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Matawalle Charges Contractors on RUGA Projects

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The Zamfara State Governor, Gov. Bello Matawalle
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  • From Abba Kabara, in Gusau.

  • Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara state has issued strong warning to the constructor handling the proposed Ruga project to ensure that all building materials are purchased locally within the state unless they are not available.

    Similarly, the governor stressed that hundred percent of the labour force must be sourced from within the state.

    Matawalle issued the directive on Saturday while watching a video presentation of the  comprehensive master plan for the new Ruga project designed  by the consultant, Mr.
    Emmanuel Ozigi in Gusau.
    The project which is going to be located in the three senatorial districts of the state, will be jointly funded by the state government and the 14 local government councils of the state.

    Matawalle reiterated that the instruction to source labour force from the state is aimed at reducing poverty level and to motivate economic activities in the state.
    According to him, the Ruga project will showcase to the world that the peace process embarked upon by his administration is succeeding and to also prove to both foreign and  domestic prospective investors that a favourable climate for them in now guaranteed for attractive ventures in the state.
    He observes that the Ruga project will not only be beneficial to the Fulanis but will directly have positive bearing on all citizens of the state as the derivable benefits are enormous as way of boosting the economy.
    The governor who gave the assurance that  already the required funds for the scheme had already been earmarked and set aside, further explaained that after the pilot scheme which would commence on Tuesday, the federal government would come up with its own Ruga settlement programme in the state.
    In a speech during the presentation of the master plan, the  project consultant Mr. Emmanuel Ozigi said the components of the project would include facilities like access roads, landscaping, grazing reserves, primary and secondary schools.
    Also included in the components are Islamiyya schools, Mosques, hospitals, veterinaries, abatoir, social centers, dams and cemeteries .

Agriculture

Epe LG Empowers 200 Farmers to Boost Food Production

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Ms Surah Animashaun, the Chairperson, Epe Local Government, has empowered 200 farmers with cash and other agricultural inputs to boost food production in the area.

Animashaun distributed the agricultural inputs to the beneficiaries at the council secretariat in Epe on Thursday in Lagos.

She said the initiative was aimed at supporting farmers in order to boost food production in the various communities of the council.

Animashaun said the farmers who benefitted from the gesture are expected to be considerate in their price fixing after harvest to ensure the affordability of food for all Nigerians.

“With the economic situation now and the support being giving to you, farmers should be reasonable in fixing prices after harvest to ensure that ordinary Nigerians source food at a more convenient price nationwide.

“We are here to give you support for your farming activities today, we expect that you reciprocate tomorrow by selling at a more affordable price to the people tomorrow,’’ she said.

Animashaun explained that each of the benefiting farmers received N50,000 and essential grains such as maize and sorghum.

She said the council would continue to support the farmers for them to be strong in farming activities.

Animashaun also used the medium to highlight her administration’s ongoing efforts in the extension of palliatives to other sectors of the economy.

She urged the communities in the area to maintain harmony, love, hospitality, and compassion, particularly in the face of the present economic challenges.

Also speaking, Mr Sikiru Owolomoshe, the Vice Chairman of the council, urged the farmers to take advantage of the gesture to improve their activities in order to encourage others.

Mr Olayinka Kazeem, the Secretary of Epe Farmers and a beneficiary, expressed gratitude to the council chairperson and her management.

“This is the first time we are witnessing this kind of programme and it is coming at a critical period when many states are facing food shortage,’’ he said.

He assured that the beneficiaries would do their best to ensure the objective was achieved.

Mr Ahmed Surakat, the Public Relations Officer of Lagos State Fishermen Cooperative Association, and Mrs Kafilat Animashahun beneficiaries, extended their gratitude to the council chairman for her unwavering support to farmers.

Earlier, the President of the Epe Farmers Union, Mrs Aminat Shabi, lauded Animashaun for the comprehensive support to other agricultural value chain such as fish farmers and livestock producers.(NAN)

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Agriculture

Food Security Achievable Through RAAMP, Says National Coordinator 

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja 

The Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP) has been described as an appropriate and very effective means of realising food sufficiency and security across the country.

The National Coordinator of RAAMP, Engr Aminu Bodinga Mohammed who made the assertion  during the 7th Joint World Bank and French Development Agency Implementation Support Mission of RAAMP at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja, pointing out that most urban centers derive their supply of food from farms, which are located at the rural communities.

His words: “the primary objective of RAAMP is to improve rural roads and trading infrastructure through to boost food production.

Therefore the successful implementation of this project could go a long way towards guaranteeing food sufficiency and security across the country”.

He solicited for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to ensure an all-round success of the project.

Aminu noted that the mission was to evaluate the current implementation status, milestones as well as challenges faced by the 19  states participating in the project and announced that arrangements had reached an advanced stage for the commencement of civil works on agro-logistics centers (ALCs) latest by September, 2024 with 23 major contracts that would be awarded across the states.

ALCs refer to market hubs that have been prioritised for transformation to ultra-modern standards at various locations across the country , notably in rural communities to empower and enhance the livelihoods of the people.

Also speaking, the Task Team Leader of the World Bank,  Mr. Rakeesh Tripathi hinted that a scale-up was being mooted for the project but emphasized that only states which must have  established and operationalised the Rural Access Road Agency (RARA) and State Road Fund (SRF), backed up with the required standing on counterpart funds would be eligible to access the scale-up funds. 

He therefore advised all states to take advantage of the mission and get the needed support to tackle every challenge facing their State Project Implementation Unit (SPIU), adding that all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory would be encouraged to embrace the scale-up project.

Highpoints of the exercise were presentations by the State Project Coordinators of the respective participating states, question and answer sessions, comments and observations, among other inputs by the stakeholders.

The Task Team Leader of the French Development Agency, AFD; Consultants from the World Bank; the Federal Project Management Unit, FPMU as well as State Project Implementation Units, SPIUs of RAAMP also attended the mission.

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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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