Images speak @ the 6th APRNet/ IFPRI/USAID/MSU Multistakeholders forum themed ' Towards a sustainable Agricultural led for Growth Economic Growth and Recovery in Nigeria' @ Abuja

APRNet urges FG to aid agric research usage with infrastructural development

The Agricultural Policy Research Network, APRINet, at the weekend, urged the Federal Government to aid agricultural research usage with adequate infrastructural development.

Speaking on the essence of proper policy formulation and implementation in the agricultural sector, President, APRINet, Dr Anthony Onoja, at the 6th APRINet/IFPRI/USAID Annual National Multi Stakeholders Forum, held in Abuja, said one of the factors affecting the Agricultural Promotion Policy, APP, implementation has been poor attention given to critical infrastructural provisions to create the enabling environment for operators to thrive.

Onoja further stated that researches need to be carried out by multi-stakeholders from the academia and communities that would promote innovations with practical solutions to problems faced by farmers and investors.

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‘Farmers, herders’ conflict depleting animal population’

The Federal Government has raised concern that the increasing farmers/herders’ conflict across the country was depleting animal population.

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Bukar Hassan, who stated this in Abuja yesterday during the Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards (LEGS) workshop for livestock experts in Nigeria, said the potential promises of the sub-sector were being threatened with pervasive conflicts in the Middle Belt, North-East and other parts of the country.

He expressed worry that the waves of destruction and demographic dislocation are so huge and unprecedented that the livestock husbandry set-up are significantly disrupted with animal population being totally wiped out in many instances, adding that cattle rustling and allied crimes are some of the crises.

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Why Buhari’s agric promotion policy is not successful

Experts have said the Agricultural Promotion Policy (APP) of the Federal Government has not achieved the intended results four years after its launch due to inadequate infrastructure.

According to them, when policies are not backed up by infrastructure such as good road networks, preservation technologies, adequate electricity supply, creation of enabling environment for farmers and credit facilities to value chain players, such policies are prone to failure.

President of the Agricultural Policy Research Network (APRINET), Dr Anthony Onoja, who said this during the fifth APRINET/USAID annual national multi-stakeholders’ forum, explained that though there had been a significant increase in food production, especially cassava, inability of farmers to transport the roots to the market due to bad road networks and high cost of transportation had led to a glut of the product.

He said: “The glut affected farmers negatively last year, making most of them to be discouraged and moved away from cassava production.”
Onoja maintained that to make agricultural policies relevant, farmers and the intended users should be carried along, saying any agricultural policies that did not involve the farmers would not succeed.

He said that APRINET had the primary mandate to bring agricultural stakeholders together to ensure inclusiveness in the agricultural policies in Nigeria.

He added that the essence of the forum was to bring about change in agricultural policies that are not favorable to Nigerian farmers and the masses.
President of the National Association of Nigerian Traders, Ben Ukwoha, stressed that research institutes should redouble efforts to produce research that would be beneficial to the farmers, enhance food security and bring agriculture out.

To achieve this, he mentioned that research institutes should not only deploy funds to paying workers’ salaries but also must ensure that they are innovative, producing new technologies.

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FG reiterates commitment to revamping agricultural sector

August 24, 2017 | 5:45 am

Report from Philomina Attah and Kudirat Ogunyemi (August, 23, 2017) of Sundiata indicated that the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh on Wednesday reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to the revitalisation of the agricultural sector of the economy.

According to the report, Ogbeh disclosed this at the 4th National Stakeholders Forum on “Making Agricultural Research Work for End Users organised by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Agricultural Policy Research Network (APRNet) in Abuja.’’

Mr Abdulazeez Muyiwa, Representative of the Honourable Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development giving the address from the Honourable Minister during the 4th APRNet Annual Multi-Stakeholders Forum on "Making Agricultural Research Work for End-Users" on 23rd August 2017 at Abuja

The minister, who was represented by Mr Abdulazeez Muyiwa, a Director at the ministry, said the Federal Government was also making agricultural research more effective in tackling the issue of food security in the country.

According to him, government is currently pursuing the restructuring of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) in order to make it function as a research extension liaison and development centre. He said the ministry would work closely with private investors to ensure national self-sufficiency in staple foods such as rice, wheat, maize, fish and dairy milk.

Ogbeh said the government was also committed to developing end to end value chain solutions.

“As part of import substitution drive, we have established the Nigeria Yam Export Programme geared towards promoting export of Nigerian yam to Europe, America and other parts of the world.

“Interestingly, the Chinese Government has demanded dry yam from Nigeria to meet its industrial and domestic needs,” he said.

Similarly, Dr Anthony Onoja, APRNet President, said that the poor involvement of stakeholders in agricultural development processes was a threat to the actualisation of food security in the country.

Related Story:  Kogi Govt Declares State Of Emergency On Agric, Clears Land For Farmers

“That is why APRNet has brought together stakeholders to brainstorm on challenges facing the agricultural sector and food security in the country.

“The focus of our discussion will be on the status of food sufficiency in the country; the challenges facing Nigerian agricultural development and food security and the role of stakeholders in addressing these challenges for the interest of the end users,” he said.

Onoja added that efforts in the past to address these issues have not been properly coordinated, adding that the policy makers, the private sector and farmers have been working separately.

The Country Head of IFPRI, Dr George Mavrotas, said that the institute and the Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project have been partnering with APRNet in finding solutions to agriculture problems.

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Task Team on Tomato Value Chain inaugurated in Kano

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has stated with confidence that the country’s tomato industry has great potential in contributing to the development of its ec

onomy. “Nigeria is the second largest producer of tomato in Africa and 13th in the world”, he noted, pointing out that 50 percent of tomato produced in the country is lost due to lack of storage, coupled with poorly developed marketing channels leading to a huge annual import bill on tomato paste alone to the tune of about 16 billion.

Sanusi who made these remarks while inaugurating the National Tomato Technical Working Group (NTTWG) underscored the need for a radical transformation of the agricultural value chains through the direct involvement of all stakeholders.

Furthermore, the CBN governor expressed the hope that the NTTWG will provide a platform for building sustainable partnerships between relevant ministries, departments, agencies of government and the private sector in the tomato industry, with a view to facilitating the development of the domestic tomato industry by making it globally competitive and sustainable.

The Vice President of Dangote Group of Companies, Alhaji Sani Dangote on his part urged the Federal Government to put a policy in place that will encourage commercial agriculture in the country and to ban the importation of tomato paste in order to boost massive production of tomato to meet the huge demand which already exists in the country.

Dangote also stated that the Kadawa Tomato Processing Plant in Kano, the largest in Africa with a capacity of 1,200 metric tons per day, will commence production in April. He however pointed out that the major challenge to the kick-off of production is that of power and urged the government to look in the direction of making power stable in the country.

The Working Group, which draws its membership from the key ministries of government having direct impact on the tomato value chain, namely: Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Trade and Investment, and Ministry of Water Resources, as well as the Departments and Agencies relevant to the performance of its terms of reference.

Speaking further, the CBN Governor took the opportunity to highlight the key challenges and solutions proffered by the NTTWG – which had met for 2 days prior to the inauguration – while soliciting the corporation of all involved towards ensuring speedy implementation. According to him the critical interventions required include; “rehabilitating the existing irrigation facilities, establishment of tomato development levy fund, establishment of a zero duty regime on refined petroleum processing equipment and accessories, registering of tomato farmers and incorporating this into the national farmers registration data base, establishing of a national soil analysis and land classification system to enhance tomato productivity and a strict enforcement of existing policies on quality control and adaptability of tomato inputs – seeds, fertilizers, agro-chemicals as well as processing equipment”. While noting that the above list is not exhaustive, Sanusi added that “as the NTTWG carries out its assignments, more issues are expected to evolve for resolution.

The event was facilitated by the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System in Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) Plc, in conjunction with Kano State Government. NIRSAL Plc will serve as the secretariat of the NTTWG due largely to the key role it played in convening the National Tomato Stakeholders Workshop in Abuja in 2013 – that event set the stage for the emergence of the NTTWG.


Bank Boss Eulogizes ATA


The current Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) of the federal government has been described as a revolutionary scheme that has accelerated the nation’s quest for food security. This point was made by the Group Managing Director of MainStreet Bank Limited, Mrs. Faith Tuedor-Matthews in Abuja during the formal launching of the Dry Season Farming Support Programme.

The Bank boss acknowledged that the ATA as an initiative, has further encouraged Nigerian banks to brace up to the challenge of lending to the agricultural sector.

“Prior to the introduction of the initiative, bank lending to the agricultural sector stood at below one per cent and within two years, the figure has grown to 368 billion representing 4.29 per cent”, Tuedor-Mathews disclosed.

Stating further that the Bankers’ Committee has set a target to grow lending to the agricultural sector to 7 percent by 2015 and subsequently to 10 per cent by 2017.

Sharing her industry experience of the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GES) in the last two years, the bank boss noted that the total bank lending under the GES had grown from 4 billion to 20 Billion within a year.

Speaking on the repayment record, she underscored that “under the GES scheme, MainStreet Bank lent 10 billion to 30 agro-dealers in 2013 and recorded zero default”.

The bank boss also maintained that whilst previously the bank would not deal with agro-dealers because they lacked the structure to qualify for borrowing, the story has changed as all the loan to dealers are performing through the scheme. She added that over one million farmers have been reached and this translates to more jobs as a result of the additional hands who have been employed through this initiative.

“MainStreet Bank will continue to play a leading role to ensure that Nigeria attains its target in agriculture especially in stimulating the distribution of fertilizer and seeds to farmers under the GES, which will in turn boost food production and create jobs across the country,” she added.

According to her, flowing from the experience of MainStreet Bank, many banks have now realized that lending to Agriculture is a viable business noting that there is great optimism that the target of 60 billion lending to the GES programme will be met and even surpassed.


FGN Commits 14b to Agriculture


The Federal Government of Nigeria has promised to commit 14 billion to this year’s dry season farming aimed at radically increasing the overall food production status of Nigeria. This was disclosed by the President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, in Abuja during the official launching of the dry season farm support programme, organized by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

At the event, the President reiterated the fact that agriculture is the largest contributor for our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the largest employer of labour which accommodates a large numbers of people in its value chain.
“As a government, we are committed to diversify our economy and unlock the huge agricultural potentials so as to assure food security and create wealth for our people”, the President stated.

Noting that Nigeria has no option than to look inwards for its food security, the President went on to disclose that it was this realization that necessitated the birthing of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) in 2011 with the goal of adding an additional 20 million metric tons to the nation’s domestic food supply.


“We are no longer treating agriculture as a development project but as a business, so as to serve as a medium that will create wealth for our people”. The President said. Regarding the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES), the President assured the congregation that the policy will be sustained in order to raise many more farmers across the country with the hope to reach 10 million farmers by the end of 2014 with improved seeds, fertilizers and other production inputs including farm machineries centers where farmers can easily hire machineries at very reduced prices.

He further disclosed that his administration is working hard to improve the access of farmers to market. “This administration has completed silos across the country with the total capacity of 1.3 million metric tons and this will be used to encourage the private sector to establish a world-class agricultural commodity exchange”.
The high point of the event featured profound testimonies from ordinary Nigerian farmers and other stakeholders who have been touched by the government’s policies in agriculture.


FG Set to boost Economy through SCPZs

FG Set to boost Economy through SCPZs

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, has stated that the Federal Government has embarked on the development of 14 Staple Crop Processing Zones (SCPZs) in the country which when successfully implemented,  will add between 660 billion and 1.4 trillion to the nation’s economy and create up to 250,000 jobs.

Adesina, who made this known in Abuja while briefing newsmen ahead of the launch of the SCPZ programme, said that this programme would reduce the cost of doing business for agro-processors and ensure their competitiveness while creating a ready market for farmers through reduction of post-harvest losses.

He said the crop processing zones would help to process the raw foods produced by farmers into finished foods and other economic products that would benefit the area.
The SCPZs will be equipped with desirable infrastructure and service, while the surrounding food production clusters will also be developed with the required operational infrastructure to ensure optimal productivity,” he stated.

He said the government was determined to grow wealth through agriculture by ensuring value addition to local produce, to generate employment opportunities for the populace.

”If it is not produced in Nigeria, processed in Nigeria, eaten in Nigeria, it is not good enough”.
”Nigeria can no longer be an import-dependent country, we must unlock the potential of our agriculture by ensuring that we process what we produce”.

”We must ensure we do not export only raw materials, we must revive our rural economy by ensuring that agriculture becomes industrialized.”

Adesina also noted that the FG is working in partnership with states and local governments and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to develop master plans for the SCPZs and will be presented to stakeholders in six priority states with potential SCPZ sites such as Kogi, Lagos, Kano, Anambra/Enugu and Niger over the next several months.

He added that 14 SCPZs will be set up across Nigeria, for rice, sorghum and other grains, cassava, fisheries, horticulture and livestock.

Adesina said investors would be equipped with the necessary infrastructure and services while the surrounding zones would be developed to ensure optimum productivity.

“The development of the SCPZs will not displace smallholder farmers and their communities. To the contrary they are being developed to include smallholder farmers and with active participation of communities,” Adesina stated.



The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has launched the first phase of its Staple Crop Processing Zones. The SCPZ is a bold and visionary investment initiative of the Federal Government to drive the modernization of agriculture and fill the missing link between agriculture and industrialization. It includes the construction, development, and operation of agro-processing clusters in areas of high-food production across Nigeria.

At a three-day presentation of technical Reports, stake-holder engagement, and a formal launch of the Kogi State SCPZ in Alape in the Kabba-Bunu LGA, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said “the SCPZs have the full backing of the Federal Government and hold the solution to Nigeria’s socio-economic problems by bringing best in class agro-industrial concepts that will benefit millions of Nigerians in the first six Staple Crop Processing Zone modelsin Kogi, Lagos, Kano, Niger, Anambra/Enugu and Rivers.” While noting that a lack of modern processing capacity has robbed Nigeria of it’s potential to create sustainable agriculture, Dr. Adesina has described SCPZ’s as “a game changer.”

According to Governor Idris Wada, “Kogi State has already invested heavily in the development of the Alape, Kogi State SCPZ. We look forward to working closely with potential investors, the Federal Government, and host communities to make the SCPZ the economic and financial success we know that it will be.”

Present at the formal launch and presentation of the SCPZ master plan in Kogi State were executives of Cargill, the world’s second largest food producer, representatives of the World Bank, the African Development Bank, UNIDO, USAID, FADAMA, DFID (GEMS3), CADP, community leaders, and farmers.

The Vice Chairman and Chief Risk Officer of Cargill, Emery Koenig, said his company is “excited about Nigeria’s agricultural potential. We are currently exploring opportunities for the establishment of a cassava-based starch and sweetener facility that develops a local supply chain.”

Nigeria’s SCPZs are designed to attract private sector investment in the local production and processing of Nigerian agricultural produce; lead to the development of agro-industrial towns; and provide employment for millions of Nigerians.  The primary goals of the SCPZ are the substitution of food imports, adding value to local agricultural products, and the development of a new generation of small and large-scale Nigerian farmers.

At a policy document validation workshop with community stakeholders in Kabba following the SPCZ launch, Dr. Niyi Odunlami, Snr. Technical Advisor (Infrastructure) to the Minister of Agriculture said, “SCPZs will provide host communities with critical infrastructure investments modern farming methods and technology, employment opportunities, and increased economic activity.”

Responding, the Kogi State Commissioner of Agriculture, Dr. Femi Bolarin, encouraged community leaders to fully support the Federal Government’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda and said, “Kogi Sate is open for business.”

Nigeria’s Staple Crop Processing Zone initiative will be presented at the forthcoming World Economic Forum for Africa in Abuja this May.



President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday approved the disbursement of N14 billion for the expansion of 2014 dry season farming. Jonathan gave the approval at the official launch of the Dry Season Farm Support Programme at the banquet hall of Presidential Villa, Abuja. The president disclosed that in 2013 the sum of nine million naira was approved for the dry season farming. He assured that the fund would continue to increase as more farmers key into the programme. The president said that the Federal Government would ensure that the dry season food support programme becomes a national food policy of government.

Jonathan also directed the ministry to ensure that the programme would commence not later than October of a preceding year.

``Our resolve is to expand this dry season programme is strong and subsequently it has to come up in October so that they will get all that we need before the commencement of the dry season. ``To demonstrate this, I am today announcing N14 billion to support dry season farming for 2014 season.

As more states come on board we will continue to increase the amount of money. We will continue to work with farmers and that is why I am announcing today that the support will become a national policy.
``Our nation shall be green, our barns shall be filled and our farmers shall prosper,’’ the president said.

The president said that the programme was launched in 2011 with the goal of adding an additional 20 million metric tonnes of food to the country's domestic food supply.

He said 600,000 farmers, representing an increase of about 1.5 per cent over the numbers of participants in 2013, had already registered for the programme.

Jonathan said that the administration would continue to expand the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) to reach many more millions farmers. ``It is our hope that we will reach 10 million farmers by the end of this year with improved seeds, fertilisers and other production imputes, including farms machinery hiring centres. ``The ministry is working to establish centres where tractors can be accessed at reduced prices. We are working to improve the access of farmers to markets.’’

He also said the administration had completed silos across the country with a total capacity of 1.3 million metric tonnes.

The president said the silos would be used to support private sector efforts to establish world class agricultural exchanges.

Jonathan said that the government would encourage the establishment of marketing corporations to replace the former marketing boards.

According to him, it will help to improve markets and trade opportunities for farmers. Earlier, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture, Rep.  Mohammed Monguno, said that his committee would sponsor a Growth Enhancement Support Scheme bill aimed preventing policy somersault by successive government. The Senate Committee Chairman on Agriculture, Sen. Emmanuel Bwacha, commended the GES and E-Wallet programmes of the government. The Governors of Kebbi, Gombe and Kogi were at the launch and shared the level of growth of agriculture in their states.

Beneficiaries of the GES were also on ground to share their experiences. The beneficiaries commended Jonathan's Agricultural Transformation Agenda.


Adesina: It’s Time to Liberate Nigeria from the Stranglehold of Food Importation

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina

Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, told Crusoe Osagie that as the federal government embarks on a policy of entrenching dry season rice farming, Nigeria’s dependence on rice importation will soon become a thing of the past. 

Why dry season rice farming?
The flood experience of 2012 was a blessing in disguise. The need to consider ways of cushioning the impact of the flood on the victims and on the nation became apparent. Mr. President was initially under intense pressure by some rice lobbyists who wanted the President to approve of import permits to bring in rice. In their own thinking, that was a way to tackle what they feared was coming: food crisis. In the end, there was no food crisis.

How did we handle it? We first assessed the extent of the flood and the impact. We then designed a dry season intervention programme, taking advantage of what we have earlier done in the year on the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) programme, which provided us with a database of farmers from which we were able to select target beneficiaries under the dry season rice farming programme.

So, how did it work?
We selected 264,000 farmers across 10 states of the Northern Nigeria. We gave them support to cultivate a hectare each, with free rice seeds from the federal government. These farmers began the rice cultivation under intensive irrigation, using water pumps. Their farm yields have significantly impacted the amount of paddy rice available in Nigeria today, with about 1.1 million metric tonnes of paddy. It was an eye opener and an impetus to do it again.

How do you intend to do it again?
A rice revolution is in the making in Nigeria. It is becoming a reality because of the immense support we are receiving from President Goodluck Jonathan, who has great faith in this country and the fact that we can produce what we eat, converting our comparative advantages to competitive advantages. We were encouraged by the result of the last dry season efforts. The federal government has now introduced a national policy for dry season rice farming. This is without prejudice to the normal rain-fed rice farming: it is meant to complement what farmers produce during the rainy season and to keep them busy during the dry season as well as boosting their farm incomes.

The second dry season rice farming project will soon begin. To show you how interested the farmers now are, 400,000 were initially targeted, but 700,000 farmers are already registered. Like we did last year, we are giving them improved seeds, giving an average yield of 4 metric tonnes per hectare. Let us assume that each of them grows one hectare at that 4 metric tons per hectare; that gives 2.8 million metric tonnes of rice paddy coming out of dry season efforts alone, which is in excess of the shortfall of paddy requirements by the rice mills. This gives 1.82 million metric tonnes of milled rice.

An assessment of the integrated rice mills has shown that their milling capacities require 850,000 metric tomes of paddy to run throughout a year. What will be produced during this coming dry season will therefore be well over their raw material needs. There is therefore no reason to worry about how to find paddy to run the mills. The USAID MARKETS and African Rice studies show that rice paddy is not a problem in Nigeria.

But, the millers complain of costs as prohibitive. How do you hope to overcome these?
The federal government is embarking on a number of measures to make Nigerian rice competitive. A marketing subsidy will be put in place that would encourage millers to mill local paddy. We are going to reduce our tariff and levies so as to cut off smuggling. However, incentives to import will be conditional upon having functional milling factories and will last for just about three years. With the on-going efforts, we will be well-positioned to produce, mill, market and brand Nigerian rice. Forty integrated rice mills will be imported from China. Dominion Rice Farms also, working with their local partners, has put about 30,000 hectares of land under cultivation that will replace 15 per cent of locally consumed rice.

But, how did you ban importation?
We have not banned importation. But we raised tariff. Tariff raise leads to expansion of industrial milling capacity by 300 per cent in two years. Considering the socio-political and economic implications on Nigeria, it became necessary to take steps towards freeing Nigeria from the hands of the exporter nations. First, Thailand spends $15 billion subsidising farmers. They have a stockpile of 18 million metric tonnes of rice. They are therefore dumping the rice on importing nations. This kills local farmers. We have to take a decision as a nation: whether we want our farmers to continue to be at a disadvantage; whether we want to continue to depend on foreign sources for what we can produce locally.

Rising from the D-8 meeting that was concluded in Abuja at the weekend, what is the compelling relevance?

The D-8 is a very important organisation in the world. It is made up of the following countries: Nigeria, Turkey, Iran, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan and they account for 13 per cent of the world’s population. The potential for trade between our countries is immense. The trade between our countries grew from $68 billion in 2010 to $150 billion in 2012 and is projected to rise to $500 billion before 2020.

With the rising population of the D-8 countries, nothing is more important to our security than food. Therefore, greater priority needs to be put on assurance of food security. This is because any nation or region that cannot feed itself is not sovereign nor cannot assert its position in the global economy.



Nigeria’s Minister Dr. Akinwumi Adesina Wins Forbes Africa Person of the Year

Nigeria’s Minister for Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, was awarded the prestigious Forbes Africa Person of the Year defeating four other prestigious nominees for this continent wide prize.

Adesina who was nominated for his bold reforms in Nigeria’s agriculture sector has empowered more than six million farmers across Nigeria to embrace agriculture as a business. A passionate defender of African farmers, Adesina is relentless in unlocking opportunities for farmers and changing Africa's narrative on agriculture to wealth creation, away from poverty reduction.

Within two years of his taking office, Adesina turned agriculture away from being a development program into a business activity generating wealth for millions of farmers. “Africa, with our huge potential, cannot be a museum of poverty” he said.  “My passion is using agricultural business and finance innovations to turn Nigerian and African farmers and agribusinesses into millionaires and billionaires. Nigeria must become a global powerhouse in agriculture".

His Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GES) ended four decades of corruption in the fertilizer sector, eliminating the middlemen and scaling up food production by nine million metric tonnes in the first year -almost half of the 2015 production target.  To further enhance this process, he introduced an Electronic Wallet System which allows smallholder farmers to receive electronic vouchers for subsidized seeds and fertilizers directly on their mobile phones and enable them to pay for farm inputs from private sector agricultural input dealers.

The system has reached over 6 million farmers and enhanced food security for 30 million persons in rural farm households. Women farmers, previously marginalized under the old fertilizer distribution system, now have better yielding fields with subsidized farm inputs received on their mobile phones. Chairperson of Nigerian Women Farmers Association Mrs Lizzy Igbine, said of the Minister "We have never seen any Minister who works so hard to improve our lives. He has returned dignity to us as farmers".

With the success of the electronic wallet system, Nigeria has become the first country in Africa to reach farmers with subsidized farm inputs through their mobile phones. The impact is already being noticed beyond Nigeria with several African countries, Brazil, India and China now expressing interest in adopting the electronic wallet system in their agriculture sectors.

Adesina has championed African agriculture for over two decades, defending the poor and helping several African countries to develop innovative solutions for reaching millions of farmers with finance, farm inputs and supportive policies.

In recognition of Nigeria’s reforms and progress, global and domestic investors have signed over USD 4 billion of executed letters of investments to boost Nigeria's agriculture. The World Bank, African Development Bank and other global development finance institutions have put up over USD 2 billion in support of his bold initiatives.

"Adesina has totally revolutionized agriculture into a business, and banks and private investors are all moving to the agriculture sector. He has made agriculture very exciting, turning it into Nigeria's new oil" said Tony Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs Holdings.

Often referred to as 'Africa's leading development entrepreneur', he was appointed by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon as one of the 17 global leaders, along with Bill Gates, to help the world to achieve the Millennium Goals. Bill Gates, who sits on the Eminent Persons Group that advises President Goodluck Jonathan on Nigeria's agriculture, called Adesina's policies and reforms of agriculture "extraordinary".




The resolve of the emerging generation of leaders to uplift this nation was demonstrated yesterday as the Nigeria Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Chief Executives of Commercial banks agreed to expand the loan tenure to farmers from 6-12months.

This is to ensure further increase in food production in 2014, reduce inflation further and most importantly to enable banks reconcile the transactional ends of the seeds-fertilizer supply chains and the attendant loan to transition during dry season to wet season farming.

This was one of the pillars of the decisions reached at a breakfast meeting organized by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Abuja which sought to convey the Federal Government appreciation of the contributions of these banks toward the evolving agriculture revolution in the country.

The meeting also discussed and resolved some challenges mostly bureaucratic, in the loan repayment processes.

Dr. Adesina hinted that the total amount lent to farmers this year 2013 was N20billion as against N3.5billion in the preceding year, adding that this expression of confidence in the farmers came as a result of creation of institutional structures in form of value chains which have done so much to create and sustain confidence to fix the value chains, we continue to reduce the risk of lending by banks to Agric sector”

The Minister thereafter named the banks that have greatly supported the Agric Sector as Access Bank, Diamond Bank, Enterprise Bank, FCMB, Jaiz Bank, First Bank and Mainstreet Bank. Others are Sterling Bank, UBA, Unity Bank, Wema Bank, Zenith Bank, Union Bank and Bank of Agriculture.

Dr. Adesina said that the registration of farmers which started in year 2012 has by year 2013 reached 4.2million farmers directly with electronic wallet scheme, adding that, this meant that about 20million people have been impacted by the GES programme of the Federal Government.

The Minister also attributed the decline in inflation to the slow rate in the increase of food prices and the CBN’s monetary policy. “Inflation is coming down in Nigeria for the first time since 2008 and that is a remarkable thing. This is happening because the CBN is doing a fantastic job in terms of monetary policy and the fact that agriculture is actually expanding in this country, when the inflation figures were released by the DG, National Bureau of Statistics, the decline in inflation largely is also attributable to the slow rate in the increase of food prices, the recent harvest continue to contain food prices.

That is to say farm harvest is also doing wonders. So basically you get CBN and agriculture working, and that is why you are finding out that inflation is going down as fast as it is which is the fastest rate since 2008.”

The Governor of Central Bank, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who was represented by the Deputy Governor in charge of Financial System Stability, Dr. Kingsley Moghalu, said it is remarkable that in the last one to two years, people have been lending to agriculture double and what the CBN did in contribution to this was to de-risk lending to agriculture because, the risk factor, according to him, has kept banks away from lending to the Agric sector.

As he further explained, “we felt that if we could help de-risk the whole process, this whole question of lending to the Agric sector can be seen on a commercial basis, NIRSAL is a different approach to development finance, it is a market based approach, Agric is no longer about development, Agric is a business”.

Moghalu believed that CBN as the Central Bank of a developing country has its responsibility not limited to monetary policy or banking supervision, “we have to make sure as the guardian of the financial system that the institutions that we supervise make their contribution to the economy of Nigeria, becoming a solid sound economy”.

In her closing remarks, the Permanent Secretary, of the Ministry, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote while appreciating the cooperation and the commitment of the banks appealed to them to increase lending to farmers and remain committed to their worthy desire and commitment to transforming agriculture in Nigeria.


Hon. Minister FMARD, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina and the CBN Deputy Governor, financial system stability, Dr. Kingsley Moghalu at a breakfast meeting organized by the Ministry of Agriculture for the CBN governor and some selected bank CEOs



No Food Crisis in Nigeria—Agric Minister Assures

Despite the flood which affected a couple of states in Nigeria in 2012 as well as the activities of the boko haram insurgence which has crippled businesses in some northern states of the country, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina is of the opinion that Nigeria will not witness any food crisis in months and even years to come.

The Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has assured Nigerians that there will be no food crisis in the country in the coming months and years.The Minister made the assertion in Abuja at an interactive breakfast meeting with stakeholders in the Agricultural sector, especially bankers who are involved in financing the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme of the Federal Government as well as members of the Nigerian media.

The assurance is coming on the heels of fears and speculations that the country is likely to face food shortages next year, occasioned by this year’s flooding and insecurity being experienced in parts of the country.

Describing the  speculation as the imaginative ideas of vendors  who want to import food into the country in order to damage the country’s rapidly rising agricultural sector and promote their trade, the Minister maintained that there can be no stopping the Agricultural Transformation Agenda, whose major objectives are to remove Nigeria from the list of food importing countries,  give her a pride of place in the comity of food exporting nations, transform agriculture into viable business that will create jobs and wealth for Nigerians.

Dr. Adesina recalled that similar fears expressed last year in the wake of the 2012 flooding came to naught as Government rose to the occasion, giving massive support to small holder farmers by way of fertilizer, seeds and other inputs through the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme, which resulted in the production of over 1.3metric tons of food for the dry season farming alone.

Reaffirming his position that there was no cause for alarm, the minister revealed that his administration will launch a new Growth Enhancement Support (GES)Scheme for large scale commercial farmers early next year, targeting mechanized and industrial  agriculture to boost the country’s output beyond what is presently being experienced under the small farmer holder GES.

Already, the minister revealed that plans by his ministry are at an advanced stage to establish twelve STABLE CROP PROCESSING ZONES across the country, which will not only boost national production efforts, but will also industrialize the sector and create jobs and wealth for the country’s teeming population.




The resolve of the emerging generation of leaders to uplift this nation was demonstrated yesterday as the Nigeria Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Chief Executives of Commercial banks agreed to expand the loan tenure to farmers from 6-12months.

This is to ensure further increase in food production in 2014, reduce inflation further and most importantly to enable banks reconcile the transactional ends of the seeds-fertilizer supply chains and the attendant loan to transition during dry season to wet season farming.

This was one of the pillars of the decisions reached at a breakfast meeting organized by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Abuja which sought to convey the Federal Government appreciation of the contributions of these banks toward the evolving agriculture revolution in the country.

The meeting also discussed and resolved some challenges mostly bureaucratic, in the loan repayment processes.

Dr. Adesina hinted that the total amount lent to farmers this year 2013 was N20billion as against N3.5billion in the preceding year, adding that this expression of confidence in the farmers came as a result of creation of institutional structures in form of value chains which have done so much to create and sustain confidence to fix the value chains, we continue to reduce the risk of lending by banks to Agric sector”

The Minister thereafter named the banks that have greatly supported the Agric Sector as Access Bank, Diamond Bank, Enterprise Bank, FCMB, Jaiz Bank, First Bank and Mainstreet Bank. Others are Sterling Bank, UBA, Unity Bank, Wema Bank, Zenith Bank, Union Bank and Bank of Agriculture.

Dr. Adesina said that the registration of farmers which started in year 2012 has by year 2013 reached 4.2million farmers directly with electronic wallet scheme, adding that, this meant that about 20million people have been impacted by the GES programme of the Federal Government.




The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has said that government will increase the National Dairy Production  from its current 469, 000 metric tons to 1.1 million metric tons by attaining an average milk yield per lactating cow from below 500 litres to 2,000 litres per lactation by 2015.

The Minister made this known at the opening session of a one-day training workshop on hygienic milk collection techniques and data collection for dairy value chain desk officers of the 36 states of the Federation held at the Livestock Training Centre Kachia, Kaduna state on the 22ndNovember, 2013.

Dr. Akinwumi who was represented by the North- West Zonal Director, Dr. Leo Nyam, said the objective of the training was to sensitize the Desk Officers on the activities of the value chain, Hygienic Milk Collection Techniques and data collection as well as their roles toward the achievement of Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GES) of the Dairy Value Chain.

Dr. Adesina also informed the gathering that one of the goals of the Dairy value chain is to raise the household income of dairy producers by at least US $285 million (30% import substitution in 2014).

In his speech, the Desk Officer of Diary value chain Dr. Frank Abudei gave the overview of the Diary value chain hinting that Nigeria has the largest cattle population in West Africa of 14 million with an estimated number of about 900,000 milking cows, a market demand of 1.3 million tons of milk valued at N450 billion (CBN 2010) and a growth rate of 4.4% predicted for 2011-2016.

Dr. Frank Abudei also informed the gathering that the total milk supply in 2010 was 600,000MT which is largely imported, and the country still has a huge gap between supply and demand of milk and milk products estimated at 700,000MT in 2010. This inability to contribute significantly to domestic milk supply and also bridge the demand supply gap is due to low input, low output livestock production system, poor productivity of predominant cattle breeds, low investment, low value addition and poor market development.

The Diary Value Chain Transformation Agenda of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture seeks to redress these challenges, through structural shift which focuses on issues relating to productivity, value addition and market development along the livestock value chain.



Agricultural Transformation Agenda: AfDB Okays $152.5million For Nigeria


Towards ensuring that the goals of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda of Nigeria are achieved, the nation’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is really working with the support of international organisations to achieve the set goal of the agenda.

The transformation agenda which promised to add over N300 billion additional income from farming, and millions of job for the teaming unemployed youths in the agriculture sector.

Again the transformation agenda has attracted another nod from the African Development Bank (AfDB) with a $152.5 million funding.

The funding, an African Development Fund (ADF) facility is to finance Nigeria’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program Phase 1 (ATASP-1). A breakdown of the finance by AfDB in a press statement revealed that $152.12 million of the fund is ADF’s loan while $.38million is an ADF grant.

With the sole objective of transforming the nation’s agriculture sector by making the sector a profitable one, ATASP-1 is looking forward to promoting employment generation and shared wealth creation along the commodity value chains which is also capable reducing agricultural produce wastage.

The support program would cater for smallholder farmers and rural entrepreneurs that engage in production, processing, storage and marketing of selected commodity value chains.

Banking on the enormous potential of agriculture in Nigeria, the funding would support sub-sectors like agriculture produce processing, marketing which have the capability to boost farm profits and income for farmers as well as improving productivity.

According to AfDB press statement, ATASP-1 is an infrastructure restoration intervention and would see to the rehabilitation of 1,300 kms of irrigation water conveyance canals; 39,777 ha of existing crop production schemes; 1,330 kms of feeder roads; 1,007 units of hydraulic structures.

Other rehabilitation to be executed by the support program also include 14 community markets, 35 primary schools, 14 community health centers, 63 portable water and sanitation systems. ATASP-1 will also establish seven technology demonstration centers.

A total of 45,300 farmers and rural entrepreneurs in commercial agriculture value chains are to directly benefit from ATASP-1, and the beneficiaries would be from four processing zones in seven states of the federation.

Additional 200,000 unemployed youths in the rural areas, majority of which is estimated to be male, would also benefit via an outreach program which will cover training and support towards improving their lives by engaging in agriculture and related ventures.


Adesina - We Won't Lower Tariff On Crude Palm Oil

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has rejected proposals for his ministry to import crude palm oil into the country.

Adesina made the position known in Abuja during the signing of cooperation agreement between the Ministry and 18 participating oil palm estates in the 2012 Nursery Field Plantation Activity.

He warned that the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme's (ETLS') Rule of Country of Origin provision should not be exploited to bring in crude palm oil at an unauthorised and ridiculously low price that discourages local investment.

"I want to be very clear on this: we will not allow imports of cheap CPO that will undermine our palm oil transformation agenda as a country."

Adesina lamented that in the late 60s, Nigeria was the leading producer and exporter of oil palm produce and that for most part of this period, the largest world producer.

"Nigeria accounted for 27 per cent of the global market of palm oil in 1961. Our production declined from 167,000 metric tons in 1961 to 25,000 metric tons by 2008. In the same period global production of palm oil expanded from 629,000 metric tons in 1961 to 33.3 million metric tons.

The situation changed following the aberration caused by the discovery of crude oil in commercial quantity in the early 70s"

The minister also informed that his ministry is already engaging all stakeholders in this regard to ensure their understanding towards supporting the establishment of local plantations, local production and processing.

He remarked that the oil palm industry has a lot of potentials not only for making profit and creating wealth but also providing employment. "Some oil palm companies, which are quoted in the stock exchange, are now the best performing stocks on the exchange. We want them to continue to do well. And in support of this, we are doing everything possible to promote the enabling environment that will ensure that investments in the oil palm are sustainable and that the market remains competitive for all local investors."

Recalling that Malaysia, which today is the second largest producer after Indonesia, collected its first improved nuts from Nigeria, the minister said: "Today Malaysia earns $18 billion per year from palm oil production. If Nigeria had held its share of palm oil production in 1960s, today it would be earning $8 billion per year from palm oil production. And today, Nigeria produces only 1.3 million metric tons of vegetable oil and imports over 350,000 metric tons of vegetable oil annually, expending an average of the naira equivalent of USD 500 million in foreign exchange. This situation is not acceptable."

As a first step, Adesina told the gathering, "4 million nuts have already been secured from the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) out of which 1,395,000 nuts capable of establishing 9,300 hectares are being made available to 18 estates at an average of 75,000-82,500 nuts in the first instance, to expand their holdings by between 500 and 550 hectares each while the balance of 2,605,000 nuts capable of planting 17,366 hectares will be raised by accredited out growers for distribution to farmers under the consolidated growth enhancement support for the oil palm value chain in 2013."

Under the Palm Oil Estate Scheme, participating estates span across 11 states namely: Kogi, Edo, Ondo, Delta, Cross River, Ogun, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Abia, Osun and Enugu. Each of the estates in this scheme has not less than 500 hectares of land concession to plant in 2013.

Adesina asserted that it was economically suicidal for Nigeria to throw open its ports to cheap import of crude palm oil noting that "those clamouring and making clandestine moves to reduce the tariff on crude palm oil from 35 to 5 per cent should know that this government will not allow such to happen. We cannot mortgage the future of Nigerian farmers. Farmers and oil palm estate owners are now expanding cultivated area under oil palm.

"They are planting new high yielding varieties with expectations they will find markets. If we allow crude palm oil from Malaysia to flood our markets, we will be dashing the hopes of these farmers and further sabotage the Nigerian economy.

"We are implementing an aggressive plan under the oil palm transformation agenda and we will reach 250,000 hectares of additional new plantings by 2015. We should be talking of how to become a major palm oil exporting country not to keep the shameful pattern of importing what we produce and can produce in abundance. The so-called backward integration policy has failed for rice, palm oil, cotton and sugar and has led to the current high level of imports, which we are determined to reverse. I will never support it. I am not Minister of Food Importation," he said.



National Universities Commission, (NUC), has been tasked to develop a curriculum for tertiary institutions in Nigeria that will equip agricultural graduates with the knowledge of agric science and business studies.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina made this call at the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding between his Ministry and the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife.

He observed that agricultural science graduates should not just stop at acquiring modern knowledge of Agriculture but must also know how to run a successful agric business because that is where the future is now and this knowledge must begin from the universities.

Dr. Adesina recalled with nostalgia his days at Ife and tasked the university to quickly revamp its renowned Teaching and Research farm so that contemporary graduates would be adequately armed with new ways of running agriculture as a business with due application of research findings.

While calling for recognition of scholars who have contributed enormously to agricultural development, he observed that, “the time is right now for Nigerian universities to begin research and production of technologies relevant to farmers.”

Speaking earlier, the Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Prof. Bamitade Omole praised the Minister of Agriculture for his committed effort towards revolutionalizing Agriculture in Nigeria. He added, “…for the last two years, everyone would attest to the fact that there has been a major revolution going on in the field of agriculture” and urged him to remain steadfast.

He said that the signing of the MOU is a very defining moment for the university since it is the first time any ministry is inviting a university in order to assist in training and research. He assured the Minister of Agriculture that the school will account for the grant given to her for this purpose.




The Agriculture Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government received a huge boost at the weekend as the Delta State Government issued a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina for a 6,000 Hectare for a mechanized cassava farm in Abraka.

Also provided is a 20hectare farm land for a high quality cassava flour factory also in Abraka. Announcing this in Asaba, the Delta State Capital, the Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan said the gesture was in support of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture cassava bread and high quality cassava flour development programme. He said the Delta State government was worried about the unemployment rate in the State and added that a medium to long term measures had to be provided to reduce that drastically.

Governor Uduaghan commended the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Dr. Adesina who he said due to his uncommon passion for food security has taken the practice of Agriculture to a new level.

In his response, the Agriculture Minister, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina thanked the Delta State Government for the gesture and called on the other State Governments to partner with this Ministry to realize the dream of actualizing the goals of Agriculture Transformation Agenda.

Following on the heels of the Agbadu success story in Kogi State, the Minister called for the creation of more success stories that would provide a platform of credibility to seek and enlarge the concept in order to accommodate and provide for investors as well as expand operations fast.

Adesina said partnerships in Agribusiness will surely create growth and real development and called for alignment between the State governments and his Ministry to address Youth unemployment and empower the farmers as it is in other developed nations.

The Minister was in Asaba where he delivered a paper titled: Agriculture: The Value Chain Road Map at the 9th all Nigerian Editors Conference.


19th Nigerian Economic Summit Group


The 19th Nigerian Economic Summit Group begins September 3-5 in Abuja. The excitement and expectations from this Summit has never been witnessed in the 20 year history of this August body. For the first time, Nigeria Economic Summit Group will focus on one single sector of the economy- Agriculture with a theme: GROWING AGRICULTURE AS A BUSINESS TO DIVERSIFY NIGERIAN ECONOMY.

The Summit will provide compelling reason that defines the emerging role Agriculture is playing in global economic development. It will situate the episodic landmark achievement in this sector since the launch of Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) two years ago.

Never in the history of our nation has Agriculture taken a front burner in the economic growth of our country. Giving needed impetus to the Transformation Agenda of the present Administration and in the longer term, the vision 20:2020.

The Summit will get to know how the vision, the passion and patriotism of one young man, the youthful Agriculture Minister, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina as a renowned Agricultural Scientist, has changed the national economic equation, food security in Nigeria inspired by a sheer vision, infused confidence and resilience in the ability of our people to feed themselves as well as restore credibility to the sector so long abandoned for imported finished farm produce and oil money.

Within two years, the possibility of feeding our citizens and exporting the excess has become an achievable dream. For the first time since Independence, Nigeria is marching confidently into satisfying national requirement on rice  a product in which we are the worlds’ largest importer with  annual import bill of N365 billion. Wheat – the temperate wheat produced in the Northern part of Nigeria is almost doubling national demand thanks to the synergy between the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the Lake Chad Basin Research Institute which has come up with a wheat variety that yields 6-7 times more than this nation had ever experienced in its history.

Our cassava is eliciting global interest and scramble while playing a leading role in the nationalization of Nigerian brand of cassava bread.

As oil producing nations aggressively diversify their economy ahead of anticipated increasing population explosion, coupled with crippling unemployment rate, Agriculture remains the only sector with the capacity to absorb these millions of unemployed graduates and save our nation from insecurity of lives and institutions.

As Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) focuses on Agriculture for the first time, all Nigerians must put hand on deck to restore the dignity of Cocoa House, the groundnut pyramids, the oil palm, rubber and timber estates and loosen the choking siege on oil revenue.

No matter how bad our heart is broken, the world does not stop for our grief. We must therefore take our destiny into our hands.

We must thank the President whose vision and support to this sector has been episodic, the National Assembly whose partnership with the Agric Ministry has been unprecedented and then the leadership, the passion, the vim and vigor of the Agric minister and his army of staff whose energy has been implicated in the admirable global quality of work in this sector witnessed in recent time.

We must all realize that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are but we are responsible for who we become. We must become a leading agriculturally industrialized nation with elastic capacity to feed our citizens and export the remaining to the less privileged African nations.

We wish the 19th NESG Summit, a wonderful deliberation.



FG trains 400 unemployed youths in agriculture

The Federal Government is training 400 unemployed Nigerian youths in agriculture as part of its efforts to meet up the Millennium Development Goals, a statement said on Tuesday.
The statement by the Head, Public Relations, Protocol and Advancement Unit, National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Mr. Ismail Olawale, said the training, which started on Monday, would last for two weeks.
According to the statement entitled, “Specialised training on agricultural extension service delivery for unemployed youths in Nigeria,” the training is organised by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with the Millennium Development Goals Office.
“After the training in Zaria, the participants will again be exposed to another one week of practical training in their various states,” it said, adding that the trainees were drawn from the 36 states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja by the State Agricultural Development Projects.
Explaining further, it said the participants, who would be trained in two sets of two hundred, were expected to undergo training in agricultural extension service delivery and agri-business skills “as envisioned by the Agricultural Development Agenda document and the operational dictates of the value chain in agriculture.”
The Executive Director, National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services, Ismaila Ilu, was said to have advised the participants to view the training as an opportunity to better their lives and that of the entire nation.
He was quoted as saying that theoretical understanding of development issues, especially in agriculture, without the practical exposure, was not enough to empower any individual, which was why the training would focus on the practical aspects through visits to rural farmers.
The statement said that Ilu commended the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, for recognising the potential of NAERLS to train the youth, while urging the participants to be inquisitive in order to get the best out of the training.
“The success of any extension work requires critical probing through genuine interpersonal discussion and the exploitation of other communication channels by the extension agent,” he was quoted as saying.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, who was represented by the Regional Director, Mr. Nyam Leo, was said to have advised the participants to take advantage of the training and empower themselves.
She stressed that the future of agriculture in Nigeria was dependent on training and equipping young people to practise agriculture with modern skills, adding that extension services were critical to the success and sustainability of such venture.
Source – Punch Newspaper 21st August, 2013.


Nigeria’s efforts towards reducing rice importation by 2014 got a boost Monday as Thailand promised to assist the country to boost its agricultural production.

The assistance in agriculture sector would centre mainly on helping develop the nation’s processing ability in rice and cassava, with a view to adding value to the country’s agricultural production.

Besides, Nigeria will also receive assistance in the area of solid minerals. In return Nigeria will provide teachers in English Language to Thailand under the Technical Aid Corp programme.

They also agreed to double trade between the two countries from the current level of $1.5 billion USD to $3 billion USD in the next five years.

These were some of the decisions reached during Monday’s political consultation between the two countries in Abuja where a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Establishment of Bilateral Consultations between the two countries were signed.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Olugbenga Ashiru and Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Surapong Tovicchakchaikul signed for their respective countries.

The MoU is expected to deepen and expand the level of political consultations between both countries on matters of regional and international interest. 


BoA boosts agriculture through affordable lending

Determined to boost agriculture in the country, the Bank of Agriculture, BoA has promised farmers of easy access to agricultural financing at an affordable interest rate. Managing Director of the bank, Dr Mohammed Santuraki, gave the promise at a three-day Agricultural Lease Financing Workshop organised by BoA and the Equipment Leasing Association of Nigeria, ELAN, in Abuja. Santuraki, who was represented by the Executive Director (Corporate Services) at the bank, Mr Sam Eyinbe said that agriculture lease financing was gradually becoming popular in the sector.


IITA releases Striga-resistant, drought-tolerant, extra-early maturing maize varieties in Nigeria

International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has released Striga resistant, drought-tolerant, and low soil nitrogen-tolerant extra-early maturing white maize varieties in Nigeria.

This is contained in a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday by Mr Godwin Atser, the Institute’s Corporate Communications Officer, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

NAN reports that Striga or witchweed is a parasitic weed that constrains the productivity of staple crops such as maize, sorghum, millet and upland rice in sub-Saharan Africa.

The statement said that the maize varieties were hybrids with desirable cooking characteristics, outstanding yield, and could grow across environments ravaged by drought, striga, and low soil-nitrogen in the country.


FG urged to commit 23% of budget to agriculture

The Federal Government has been urged to commit 23 per cent of its annual budget for 10 years to agriculture in order to make serious impact in the sector.
The Programme Coordinator of Civil Society Coalition for Poverty Eradication (CISCOPE), Mr Peter Egwudah, made the call in Abuja on Monday at a news conference to mark the International Youth Day 3013.

He said in order to meet the targets of the Vision 20:2020, agriculture needed to grow at an annual rate of 10 per cent.

``It will make the economy to grow at eight per cent rate necessary to become one of the 20 largest economies by 2020'', he said.

Egwudah contended that the country’s budgetary allocation to agriculture was not enough, adding that it had to do more to meet global target.
He urged government to invest massively in agriculture, in accordance with the 2003 Maputo Declaration.

The declaration states that a minimum of 10 per cent of each country’s national budget must be allocated to the sector.

The programme coordinator advised that attention should be given to youths to promote small scale agriculture.

He called for the implementation of the 10 per cent Maputo Declaration as well as the passage of the Right to Food Bill by the National Assembly.

According to him, ``Nigeria’s agricultural policy thrust should have small scale farmers as its centre piece.''

The Special Adviser to President Jonathan on Youth and Student Matters, Mr Jude Imagwe, said youths must not depend solely on the government to realise their dreams.


The Federal Ministry of Agriculture sets to excess Rice production


Dr Akinwunmi Adesina , Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, has said plans are under way to preserve excess production of rice into Strategic Grain Reserves.

The minister said this on Tuesday in Abuja in his welcome address at the US-Nigeria Commodity Storage and Training Workshop on Silo Complex and Management.

Represented by Dr Olajide Olumeko, Director, Strategic Grain Reserves Department in the Ministry, Akinwunmi said that the effort was to avoid glut as well as sustain farmers’ interest in production.

“The results of Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) is already manifesting with substantial increase.

“There is currently bumper harvest of rice due to strategies put in place; farmers produced about 1.1 million metric tons from the dry season farming the ministry implemented for the first time, in 2012.

“The millers are not able to purchase them completely and may result in glut if urgent steps are not taken to address the issue.

“I have directed the Strategic Grain Reserve Department to work out modality of mopping-up the excess production into the reserve as a strategy of sustaining the interest of farmers to remain in production.”

Adesina also said that this would likely be the trend for other crops to minimise post-harvest loss “through effective and efficient storage.”

He noted that the workshop was relevant to the ATA after a report by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) showed the need for “critical knowledge for proper stored grain management practices”.

He recalled that a total of 130 relevant stakeholders among which 77 were from the Strategic Grain Reserve Department, benefitted from a similar training in 2010 and 2012.

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