Ernest Umakhihe Assumes Duty as Permanent Secretary Agric.

Mr Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe has assumed duty as the new Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Addressing Directors and Management staff of the Ministry yesterday Wednesday 30th December 2020  in Abuja, Mr Umakhihe while receiving the Handing Over notes from the sit-in Permanent Secretary, Hajia Karima Babaginda, Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, stressed on the need for teamwork and cooperation of the Directors, in order to achieve the diversification policy of Mr President in the Agricultural Sector.

According to him ‘’ I am here to operate an open-door policy, learn from the Directors, add value and coordinate the affairs of the Ministry.
While welcoming the Permanent Secretary, Mrs Karima Babaginda informed that the ministry has the mandate to ensure food security and create employment opportunities for teeming youths of the nation. She pledged the loyalty and commitment of the Directors and the entire staff of the ministry.

Mr Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe who was born on the 5th of April, 1964, is a Professional Accountant of high repute, a core Technocrat and an Astute Administrator. He has served in the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Sports, Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation.

FG Pledges to Revive Development of Cocoa and Continuous Support to Horticulture Industries in Nigeria.

The Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono, on behalf of Federal Government of Nigeria pledges to revive development of cocoa and continuous support to Horticulture Industry in Nigeria. The Minister disclosed this on Tuesday 15th December 2020 during the visit of the Cocoa and Plantain Farmers of Nigeria, under the leadership of the Coordinator and National President, Mr Ayodele Ojo.

In his speech, the National President of the Association, Mr Ayodele expresses his excitement under the auspices of Plantain and Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria to meet with the Honourable Minister and the entire Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for the all-important meeting.
In his words, we are here today to commend the laudable and deliberate efforts of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. We know that the Ministry has always collaborated with several other bodies at ensuring food security in Nigeria and creating an enabling environment for economic growth through agricultural and rural development programmes.

The agricultural interventions being supported by the Ministry are enormous and many crops and livestock enterprises have been included in the different programmes at different times. The anchor borrowers’ programme and CARES are some of the most recent of such agricultural intervention programmes being supported by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

It amazed us as an association of farmers that have been consistently working to produce plantain and cocoa in large quantities that we were left out of the anchor borrowers’ programme and CARES Project. Although cocoa has been considered under the anchor borrowers’ programme through our sister association and we appreciate you for this. We have well above 28,000 members in 20 states and the Federal Capital Territory. Presently we have more than 20,000 hectares of farm cultivated and a potential to cultivate more than 50,000 hectares if adequately supported (see the attached map).
History has it that before the discovery of oil in Nigeria, the nation depended on agricultural produce which included cocoa and plantain with other crops. The rise in population all over the world increases the demand for food and raw materials for industries.Honourable Minister Sir, plantain value chain, if well harnessed is capable of alleviating unemployment challenges in Nigeria significantly. Plantain has always contributed and is still contributing to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria.

Plantain is grown in Ondo, Taraba, Cross River, Osun, Kogi, Akwa Ibom, Ekiti, Ogun, Edo, Adamawa, Abia, Oyo, Delta, Kwara, Imo, Benue, Niger, FCT, Kaduna, Lagos and Plateau States. There is this peculiarity of plantain in food security, in that when other farm products are scarce due to one reason or the other, plantain is always available all year round.

However, it is very surprising that other commodities like maize, rice, cassava, cotton, vegetable, cocoa etc. received support under the Anchor Borrower’s Programme while the plantain commodity was excluded. It has also come to our notice that the CARES Project that is in the pipeline also excludes plantain and cocoa commodities. Plantain can serve dual purposes of food and cash crop and is capable to start earning returns on investment in one year just like cassava.

Moreover, many developed nations of the world source for raw materials from Africa and among the crops that attract the highest demand are plantain and cocoa. The farmers need support not only in the production but in expansion and enabling the farmers to meet the international market standards and forms of the crops when exported. There are infrastructure and technologies that are capital intensive and are beyond the reach of farmers, hence the need for the inclusion of the plantain farmers in the anchor borrowers’ programme.

The CARES project has been designed to be a kind of palliative programme. This programme will encourage farmers to return to the farm to guide against food shortages that might result from the adverse effects of COVID-19 pandemic in the nearest future.Therefore, Honourable Minister Sir, we crave for your kind gesture in the following ways:
(i) to recognize the Cocoa and Plantain Farmers Association of Nigeria as a body all over Nigeria.
(ii) making use of your good offices to ensure the inclusion of Plantain and Cocoa Farmers Association in the anchor borrowers’ programme;
(iii) ensuring that plantain and cocoa farmers are included among the beneficiaries of CARES Project and other ongoing palliative programmes;
(iv) render capacity-building support to plantain farmers be able to meet the international market standard in terms of post-harvest handling and packaging of plantain; and
(v) making sure that Cocoa and Plantain Farmers Association of Nigeria is not left out of all future interventions of the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The Minister his response thanked the visitors for their support for holding on to Cocoa Industry despite the neglect of the Government in the past due to the discovery of Crude Oil.

Alhaji Nanono charged the visitors to strengthen their association, be more proactive and enlighten their members. The Minister added that the Ministry will assist the association in various aspects including capacity development and confirmed that Cocoa and Plantain Farmers Association is recognized.

The Minister added that the delegates should structure their association to attract medium-term facilities for the development of Cocoa and production of palm oil, and in this regard, the Federal Government will come to assistance. Adding that the potential for export in the horticulture is very high and Nigeria has the resource base.

In his Conclusion, Alhaji Nanono promised to link the association with the Bank of Agriculture to see how the bank will be able to finance the association requests.
The Association Coordinator, Mr Ayodele thanked the Minister in anticipation of the favourable consideration of the requests and solicited for unflinching and perpetual support to the great network of farmers.

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.

FMARD Repositions Its Agencies and Research Institutes for Sustainable Food Production and Diversification.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has stated that the ministry will continue to strengthen its partnership with its agencies and agricultural research institutes in order to collectively deliver on its mandate.

He said the collaboration would help to further strengthen sectoral linkages and promote import-substitution, enterprise development, value-added processing and economic diversification. The Minister made this statement during the One-Day Retreat for Chief Executives and Chairmen of Boards of Agencies and Parastatals of the Ministry held at Chida Hotel, Jabi –Abuja on Thursday,19th November 2020. Alhaji Sabo Nanono informed that ‘’ In line with the Ministry’s signed deliverables with the Presidency, the priority area for food security entails engagement with state and non-state actors to facilitate programmes to farmers on mechanization, extension delivery, commodity production, storage facilities, agro-processing, grazing reserves, livestock transformation and fisheries’’. 

The Minister noted that ‘’ at the moment, the Ministry took a pragmatic approach of repositioning the agricultural research system, securing 20,000 to 100,000 hectares of land per State for agricultural use, and promoting agro and agro-allied cluster activities nationwide’’. He pointed out that ‘’ expectations are to deploy improved varieties, expand the cultivable land area and support agribusiness undertakings in the country’’. 

Nanono emphasized that  ‘’ towards having a mutual commitment to growing the sector, we must comply with the established protocols of channelling policies, views and requests from the Executive Managements through the Governing Boards of Parastatals to the Authorities of the Ministry’’. He reiterated that ‘’ for the Ministry’s representatives on the Boards of Parastatals, you are to update your principals on vital issues resolved at Board Meetings while relaying the Ministry’s position on such issues to respective Parastatals Board and Management’’. 

The Minister Observed that ‘’ the provisions of Administrative Guidelines and Procedures on the relationship between Ministries and Parastatals, are to enable us to ensure orderliness, responsibility, transparency and consensus in the conceptualization and implementation of policies, programmes and projects’’. He also said that ‘’ We all need to recommit ourselves to the development of the sector by aligning progress, fine-tuning strategies, de-risking options, streamlining interventions, pooling resources and implementing projects.

Failure, ladies and gentlemen, is not an option’’. He assured that ‘’the Ministry under my leadership is open to constructive interface and will support any concept, initiative and strategy that can guide, facilitate and fast-track the implementation of policies, programmes and projects in the agricultural sector. In his remarks, the Hon. Minister of State, Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri stated the need for consensus in the handling of the policy, sectoral and personnel matters in a manner that will resolve them amicably and forestall misrepresentation, misconception and poor guidance.   

Hon. Baba Shehuri expressed the need to strengthen our service delivery mechanism since much is expected from the sector to enhance the country’s capacity on food security, employment generation and wealth creation. According to him ‘’ only then will we be able to address the impact of the global health emergency and the high expectation of present administration on the Agriculture sector’’. 

In his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Abulkadir Mu’azu stated that ‘’ our responsibility is to align sectoral strategies with the goal of social inclusion, as well as economic diversification and livelihood expansion, and therewith, implement policies, programmes and projects for impactful development in the country’’. Dr Mu’azu noted that ‘’ our stakes, responsibilities and commitments are anchored on inclusiveness, transparency and accountability in the conceptualization of initiatives and interventions, through a strategic partnership with State Governments, Farmer Associations, Private Sector Organizations and Development Partners’’. 

The Chairman, House Committee on Agricultural Colleges, Institutions and Federal Universities of Agriculture, Hon Munir Danagundi in his goodwill message, stressed that there is need for performance chart for monitoring and evaluation of Agencies to ensure value money, accountability and transparency in the Agric sector towards achieving diversification policy of President Muhammadu Buhari. In his presentation titled ‘’ Strengthening the Relationship between Ministry and its Parastatals through Strategic Communication, the Director, Planning and Policy Coordination in the Ministry, Alhaji Zubairu Abdullahi stated that the outcome and the overall impacts of effective and efficient communication cannot be overemphasized as synergy among agencies is key to the attainment of the ministry’s mandate as well as the ministerial deliverables.  

Address by The Honourable Minister Of Agriculture & Rural Development, Alh. Mohammad Sabo Nanono

WELCOME ADDRESS by the Permanent Secetary

Leadership & Teamwork for Transformation MIN of Agric 2020 by Dr. Dan E. Aighewi

Strengthening The Relationship Between The Ministry and Its Parastatals Through Strategic Communication by Zubairu Abdullahi

Nanono Flags-Off Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness Week, Calls for Concerted Efforts to Curb Spread.

The Hon Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has called for concerted efforts by relevant agencies to promote good practices that limit the emergence and spread of resistant infections globally. He stated that the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week is aimed at increasing awareness about the problem and the “steps we all need to take to tackle it. We all have a role to play”.


The Minister disclosed this during the official flag-off of the 2020 World Antimicrobial Awareness week celebration in Nigeria in his office, Thursday, 19/11/2020. He explained that Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) occurs when disease causative agents such as bacteria become resistant to the actions of antimicrobials which hitherto were known to be susceptible.


Nanono noted that “Antibiotics use in Agriculture has been found to be a major driver of AMR with consequences on human health, animal health, plant health and food safety. Livestock farmers use antibiotics as growth promoters and egg boosters, especially in places where regulation is poor and antibiotics can be purchased without a prescription. Also, as humans, we are always self-medicating with inappropriate amounts of antibiotics to try to get well”.


He pointed out that, “As a government and policy-maker, we would take the lead in getting the right policy in place, to ensure that antibiotics are not misused and overused”.
The Minister appealed to Nigerian farmers not to use antibiotics to promote growth in animals. “To our Farmers, don’t use antibiotics to promote growth in animals. Antibiotics should only be used when prescribed by a Veterinary professional, for the duration indicated and withdrawal period must be observed. Vaccinations, biosecurity measures and good animal husbandry practices will reduce infections and use of antibiotics in livestock”.

He also urged the veterinary professionals to “ use antimicrobials responsibly and prudently especially in food-producing animals. Antibiotics should only be prescribed if they are really needed to treat infections in animals”.
Also to the pharmaceutical companies, the Minister advised that “there is need to be responsible and accountable in the marketing, supply and distribution of antimicrobials.


To the general public, Nanono counselled on the need for personal hygiene. According to him, “let us wash our hands regularly and thoroughly to stop germs from spreading. Don’t pressurize your doctor to prescribe antibiotics if they’re not needed. And if you really do need them, make sure to always follow your doctor’s advice on the right course of treatment”.

The Minister expressed the need for urgency in tackling the spread, stating, “We can no longer ignore the urgency and gravity of this issue. If we don’t tackle this urgently, decades of advances in health and medicine are at risk of being undone”.


He further said “Resistance to antibiotics and other antimicrobial drugs is one of the most significant threats to global health, food security, and global development in general. Antimicrobial resistance occurs naturally, but misuse of antimicrobials in humans and animals is accelerating the process. Globally, we are running out of effective antibiotics.
In his remarks, the representative of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Country Representative to Nigeria, Mr David Fehintola said that “the antimicrobial resistance is happening here and now and it is affecting us all. He said for many years, antimicrobial medicines have been overused and misused, FAO and WHO reports indicate that around the world, people, plants and animals are dying from infections that cannot be treated even with our strongest antimicrobial treatments”.


David further stated that FAO and WHO estimate that currently, at least 700 000 people die globally every year due to drug-resistant diseases, within the next ten years, antimicrobial use for livestock alone is projected to nearly double to keep pace with the demands of our growing human population.
In her presentation, the representative of the NCDC Dr Tochi Okwor stated that the emergence and spread of drug-resistant pathogens continue to threaten our ability to treat common infections, in recent times medicines used to treat many types of infections and diseases are no longer effective because of antimicrobial resistance. He said that Nigeria has achieved significant milestones in improving AMR governance, surveillance and increasing awareness on the threats in the last four years.


Earlier on his address the Director, Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Department, Dr Olaniran Alabi appreciated the Honorable Minister, FAO and the WHO for their kind support and gesture for making it a reality and hope we will learn from antimicrobial use and run with it, to create awareness on its right use in order to make our food safe for consumption, our environment better and improve our public health system.


The World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) is an annual event held every November since 2015. The week was instituted by the tripartite organizations – World Health Organization (WHO), World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

SPEECH OF THE HON. MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT AT THE FLAG-OFF OF THE 2020 WORLD ANTIMICROBIAL AWARENESS WEEK (WAAW)

Protocol

I am delighted to be here with you to Flag-off this year’s World Antimicrobial Awareness Week celebration in Nigeria.

The World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) is an annual event held every November since 2015. The main aim of the week is to raise awareness on the health threats posed by Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) as well as to promote good practices that limits the emergence and spread of resistant infections globally.

The week was instituted by the tripartite organizations – World Health Organization (WHO), World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

In Nigeria, the WAAW celebration started in 2017 with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Nigeria Center for Disease Control championing the celebration under the One Health platform. The week is usually being marked with awareness creation and sensitization activities such as symposium, road shows, media engagements, school debates while at the same time targeting various stakeholders that are critical to the tackling of the AMR scourge in the country.

Antimicrobial Resistance occurs when disease causative agents such as bacteria become resistant to the actions of antimicrobials which hitherto they were known to be susceptible.

Resistance to antibiotics and other antimicrobial drugs is one of the most significant threats to global health, food security, and global development in general. Antimicrobial resistance occurs naturally, but misuse of antimicrobials in humans and animals is accelerating the process. Globally, we are running out of effective antibiotics. We can no longer ignore the urgency and gravity of this issue. If we don’t tackle this urgently, decades of advances in health and medicine are at risk of being undone.

Antibiotics use in Agriculture has been found to be a major driver of AMR with consequences on human health, animal health, plant health and food safety. Livestock farmers use antibiotics as growth promoters and egg boosters, especially in places where regulation is poor and antibiotics can be purchased without a prescription. Also, humans we are always self-medicating with inappropriate amounts of antibiotics to try to get well.

The World Antimicrobial Awareness Week aims to increase awareness about the problem and the steps we all need to take to tackle it.

We all have a role to play!

AMR is a One Health Issue –that must be tackled at the human – animal – environment interface. Today, I call on all of us to join this campaign to stop the overuse and misuse of antibiotics

As a government and policy-maker, we would take the leadership in getting the right policy in place, to ensure that antibiotics are not misused and overused.

It is also very important to emphasize that the veterinary professionals should use antimicrobials responsibly and prudently especially in food producing animals. Antibiotics should only be prescribed if they are really needed to treat infections in animals

To our Farmers, don’t use antibiotics to promote growth in animals. Antibiotics should only be used when prescribed by a Veterinary professional, for the duration indicated and withdrawal period must be observed. Vaccinations, biosecurity measures and good animal husbandry practices will reduce infections and use of antibiotics in livestock

For the pharmaceutical companies, there is need to be responsible and accountable in the marketing, supply and distribution of antimicrobials.

And finally, for the general public, let us wash our hands regularly and thoroughly to stop germs from spreading. Don’t pressurize your doctor to prescribe antibiotics if they’re not needed. And if you really do need them, make sure to always follow your doctor’s advice on the right course of treatment.

In conclusion, antimicrobial resistance is one of the issues on which we will be judged by future generations. Our actions now will shape animal and public health for decades to come.

And on this note, I wish to formally launch the 2020 WAAW celebration in Nigeria. I will unveil a billboard displaying messages on what we need to know about AMR and what we can do to prevent it. Kindly endeavor to take home the messages and share with your loved ones.

Thank you

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’’

EndSARS PROTEST: FG Reiterates Commitment to Ensure Peace in the Country, Commends Conduct of Borno Youths

The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri has commended the peaceful conduct of Borno youths during the EndSARS protest and reiterated the federal government’s commitment towards addressing all their grievances.

He appealed to all Nigerians, particularly the youths, to embrace peace and stop the looting of warehouses across the country while addressing youth leaders and stakeholders in home state, Borno.Speaking during the Presidential Stakeholders meeting held at the Government Hall in Maiduguri, Borno State, the Minister, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri stated that “Mr. President in his nationwide broadcast emphasized that the youth were heard loud and clear with a pledge that the 5 – point agenda they raised, would be addressed accordingly”.Shehuri stated that the present administration is working hard through many pragmatic ways to mitigate the hardship faced by the citizens in the wake of the global COVID -19 Pandemic which has altered the dynamics of global governance, Nigeria inclusive.

The Minister informed that the ” the idea of this Presidental engagement of Stakeholders and youths is initiated by Mr President to provide the needed platform where aggrieved parties, youths, community leaders, religious leaders, professional and political leadership are expected to rub minds and develop a pragmatic approach that will rekindle hope and aspirations of our people and to help bring about lasting peace, security and development “.He stated that ” this platform provides an opportunity to solicit for more support of the political, traditional, religious, youth and women leaders in the State against the wanton destruction of lives and properties resulting from EndSARS protest”.He emphasized that ” peaceful demonstration is a constitutional right of every citizen but infringing on other people’s rights, looting, killing of innocent souls and other criminal acts that will breach public peace and national stability is not acceptable”.

The Minister pointed out that the projects executed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development include: ” the provision of 3 solar-powered boreholes in Maiduguri, Bama, and Jere, provision of 1 motorized borehole in katsina road, Maiduguri and provision and installation of 15 units of 60 watts all in one solar street light in potiskum road, Maiduguri among others.

He stated that ” our march to the attainment of sustainable food security, employment, revenue generation, production and supply of raw materials to Agro-industries, promotion of market accessibility and competitiveness for foreign exchange earning and Rural socio-economic development is fully guaranteed through various agricultural programs and projects put in place by this administration “.He added that improvements are aggressively being pursued in areas of Agricultural Mechanization, Agricultural research, extension services, land development amongst others. Shehuri noted that the “ Federal Government policy of closing the borders has resulted in a phenomenal increase in local rice production and value increase, curtail smuggling activities injurious to our economy and boost our internally Generated Revenue “.

The Minister said that ” Mr. President has specially commended the decorum exhibited by the youth in Borno State during the recent widespread protest and further advised that they maintain that peaceful conduct, brotherhood, and communal harmony so that the State can spring back to its historic amiable position as the center of peace in the country “He solicited for continuous support, cooperation and understanding of the Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, traditional, Youth and religious leaders in achieving the national goal of a prosperous stable and peaceful Nigeria. In his remarks, the Executive Governor of Borno State, His Excellency, Prof. Babagana Zulum appreciated the restraint shown by the youths for not participating in the protest which he said is not unconnected to the efforts of all stakeholders in Borno.

Governor Zulum stated that his administration had initiated viable projects to transform the state, adding that he remains focused on reconstruction, rehabilitation, and resettlement of persons affected by the insurgency. Earlier in his goodwill message, the Shehu of Borno, Abubakar Umar-Garba Ibn El-Kanemi, commended the youths for not participating in the protest and described the parley as timely. He also lamented the backward trend in the state in terms of western education and revenue generation, he urged parents to enroll their wards in school.El-Kanemi urged the Federal Government to resume oil exploration in the Lake Chad Region, which was abandoned due to the insurgency.

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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