No fewer than nine million yam seedlings are to be distributed to yam farmers across the country under the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme, (ABP) the Technical Committee on Nigeria Yam Export has said.
Prof Simon Irtwange, the chairman of the committee, stated this in Abuja, yesterday, that the distribution would commence in the first quarter of 2019.
Irtwange, also the President Yam Farmers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, said the planned move would support yam production, processing, export and aggregation (storage).
He explained that the seedlings would be disease free seeds from aeroponics technology being commercialised with the support of International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
According to him, CBN has accepted to put yam on the Anchor Borrowers Programme so we are right now doing documentation across states.
Irtwange noted that four seed companies had been authorised by the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) to produce the yam seedlings.
“We are inviting farmers and we are trying to get anchor for the programme especially processors, aggregators and exporters.
“There is a format that the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending will give us.
“The NIRSAL template will tell us how to collect the information, farm size, Bank Verification Number (BVN), account number and after that, we will get anchor and hold stakeholders meeting.
“Our plan is that by December, we will finish the documentations and by first quarter of 2019, we expect to have the seed yams coming from the seed companies.
“About nine million yam seedlings will be available by first quarter of 2019 so that by March, farmers will begin to plant under the Anchor Borrowers Programme, the seedlings will be distributed to farmers.
“This will support production, processing, export and also help those who want to go into aggregation (storage) to sell when the price will be a little higher.
“This system will make more yams to be in the market adding that the nine million seedlings is just the beginning,’’ he said.
Irtwange said that the association expects that by 2020, yam production would be scale up production.
He assured farmers that the price of the disease free yam seedlings would be far more cheaper when compared to the market price.
“We are thinking of planting the yams on ridges not heaps so that we can introduce mechanisation and this can decrease our planting area density by 10,000.
“We think it is the best way to go in yam production in Nigeria,’’ the president said.
Army Moves Against External Aggression
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen Tukur Buratai, has approved the formation of five Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) for the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Enugu.
The five new FOBs will be located at the stretch of the Nigerian border from the Taraba axis to the Bakassi axis, which falls under the Division’s Areas of Responsibility.
Maj.-Gen. Adamu Abubakar, General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Division, said yesterday in Enugu that the FOBs would greatly help to improve security within the border areas known flash-points.
Abubakar lauded the COAS for his vision and forthrightness in approving the FOBs to immediately take care of external incursions in the border areas within the Division’s Area of Responsibility.
“So far, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. T.Y. Buratai, has approved the formation of Forward Operating Bases (FOBs).
“And presently, we have five. One in Ikang, one in Ekang, one in Danari, one in Mfum and the one we will soon bring up is the one in Kashimbila.
“I will assure Nigerians that that stretch from Taraba up to Bakassi, that is Ikang, are safe,’’ he assured.
On internal security, the GOC noted that the Division had helped the police and civil authorities to ensure that crime, especially organised and violent crimes, were reduced to the barest minimal.
According to him, everybody living within this side of the country, knows that crime has reduced drastically in the past six months, even as we are not resting on our oars.
“We are trying our best. Our soldiers are virtually everywhere.
“We have also helped to bring peace to Ebonyi-Cross River states boundary disputing communities; which the two states governors had waded into it, together with the Minister of Interior, Director-General of National Boundary Commission and myself.
“For now, there is huge safety and security in the South-East unlike what it used to be,” he said.
According to him, the issue of Uzo-Uwani (a council area in Enugu State), my soldiers are always there.
“We had issues of kidnapping about four weeks ago in Nsukka, we had to go in and move to support the police.
“The same is the road between Nike and Opi, we knew that the road was where people do not want to pass because of activities of hoodlums; soldiers have since taken over the flashpoints.
“We have deployed our soldiers to various notorious areas and flashpoints in the Division; not just in Enugu or Ebonyi, but other states within the Division’s Area of Responsibility
“So, the military is really doing so much to ensure safety and security,’’ he said.