FG Inaugurates National Gender Steering Committee to bridge the Gender Gap and Enhance Food Security.

The Federal Government has inaugurated the National Gender Steering Committee for the Implementation of Gender Policy in the Agricultural sector. The Permanent Secretary, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe while inaugurating the Committee today in the ministry’s conference room, stated that the initiative would promote and ensure the adoption of gender-sensitive responsive approaches, plans and programmes in such a way that men and women will have equal access and control of productive resources.

The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Ernest Umakhihe said that the availability of the policy document is expected to address the vulnerability of women to biases in the Agriculture sector, integrate gender perspectives in National Planning, create more jobs for women and financial empowerment. He pointed out that “the Ministry is committed to mainstreaming of gender issues in the Agricultural sector to achieve food security, eradicate poverty and hunger in Nigeria’’. Umakhihe explained that the “National Gender policy in Agriculture is consistent with the Global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by World Leaders at the United Nations Summit in New York, the United States in September 2015 which underscores the vital role Agriculture plays in Sustainable Development and its importance in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of eradicating poverty (SGG-1), ending hunger, achieving food Security,(SDG-2), ensuring healthy lives (SDG-3) and enhancing the empowerment of All Women and Girls (SDG-5); to bridge the gender gap and enhance food Security’’.

He informed that ‘’ the Agricultural sector has been repositioned as a business through the value chain development and as an alternative to crude oil, therefore efforts should be geared towards the implementation of policies and programmes for the realization of this Government’s initiatives and programmes’’. He charged ‘’ the committee members to accomplish the onerous responsibility assigned to them to ensure full implementation of the 11(elective) objectives of this policy document for positive outcome’’.

In her welcome address, Director, Special Duties in the Ministry, Mrs Fausat Lawal, stated that the policy document is a developmental strategy for poverty reduction and it is expected to empower small scale holder farmers who are predominately women. According to her ‘’ women, small scale holder farmers constitute about 70-80 percent of the Agriculture labour force and they produced the bulk of food for domestic consumption’’. In her remarks, the Country Director, Action Aid, Ene Obi, lauded ‘’ the Ministry for deeming it fit to inaugurate the National Gender Steering Committee and ensuring that relevant stakeholders are members of the committee’’ .Obi further stated that the implementation of a Gender policy has been an issue with government policies and therefore commended the ministry’s efforts in identifying the Gender gaps in agriculture through the document She solicited for the inclusion of Executives of the Smallholder Farmers into the Committee and pledged the continuous support of Action Aid towards implementation of the policy.In his vote of thanks, the Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Azubuike Nwokoye, thanked the management of the Ministry for giving them the opportunity to serve and promised that the committee will deliver on their mandate.

Dairy Sector to Boost Food Production and Strenghtnen Potential Investment Opportunities in Nigeria- Nanono

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has reaffirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to boost food production, productivity in the dairy sub-sector, ensure food security and self-sufficiency in Nigeria.

He said “the need to harness our potentials in the dairy sector’ address contemporary critical socio-economic and national herd management issues have induced renewed interest in the development of the Diary particularly in recognition of the nutritional and livelihood importance of milk and other dairy products in Nigeria”.

Speaking during the opening ceremony of a Wider Stakeholders Engagement on National Dairy Policy held at the Reiz Continental Hotel, on Tuesday 30/03/21, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, stated that the Federal Government is committed to providing the enabling environment for sustainable direct investment in the dairy industry and other key sectors of the economy.
According to him, “the Federal Government welcomes at all times, the support, collaboration and partnerships of all concerned stakeholders towards ensuring the success of her National food security and economic diversification initiatives”.

While highlighting the present situation of the dairy industry, the minister noted that the industry is “largely subsistence and consist of local milk production, importation, processing, marketing and consumption. The consumption of aggregated and bulk milk is less than 20% of the local potential “. He said the gap between supply and demand for dairy products was widening as a result of an increase in population and urbanization.
The Minister further explained that “the per capita consumption of milk is 8 litres per year representing very low consumption levels when compared with the global averages of 44 litres of milk, consequently, the long neglect of the livestock sector has put a lot of burden on the import bills of the country”, he said.

Nanono, therefore, stressed “the need to foster sub-sectorial growth, one that is inclusive of smallholders and all key players along in the dairy value chain”. This he said, required the buy-in of national and multinational stakeholders”.
“To facilitate this growth, the Ministry is presently collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment (FMITI), Raw Material Research Development Council (RMRDC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the private sector, to promote and develop the local dairy industry’’.

He said that the collaboration will facilitate the process of evolving a National Dairy Policy that will articulate a clear road map and strategies for the attainment of the development aspirations in the sector.
He charged the Stakeholders ‘’ to ensure inputs from all angles to the policy document that will be forwarded to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval and subsequent presentation to the general public for guidance’’.  
In his remarks, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Richard Adeniyi Adebayo, stated that” the essence of the policy is not to puncture the existing success recorded in the dairy industry but rather to strengthen it., adding that the dairy policy document is consistent with the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP)”.

He assured that the “government will consider and harness the inputs, observations and contributions arising from this engagement with a view to taking a position that will be in the best interest of the dairy industry and the economy in general “.
In his welcome address, the  Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Ernest Umakhihe said that ‘’ Nigeria is far from meeting national sufficiency in dairy production in particular, and therefore spends a huge amount on the importation of dairy products to bridge the huge gap between supply and demand’’.

He said that ‘’ the proposed policy, therefore, is to give defined direction for the country’s dairy industry where all players at whatever scale will be expected to abide by the rules of operation, in terms of production, processing and marketing of dairy products in Nigeria,”
The 2- day engagement meeting has in attendance stakeholders including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Food and Agricultural Organs(FAO), the Central Bank of Nigeria( CBN), Sahel Consulting, Raw Materials Research Development Council, (RMRDC), Federal Ministry of Finance. Budget and National Planning, Advance Local Dairy Development in Nigeria (ALDDN), amongst others.

IN KANO: FG Flags-Off National Livestock Breed Improvement Programme (NALBIP), Says Effort will Curb Herders/Farmers Crop Conflicts.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has stated that the National Livestock Breed Improvement Programme (NALBIP) is one of the comprehensive and sustainable mechanism put in place by the ministry to address the development and transformation of the livestock value chain in the agricultural sectorHe said the programme will improve the genetic makeup of the indigenous breeds of animals, especially dairy cattle to achieve increased milk and meat yield of the nation’s national herd.

He also expressed optimism that the programme “will improve the livelihood of the pastoral communities and other livestock farmers and support the ministry in addressing the challenges in the livestock value chain particularly, the incessant Herder/ Crop Farmers conflict”. Speaking during the flag-off exercise held at the Janguru Primary/ Secondary School, Dawanau, Dawakin Tofa Local Government Area, Kano State venue of the event, today, Monday, I5th March 2021, the Minister disclosed that the programme is targeted at the “evolution of hybrid filial generations of dairy cows and other livestock with improved productivity potential and in the overall genetic improvement to the national herd”.

He explained that the programme will facilitate Artificial insemination services through training and the provision of essential tools and inputs to stakeholders.Nanono expressed regret that despite the great potential in the livestock sector, “we have not achieved much to ensure an adequate supply of animal protein, means of livelihood and increased income. Some of the key challenges like low level of investment, poor animal health services, poor access to market, poor fodder supply and livestock Management practices have continued to prevent the sector from reaching its full potential”. The Minister noted that “ inadequate investments due largely to under-funding from public and private sectors, absence of enabling government policies, suboptimal functioning institutional settings and linkages and regulatory gaps have led to our inability to achieve sustainable transformation in the livestock value chains.

This administration is poised to systematically address these challenges”. According to him, the flag-off exercise was coming on board “at a better time due to threats poised on the nation’s security heightened by frequent conflicts, banditry, and cattle rustling with resultant depletion of the national herd, creating fear and loss of sources of livelihood for Nigerians who depend on agriculture for their sustenance” In his goodwill message, the Executive Governor of Kano State, represented by the Kano State Commissioner of Local Government Affairs, Hon Murtala Sule Garo, expressed appreciation on the choice of Kano State for the pilot scheme of the programme, stating that the state has the comparative advantage in terms of its livestock population and vast arable land.

While noting that the Breed improvement programme for the sector will upgrade the existing indigenous breeds and increase productivity, the governor assured the Minister that the state government will continue to support the federal government in all its intervention efforts to the state. In her welcome address earlier, the Director, Animal husbandary Department in the Ministry, Mrs Winnie Lai- Solarin stated that the Programme is part of the National Livestock Transformation Plan of the Federal Government of Nigeria. According to her, “Animal Agriculture plays a significant role in the country’s agro-economy and contributes to the qualitative nutrition of the citizenry, job creation and food security status of our nation.

It also lends significantly to the socio-economic livelihoods of the populace particularly livestock value chain actors”.She said the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Department of Animal Husbandry Services is commencing the National Livestock Breed Improvement Program (NALBIP) – a strategy designed to speedily upgrade our indigenous breeds oflivestock by enhancing their genetic potential, increasing their milk yield and their efficiency generally.

Mrs Solarin pointed out that, “Nigeria’s population is growing at a faster rate than the increase in animals and animal products, this is critical for a country whose population is expected to reach about 402 million by the year 2050. Imperatively only improved breeds which are adequately cared for to reach optimal production levels can alleviate poverty, ensure food security and meet the protein requirements of a growing population such as ours”.She, therefore, enjoined all stakeholders, particularly the private sector to participate actively in the implementation of the NALBIP program to ensure efficiency, sustainability, job creation, improved breed, increased productivity, and income of smallholder livestock farmers.

WORKSHOP ON NATIONAL SOIL SURVEY AND SOIL FERTILITY MAPPING

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURAL LAND & CLIMATE CHANGE MANAGEMENT SERVICES.

WORKSHOP ON NATIONAL SOIL SURVEY AND SOIL FERTILITY MAPPING

THEME“ENHANCING FOOD SECURITY IN NIGERIA THROUGH THE PRODUCTION OF DETAILED SOIL SURVEY AND SOIL FERTILITY MAPS”

Focus of workshop

  • Bridging the gaps in soil information in Nigeria.
  • Planning and execution of detailed soil survey.
  • Harmonising soil data sets in Nigeria
  • Correlation of soils in Nigeria
  • Soil analysis and data interpretation
  • Modern techniques in the management and characterisation of soil nutrients
  • Soil fertility map and its role in boosting food production and enhancing food security.
  • Building resilience in the agriculture sector through climate change adaptation and mitigation

Date: 15-19 March, 2021                               Time: 9:00 am daily

Venue: NAF Conference Hall (HQ NAF Officers’ Mess and Suites) Plot 496 Ahmadu Bello Way, Kado, Abuja

Zoom meeting link: ID will be provided in due time

Please note that virtual and physical participation will be by invitation. Covid-19 protocols will be strictly observed.

Dr. Ernest A. Umakhihe

Permanent Secretary

FG Redeems Pledge to Support Smallholder Farmers Affected by Flooding, As Nanono Flags-Off Input Distribution In Kebbi And Jigawa States.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono , on Friday, November 27, 2020 flagged-off the Ministry’s distribution of farm inputs to smallholder farmers in Kebbi and Jigawa States worst hit by the recent flooding that ravaged farmlands in both states and other parts of the country. He said that the exercise is in fulfillment of the pledge he made to the farmers during his earlier visit in the wake of the flood disaster.

The Minister, in the company of Governors; Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State and Mohammed Baduru Abubakar of Jigawa State, respectively, during his separate visits to both States, reminded them of his pledge to return to the states with relief packages to assist the affected farmers. He said, “ you may wish to recall that I visited you some few weeks back at the peak of the flooding in this area and made a promise that I would come back with some relief materials to assist the affected farmers. So, today, I am here to fulfill that promise”.

Speaking at the separate events held at the Kebbi Stadium and Auyo Secretariat in Auyo Local Government Area of Jigawa State, Nanono pointed out that the advent of the floods had greatly compounded the negative impact heralded by the Covid-19 Pandemic on the nation’s food security situation. He further stated that the “desire to alleviate the loss and suffering caused by the floods informed the Ministry’s decision to support the smallholder farmers with various inputs especially improved seeds of some priority crops namely; rice, maize, wheat and cowpea through the farmer’s associations, women and youth groups in the flood-affected areas”.

The Minister urged the beneficiaries “to use these inputs in this dry season to produce food for their households and the nation”. He expressed optimism that “this support will greatly improve our food and nutrition security as well as enhance our smallholder farmers’ recovery from the effect of these natural disasters”. Nanono said the flag-off exercise “is the beginning in the series of distribution of the Ministry’s support to farmers who are victims of the flood disaster that occurred recently.

There will be other input support distribution in other parts of the country where farmers have been greatly affected by the flood. Improved seeds and seedlings of maize, yam, sweet potato, rice and wheat among others will be distributed to farmers in the affected areas”. According to the Minister, “this is the first tranche of what we have in our Federal Department of Agriculture store. More support from the Ministry will still come to you. This is another promise that would be fulfilled In sha Allah”. Kebbi State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Bagudu, represented by the Deputy Governor, Col Samaila Yombe (Rtd), acknowledged the massive support of the Federal Government to the State since the flood disaster.

He expressed confidence that the farm input will help to boost the dry season farming in the state. In his remarks, Governor of Jigawa State, represented by Hon Commissioner for Agriculture in the State, Alhaji Mohammed Alhassan, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his love and care for Nigerians and commended the Minister for fulfilling his promise to revisit the state to flag -off the input distribution.

He admonished the people not to see the inputs as food to be eaten but that it is seeds expected to be reproduced. The Commissioner of Agriculture in Kebbi State, Alhaji Attahiru Machido, in his remarks stated that the recent flooding experienced by the state was monumental and had affected the economy, farmlands, infrastructure, and livelihoods. He said the farm input is a welcome development and solicited more support from the government.

Director, Federal Department of Agriculture (FDA), Mrs Karima Babaginda, thanked the states for their cooperation in the distribution exercise and urged them to make judicious use of the inputs for food sustainability in the country.

PROGRAMME ALERT: Agric Reality TV Show to Empower Nigerian Youths Debut.

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) Startimes, Radio, Television and Theatre Workers Union of Nigeria (RATTAWU) and other Stakeholders would commence an Agricultural reality show called NAIJA FARMER. The Naija Farmer Reality show is a youth empowerment project aimed principally to transform unemployed Nigeria youths to Employers of labour. 

The project would create over 1 Million Agribusiness owners within 10 years and by extension lift over 20 Million youths out of poverty in the next decade, pursuant to the President Muhammadu Buhari’s pledged to lift Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years. All participants would receive Seed Capital from the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) and other financial institution to establish Smallholder Agribusiness after the extensive training on television.

Beneficiaries will also become celebrities and supermodels for upcoming farmers and Nigerian youths. The Maiden edition of Naija Farmer reality show would include 21 Housemates selected from the Six Geopolitical zones of the country at a located Naija Farmer House in Abuja. It would be a – 24-hour Reality Show on Channel 140 of Startimes Bouquet already being test run. The channel would in addition showcase a 24-hour Reality Entertainment and progress made in the Agricultural Sector. 

The Naija Farmer Reality show would commence officially on 29th November 2020 on Channel 140 of Startimes Bouquet.

PROGRAMME ALERT: The 2020 World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) #waaw2020. #WAAW2020

Theme: Let’s Handle Antimicrobials With Care.

As part of the activities to commemorate the Antibiotic Awareness Week from 18th-24th November 2020, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations is Flagging-off the 2020 World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW).

In order to create awareness on the threats of antimicrobial resistance to human, animal and environmental health, the Tripathite (World Health Organization, Food and Agricultural Organization and World Organization for Animal Health) has set aside the second week in November every year to increase awareness on antimicrobial resistance globally and to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policymakers to avoid the further emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections.

Nigeria has been commemorating the antibiotics awareness week since 2017. The Federal Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services is planning activities to mark the 2020 World Antibiotics Awareness Week (WAAW).

Quality Seeds, the Bedrock of Crop Production – Sabo Nanono.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has stated that quality seeds are the bedrock of crop production that would ensure food nutrition and sufficiency, boost production and economic growth in Nigeria. He also stated that crops are very important for food security, job creation and the diversification agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari’s led Administration.

The Minister disclosed this during the Debriefing of Outcomes of Socio-Economic Surveys by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and Partners in Nigeria, held at the Hon. Minister Conference Room in Abuja on Tuesday 10/11/2020.The Minister stated that ‘’ as you are aware, sorghum and millet provide a diet for most of the population who live especially in the arid and semi-arid tropics of Africa including Nigeria.

These crops are major staple food consumed by over 60 million people living in Northern Nigeria where it is mostly grown, whereas groundnut is the major crop for the production of vegetable oil and critical feeds’’.Nanono further stated that ‘’ the crop is widely consumed in different forms as food and beverage; having a good source of some very important nutrients as elements like copper, manganese, phosphorus and magnesium’’He said that ‘’the Ministry is making effort to strengthen the value chains hence it held a stakeholders’ Workshop on millet in order to strategize on the ways to improve production, likewise convene a stakeholders’ workshop on the Sorghum value chain and also constitute a technical committee on sorghum varietal Mainstreaming.

He explained that it will ensure that quality seeds are available to Nigeria farmers’’The Minister lauded the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and Partners for its immense contribution in Quality Seeds for agricultural development in Nigeria.In her welcome remarks, the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture in the Ministry, Mrs Karima Babangida appreciated ICRISAT and its Partners for the contribution in the Agricultural sector especially on sorghum, pearl millet and groundnut value chains.

Mrs Babangida informed that ‘’ the ministry’s value chain signed a Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with ICRISAT to boost sorghum production, commercialization and industrial utilization and processing, that collaboration has yielded positive results with the increase in sorghum production’’She stated that ‘’ in the cropping season of 2020, the Organisation supported the ministry by providing certified seeds of sorghum, millet and groundnut to farmers as COVID-19 Pandemic palliative. Presently, I have been notified that ICRISAT and its partners have conducted surveys on Adoption and Impact of Technologies and analysis of sorghum, pearl millet and Groundnut in Nigeria and Sorghum, pearl millet and Groundnut value chain Analysis in Nigeria’’.

During his presentation, ICRISAT Country Director, Dr Hakeem Ajeigbe, stated that the potentials of the production, processing and distribution segments of the groundnut value chain, for instance, were enormous, they could be exploited by relevant government departments at all levels for livelihoods improvement and create job opportunities ‘’Dr Ajeigbe emphasized that ‘’ there is need for proactive measures of establishing sustainable linkages in the long run and that efforts should be intensified to increase the availability of seeds of improved varieties’’

ENTREPRENEURSHIP SKILL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM ON AGRO ALLIED ACTIVITIES

A 5-DAY ENTREPRENEURSHIP SKILL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM ON AGRO ALLIED ACTIVITIES FOR FMARD STAFF HELD AT ARCN, MABUSHI, ABUJA ON 21ST-25TH SEPTEMBER, 2020.
The major aim of the programme was to train and empower staff of the Ministry to supplement their salary and for those about to retire from service against post-retirement challenges. It was also aimed at creating prospects for business Oriental civil servants who would take advantage of the agricultural skills to contribute to the nations food security and as well become small-scale labour employers.The Permanent Secretary, Dr. Mua’zu Abdukadir, ably represented by the Director Legal Services, Mrs. Sheotan A.A, the Ag. Director Reforms, Mrs Gertrude A. Orji, the Director Information, Mr. Theodore O.C. Ogaziechi others were 52 staff of the Ministry drawn from all the departments, Resource persons from Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN), Nigerian Youth Chambers of Commerce (NYCC) and the Technical departments of the Ministry were the facilitators of the programme.

FG Engages Stakeholders’ on Promotion and Development of Donkey Value Chain.

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, through her Department of Animal Husbandry Services, holds Stakeholder’s engagement on the Promotion and Development of Donkey Value Chain.

The objective of the meeting is to engage stakeholders to discuss and identify challenges facing donkey breeding, develop massive sustainable production of Donkeys, and identify interventions to support existing and prospective donkey farmers in the country.

In his address, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr Abdulkadir Mu’azu, represented by the Director Special Duties of the Ministry, Mrs Fausat Lawal stated that donkeys have received little or no attention from the government compared to other classes of livestock despite the fact that they are essential to livelihood and resilience of many communities.

To address this concern, and avert possible extinction of donkeys in Nigeria, the 43rd Regular Meeting of the National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development (NCARD) held April 2019, approved the establishment of Donkey Value Chain in the Department of Animal Husbandry Services. It is envisaged that this move will draw more attention from a wide range of stakeholders including Government, Development Partners and the Private sector towards research, development and investment in the breeding and multiplication of donkeys.

Mu’azu added that Donkeys are one of the ancient domesticated livestock valued in particular for their ability to survive under harsh conditions and also important for rural transportation and farming particularly in the northern part of the country.

They also support the livelihoods of the rural population in many domestic chores. Nigeria is one of the countries with a relatively large population of donkey estimated at about 974,499, which can be attributed to the cross border movements by the pastoral herdsmen from Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali and Cameroon.

This stakeholders’ engagement has become imperative due to the emergence of large-scale global trading in donkey skins, with estimates of a minimum of 1.8 million donkey skins being traded annually, especially in Africa, and 10 million per annum globally.

There is therefore urgent need to create awareness on the possible extinction of Donkey in Nigeria without matching production with increasing demands.

A thriving trade in donkey skins for export to China for the production of gelatine used in a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has become a serious threat to the donkey population in Nigeria and Africa which is tending towards extinction.

The Permanent Secretary assured that the engagement will lead to actionable resolutions for increased production, productivity and conservation to avert the extinction of Donkey in Nigeria.

In her remark, the Acting Director of the Department of Animal Husbandry Services, Mrs Winnie Lai-Solarin thanked the Permanent Secretary for his address and appreciated the Stakeholders for creating time out of their busy schedules to be part of the meeting.

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