Nigeria Can Become World’s Largest Cashew Producer – Nanono

Nigeria has the potential to become the largest producer of Cashew in the world, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Alhaji Muhammed, Sabo Nanono has said. With an estimated production capacity of 250,000 metric tons per annum, Nanono said that Nigeria is currently the fourth-largest producer in the world and second in Africa with twenty-seven states and the FCT cultivating cashew.

The minister made this known while inaugurating the Nigeria Cashew Value Chain Working Committee on Thursday 8th July 2021 in Abuja. According to him, exports of cashew between 2015 and 2017 earned Nigeria over eight hundred million US dollars ($800 million). This, he added, has made the commodity an important export-oriented cash crop and a significant non – oil export earner.

Nanono, however, lamented that while Nigeria has about 100,000 cultivable lands for producing cashew, she was only able to produce 450 kilograms per hectare as opposed to Ivory Coast which produces 750 kilograms per hectare on only 32,000 surface area. The Nigerian cashew policy environment, the Minister noted, had remained static and has slowed down the development of the sector. In a statement signed by the Technical Adviser (Media) to the minister, Ahmed Aminu, Nanono disclosed that his ministry in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) funded West Africa PRO – Cashew Project has constituted a committee to develop a five-year working document.

The document will enable Nigeria to realize the enormous potentials available in the Nigerian Cashew Value Chain, the minister said.

Nanono, therefore, tasked the 26-person committee to work assiduously to develop the working plan to increase cashew productivity, quality, value addition, and access to markets.

Improved Aquaculture Sub-Sector will increase Domestic Production and Grow the GDP – Nanono

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has reaffirmed the Federal Government’s commitment towards improving the Aquaculture sub-sector, increase domestic production of fish to reduce importation of frozen fish into the country and growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the Agric sector. He stated that the Ministry under the Present Administration is pursuing a holistic approach to the development of Fisheries and Aquaculture Sub-Sector through the diversification Programme of Mr President along the value chain process, adding that development of the nation’s fisheries and aquaculture sector is highly critical to this.

Speaking during the International Dialogue on the Transformation and Future of Aquatic Food Systems in Nigeria, held today at the Chelsea Hotel, Central Business District, Abuja, the Minister who was represented by the Director, Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, Dr Ime Umoh. He said ‘’the important role of fish in food and nutrition security cannot be overemphasized, being a good source of protein for a human diet containing essential amino acids required by humans in the right quantities which are usually lacking in most national staple foods; Fish, therefore, remains a valuable nutritional supplement and a virile candidate for addressing food and nutrition security in Nigeria’’.Nanono stated that despite the potential impacts of the fisheries and aquaculture resources, the sector is however confronted with numerous challenges including the high cost of inputs, use of unimproved breeds in aquaculture, need for improved access to finance.

He pointed out that the ministry is willing to engage and partner with all stakeholders for the development of the sector for economic development, wealth and job creation as well as food and nutrition security. The minister informed that ‘’ the vision of Mr President is to grow Nigeria’s Agricultural Sector to achieve a hunger-free Nigeria through Agriculture that drives income growth, accelerates achievements of food and nutritional security, generates employment and transforms Nigeria into a leading player in global food/fish market to create wealth for millions of practitioners’’.He expressed optimism that ‘’ the outcome of this dialogue will feed into the development of a consolidated country report.

Hence, as you subject every item on the agenda to scrutiny through the various break out groups, to identify key recommendations that will bring notable transformation to the aquatic food systems of the country’’.He noted that Ministry has played a key role in addressing aquatic food systems in Nigeria notably amongst are: Backward integration policy of Government to encourage fish importers to go into commercial aquaculture (pond and cage culture) of fish and shrimp farming, the establishment of fish farm clusters nationwide, the establishment of fish feed mills in each of the six (6) geo-political zones of the country. Other Programme includes Lake Enhancement programmes for stock assessment and stocking of water bodies nationwide to increase their productivity, capacity building of farmers, extension workers, women, and youth with the provision of starter packs for job and wealth creation, among others, Nanono added.

The Minister appreciated the commitment of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the entire Ministry team towards organizing the Programme and ensuring that it becomes a reality.In his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, who was represented by the Head of Aquaculture and Deputy Director, Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, Mr Istifanus Pwaspo stated that “fish is one of the cheapest and predominant sources of animal protein in Nigeria. It accounts for about 50% of total animal protein consumed in Nigeria with a per capital consumption of 17.5 Kg /person/year. In this regard, the total demand for fish is 3.6 million tons annually while Nigeria is producing 1.1million tons from all sources (Aquaculture, artisanal and Industrial sectors) leaving a deficit of about 2.5 million tons to be supplemented by importation”.Dr. Umakhihe pointed out that “It is estimated that over 10 million Nigerians are actively engaged in primary and secondary fisheries operations.

The contribution of fisheries to the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is about 4.5%”.In his remark, the Country Director, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Dr. Michael Ojo stated that Nigeria has seen significant growth in production over the past 18 years ‘’ but we still have a large supply deficit limiting access for consumers and potentially contribute to the relatively high cost of aquatic foods.Dr. Ojo disclosed that ‘’ the factors that constrain the supply of safe and affordable fisheries products to meet consumer demand are multiple and reside at many different points in the supply chain’’

FG Set to Implement the National Agricultural Data Management Information System (NADMIS) – To Strengthen Data And Information Services in the Agric Sector.

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe has stated that the implementation of the National Agricultural Data Management Information System(NADMIS), would strengthen the data Information system for policy, planning and tracking of the Sustainable Development Goals in the Agricultural sector. He said that NADMIS will act as an instrument for the resuscitation and revitalization of data and information services at both the Federal and State Ministries of Agriculture in the country.

The Permanent Secretary ably represented by the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Mrs Karima Babaginda, made this known during the opening ceremony of the National Validation of Country Data Set for 3rd Biennial Review Exercise on the Implementation of Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, held at Rock View Hotel, Abuja on Wednesday, 7th July 2021, He said preparation has reached an advanced stage for Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO) to facilitate the second phase of the Global Strategy to Improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics in Nigeria.

Dr. Umakhihe informed that ‘’ the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), remains the initiative of the African Heads of States launched and adopted in 2003 in Maputo Mozambique, with a commitment to dedicating 10% of the annual national budget and ensuring 6% annual growth in the sector, for enhanced public spending, food security and poverty alleviation in the continent’’.

He stated that an integral part of the CAADP’s implementation process is a continuous sector performance appraisal through the platforms of a national annual Joint Sector Review and a continental Biennial Review. In this regard, Nigeria’s average performances at the inaugural and second biennial review exercises were attributed to the issues of data gaps. The Permanent Secretary pointed out that ‘’ Nigeria signed the CAADP Compact on 30th October 2009, prepared the first National Agricultural Investment Plan (NAIP I) 2011 – 2014 in December 2010 and established a CAADP Country Team Structure for implementation. Similarly, the 2nd NAIP-2017-2020 was developed and implemented under the sector framework of the Agricultural Promotion Policy’’.

Umakhihe explained that ‘’the Ministry in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria, Commodity Associations and Agricultural Platform Companies launched the Agric for Food and Jobs Programme, a sectoral component of the 2020 Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan, to support smallholder farmers with inputs for enhanced productivity’’.
He stressed that ‘’ the Federal Government is steadily dedicating huge resources to the development of rural infrastructure, the training of youths to serve as Extension agents, the provision of agricultural machinery to expand the cultivable land area, the implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan and the acceleration of fisheries and aquaculture production in the country’’.

He urged the stakeholders at the forum to produce a credible and complete data set that would enable Nigeria to be on track in achieving the Commitments for the implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme.
Umakhihe added that ‘’ we are to use our experience and resource to assess, input and endorse the country’s populated data set in the biennial review reporting template before we submit it to the African Union Commission through the Economic Community for the West African States’’.

In his welcome address, the Director, Planning and Policy Coordination Department in the Ministry, Mr Zubairu Abdullahi, who was represented by the Deputy Director in the Department, Mr. Ibrahim Tanimu said that ‘’ Nigeria had since 2003 been part of the conceptualization, adoption and implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme [CAADP], initiated by the African Union under the New Partnership for Africa Development to increases public spending in agriculture, accelerate sector growth and track the entire process through robust data generation for a continental biennial performance review’’.
He stated that ‘’to make Nigeria achieve a better result, state and non-state actors; synergy is highly required by harnessing all available data in the country. That is, we should focus this validation exercise on the policies, strategies and programmes that had been executed along with research development, value chain, financial inclusion and agribusiness undertakings to diversify the economy, create wealth for Nigerians and foster national development’’.
In his remarks, the CAADP Focal Point Officer in Nigeria, Mr. Mohammed Ibrahim, appealed to the Federal Government to increase the Agricultural sector budgetary provision to meet 10% of the total annual national budget as recommended and adopted by the Africa Head of States in Maputo 2003.

He stated that the Federal Government should allocate more funds in the Sector to address areas of investment that would increase the Agricultural GDP to at least 6%. He further said that stakeholders are expected to support the CAADP team with relevant data based on the indicators for tracking the country’s performance on the implementation of CAADP in Nigeria.

Panel Submits Report of FCAPT Probe

The Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Mohammed Sabo Nanono, on Friday 18th June 2021 received the submission of a report from the investigation panel for the Federal College Of Agricultural Produce Technology Kano on Friday in Abuja.

Recall that Minister Nanono during an impromptu visit to the College in May 2021 expressed sadness over unsavory occurrences at the College, which he said, continue to factionalize every arm of the institution, thus negating the smooth running of its academic and administrative function.
The Minister also instituted an Administrative Investigative Panel to probe activities at the College with a view to decisively dealing with those thwarting the smooth running of the College.
The Committee has on Friday 18th June 2021 fulfilled its mandate by submitting its findings after a thorough investigation.

Receiving the report at his office in Abuja, Alhaji Sabo Nanono commended the committee members for the timely composition and submission of the report, said all the findings and recommendations will be followed to restore normalcy in the college.
The Committee was chaired by Prof. Ibrahim Umar Abubakar, former Director Institute for Agricultural Research ABU, Zaria while Mr. Mahmoud Bello of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria served as Secretary. Other members of the committee are Mrs. Patience Yamah, DD Human resources FMARD, Alh. Ladan Isah former Bursar College Of Animal Health Vom and Mrs. Abioka, Legal Adviser FMARD.

PHOTOS-NCARD21: FG Establishes a Portal for 10 Million Farmers, to Ensure Effective Monitoring of Agricultural Interventions.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has revealed that the Ministry has established an online portal to ensure efficient and effective monitoring of Federal Government intervention in the Agric sector. The initiative would capture the biodata of the farmers and link it with Geographical information of their farmed plots, crops, and the volumes of production in the country.   

Speaking during the opening ceremony of the 44th council meeting of the National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development (NCARD), held at the International Conference Centre, today, Thursday 17th June 2021, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono stated that ‘’ Although we initially set out to capture the data of 2.4 million farmers across the country, the results from the exercise have encouraged the Economic Sustainability Plan Team to expand the data capture to 10 million farmers’’

 The Minister stated that the database will be “a platform for the Federal Government interventions going forward, putting an end to ghost schemes and other unscrupulous practices in the agricultural industry”.
 Alhaji Sabo Nanono noted that ‘’ a major hallmark of our agricultural interventions is inclusiveness. We have catered for the youths, women, and many demographic considerations in our implementation strategies’’.
 Nanono explained that  ‘’ as a stop-gap intervention, we launched the Agric for Food and Jobs Program, originally conceived as an input loan for smallholder farmers across several commodities including maize, rice, cotton, groundnut, sorghum, cowpea, soybean, sesame, cassava and oil – palm’’.

 He further said ‘’ the scheme brought into a partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria, Commodity Association and Agricultural Platform Companies for effective facilitation. This we believe will not only improve production significantly but also aid in the off – taking of produce while providing input at a reduced price due to economy of scale’’.
 The Minister noted that  ‘’ the challenges brought by the emergence of the COVID – 19 Pandemic, floods, and insecurity has galvanized the government into setting up a necessary structure to address the infrastructural deficiency, technology gaps, security challenges, and extension inadequacy. This approach is believed to be the right one for achieving our desired economic diversification and national development’’.
He noted that the NCARD would promote the existing policies, programmes, and projects at the national and sub-national levels for the purpose of entrenching synergy, best practices, entrepreneurship, livelihood, and growth in the sector.Nanono reemphasized that ‘’ agricultural productivity can only improve through the mechanization of production activities. In our effort to improve the agricultural production profile of the country, we have entered into a partnership with the government of Brazil through one of their foremost technology transfer, the Fundacao Getulio Vargas (FGV)’’.
He further said that  ‘’ this partnership has yielded an Agricultural Mechanization loan to the tune of Nine Hundred and Ninety-Five Million euros. This shall be granted to Nigerian entrepreneurs to establish service centers across all the 774 Local Government of the country, selling services to all categories of farmers and thereby helping to improve their productivity’’.
‘’The services centers shall be either a Type 1, supporting production activities or Type 2, supporting processing and packaging activities’’, he said. 
The Minister informed that  ‘’ the ministry in collaboration with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council has been working to exploit a strategic advantage in the production of commodities like sesame, hibiscus, cotton and sorghum to improve production protocols to conform with internationally acceptable standards, maintenance of an exporters’ directory and exporter certificate verification ‘ portal’’.
He stressed that ‘’ the ministry has embarked on increasing the number of available extension workers in the different aspects of our operations. This year, about One Thousand Two Hundred Extension Workers have been trained ‘’.The Minister highlighted that ‘’ with the green imperative project launching soon, there is a component of it that will see the training of extension workers in agricultural mechanization and other important aspects of crop and livestock operations’’.
He pointed out that  ‘’ the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), has been adjudged worldwide to be a well-conceived project which seeks to transform our livestock sector from the nomadic – dependent sector into an organized ranching one.

He added that ‘’ to this end,22 state and Federal Capital Territory have registered with the NLTP Office .seven of these 10 states have also earmarked about 19 Grazing reserves for the implementation of the NLTP, with a total land size of approximately 400,000 hectares”.
According to him, it is, therefore, safe to say, that NLTP, when fully implemented will bring an end to the incessant clashes between the farmers and herdsmen at the same time introduce the herders to the modern way of raising cattle, with all added benefits of improved feeding, animal and human, genetic improvement, value addition and better socio-economic standing for all participants’’.

In his remarks, the Minister of Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Alhaji Mohammed Musa Bello, represented by the Special Assistant, Prof. Mohammed Usman, said that the theme of this year’s Council meeting ” Agriculture and Food Security in the face of COVID – 19, Floods and Insecurity is apt enough and a reminder to the effect that we are yet to win the fight on COVID – 19 Pandemic. He added there is a need for robust interaction and ideas among stakeholders on how to reposition the Agricultural sector.

In his welcome address, the Minister of State, Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri said that ‘’ Nigeria economy had its GDP contracted for two consecutive terms of the second and third quarter in 2020; leading to recession. It was in the 4th quarter of 2020 that the economy returned to positive growth with GDP expanding to 0.1% from the contraction of 3.6% (negative growth) experienced in the 3 quarter. The feat was achieved through the contribution mainly attributed to the performance of agricultural sector’.

Hon Baba Shehuri observed that ‘’ as matter of fact, local production of maize, rice, cassava, potatoes, yam, and other staples steadily increased, it is also the same story in livestock, fisheries and dairy sector. The fact that we did not import food during the lockdown era was a testimony that we can grow what we eat and eat what we produce’’.  In his goodwill message, the Chairman, House Committee on Agricultural Production and Services, Hon. Muntari Mohammed Dandutse stated the National Assembly would fast-track the bills been raise as an outcome or resolution of the NCARD towards achieving food security and job creation.

While giving a vote of thanks, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Ernest A. Umakhihe, thanked the stakeholders for their commitment and technical support during the 44th Regular Meeting of the National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development. 

Nanono Seeks Strategic Partnership and Collaboration with Stakeholders in the Fertilizer Industry for Increased Production

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has advocated for a more strategic partnership and robust collaboration with Stakeholders in the fertilizer industry to boost its production and develop the sector. He said the effort would ensure its affordability, increased production, self–sufficiency, easy access to products by the farmers, and achieve food and nutrition security.

The Minister made this known over the weekend, during a working visit to the facility of Indorama Eleme Fertilizer and Chemicals Limited (IEFCL), located at Eleme in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Alhaji Sabo Nanono acknowledged the company for being a strategic partner in the development of the agricultural sector, especially in the supply of fertilizer products like NPK, UREA, and DAP to farmers across the country.

Alhaji Nanono also commended the Organisation for going beyond the sale of Urea fertilizer to farmers, to engaging in extensive Agronomy and Agricultural Extension Services and other laudable Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) across the country geared towards improving the quality of lives of the farmers and food production. According to him, ‘’ the company is deeply embedded in the agricultural transformation agenda of President Mohammed Buhari’s Administration and the Nation’s Economic Development in general.

The Minister lauded Indorama for its massive supply of Urea fertilizers to over 70% of farmers in Nigeria as well as using its blending plants for the production of NPK fertilizers at a subsidized price to Smallholder farmers.Nanono expressed satisfaction with Indorama for its excellent environment, production capacity, creating employment, and providing business opportunities for Nigerian graduates, artisans, farmers, and entrepreneurs.

In his remarks, the Chief Executive Officer of Indorama Fertilizer, Mr. Munish Jindal, stated that the vision of the company is to build the largest petrochemicals and fertilizer hub of Africa in Nigeria and to empower the Nigerian farmers by ensuring the production of quality fertilizer. The highlight of the working visit was the guided tour of the facility with different sections of the Trains 1 and 2 fertilizer plants including the State-of-the-art Control Rooms, the Ammonia Plants, Urea plants, Power plants, and gagging section. The Organisation has two fertilizer plants with a production capacity of 3 million metric tons of Urea fertilizer per annum.

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.

EARLIER: African Economic Security Lies in Agriculture – Nanono

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has stated that agriculture has a huge economic potential in Africa to create wealth and produce enough food to feed her people, stating further that it is important to create and sustain an economy in the sector to widen our perspective in the continent.Nanono said this while receiving in the audience a delegation from Course 36 of the Kenyan Defence Staff College on a courtesy visit to his office in the evening of Wednesday, 17th March 2021 in Abuja.

The delegation, on a regional study tour, was in the ministry to seek knowledge on Nigeria’s agricultural policies to help rejig the Kenyan agricultural policy. The Minister who expressed delight at the visit said, “as Africans, we can learn a lot from each other and create a huge market amongst us both in the higher and lower levels. The wealth is in Africa, we must take our destiny in our hands to secure the future”.Nanono noted that despite the challenges faced by the continent, “we must explore the over 60 per cent arable land domiciled in the continent as an advantage to ensure deliberate government policies that will drive the actualisation of food sufficiency and security in the continent, “we must lay our cards very well, if not we can become slaves in our country”, he added.

The Minister informed the delegation of the large scale intervention and focus by the Nigerian government in the sector to include: the creation of platforms for the development of the food value chain both at the micro and macro levels and from the levels of production to processing, training of more extension workers to provide extension services for smallholder farmers and livestock development. Others include; mechanization, strengthening of the research institutes for quality and improved seeds, provision of rural infrastructure for the ease of access to the markets by the farmers.While emphasizing the strategic relevance of the sector in food security, the minister disclosed that the ministry is working hard to create the needed synergy between the agricultural and the industrial sector for the industrialization of the sector through mechanization in line with international best practices.

Nanono added that in Nigeria, “we produce what we eat and eat what we produce”, stating that this catchy phrase has helped in promoting the local rice farmers especially during the lockdown resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic and has subsequently increased local rice production in the country. He said the youth are also mobilized through the universities to participate in agriculture as the country seeks to explore its export potentials, adding that more youth are being encouraged to go into farming.

In his remarks, the leader of the Kenyan Defence College delegation, Col David Samoui, said they were in the ministry to seek information on how Nigeria is running its agricultural policies, stating that the country was amazed at how Nigeria could feed its over 200m population whereas Kenya was struggling with food security with just a population of 40 million people.

He said Nigeria is a “ good destination to study and to know how agriculture is contributing to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)”. He also added that the students from the college were expected to develop the best strategies for Kenyans after the study tour.

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.

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