Hundreds of irrigation farmers using water from Musawa dam in Katsina State are counting their losses following sudden drying up of the dam. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that crops at various stages of maturity have wilted, forcing some of the farmers to commence early harvest to salvage what they could of the crops. Alhaji Idris Abdullahi, the Chairman of Musawa Irrigation Farmers Association,  told NAN on Monday that more than 150 farmers were affected. Abdullahi put the estimated losses incurred by the farmers to around N30 million, and loss of jobs to about 1,000 farm hands. He said about 150 hectares of tomato, potato, wheat, maize, onion and other vegetables were damaged. The chairman said that the dam, constructed 60 years ago was only dredged once, and called on the Katsina State Government to intervene. He said that the government should dredge the dam before the rains set in, and support farmers affected...
By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has said food prices have remained high because the nation’s currency value fell by almost 80 per cent in two years. The minister who spoke in an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP over the Weekend said “our currency fell in value, since we arrived, the naira dropped almost 80 per cent in value, so what do you do? “The farmer is buying diesel to run the tractor, the price of diesel went from N160 a litre to N300, and it’s just coming down now. The farmer buys pumps, the prices of pumps went up by 65 per cent, the farmer buys chemicals to spray his crops, and he buys seeds” Ogbeh stated. He however posited that the price of rice had dropped from N19,000 a bag to N17, 000 now and it is still falling. He added that government...
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has called on the Federal Government to increase its investment in agriculture to enable Nigeria to regain its place in the sector. Principal Programme Officer on Agriculture, ECOWAS, Mr Ernest Aubee, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja. Aubee said that more investment in agriculture would attract and encourage more youths and women into the venture. He said that technology that would ensure good quality seeds, fertiliser, good storage and packaging facilities, good transportation and marketing facilities should also be encouraged. Aubee commended the Federal Government for its agricultural policy, `Green Alternative’, and said that improved investment in the sector would help to translate the plan into reality. “Nigeria has been a leader in agriculture in the past but it went down at some point and oil and gas took over. “Nigeria needs more investment in the...
Nasarawa State governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura has stated that the state government would establish an Institute of Agriculture in Lafia to boost agricultural research, food production and create employment in the state. Al-Makura made this known during the 5th combined convocation ceremony of the Nasarawa State University, Keffi in Keffi local government area of the state. The governor said that agriculture does not only provide food, fight poverty, hunger, unemployment but would also improve on the revenue base of the country. Al-Makura also urged the graduating students to be good ambassadors of the university by adding values to the lives of their communities through the sound knowledge they had acquired in the institution. “My administration has invested so much in the education sector because no society can achieve meaningful progress without qualitative education, hence the need for my administration’s commitment to invest massively in the education sector.” “This administration is committed in transforming all...
BY Hembadoon Orsar, Ilorin The Ijaha Ochekwu community in Edikwu ward 1 of Apa  Local Government Area of Benue State is in dire need of government attention to overcome  the chieftaincy crisis between it and the Edikwu community. The crisis which has engulfed the community since three years ago, has led to the death of many inhabitants and destruction of properties, even as thousands of people have been displaced  from their ancestral homes. While other communities in the state are struggling to put their pieces together following the attack by the marauding Fulani herdsmen on farmers and their farmlands, the Ijaha community  and its host community, the Edikwu are busy attacking and killing each other over chieftaincy tussle. The Edikwu people have over powered  Ijaha community  and  displaced them out of the town. LEADERSHIP Sunday gathered that the Ijaha people have fled  their ancestral home and are taking refuge in the neighbouring villages for...
By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has pledged support for yam producers, saying the country is pushing to become the number one exporter of the commodity in the world. He made the allusion recently at the end of the meeting with the technical committee on Nigerian Yam Export Programme. The minister had said “beginning from next week, Nigeria will export 72 metric tonnes of yam to the United Kingdom and the United States in three containers. The consignment would be exported via Apapa Port. Assuring the exporters of government’s support, Ogbeh said Nigeria accounts for 60 per cent of global yam production. “We must sell all whatever we can to the world. We account for over 60 per cent of yam production, yet people do not know that we grow yam,” Ogbeh said. Because attention has been paid more on importation, he said...
By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja The federal government through the ministry of agricultural and rural development has expressed the desire to ensure Nigeria establishes 15 specialised universities of Agriculture in the next few years. This, according to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Alhaji Bukar Hassan “is aimed at bridging the gap of having the current 3 Universities meeting the agricultural needs of the huge Nigerian population.” Alhaji Bukar stated this in his opening remarks when the Ministers of the Ministry, Chief Audu Ogbeh and his counterpart Minister of state, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri met with members of the three governing boards of the federal Universities of Agriculture in Abuja, yesterday. The permanent secretary who said the purpose of the meeting was to discuss on issues and challenges faced by the institution added that ‘‘the meeting is to ensure  that in the next few years we would have 10-15 universities of agriculture, because there...
By CHIKA IZUORA, Lagos The Nigeria Agribusiness Group, a think tank group that advises government on ways to grow the country’s agriculture sector, has said that with the successes already recorded in rice production the stage is now set for the country to move from rice importation to rice exportation. The group said that by 2018, locally processed rice would be exported to other countries which in turn will create jobs and generate foreign exchange for the federal government. Dr. Emmanuel Ijewere, the group’s coordinator and vice president, while speaking as a guest at the monthly forum of Nigeria Association of Agriculture Journalists, NAAJ, in Lagos said that with the level of activities going on in rice production, Nigeria should have enough to consume and start importing by end of 2018. The Vice-President also stated that Nigeria is now self-sufficient in cassava production, while the group is ensuring production value chain with the...
According to reports, there is a new threat discouraging tomato farmers as well as threatening Dangote’s multi billion naira tomato processing factory. Farmers are currently avoiding planting the crop after pests ravaged last year’s produce while the factory is now expected to resume operations in July when tomato supply improves. A report said that several farmers in northern Nigeria engaged to grow tomatoes for a set price are now avoiding planting the crop this season after pests destroyed much of last year’s produce, leaving the processing factory set up by Aliko Dangote, short of raw materials. The Dangote Farms Ltd, in Kano was established to process 1,200 metric tons of tomatoes each day and produce 400,000 tons of paste annually. At its conception it was envisaged to meet Nigeria’s domestic needs and help cut paste imports of 300,000 tons a year from China. It was expected to help put to better use...
Suzan Nwachukwu, Abuja A coalition of civil society organisations under the auspices of Voices for Food Security (VFS) has commended the present administration on its recent policy thrust in the agricultural sector that has seen it contributing to over 28 per cent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product. At the re-launch of VFS to strengthen its campaign on advocacy for issues on food security and production in Nigeria, President, National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS), and Secretary of the coalition, Mr Ken Ukaoha said over 70 per cent of Nigerian workforce population are engaged in small scale farming little or no voice that could be effectively heard. A challenge he said have rather reduced the Nigerian small scale farmers to merely policy recipients. According to him, VFS intends to continually engage the government on pro-poor policies that affect farmers and build capacities for small scale farmers. “We want create a movement of a...