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Oyetola Distributes 100,000 Cocoa Seedlings to Farmers




Gov. Gboyega Oyetola of Osun on Tuesday distributed 100,000 cocoa seedlings to farmers in the state to boost production.

Oyetola, while giving out the farm inputs to the farmers in Aisu, Ede, said the seedlings were provided free, as part of the Cocoa Revitalisation Programme aimed at revamping the state’s economy.

“The distribution of cocoa seedlings and other agricultural inputs are part of our determined quest at revamping the state’s economy through the Cocoa Revitalisation Programme.

“Today, we shall be distributing 100,000 cocoa seedlings to our cocoa farmers.

“Farmers in each local government in the state is expected to get a minimum of 1,500 seedlings.

“The support being given today is to empower our farmers and cushion the effects of the erratic weather condition that occurred in 2020,” he said.

The governor also released the sum of N200 million for relaunch of Osun Broilers Outgrowers Production Scheme (OBOPS) to enhance the capacity of poultry farmers in the state.

He said that his government had also bought five tractors to aid the operation of farmers in the state.

Earlier, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Adedayo Adewole, said the cocoa distribution programme was a landmark agriculture programme in the state.

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Adewole noted that the state government was serious about making Osun one of the largest cocoa producer in the country.

Also speaking, Alhaji Sulaimon Araokanmi, the Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Osun, appreciated the state government for the support given to the farmers.

Araokanmi urged that the seedlings and crops distribution should be extended to cover maize, cashew and cassava, among others. (NAN)


Stakeholders Seek Intervention of Nollywood to Change Perception about Agriculture




By Joseph Chibueze, Abuja

Stakeholders in the nation’s food system have called on the federal
government to engage the Nollywood industry to help change the
narratives around agriculture, especially for the youths.

That was one of the resolutions contained in the communique issued at
the end of the 2021 Feed Nigeria Summit held recently in Abuja.
The 17 point communique who dwell extensively on how Nigeria can
achieve food security by developing the agriculture value chain, also
stressed the need for effective collaboration between the federal
government and the private sector.

According to the communique, “The federal government must provide
institutional support to enable SMEs to build the organisational
structures and operational capacity necessary to attract investments.
“The government should also work with the private sector to design and
implement agricultural blueprints and deploy more improved technology
and mechanised agricultural equipment.”
A key point captured in the document is that modernising the
agricultural sector is one of the prerequisites for fixing Nigeria’s
food systems to meet present and future demands.
On that note, according to the Summit, the Federal Ministry of
Agriculture and Rural Development should consult with key stakeholders
including the various farming associations, development partners and
state ministries of agriculture for the effective implementation of
the National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Plan (NATIP).
The Summit also notes that the National Assembly should lock in
agricultural policies in order to prevent arbitrary reversal, and
appropriate financing for the sector.
Other areas the stakeholders want serious action include; that the
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development should dialogue with the
private sector on how to incorporate extension workers from large
businesses to smallholder farmers; develop agricultural internships
and skill acquisition institutions, particularly in collaboration with
the 52 Colleges of Agriculture; in partnership with interested
stakeholders educate food exporters and producers on the dynamics and
relevance of compliance to standards; enforce the compliance to
standards and the harmonisation of standards between African nations
in view of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA); sensitize
farmers on the difference between loans, grants, development aid, and
all other finance benefits that they have access to and how to
interact with these services.
Others are: that organised private sector players should adopt
innovative strategies to find and take advantage of exciting funding
opportunities in the sector; federal government must partner with the
private sector to create facilities and incubating centers similar to
business incubation platforms to aid the exchange of ideas and that
federal government should provide equipment for the data collectors to
use for adequate collection of farmers data and ease of assignment.
The Feed Nigeria Summit (FNS) is Nigeria’s flagship agricultural
sector convocation that has over the years earned its reputation as
the country’s foremost sectoral assembly responsible for catalyzing
transformational progress in her agriculture sector.
The 2021 edition with the theme: “POST-COVID19: A Repaired Food
System, Pathway to a Revived Economy”, focused on the need to
capitalise on the positive energy of the Nigerian agriculture sector
to strengthen the nation’s overall – Post COVID – economy. Emphases
were, therefore, placed on an objective auditing of the entire
agricultural ecosystem to ascertain areas of strength, as well as
Participants at the summit include the immediate past Minister of
Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono; the British
Acting High Commissioner, Gill Atkinson; Senior Special Adviser on
Industrialisation, Office of the President, AfDB Group, Prof Banji
Oyelaran – Oyeyinka; Representatives of sub-national Governments;
Chairman, House Committee on Agricultural Institutions and Colleges,
Hon Munir Babba Danagandi; Directors and Technical Advisors from the
Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development; Representative
of the International Fund for Agriculture De v e l o p m e n t (I
FAD); Chief Executive Officers of various agro-allied companies and
farmer organisations, among others.

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Global Support to Producers in Agricultural Sector to Hit $1.759trn by 2030-Report




By Joseph Chibueze, Abuja

A new United Nations report has projected that global support to
producers in the agricultural sector per year will hit $1.759 trillion
by 2030.  This is more than three times the current value of $540
billion per year.

Unfortunately, according to the report, about 87 percent of this
support, approximately $470 billion, is price distorting and
environmentally and socially harmful. The report therefore calls for
repurposing damaging incentives to achieve more of the 2030
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and realize the UN Decade of
Ecosystem Restoration.

The report, entitled: A multi-billion-dollar opportunity: Repurposing
agricultural support to transform food systems, launched by the Food
and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the UN Development Programme
(UNDP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) finds that current
support to producers mostly consists of price incentives, such as
import tariffs and export subsidies, as well as fiscal subsidies which
are tied to the production of a specific commodity or input.
“These are inefficient, distort food prices, hurt people’s health,
degrade the environment, and are often inequitable, putting big
agri-business ahead of smallholder farmers, a large share of whom are
women,” the report said.
According to the report, in 2020, up to 811 million people in the
world faced chronic hunger and nearly one in three people in the world
(2.37 billion) did not have year-round access to adequate food. In
2019, around three billion people, in every region of the world, could
not afford a healthy diet.
“While the majority of agricultural support today has negative
effects, about $110 billion supports infrastructure, research and
development, and benefits the general food and agriculture sector.
Reconfiguring agricultural producer support, rather than eliminating
it, will help end poverty, eradicate hunger, achieve food security,
improve nutrition, promote sustainable agriculture, foster sustainable
consumption and production, mitigate the climate crisis, restore
nature, limit pollution, and reduce inequalities,” it said.
The Director-General of FAO, QU Dongyu, said, “This report, released
on the eve of the UN Food Systems Summit, is a wake-up call for
governments around the world to rethink agricultural support schemes
to make them fit for purpose to transform our agri-food systems and
contribute to the Four Betters: Better nutrition, better production,
better environment and a better life.”
Agriculture is one of the main contributors to climate change through
greenhouse gas emissions from different sources, including manure on
pastureland, synthetic fertilisers, rice cultivation, burning crop
residue, and land-use change. At the same time, agricultural producers
are particularly vulnerable to impacts of the climate crisis, such as
extreme heat, rising sea levels, drought, floods, and locust attacks.
The report said continuing with support-as-usual will worsen the
triple planetary crisis and ultimately harm human well-being. “Meeting
the goals of the Paris Agreement requires shifting support especially
in high-income countries for an outsized meat and dairy industry,
which accounts for 14.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
In lower-income countries, governments should consider repurposing
their support for toxic pesticides and fertilizers or the growth of
monocultures,” it said.
“Governments have an opportunity now to transform agriculture into a
major driver of human well-being, and into a solution for the imminent
threats of climate change, nature loss, and pollution,” said Executive
Director of UNEP, Inger Andersen.
“By shifting to more nature-positive, equitable and efficient
agricultural support, we can improve livelihoods, and at the same time
cut emissions, protect and restore ecosystems, and reduce the use of
The report highlights cases where such a process began: the Indian
state of Andhra Pradesh that adopted a policy of Zero Budget Natural
Farming; the 2006 reform of agricultural policies in China that
supports decreased use of mineral fertilizers and chemical pesticides;
the Single Payment Scheme in the United Kingdom that removed subsidies
in agreement with the National Farmers’ Union; the European Union,
where crop diversification has been incentivized through reform of the
Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the Senegalese programme PRACAS
to incentivize farmers to cultivate more diverse crops.
Although there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for repurposing
agricultural producer support, the report recommends a broad six-step
approach for governments: Measuring the support provided;
Understanding its positive and negative impacts; Identifying
repurposing options; Forecasting their impacts; Refining the proposed
strategy and detailing its implementation plan; Finally, monitoring
the implemented strategy.
“Repurposing agricultural support to shift our agri-food systems in a
greener, more sustainable direction — including by rewarding good
practices such as sustainable farming and climate-smart approaches —
can improve both productivity and environmental outcomes,” said UNDP
Administrator, Achim Steiner. “It will also boost the livelihoods of
the 500 million smallholder farmers worldwide — many of them women —
by ensuring a more level playing field.”
By optimizing support for the agricultural sector using a transparent,
customised and evidence-based approach, our planet will benefit from a
healthier, more sustainable, equitable and efficient global agri-food
The report is launched ahead of the 2021 Food Systems Summit
(September), COP15 on biodiversity (October) and COP26 on climate
change (November). These events will allow governments to make
multilateral commitments to rethink outdated agricultural subsidies,
build forward better for the post-COVID-19 era, to commit to such a
strategy and to coordinate and monitor its implementation.

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VON D-G Urges South-East to Embrace FG’s Farm Estate Project




The Director-General, Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr Osita Okechukwu, has urged the people of South-East, especially Enugu State communities, to embrace the Federal Government’s ongoing nationwide Integrated Farm Estate Project.

The Federal Government recently announced that it would establish Integrated Farm Estates across the 109 senatorial districts of the country.

However, the government’s plan had been faced with mixed feelings, as some people wrongly feel it is an indirect way of reintroducing the controversial Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) project.

Okechukwu, on Sunday, urged the people of the zone and communities in Enugu State in particular to participate fully in the project as it would be community-based and managed by the communities themselves.

He said that the Federal Government’s programme, meant for the 109 Senatorial districts in the country, was a presidential mandate to close bandits’ market, provide employment and food security.

He explained that the appeal had become necessary “because our people are embarrassingly missing billions of naira budgets from the Anchor Borrowers Programme, one of the key projects in the Buhari’s Agrarian Revolution Value Chain”.

The VON boss said: “One with a progressive mind should subscribe to this people-oriented and laudable back-to-land project.

“It is clearly community-based aimed at generating mass employment, as the creation of employment is the best way to close banditry, kidnappings and terrorism in our land. For an idle mind is the devil’s workshop”.

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Okechukwu said that it was regrettable that some people’s past-time has become stock-pilling hatred against the central government as if President Muhammadu Buhari was going to preside over Nigeria for life.

“We should not gloss over the truism that the central government remains the only common shelter, which shelters us all.

“In no distant future, Nigeria will take her destined status as the giant of Africa. Therefore, it is not pragmatic to cut our nose to spite Buhari’s face,” he said.

According to him, South-Easterner should not reject humanitarian projects which ignite employment, close bandits’ market, reduce poverty and provide food security all because of sentiments.

Okechukwu further said that he was happy that the Executive Secretary of the National Land Development Authority (NALDA), Prince Paul Ikonne, a South-Easterner had clarified the concept of the programme.

According to him, the true position is that the national integrated farm estate is designed to accommodate the youth from that community in order to engage them in the entire agricultural value chain.

“And it depends on what the community is interested in going into, some states are getting into poultry like in the north, in the south like Abia they’re doing fishery and rabbit rearing.

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“In Oyo, the people are into rabbit rearing and crop farming and in Ekiti they are opting for crop farming.

“It is not another or anything that has to do with Rural Grazing Area (RUGA); what we have is poultry, fishery, piggery and any farming model of the choice of the community,“ he said. (NAN)

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