By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja The inclusion of Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) in wheat bread and school meals is boosting the nutritional status of children and could help Nigeria to reduce its imports of wheat drastically. Developed by the International Potato Centre (abbreviated by Spanish acronym CIP) and partners, the OFSP varieties are rich in Vitamin A—a critical vitamin that is deficient in most diets in sub Saharan Africa, and remains a serious public health problem in Ghana, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso in West Africa. In Nigeria, one in three children suffer from Vitamin A deficiency (VAD)—which can lead to blindness and even death. In the last three years, CIP has pioneered a three-year project in Osun and Kwara States of Nigeria. In Osun State, the project intervention entails inclusion of OFSP in school meals as part of efforts to improve the nutrition of children.  The project, which is funded by...
By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has said by the time the restructuring of the Bank of Agriculture is complete, it will become the largest bank in the country having anything between 25 and 30 million depositors and shareholders. The minister who stated this in an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP said “We have begun the process of restructuring the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) and by the time we finish, it will become the largest bank in this country, with probably anything between 25 and 30 million depositors and shareholders. Chief Ogbeh while stating his achievements and those of his counterpart minister of state, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri since resuming office as Ministers, said “We cut down on food importations very heavily, such as rice, in 2015 Nigeria imported 580,000 tonnes of rice. In 2016, the figure dropped to 58,000 tonnes, by the end of...
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...
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 DONATUS NADI, Lafia From 2012 till date, Nasarawa State Government has made deliberate effort towards land acquisition for various development projects which has become a critical issue in the state since 2011 when Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura assumed office. For Al-Mmakura to deliver on his mission to provide development in a chaotically unplanned urban centres, many people had to be displaced, and large numbers will also still be displaced in future as various infrastructural  development projects are currently going on. The state government’s commitment to fostering economic growth and developing new governmental institutions has necessitated massive acquisition of land. Acquisition of private land by the government for public purposes became a common practice in the state since 2012, but unlike in other societies, land acquisition did not mean something threatening and frightening to land owners as government paid full compensation and relocated land owners long before it commenced any form of development. Since...
by Nkechi Isaac, Abuja The Department of Science and Technology of the Education Secretariat of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has reiterated that their research in seed improvement and large scale production of seedlings is a breakthrough for farmers. Director of the department, Mrs Rosemary Umana, said during a media parley at the department headquarters in Utako that the department is into research and development and in collaboration with Biocrops Biotechnology Nigeria Ltd., saying there has been a progressive development of improved seedlings such as yam, sugar cane, plantain, banana and sweet potatoes through the micro (tissue culture) and macro propagation. She noted that collaboration with Biocrops further led to partnership with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA). “Through the partnership with the IITA, the use of the Aeroponics technology for the production of disease and pest free yam seedlings all year round has been introduced,” she stated. Earlier in his...
By Chika Izuora, Lagos Greenpeace, an environmental group has raised the concern that poor government communication and coordination is hurting West Africa’s ability to combat illegal fishing, losing it billions of dollars each year in the process. The problem has become so severe that it is threatening food security in the region, the environmental group said in a new report. “Fish stocks are not restricted to national boundaries, and that is why the solutions to end the overfishing of West Africa’s water can only come from joint efforts between the countries of the region,” Ahmed Diame, Greenpeace’s Africa Oceans campaigner, said in a statement. Halting illegal fishing is only possible, Diame said if governments pool resources and work together to standardize legislation and establish joint monitoring centres. Both international and regional vessels are guilty of contravening existing regulations, Greenpeace found during a ten-week surveillance voyage from February to May. It documented a number...
By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja The Global Panel’s policy brief “Improving nutrition through enhanced food environments” has revealed that food systems are failing to drive improvement in nutrition. This is even as it revealed that two billion people have micronutrient deficiency, 200 million children are stunted or wasted and two billion people are overweight or obese (increasing non-communicable diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease) among others. The report revealed that food environment is influenced by policies across the food system which determines the availability, accessibility, affordability, and desirability of foods to consumers. It also added that changing food systems are reshaping food environments, noting that while the average per capita food supply worldwide increased from 2,200 to 2,800 calories/cap/day (from 1960 to 2009), malnutrition is growing in every country, rich and poor, there is also a spike in ultra-processed food products consumption and agricultural commodities are being processed on a long...
BY DONATUS NADI, Lafia The Nasarawa State House of Assembly yesterday said that it would pass a bill for a law to make provision for the control, prohibit and to restrict grazing of animals in urban centres, schools and other designated areas to curtail crisis between herdsmen, farmers and other people. The speaker of the house, Alhaji Ibrahim Balarabe-Abdullahi, announced this after the sponsor of the bill, Mr. Daniel Ogazi, the house deputy majority leader, presented the bill for second reading during the house proceedings in Lafia. Balarabe-Abdullahi said that the bill would not only tackle herdsmen/farmers clashes and road accidents caused by animals moving freely without being well controlled by the herders. According to him, “The bill would also curtail attitudes of residents who form the habit of rearing animals such as pigs, sheep, goats, cows and other domestic animals, especially along highways as well asherdsmen who graze in urban centres, schools...
LEADERSHIP EDITORS The Cross River Government says it is ready to partner with First Bank Nigeria Plc to enhance agricultural production in the state. Prof. Anthony Eneji, Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, stated this on Monday in Calabar while receiving a team of First Bank which paid him a courtesy visit in his office in Calabar. Eneji thanked the bank for showing interest in improving agriculture in the state and promised that the government would use the opportunity offered by the bank to improve services in the sector. He said that the stat government had successfully carried out various value chain projects in rice, oil palm, Cassava, cocoa, and yam production. ‘‘But we will love to improve on the quantity of production in order to feed our local factories, companies and also meet the international market standards and demands,’’he said. According to him, the state government has allocated land for the growing of cotton,...