….Tinubu Mobilises $500m for Transformation
By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
The Vice President, Kashim Shettima has revealed that Nigeria has mobilized over half a billion dollars for innovative, profitable, equitable and sustainable food systems transformation initiative.
The Vice President made the disclosure while chairing a high-level meeting on the first day of the UN Food Systems Summit declared open in Rome, Italy by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guteress.
Shettima said the funds were mobilised “through domestic resources, multilateral development banks, international financial institutions, climate funds leading agro-businesses,” and would be used for “Innovation finance for food system transformation; development of Nigeria’s agro value chain and Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones programmes.”
While featuring in the panel discussion with the Prime Minister of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud; Deputy President of Kenya, Rigathi Gachagua; and Prime Minister of Niger Republic, Ouhoudou Mahamadou, the VP said President Tinubu “is determined to transform the concept and meaning of modern governance” by demonstrating commitment towards the food system in the country.
He further explained, “in this event, the Government of Nigeria will be showcasing its Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) as a unique example of a successful partnership between producers, the public sector and private operators.”
“The VCDP which is co-funded by the of Nigeria and IFAD has empowered vulnerable farmers and youth to engage into commercial partnerships with some of the biggest food processing and marketing firms in the world such as OLAM, a world leading agri-business company operating in over 60 countries with an annual revenue of about $39.8 billion,” the Vice President added.
Stating the government’s vision about ending hunger, the VP added that “building on the success of the VCDP, the Federal Government is determined to capacitate Nigeria’s rural smallholders and operators, youth and women living below the poverty line to take advantage of the new Special Processing Zones.”
On the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ), Shettima said it “brings together local governments, IFAD, AfDB, IsDB, GCF, OLAM and other private actors alongside the government of Nigeria for transformative financing of food systems that leaves no-one behind.”
According to him, “President Tinubu hit the ground running from day one of his administration, which is barely two months in office, and has therefore declared state of emergency in food security and took it as a livelihood item within the National Security Council.”
On removing impediments to economic recovery, he said “we had two albatrosses around our necks: subsidy on petrol and multiple exchange rates system.
“We withdrew the subsidy on petrol from day one, just like President Ruto did in Kenya. To mitigate the effects of the subsidy removal, the government embarked on the immediate release of grains and fertilizers.
“A commodity marketing board has been put in place to continuously review and monitor the prices of food items.”
“Along this way, the President has already approved the infusion of huge quantum of funds towards repositioning of our security architecture because we have similar problems with Somalia and Kenya, especially in the northeast and northwest regions of the country. We are repositioning our security architecture to provide support for farms and farmers.”
In attendance were the President of IFAD, Dr. Alvaro Lario, H.E. Muhammad Suleiman Al Jasser, President of Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), Vice President of AfDB, Mrs. Hassatau N’Sele, Vice President of OLAM International Mr. Reji George and Vice President, Commodity Aaliance Forum (Representative of farmers) Mrs Ejim Lovelyn.
Declaring the Summit open, the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guteress commended the participating countries for their commitment to addressing the problems of hunger and malnutrition.
“This is the gathering about food system. It is essentially to fulfill those basic of human rights – the right to food. It is outrageous that people continue to suffer in the world of plenty,” the UN scribe stated.
Shettima also had bilateral meeting with the Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni. Both leaders discussed issues about the development of the two countries.
The Vice President was accompanied to the meeting by Nigeria’s Ambassador to Italy, Mfawa Abam and the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Sen. Ibrahim Hadejia, and other senior government officials.
….Tinubu Mobilises $500m for Transformation
FG Urges States to Provide Land for Irrigation Projects
The Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Utsev has appealed to state governments and communities to provide land that would encourage farmers to practice irrigated farming.
Utsev in a statement on Friday said this was necessary in line with President Bola Tinubu’s directive to cultivate 500,000 hectares of irrigable agriculture across the twelve River Basins to boost national food production.
The statement quotes the minister as saying this when he paid a visit to Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State at the Government House Benin City.
The minister said his visit was to officially launch the 2023 Dry Season farming through the Benin-Owena River Basin Development Authority.
He announced the commencement of nationwide dry season farming to meet the National food production targets.
He sought the state government’s approval of Title Deeds for acquired lands from communities in the state to facilitate the proposed partial commercialisation of River Basin Development Authorities.
This, he added would encourage Public Private Partnerships in key projects for the benefit of the public.
Utsev highlighted the ministry’s intervention projects in water supply, irrigation, dams, erosion control structures, and sanitation facilities within the Benin Owena River Basin Development Authority catchment areas.
The river Basin covers Edo, Ekiti, Ondo States, and Delta North Senatorial District.
In his response, Gov. Godwin Obaseki, while welcoming the team to the state, stressed the need for synergy between states and the federal government.
He commended the minister’s dedication and urged him to bring fresh perspectives to achieve shared goals.
The governor emphasised collaboration on efficient water use, also urged the Federal Government to consider state water agencies, highlighting the economic potentials of water resources across the country.
The statement quotes both parties expressing commitment to collaborate in areas of irrigation, water supply, dams, and programmes like Partnership for Expanded Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene and Sustainable Urban and Rural Water Sanitation and Hygiene.
Obaseki presented the Alaghodaro Summit Souvenir to the Minister, recognising his visit during the ongoing Edo Economic Summit. (NAN)
Ebonyi Rice Millers Assure of Surplus Rice Supply for Christmas
The Abakaliki Rice Mill Owners Association has announced that there will be a surplus supply of products in the market during the Christmas period due to the bumper harvest experienced from 2023 planting.
Chairman of the Association, Linus Nkwuda told newsmen on Thursday in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, adding that the year’s rice production yielded good fruits.
According to him, the production in 2023 was better than 2022 because there was no flooding.
“We are experiencing bumper harvest; so, we expect more rice in the market for consumers this season.’’
On the price of rice, Nkwuda said the higher production would definitely push down the cost, making the product much more affordable for the people.
“We hope to have good supply to the market; we cannot predict the cost for tomorrow, right now, the prices are fluctuating on a daily basis.
“Currently, a bag of 25kg of the highest grade is sold between N17, 000 and N19, 500; we had a reduction in price in the month of October because it was sold between N18, 000 and N17, 000.
“A 50kg bag is sold between N38 and 32 depending on the grade; there are different species of rice in the market, we have Mass, CP, R8 among others.’’
Nkwuda explained that the price was also determined by the demand, adding that having an influx of customers in the market would make the price increase, but with high supply, the price would go down.
According to him, the market forces always determine the cost, especially during celebration periods like Christmas.
“But I hope there will be surplus supply to the market this year, 2023,” the Chairman said.
Plateau ‘ill Soon Become Nigeria’s Agricultural Hub – Mutfwang
Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State has reiterated his administration’s commitment to revamp the agricultural sector toward boosting the economy of the state.
Mutfwang said this on Sunday at the 37th Reunion Service of the Gindiri Old Students Association (GOSA), on Sunday in Gindiri.
GOSA is made up of old students of both Boys and Girls Secondary Schools, Gindiri.
The governor, a member of GOSA, acknowledged the critical role of the agricultural sector in revamping the state`s economy and promised to adopt a multi sectoral approach to resuscitate key agricultural programmes in the state.
He promised to achieve the feat through stronger and sustained partnership with relevant institutions in the state.
“My administration will place more emphasis on agriculture in order to boost the economy of the state, “ he said.
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