser was being sold between N25,000 and N35,000 as against its previous prices of N15,000 during the last cropping season.

Mr Sabo Bappa, a smallholder farmer in Askira-Uba, Borno, attributed the scarcity of fertiliser to drastic drop in the supply of the commodity.

He said the decrease in the supply coupled with the ban on circulation of the commodity resulted to price hike in the region.

The farmer urged government at all levels to adopt practical measures towards enhancing access to fertiliser.

Hajiya Fatima Misau, Treasurer, Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation of Nigeria (SWOFON) in Bauchi State, said prices of fertiliser had shown spiralling increase amid growing demand since the commencement of the rainy season.

She noted that farmers could not reap much without applying fertiliser, especially on impoverished lands across the region.

Similarly, Samuel Luka, a maize grower in Bauchi, said many farmers now rely on cow dung and chicken droppings to nourish their farms as they could not afford exorbitant fertiliser prices.

“Many farmers are forced to abandon their farmlands which will result to poor harvest,” he said.

To address the problem, State Governments in the region embarked on distribution of granular and liquid fertilisers to farmers at subsidised rate.

Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno, said the State Government could not distribute subsidised granular fertiliser to farmers due the banned imposed on the commodity.

He, however, said that his administration accorded pririoty towards enhancing farmer access to liquid fertiliser and other input to encourage productivity.

Also that the Borno Fertiliser Blending plant has been closed due to Boko Haram insurgency in the past 13 years.

In Adamawa, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Umaru Daware said the State Government had  procured 54,000 litres of organic liquid fertiliser for 2022 wet season activities.

He listed the products to include NPK, Urea brand of fertiliser and Folier rice, adding that it would be sold to farmers across the 226 wards at subsidised price of N4,000 per bottle.

According to him, the product costs N6,000 per bottle at open market.

He warned against diversion of the products, stressing that government would not condone erring officials.

Also Malam Adamu Muazu, Programme Manager, Adamawa Agricultural Development Programme, said experts had certified liquid fertiliser to be safe and environmental friendly capable of increasing farm yields.

Shehu Jabdo and Usman Michika, both farmers in Adamawa commended the State Government for introduction of liquid fertiliser in the state.

They said the initiative would end scarcity, encourage agricultural productivity and deal farmer/herder clashes in the state.

In Bauchi State, the State Government has commenced distribution of fertiliser to farmers at subsidised rate.

Gov. Bala Mohammed who inaugurated the exercise, said NPK fertiliser would be sold at N15,000 and Urea N20,000 per 50kg bag.

The gesture, he said would make the commodity available to the farmers in the state.

Moreso, the Gombe State Government had so far distributed 72,000 bags of assorted fertilisers to assist farmers for 2022 wet season activities.

Alhaji Alhassan Fawu, Chairman, Fertiliser Distribution Committee, said the move was to reduce the effect of the high prices of the commodity on farmers and boost food security.

The Chairman who attributed fertiliser scarcity to the Russo-Ukraine war, said the State Government had adopted proactive measures towards enhancing farmer access to the commodity.

He said that NPK brand of the commodity would be sold at subsidised rate of N19,000 per bag.

To further improve supply of the commodity, the Yobe government announced that the rehabilitation of its moribund fertiliser blending plant had reached 95 per cent completion stage.

The Commissioner for Commerce and Tourism, Barma Shettima said the plant designed with 18 tonnes production capacity per hour would soon begin operation.

“Yobe State Fertiliser Blending Company Limited, located at about 28km along Damaturu – Gujba road had reached 95 per cent completion.

“The company have the production capacity of 18 tonnes per hour if completed.

“Fertiliser scarcity would be a history among farmers in Yobe,” he said.

For his part, Chairman, All Farmers Association Nigeria (AFAN) in the state, Alhaji Ibrahim Gare,  described farmers lack of access to fertiliser as a major bane towards sustainable agricultural development in the country.

While commending Yobe government for the distribution of fertiliser to farmers. Gare called for resuscitation of the fertiliser blending plant in the state.

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Tinubu, UNFPA launch 2024 SWOP report in Abuja

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President Bola Tinubu, alongside the Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), on Wednesday, launched the 2024 regional State of World Population (SWOP) Report.

During the report launch, which has “Interwoven Lives, Threads of Hope: Ending Inequalities in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights” as theme, Tinubu was represented by Prof. Ali Pate, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare.

Tinubu said “the theme comes with a narrative that reminds us that, globally we are composed of eight billion threads of hope, eight billion people interwoven with each of the threads being very unique.

“It is of note that Nigeria is among the eight identified countries to account for more than half of the projected increase in the world population up to 2050.

“The other countries are Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, Philippines and the United Republic of Tanzania.”

He, however, said that meeting the aspirations and hopes of the unique members of these interwoven threads, who are mostly women, girls and young people, places a great demand and a sense of duty on government to keep that hope alive.

“In addition, for each of the threads to be recognised and be relevant, there is need to sustainably invest in generating quality, well-disaggregated data that will help in ensuring none of the threads is un-woven.

“The regional inauguration of the 2024 SWOP report in Nigeria and the presence of the UNFPA Executive Director is a reminder that Nigeria should prioritise data generation to provide the baseline and showcase progress toward the indicators of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“One of such data generation exercise is the conduct of the National Population and Housing Census within the 2020 round of Population and Housing census (2015-2024).

“We are consulting and working closely with the National Population Commission (NPC) to get this exercise right. We count on the support of UNFPA and other partners to get it right.”

In her address, Kanem said that the report presents important data that shows that in many countries, inequalities in such key measures as access to healthcare have been reduced.

She added that in other places, however, disparities are actually widening, and inequalities still persist everywhere.

“The report indicates that since global measurements have been kept, two countries – India and Nigeria – have recorded the highest number of maternal deaths.

“The remarkable reduction in the number of women worldwide dying in childbirth, 34 per cent since 2000 is largely attributable to progress in those two countries.

“Nigeria’s achievement in reducing maternal death rate by more than 11 per cent between 2013 and 2018 must be applauded.”

The UNFPA boss also said there had been advances in combatting Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and harmful practices in Nigeria, with a 10 per cent drop in number of adolescents subjected to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the past decade.

She also said that politically, there had been progress as the proportion of women serving in parliaments more than doubled globally.

In spite of the gains, however, she said, progress was slowing, while by many measures it has stalled completely.

She noted that since 2016, the world made zero progress in saving women from preventable deaths during pregnancy and childbirth.

She explained that “one important reason, our report shows, is that we have not prioritised reaching those furthest behind.

“We see, for example, that barriers to healthcare fell fastest for women who are more affluent, educated and privileged.

“Many of these findings are the result of having better data than ever before. Thirty years ago, maternal mortality rates were only rough estimates.

“Today, data allows us to see clearly the unacceptable rates at which women are dying while giving life; data also shows the inequalities that are quite literally killing them.”

On Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) in Nigeria, she said that in spite of the progress recorded, it still remained high at over 1,047 per 100,000 live births.

Kanem, however, pledged UNFPA’s support for the country to change that statistic.

The Chairman, National Population Commission, Alhaji Nasir Kwarra, said that the theme of the report aptly amplifies issues that matter most beyond the numbers, emphasising the people that make up the numbers.

He requested that the UNFPA should relentlessly advocate for the conduct of the next census; support in the implementation of ideas and interventions to address key issues raised in the 2024 SWOP.

He said the implementation of the National Population Policy captured the commitments made in Nairobi (2019).

They include sexual and reproductive health, particularly of adolescent girls including prioritising family planning and keeping girls in school.

He said that the implementation would in turn, enable Nigeria manage its population, achieve the required shift in population age-structure for a Demographic Dividend (DD) to occur, as well as in the implementation of the DD Roadmap.

In a goodwill message, Sen.  Mustapha Musa, Senate Committee Chairman on National Identity and  Population, said the legislature deems the issue of population and development important.

“Particularly as it relates to the well-being of women, young people and girls, which connects with addressing the existing inequalities and ensuring that sexual and reproductive health and rights receive the deserved attention.

“I reiterate that the committee I chair will ensure that issues arising from the report will be given due attention.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that SWOP is UNFPA’s annual flagship report that features trends in the world population and reports on emerging themes in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

It brings them into the mainstream and explores the challenges and opportunities they present for international development.

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FG hails World Bank’s support to PWDs

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The Federal Government has commended the World Bank for providing technical and financial support to Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in the country.
The Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD), Dr James Lalu, said this on Wednesday in Abuja, during a virtual meeting with officials of World Bank.
The meeting was convened to strengthen implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) number 10 and 17 for disability inclusion in Nigeria.
Lalu draw the attention of stakeholders to the need to redesign policies and programmes of the commission to conform with the global standard.
”We need policies redesign in the area of social protection programmes because World Bank has the capacity to stimulate disability inclusion and development programme” he said.
The Executive Secretary expressed commitment to improve the welfare of Persons with Disabilities.
Also speaking, Cindy Ikeaka, a World Bank Social Development Specialist said, the bank will continue to provide technical support to the commission to ensure effective delivery of the needs of PWDs.
Ikeaka also said that the bank was working with other Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government to ensure disability data collection.
”This will ensure proper data management of persons with disabilities ” she said.
On her part, Esther Bature, the Country Coordinator of Sightsavers in Nigeria said, her organisation will continue to strengthen national systems to deliver sustainable services.
”We supported NCPWD to develop a five-year national strategic plan and this plan requires different levels of intervention.
”We are happy to see that the World Bank has supported the commission to a kind of review to include monitoring and evaluation in the plan as well as developed several developments documents,” she said.Batur
Nature also thanked the World Bank for its assistance in building the capacity of the commission’s members of staff.
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IPMAN gives Soludo 1 month to address marketers’ grievances

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The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), has given Gov. Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra one month within which to address the demands of marketers in the state or face total shutdown of operations without further notice.

Marketers in the state reached this decision at the end of the statewide meeting held in Awka on Tuesday.

Mr Chinedu Anyaso, Chairman of IPMAN Enugu Depot Community, in charge of Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu States, who addressed Journalists after the meeting, said the association had reported cases affecting its members to the governor without any response.

Anyaso said the grievances of marketers in Anambra included the issue of consolidated revenue payable and withdrawal of all litigations against members based on multiple taxation which was not in line with the understanding IPMAN had with the Anambra government.

He said IPMAN discussed the problem of non-payment of debt amounting to about N900 million owed contractors who supplied diesel for powering streetlight projects in the state.

Anyaso also said that among the demands of the association was the demolition of part of the property of Chris Tee Nigeria limited, a marketer at Trans-Nkissi phase 1 along Onitsha-Otuocha road which was destroyed by agents of government.

He said IPMAN would not issue further notice upon the expiration of the deadline before shutting their outlets.

Anyaso thanked Chief Ken Maduako, a patron of the association, Mr Golden Iloh, member of the Anambra State House of Assembly and representative of the Anambra Internal Revenue Service, for their intervention and hoped that the Soludo administration would act on their plea to prevent the looming industrial action.

He commended Gov. Soludo for his efforts to make Anambra a peaceful and liveable state while urging him to make the business environment conducive for investors, especially oil marketers.

He pledged positive disposition of the association to continue to support his administration to succeed.

The chairman commended marketers for complying fully with the partial shutdown and attendance to the meeting, saying it was a great show of comradeship.

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