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Imo Plans to Plant 500m Palm Trees

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From Marcel Duru, Owerri

Imo State government is to unveil an Agricultural Revolution programme with a target of 500 million palm trees in the next 5 years.

Already, the government has engaged the services of some consultants to install an agricultural road map for the state, just as a world class technical partners had similarly been engaged to assist re-position the multi million Naira Ada Palm Nigeria Ltd Ohaji.

Uche Odozor, Senior Special Assistant (Agricultural Development) to Governor Emeka Ihedioha disclosed this while briefing newsmen in his office.

Odozor who identified agriculture as the key and pivotal pillar of the nation’s economy with core direct impact areas as food security, employment, foreign exchange earnings, poverty reduction and raw materials for industry regretted that in spite of this obvious fact, the sector had been literally dead for dose a decade in the state.

“Farm productivity has simply stagnated in the last 8 years and what we have now mostly are poor farmers producing only what they can eat with small families and this reality has had horrendous impact on the economy and on the life style of the people as a whole”.

“His Excellency, the governor of Imo State’s position on this is that of a revolutionary and aggressive intelligent approach to the situation so that speedy recovery can happen for the benefit of our people”.

According to him, the proposed agricultural revolution would demand data capturing of the people across the 27 LGAs of the state within the next one month, adding that at least 500,000 individuals would be needed in the first tranche.

He explained that the central objectives of this government’s agricultural policy was to increase agricultural productivity by promoting technical progress and by ensuring the rational development of agricultural production and the optimum utilization of the factors of production with particular emphasis on labour, ensure a rapid improvement in the standard of living for the agricultural community by increasing the individual earnings of persons engaged in agriculture, assure the availability of supplies and also ensure that supplies reach the consumers at reasonable prices.

Odozor disclosed that the state government was currently focused on driving this initiative in the areas of oil palm, ginger, cassava, soya beans, cashew pig farming, Rice, maize, Tilapia, watermelon, cucumber, Aqua culture, mushroom, fresh vegetables, pineapples Dairy farming, goat farming, shea butter business, Isabella grape, and Agro based e-commerce.

He added “everything we do will be based on inclusive agriculture productivity growth, improved nutritional outcomes, enhanced livelihood for people as well as foreign exchange income earning capacity”.

Others he said were: youth empowerment, climate smart agriculture, using less land to produce more food and preservation of land and soil saying “we will check consistently that all our strategies align with these core guidelines. People must be empowered and removed from poverty. Wealth must be created in communities, food must be amply available for local consumption and for export to other communities and abroad for foreign exchange earnings. Agriculture must once again become the core pillar and pride of our economy” he stressed.

Agriculture

NCP Approves Repositioning of Agriculture Bank

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja 

The National Council on Privatisation (NCP) has given its nod to the recommendations aimed at repositioning the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) to ensure food security for Nigerians.

Chaired by the Vice President, Sen. Kashim Shettima, the NCP approved the recommendations from the committee on BOA during its second meeting of 2024 held on Wednesday, April 24, 2024, at the Presidential Villa Abuja.

In his address at the meeting, the Vice President emphasized the importance of optimizing BOA as part of the administration’s agenda to provide food security for the nation.

He urged the committee to engage professionals with integrity to manage the process effectively.

Presenting the committee’s report, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun, who is also the Vice-chairman of the NCP, highlighted the decision to reposition BOA for efficiency and effectiveness. He expressed confidence that the recommendations would guide the Council in revitalizing the Bank of Agriculture and positioning it globally.

One of the Key recommendations includes upgrading the Bank’s ICT infrastructure to automate processes and ensure accountability.

Recall that in 2023, an 8-member inter-ministerial team was set up by the NCP to review the state of affairs at BOA, given its critical role in agriculture and the administration’s commitment to food security. 

Additionally, in 2016, the NCP approved collaboration between the Bureau of Public Enterprises and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, along with the Federal Ministry of Finance, to restructure and recapitalize BOA.

According to a statement by BPE Head of Public Communications, Amina Tukur Othman on Friday, the BOA, formerly known as Nigeria Agricultural Cooperative and Rural Development Bank, waa established in 1992. 

It is owned by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), with the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) holding 60% and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) holding 40%. The Bank is supervised by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (FMAFS).

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Agriculture

Mrs Soludo Launches Organic Garden Competition in Anambra Secondary Schools

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Wife of the Anambra State Governor, Dr Nonye Soludo, on Saturday launched the organic garden competition in secondary schools in Anambra to encourage children to learn more about food and farming.

Soludo, while addressing Healthy Living Teacher Ambassadors in Awka, said the organic garden competition would help teach children the importance of food and farming and its impact on their lives.

She described organic farming as a process that involved the use of natural food sources and nutrients for farming practices without fertiliser or other chemicals.

“This competition is part of the Healthy Living with Nonye Soludo Campaign to achieve a culture of health consciousness, drive organic agriculture with emphasis on food safety and sustainable living.

“It will help our students learn valuable lessons about where their food comes from, the benefits of eating fresh and healthy foods, and how to care for the environment.

“Vegetable seeds will be distributed to schools and at the end of every term, schools with the three best gardens will be rewarded.

“Our children at a tender age will start to appreciate agriculture as an essential way of life and the need to be part of building solutions that foster healthy foods in the society,” she said.

Also speaking, Dr Afam Obidike, the state’s Commissioner for Health, said the schools garden competition would increase student’s knowledge about the nutritional value of foods.

In her remarks, Prof. Nkechi Ikediugwu, Chairperson, Post Primary Schools Service Commission, said schools in the state would offer Health Living lecture every Wednesday after break to help students learn how to be healthy and grow into healthy adults.

Reports says that the programme featured distribution of okro, carrot, pepper, tomatoes, watermelon and cucumber seeds to the school teachers to begin the process of their school gardens.(NAN)

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Agriculture

Food Inflation: Agric Ministry Receives 2.15m Bags of Fertilisers from CBN

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The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has received 2.15 million bags of assorted fertilisers from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Reports says that the assorted fertilisers would be distributed to farmers to curb food inflation in the country as well as boost food production and food security.

Sen. Abubakar Kyari, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, who spoke at the event on Wednesday in Abuja, expressed gratitude to the President Bola Tinubu and CBN for the gesture.

Kyari assured the CBN Governor,  Mr Olayemi Cardoso, that the inputs would be judiciously used and delivered to the intended farmers.

“Thank you very much; this is more than goodies; 2.

15 million bags of assorted fertilisers; we want to express our profound appreciation on behalf of the Nigerian farmers and President Tinubu.

“Also, we appreciate you, our dear brother, the CBN governor and your team for giving us this wonderful gift.

“I want to assure you that it will be judiciously used and it will be delivered to the last man and intended farmers where they can reap the benefits of this huge gesture.

“They (farmers) can in turn cultivate and produce more that would stem the galloping food inflation that is affecting our country.’’

He said that challenges such as food prices, food cultivation, flooding and climate change among others had impacted on agricultural production in the country, adding that insecurity was on decline.

“l am happy to say that those things I mentioned are on the decline; insecurity is on the decline and we are mitigating against climate change.

“We are sensitising farmers to go into dry season agriculture.’’

Kyari said that there was need to need to boost and repair irrigation infrastructure so as to have all year round farming.

“Which (irrigation) is even more secured than that of the wet season farming,” he said.

Earlier, Cardoso expressed enthusiasm for the visit and presentation which was to address the issue of escalating cost of food in the country.

According to him, food prices are crucial components of inflation.

He said that the CBN aimed to enhance its partnership with the ministry to improve food production.

“This is precisely why we convene today to strengthen our collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture to mitigate the surge in food prices.

“The gesture is in alignment with our strategic shift towards focusing on our fundamental mandate.

“The CBN has veered away from direct quasi-fiscal interventions and transitioned towards leveraging conventional monetary policy tools for executing monetary policies effectively.

“In this light, we aim to extend our support and foster closer ties with Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) with the mandate and expertise to undertake these critical initiatives.

“Consequently, we aim to enhance our partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, bolstering your endeavours to enhance food productivity and security, ultimately curbing food inflation and fortifying our pursuit of price stability.

“In pursuit of these shared goals, we are delighted to announce the allocation of 2.15 million bags of fertilisers valued at over N100 billion which we humbly hand over to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.

“This contribution from CBN aims to amplify food production capabilities and foster price stabilisation within the agricultural sector,” he said.(NAN)

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