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Agriculture

Over 30 per cent farmland lost to flooding in 2018 – Uduaghan

The Delta South Senatorial Candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan has lamented the devastating effects of flooding this year, 2018.

He said “it has led to premature harvesting and destruction of farmlands, including fish ponds in the country, particularly in the oil-rich region.”

Uduaghan made the assertion at his Warri residence while speaking in commemoration of the 2018 World Food Day.

The former Delta State governor said 30 percent farmlands have been lost to the ravaging floods.

He said the situation will no doubt result in great losses to farmers, as well as negatively affect the already improving self-sufficiency drive of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Government.

“Over 30 per cent of our farmlands have been overtaken by the floods, including fish ponds.

“As shown on AIT last night, some of the farmers have had to hurriedly harvest the immature farm produce, and are selling them at less than 40 per cent of their market value.

“Their future seems to be hopeless. As we mark the day, let us remember the losses and sufferings of these our farmers.”

Uduaghan said concerted efforts must be taken to address the plight of farmers over their loss, especially as the country joins the rest of world to mark the World Food Day.

He called on governments at all levels, corporate organisations and concerned individuals to assist the farmers who had lost their multi-million investment to the flood.

“Whatever we can do individuals, as organised groups, or as a government will go a long way in alleviating their plight,” he said.

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Agriculture

Man loses N40 million as fire outbreak sacks Abakaliki rice millers

Ahead of the Christmas celebrations, fire outbreak yesterday sacked occupant of the Abakaliki rice mill located at Onuebonyi in the Ebonyi State capital, destroying valuable materials worth over N100 million.

The cause of the fire outbreak is yet to be ascertained as at press time, although residents of the area said the fire incident may have been caused by power surge and described the damage caused by the unfortunate incident as devastating.

The Chairman of Abakaliki Rice Mill Ltd, Hon. Joseph Nnunu told newsmen that the fire started at about 9pm on Thursday, and attracted the attention of the leadership of the mill who were still in the office when the inferno started.

He said they immediately contacted men of the Ebonyi State Fire Service, who rushed to the place, and were able to put off the fire, adding that some of the valuables that were salvaged was as a result of his quick intervention and prompt response of the fire fighters.

The Chairman described the fire incident as mysterious, stating that the fire started from the rear of the building and took over the whole structure before security men on duty noticed it and quickly alerted the authorities.

“When I visited the scene, I saw about five black stone Rice Milling machines… bags of par boiled rice and the whole roof and interior of the building completely razed,” he stated.

A victim, who owns the shop located at 13 A Line, Mr Moses Oboh lamented the ordeal and called on the government to come to his aid.

He said he may not stand the shock and the trauma of losing up to N40 million at a blow.

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Agriculture

Nigeria now feeding the world – Osinbajo claims in Germany

Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo has claimed that Nigeria is now the food basket of the world.

Speaking at the Nigerian-German Investment Dialogue in Berlin, Germany, Osinbajo said Nigeria is a leading investment destination for potential and serious investors.

According to him, “He said consumer spending in Africa was $1.4 trillion by 2015, with Nigeria, Egypt and South Africa accounting for more than half of that total,” Osinbajo said.

“There is also increasing economic opportunities in Nigeria because of deliberate actions by our government to diversify the economy and improve the business environment.

“It is encouraging that there are significant economic ties between Nigeria and Germany. Germany is a significant exporter to Nigeria, which is its second largest trading partner in Africa.

“Recent reports show that German investment in Nigeria contributes as much as $1 billion in turnover annually. This is good, but we must agree that there is scope for even deeper collaboration given that Nigeria’s GDP is close to $500bn.”

“Today we produce locally 10 million metric tonnes of paddy rice annually. And we are importing only two percent of our rice consumption now,” Osinbajo said.

“Investments in milling capacity has risen astronomically since then, with one investor putting a million tonnes of milling capacity into the market.

“Carlos Farms, a Mexican fruit and vegetable investor, had initially planned to grow bananas and pineapples for export; until he discovered that he was making more money selling his bananas locally at $3 dollars a kilogramme, for what he would have been paid only a dollar per kg in Europe.

“With a substantial percentage of the world’s arable land and over half of that uncultivated, it is becoming clearer that the world will be looking to Africa, and Nigeria in particular, as its food basket.

“Just to take China’s demand alone, China has 27% of the world’s population, but only 7% of the world’s arable land for agriculture. China needs 2 million tonnes of hybrid Soya beans per annum for livestock feed and vegetable oil. But we have not met that demand.”

“We are also diversifying within oil, while adding that Nigeria is already exporting urea since it is producing more than enough for its domestic needs and in the very near future.

“In the service sector, about 1.8 million international travellers spend two nights on average at Nigeria’s estimated 10,000 hotel rooms yearly.

“This generated about US$210 million in revenue for the industry in 2017, which barely reflects on Nigeria’s US$500 billion GDP size.

“Nigeria’s hotel industry alone is projected to grow by double digits by 2020, as the sector bounces back post-recession to one of the fastest growing in the world, and the possibilities for investors is significant.”

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Agriculture

Maize Association Of Nigeria Creates 100,000 Jobs, Wants Government To Ban Corn Importation



Alhaji Bello Abubakar, National President of the Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN), has said it has been able to create 100,000 on-farm and off-farm jobs in 19 states through the implementation of the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP).

Speaking with newsmen in Abuja on Sunday, he said the government should place a ban on the importation of corn into the country.

Abubakar hinged his call for a seizure of importation of the crop on the fact that the country had consistently produced more maize than the capacity of all the processing plants in the country.

According to him, the processing capacity of maize in Nigeria is eight million tonnes and the farmers produced 15 million. He noted that they have been able to produce five million tonnes more in 2018.

His words: “Our last year’s production was 15 million tonnes and this year, we produced 20 million tonnes of maize and the required quantity for all maize processors in Nigeria is about eight million tonnes.

“Government intervention in the agricultural sector has put in place the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) to encourage local production of agricultural commodities including maize. MAAN is executing the ABP in 19 states which has empowered about 100,000 on and off-farm employment.

“This contribution of MAAN, if complemented by other large scale maize grain users, will create more than one million on- and off-farm employment in the maize value chain. Reacting to a publication by the Nigeria Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) that it received a request for licence from a firm called Grand Cereal to import maize into the country, Abubakar said such moves were counterproductive.

“We request that the importation of maize grain in any form is considered counter-productive to agricultural development in Nigeria and should be discouraged in its entirety.”

Rufus Ebegba, Director-General of NBMA, confirmed the receipt of a request for licence to import maize into the country, but said no permission had been granted.

Responding to questions on corn crop devastation by army worms last year, Abubakar said farmers were better equipped to deal with the menace this time round.

“Members of MAAN were trained and pesticides, fertiliser, seeds were given to them by the Federal Government and FAO to manage the pest. This year, there is no infestation of armyworm like last year,” he said.

According to NAN, Abubakar appealed to companies involved in maize importation to provide their preferred maize seedlings to local farmers to grow, to encourage production of improved varieties.

The association is made up of researchers, imput suppliers, marketers and every other stakeholder in the maize value chain.

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