Nigerian Agriculture In The News: Q1

Summary On Agricultural News In January 2022

In the second week of January, the agricultural sector experienced a number of events ranging from the problems faced by Cashew farmers the problems faced were limited access to finance, storage and processing facility problems, lack of technical know-how, and insecurity among other problems. With the loss of 100 hectares of farmland to the Boko haram terrorist group and criminal herdsmen despite the poor rainfall in the state, farmers were still able to produce crop yield that is unfortunately been destroyed by insurgency and herders. The seized and rejected agro-allied exports in Europe based on a statement signed by SALS President, Rev. Jonathan Nicole, these rejected and seized agro-allied products are illegally exported without certification of Government agencies and can lead to a decline in import trade due to foreign exchange policies. Lagos State Government generating over 1 billion in revenue in 2021 according to the state commissioner for Agriculture Ms Abisola Olusanya, Lagos state was able to achieve this through the varieties of seafood available in the state which is being exhibited annually in a Food Fest, the Commissioner also disclosed that this is the first time that the ministry would achieve that and it calls for celebration. Kano Dairy Union partners with Outspan to vaccinate no fewer than 1,500 herds of cattle in the state this partnership brought about vaccination against foot and mouth disease as it is a very deadly disease affecting dairy farmers. The partnership also promises to improve cattle health management in the sector and enhance the milk production level in the state. There was a partnership between Alluvial Agriculture and IDH to help 15,000 Nigerian rice farmers to boost yield. This partnership is aimed to support extension services, inputs, mechanization, sustainable production practices as well as land and market access to farmers in Taraba and Adamawa States.

In the third week of January, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the sum of N1.4 billion for the procurement of equipment and agricultural inputs for the National Youth Farmers’ Scheme this is a total of 4 contracts that cut across various states in the country to supply seeds, machinery, agro-chemicals and other inputs to encourage youths to go into agriculture. The National Varieties Release Committee (NVRC) released 49 high-yielding crop varieties to boost Nigeria’s agricultural productivity. The new high yielding varieties were named and commissioned into communities and also researchers are advised to send their new seed varieties to research institutes before releasing them into the communities for testing and approval. Borno State Governor Babagana Umara Zulum Zulum flagged off the distribution of Agricultural inputs to 500 dry season farmers in Monguno Local Government Area. The Governor did this to boost dry season farming and irrigation to farmers that were previously displaced by the insurgency. The NASS also took steps to prevent rice importation into the country. The upper chambers of NASS have moved to save Nigeria about $2 billion USD on rice importation by passing a bill to establish a National Rice Development Council. President Muhammadu Buhari said the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) launched six years ago has supported over 4.8 million smallholder farmers across Nigeria to boost the production of 23 agricultural commodities in the country. While unveiling stacked rice paddy in Abuja, President Buhari claimed that this programme has assisted over 4.8 million smallholder farmers in the production of 23 agricultural commodities in Nigeria.

In the fourth week of January, Kwara state joined the top states in rice production in Nigeria with its over 102,000 metric tons output during the wet and dry season of this past year. Kwara State Chairman of RIFAN Dr Ahmed Saba stated that Kwara state was able to achieve this thanks to President Buhari and the CBN for introducing the Anchor Borrowers Programme giving farmers access to more resources. The National Directorate of Employment (NDE) trained no fewer than 158 youths farmers in Ekiti state under its agricultural extension scheme in a bid to ensure youth employment and improve the economy of the country. The state coordinator Mustapha Saliu Kayode states that this is a measure to reduce rural-urban migration of graduates by supporting them with grants to start up a business, especially an agribusiness. The National Directorate of Employment (NDE) has disbursed the sum of N9.3m to 93 smallholders farmers to boost animal and crop production in Bauchi State. Mr Mbata Michael, Director, Rural Employment Promotion Department, NDE disclosed that a loan of 100,000 was disbursed to these farmers to boost their agricultural production and these farmers were given 30 months to repay this loan. 13-Nigerian-states-produced-36943-tonnes-of-wheat-in-2021. Based on a recent survey across 13 states in the country, 11,820 hectares of land were cultivated for wheat production and 36,943 tonnes of wheat was produced in yield in 2021.

In January, the agricultural sector faced problems like inadequate access to finance, lack of processing equipment, inadequate technical knowledge and skills, inadequate storage facilities, and insecurities. These problems can be tackled by giving more access to agricultural credits, loans and loans and proper supervision of these financial aids to ensure it gets to the farmers and also that those farmers use this financial assistance efficiently. Also, Government and privileged individuals should invest in building processing and storage facilities to reduce food importation and boost foreign exchange through agriculture. Agricultural Extension agents should be properly engaged and dispatched to various farmers to teach and train them on modern agricultural practices and also to distribute new varieties of seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides to these farmers. The Government and Security agencies should also properly remote communities as they are the major producers in agriculture and if they are unable to cultivate their farms because of insecurity then the country is on a verge of famine and poverty as a nation cannot survive without a constant supply of food to her citizens.

Summary Of Agricultural News In February 2022

The Agric ministry hands over a 10km-road to the Jigawa government. In a bid to reduce the wastage of agricultural produce from inadequate transportation in Jigawa state, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture has handed over the construction of a 10km rural road project to Jigawa State Government. Nigeria exports 3,991 containers of cocoa beans from Ondo/Ekiti in 2021 – Customs. The Area Controller Nigeria Customs Service, Comptroller Uche Ngozi Ondo/Ekiti stated that there has been a 25.8 per cent increase in cocoa export in 2021 as compared to 2020. NSCDC threatens clampdown as Benue farmers flee with an N296m loan. The NSCDC stated that most of the rice farmers who benefitted from the CBN 2018/2019 wet season loan of 301.85m have absconded. The anti-corruption and transparency unit of NSCDC has vowed that after a grace period of two months, these defaulting farmers would be dealt with accordingly. Gunmen abduct 10 farmers in Ondo. 10 farmers in a community in Akure North LGA fell victim to insurgency and were kidnapped on their farm. Abductors demanded 100m ransom and later reduced it to 10m after much pleading from family. Alleged arsonists torch Obasanjo’s 2,420-hectare Benue farm, gunmen rob, beat firemen. The 2,420 hectares orchard farm belonging to former President Olusegun Obasanjo was gutted by fire earlier in the month and firefighters were able to put out the fire before it spread all over the farm. The Federal Government provides 500 wells and pumping machines for irrigation in Katsina. This is part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s poverty alleviation program, more than 54 projects have been initiated in the state and the projects included the provision of solar-powered boreholes, tube wells, water pumps, construction and rehabilitation of earth dams, primary and secondary schools structures.

400 Women, Youths Set To Benefit From NALDA’s Farm Project. 400 women and youths in Abia state benefit from NALDA integrated farm estate. These beneficiaries have been trained and are ready to commence work and would be provided technical support. FECA trains 200 unemployed graduates in modern agriculture. The Federal College of Agriculture has trained 200 youths and unemployed in Akure, Ondo state in various areas of agriculture and value addition to be self-employed. BoA recovers N10b from farmers. 10b has been recovered by the Bank of Agriculture (BoA) in the last 18 months using the bank’s recovery task force. This loan is from Anchor Borrowers’ programme and the bank’s traditional loans. Fidelity Bank Disburses N34Bn in Credit to Boost Rice Value Chain. Fidelity Bank has facilitated the disbursement of direct credit to players in the Nigerian Value chain.  Agro-Dealers Want 35% Urea Produced In Nigeria Sold In Local markets. Nigeria Agro Input Dealers Association (NAIDA) wants 35% of urea produced in Nigeria sold in local markets to reduce the cost of food because urea is the major fertilizer used for rice production and this would boost Nigeria’s rice production locally.

The CJID recommends that the FG increase measures to boost the local economy through agriculture with the recent oil crisis and war in Europe. Youths should also be empowered and properly trained in different areas of agriculture to be self-reliant and also to boost SMEs. Modern methods of agriculture should be employed and grants in that regard should be provided to interested and qualified farmers. The FG should also clamp down on insecurity problems across the country to enable farmers to carry out their farming activities without fear of bandits, Boko Haram terrorists and Herdsmen.

Summary Of Agricultural News In March 2022

With the recent Central Bank of Nigeria’s intervention in Agriculture, The University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) secured a 600 million naira loan to establish a commercial poultry farm to improve egg and chicken production. Prof. Mikhail Buhari, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research, Technology and Innovation of the institution stated that the farm would reduce importation and build a balance between the supply and demand of eggs and poultry allied products in the country.

Access to varieties of seedlings has always been a major agricultural problem over the years, but the Joseph Sarwuan Tarka University, Makurdi (JOSTUM) released 2 improved varieties of cowpea seeds. These newly improved varieties- FUAMPEA 3 and FUAMPEA 4 are medium maturing and high-yielding cowpea seeds adaptable to the Sudan and Northern Guinea savanna areas of Nigeria, they can also be cultivated during the dry season using irrigation methods of farming. These new varieties will bring about food security and boost cowpea production across the country.

In Edo state, Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises in the Niger Delta (LIFE-ND) trained 250 residents on poultry farming to improve poultry products in the state. The Coordinator stated that after the training, the trainees will be supported by agri-based financial institutions to start up their businesses.

The Anambra State Government and Harvest Plus Nigeria partner to train over 100 farmers in the state on Vitamin A cassava production. These farmers were trained in the cultivation, grooming, great harvest and quality yield.

The Federal Government has promised to create jobs for about 4 million farmers in the last 5-days of digital farming training for students of the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB).

Securing grants and agricultural credit and traditional methods of farming has been a major agricultural problem in Nigeria over the years, but UNN researchers were able to secure 110,000 USD for smart farming. This grant would be used to set up IoT in fish farming.

In a bid to link segments of the Nigerian Agricultural Value Chain (AVC) to commercial bank finance, NIRSAL facilitated 73 billion Naira into agro-processing industry money deposit banks, development financiers and other financial institutions to boost the agro-processing industry in the country.

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture in a 1-day workshop on the impact and mitigation strategies for women farmers on climate change for the north-central zone in Abuja has trained and gifted 6,000 rural women farmers gas cylinders in a bid to fight climate change. They were trained on gender mainstreaming and strategies for mitigation and adaptation of climate change as part of ongoing diversification efforts to improve food security in Nigeria.

Also in the month of March, NIRSAL facilitated 146 Billion Naira into the agro-processing industry through banks and other financial institutions. As developing countries are adopting smart agriculture for sustainable food production, NITDA plans to Produce 5,000 Smart Farmers among FUD Students in 10-years.

In Osun state, a Lawmaker- Amobi Akintola has empowered 434 farmers with 500 sprayer machines and 250 cartons of herbicides to boost their production.

The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria- Matthias Schmale, says the food economy in West Africa and the Sahel sub-region is expected to reach 480 billion USD by 2030. He stated that despite the climate change, insecurity and other reasons expected growth would be attributed to the systemic approach undertaken by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the UN in securing the development gains in the fight against hunger, poverty and for progress on the delivery of other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The report from Cadre Harmonise (CH) released for the first quarter of the year 2022 indicates that about 19.4 million Nigerians including 416,000 IDPs in 21 states and FCT are expected to be in food crisis or worse between June and August this year. CH suggests that this could be a result of the rising insecurity across the country.

According to NBS, Nigerian Agric imports experienced a surge by 42% to N1.97 trillion in 2021, up from N1.19 trillion recorded in 2020. On the other hand, Nigeria earned N504.89 billion from agric export in 2021, which is 57% higher than the N321.54 billion recorded in 2020 and 87% more than the N269.83 billion recorded in 2019.

In an interview with The President of OTACCWA, Alexander Isong and Managing Director, Fair-Trade Messe, Paul Maerz, it was disclosed that the Nigerian Food Cold Chain Industry worth about 300 billion Naira gives nothing back to the economy despite Nigeria’s large post-harvest losses.

The Maize Farmers Association of Nigeria has recorded 20 million tonnes of maize production in 2021 as against the 8 million tonnes in 2015 according to the Association’s National President, Alhaji Bello Abubakar.

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has taken a bold step to empower 600 youths on Greenhouse farming technology and this would help reduce the impact of agriculture on climate change and bring about sustainable agricultural production.

President Muhammdu Buhari, on the 22nd of March, commissioned a 2.5 billion USD worth of fertiliser plant in Lagos state. This fertiliser is expected to meet global supply amid the impacts of the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

About 3,464 smallholder farmers in Kebbi state have received agricultural inputs ranging from improved seeds, fertilisers and crop protection chemicals to machinery, irrigation and knowledge from WACOT Rice Limited under the Argungu Outgrower Expansion Programme (AOEP).

On agricultural financing, ThriveAgric has announced plans to raise $56.4 million in debt funding from local commercial banks and institutional investors to empower over 200,000 farmers.

Another Lawmaker- Hon. Mohammed Bio has spent about N130 million to empower 1,700 farmers and others with fertiliser, herbicides, spraying cans, hand tractors with tillers and weeders, sewing machines, grinding machines, hairdryers, vulcanising machines, photocopy equipment, cameras and printers, welding machines, cattle salts, motorcycles, refrigerators, cash empowerment to market women and widows, and scholarships for students.

The Russia-Ukraine crisis has again affected the Nigerian Agricultural sector, this time, the palm oil industry would face a 700,000 tonnes palm oil deficit valued at N670.3 billion ($1.17 billion) this year as demand domestically and industrially is higher than supply. It is also estimated that there would be a 57% increase in the price of palm oil for March 2022.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) received the sum of US$1 million in 2021 from the Government of Nigeria as part of an ECOWAS humanitarian assistance to the Nigerian Government for victims of violent conflicts in North West and North East Nigeria. The programme targeted 840 food-insecure households amounting to about 4,196 persons in Zamfara, Katsina and Borno states with food assistance. The target beneficiaries would receive an average cash transfer of NGN 27,000 in their prepaid bank cards or WFP SCOPE cards every month to buy their preferred food from local markets.

The CJID commends the efforts of the Federal Government, CBN and other organisations channelled towards Agricultural financing. It is hoped that with these recent developments, Nigeria would overcome the predicted food crisis expected in June 2022 and the country would once again become a giant in terms of Agricultural and non-oil exports to countries across the world. Also, CJID would like to recommend that the government should ensure that drastic steps are taken to avoid external shock on the nation’s economy like the impact the Russia-Ukraine war has had on the economy in the last two months.