Some stakeholders in the agriculture sector have appealed to the Federal Government to intensify efforts in curbing banditry, kidnapping and terrorism, as these can threaten food security.
The stakeholders made the appeal in separate interviews with newsmen on Friday in Abuja.
They noted that the recent increase in kidnapping and banditry had made a lot of farmers run from their farmlands in search of safe hideouts.
Mr Paul Ikonne, Executive Secretary, National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) said there was need to urgently address the insecurity challenges in the country in order to overcome challenge of food shortage.
Ikonne noted that dialogue remained critical in addressing issues of insecurity and herders, adding that a peaceful dialogue between farmers and herders would prevent future clashes.
”I believe that the herders want their cattle to be healthy so they can sell and make profit. What this means is that they also want a conducive environment to do their business.
”So, NALDA is going to engage them and the communities; we will create an avenue where they can feed their cattle so that we all can live in peace,” he said.
The National President, Maize Association of Nigeria, Dr. Bello Abubakar said maize farmers in the country were currently producing enough to meet the demand for maize in Nigeria.
Abubakar however stated that more needed to be done to sustain the achievement, noting that one of such was to provide good environment for farmers to work.
He said that in order to achieve the desirable environment, kidnapping, banditry and terrorism must stop.
”Our farmers cannot go to their farms because of fear of being kidnapped, robbed and killed,” Abubakar said.
He called on the Federal Government to sustain the ban on maize importation so as to further boost its production and encourage farmers.
Hajia Salamatu Garba, Executive Director, Women Farmers Advancement Network said despite the current issue of insecurity, farmers across the country had been toiling hard to ensure availability of food on every Nigerian table.
Garba said there was need for the government to also intensify efforts in improving the security situation in the country, so that farmers could redouble efforts in food production.
”We thank the President for giving agriculture an atmosphere to grow, but we need the government to protect the lives of the citizens, because it is only when there is life that we talk of food,” she appealed.
Mr Peter Dama, National Chairman, Rice Millers Association of Nigeria said a lot of factors needed to be in place, to achieve a country desired by all Nigerians.
”The issue of insecurity, importation of food items grown in the countries, should be stopped. Nigerians have the responsibility of safeguarding the investments and economy of this nation for our progress.
”We also enjoin Nigerians with useful information on rice smugglers, to always reach out to security agencies, so that these economic saboteurs are apprehended, for the progress of our country,” Dama stated.
5m Nigerians benefit from FG/IFAD programmes – Minister
The Federal Government says over five million smallholder farmers have benefitted from the IFAD supported agricultural programmes in the country.
The programmes were funded by the Federal Government and International Fund for Agricultural Development (FG/IFAD).
They include Value Chain Development Programme; Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises in Niger Delta; Climate Adaptation and Agribusiness Support Programme; and Rural Finance Institution-Building Programme.
The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari, made this known in Abuja on Tuesday at the National Launch of the Value Chain North (VCN) Project Design Mission, being funded by the FG, IFAD and French Development Agency (AFD).
Kyari expressed delight that the programmes generated positive impacts in spite of challenges such as COVID-19 pandemic, drought, flood, among others.
The minister, represented by Mr Musa Bukar, Director Programme Coordinating Unit in the ministry, said the VCN is an intervention that would contribute to sustainable poverty reduction, enhance nutrition and resilient rural economy in some northern states.
He said the project co-financed by IFAD, AFD and other development partners would boost food production and climate resilience while reducing post harvest losses, enhancing food security and nutrition in the states with fragile situations.
“”The VCN design mission is in line with the food systems transformation agenda and the recent Presidential declaration of emergency in Nigeria’s food sector which require a multi-sectoral, multifaceted approach if we are to succeed.
“VCN is in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals one two, three and 13 among others.”
Kyari added that it was also aligned to the National Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy, Agricultural Sector Food Security and Nutrition Strategy, National Development Plan, and National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy (NATIP).
“The intervention is also in line with IFAD Policies and Corporate Priorities in the areas of its Strategic Framework, Strategy and Action Plan on Environment and Climate Change 2019 to 2025, and Nutrition Action Plan 2019 to 2025, among others,” he said.
The minister called on the design team to pay attention to the voices of smallholder farmers, women, youth and vulnerable groups, the private sector, off-takers, agribusinesses, financial institutions, and service providers.
Mrs Dede Ekoue, IFAD Country Director, said VCD would engage 456,000 beneficiaries equivalent to 91,000 households in the northern states to boost food production, climate adaptive capacity and resilience, among others.
“It is in line with NATIP and the president’s agenda for agribusiness transformation.
”The project’s ambition is to enhance the integration of farmers in agribusiness value chains while taking specific measures to facilitate youth and women agric-entrepreneurship, foster partnership with private sector, modernising agriculture through the use of digital solutions.
”This aims to harness the potential of agri-food system for promoting sustainable and inclusive economic growth, increase job creation and income.
“These can be achieved through development of stronger, better integrated, inclusive and resilient value chains that boost rural development,” she said.
Ms Sally Ibrahim, Project Manager, AFD identified nutrition as the major component of the programme.
Ibrahim, representing Mr Xavier Muron, the AFD Country Director, said better coordination among different stakeholders in the project was key in achieving its objectives.
Samuel Eremie, Lead Consultant of the project, said the VCN has eight years duration, and will start in Sokoto, Kebbi, Jigawa, Zamfara, Borno, Katsina, Yobe and Kano States.
Agric Minister launches 2023 dry season farming in Jigawa
By Umar AkiluMajeri, Dutse
In line with the Federal Government’s effort to address shortage of food and food inflation in the country, the Minister of Agriculture and food security, Senator Abubakar Kyari flagged off the 2023 wheat and dry season farming in Jigawa state.
In his address during the official launch of the programme at Kadume village in Hadejia local Government area of Jigawa state, the Minister said the dry season farming is under the National Agricultural Growth Scheme And Agro-Pocket Project (NAGSAP).
He explained that the dry season farming offers a unique opportunity to harness the untapped potential of their land and diversify Nigeria’s food production capabilities.
He however, noted that dry season farming allows farmers to overcome seasonal limitations and meet the demands of their growing population.
He pointed out that the dry season farming is being boosted by an african development bank loan of 134 Million Dollars and implemented under the national agricultural growth scheme and agro-pocket NAGS-AP project.
He explained further that the implementation of this ICT-driven with earlier steps taken to geo-locate farmlands, enumerate, register and cluster no fewer than 250,000 farmers.
The minister added that in wheat production alone, they aim to support between 150,000 to 250,000 farmers with 50 percent input subsidy to cultivate between 200,000 to 250,000 hectares and an expected yield of 1,250,000 tonnes of wheat.
Speaking further, Abubakar disclosed that other selected staples are earmarked for similar, varied support, all aimed at significantly reducing food inflation, as well as Nigeria’s dependence on foreign import, while increasing domestic consumption.
According to him, the critical requirement among others is availability of irrigable land where the dry season farming will take place.
The minister said, the crops being targeted for the dry season include wheat, cassava, rice, maize, sorghum which seeds have been imported from Mexico.
He noted that wheat farmers have been guaranteed off take of their produce by the flour millers association of nigeria.
AbubakarKyari said the availability of agricultural inputs and machinery will enhance the cultivation of about one hundred and twenty thousand hectares in different parts of the country.
He urged all farmers, researchers, private sector entities, civil society organisations and other stakeholders to come together and seize the opportunity presented by this 2023 Dry season farming initiative.
He also called on them to usher in a new era of agricultural prosperity and ensure a brighter future for Nigeria.
He assured that they can transform their challenges into opportunities and pave the way for a sustainable and food-secure nation.
Some of the dignitaries that attended the event include Governor Umar Namadi of Jigawa State, Emir OfHadejiaDrAdamuAbubakarMaje, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Vice President, Senator Ibrahim Hassan Hadejia and top government officials among others.
Agricultural inputs distributed to registered farmers during the occasion include seeds, fertilizer, herbicides, solar irrigation pumping machines and pesticides and sprayers.
Minister harps on adoption of technology tools to boost food production
Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Dr. Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi has harped on the necessity to utilise technological tools to boost food and nutrition security.
Speaking during the Africa Agric Machines Equipment and Technology Expo (AAMETEX 2023) with the theme “Transforming Africa’s Agriculture through Technology and Innovation,” the Minister said that the expo was aimed at exposing African farmers to mechanised farming, increase direct agricultural foreign investments and foreign exchange earnings, create new businesses, among others.
He noted that “there is a nexus between technological growth and food security, modern agricultural products equipment meant to improve efficiency in production and processing.”
Sen. Abdullahi pointed out that the forum would identify opportunities for collaboration and partnerships with other stakeholders and proffer solutions to the current and future challenges faced by the agricultural sector in the continent.
He further said that it would provide a platform for discussions on economic, political and social landscape, impacts on the growth of the agricultural sector in Africa, build relationships across agencies and all spheres of government to accommodate technology and innovation.
Sen. Abullahi recalled that the present administration led by President Ahmed Bola Tinubu, GCFR, came on the mantra of ‘Food Security, Fighting Corruption and Economic Growth’ and as such, the Agricultural Sector was identified to be fundamental in driving the economic diversification and growth.
The Minister revealed that the Ministry was working with local and international Companies, engaging in bi-lateral and multilateral agreements such as Brazil Government and other international Agro-machinery companies aimed at providing basic Agricultural machinery to Nigerian farmers.
He stated that “under the Brazilian bilateral agreement, 10,000 tractors and 50,000 processing equipment are expected to be imported in Completely Knocked Down (CKD) and will be distributed to all the Local Government Areas of the Federation.”
Earlier in his remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr Ernest Umakhihe represented by the Director Special Duties, Mrs Fausat Lawal stated that the forum would contribute to the production and processing of agricultural raw materials and development of agri-food value chain.
He added that it would also promote the growth of the agro-industrial sector and export of food products made in Nigeria and add value from primary processing to secondary product in line with international standard.
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