COVID-19: Joint Technical Task Team Lauds Compliance to Presidential Directive on Free Movements on Agricultural Inputs

The Chairman, Joint Technical Task Team on Emergency
Response on the ease of movement of livestock, food stuff and agricultural
inputs, Inspector AIG Austin Agbonlahor have lauded the compliance by security
personnel to the directive issued by President Muhammadu Buhari during his
nationwide broadcast. The directive is further facilitated by the task team to
ensure strict compliance to avoid food scarcity across the nation.

Agbonlahor and other members of the Task Team accompanied by
the media visited some major Checkpoints along the Abuja – Kaduna and Abuja –
Keffi dual carriage ways in the North- Central Geopolitical Zone stopping at
Tarfa in Kaduna, Sabon Wuse in Niger and Keffi, Nasarrwa for on-the-spot
compliance assessment.

The AIG, while commending the officers on duty, admonished them to ensure proper screening of the vehicles conveying the agricultural products and reminded them that the directive does not give room for movement of persons, illegal arms and ammunition and illicit drugs.

He informed that similar security set up is replicated
across the 36 states of the federation with the primary objective
of facilitating free and unhindered movement of food, livestock and
agricultural inputs as well as farmer’s movement across the nation during the
lockdown and 2020 farming season to avoid food crises while also assuring that
the exercise is a continuous one.

COVID-19: FG Inaugurates Joint Task Team as Emergency Need Arises to Ease Movement of Food and Agricultural Inputs Across the Nation.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural
Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has inaugurated the joint technical
task team on emergency response to COVID-19. The Joint task team is to
facilitate the free and unhindered movement of food, livestock and agricultural
inputs and farmer’s movement across the nation during the lockdown and 2020
farming season to avoid food crises.

Speaking during the inauguration in
Abuja today, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono, charged the committee ‘’to facilitate
the free movement of food, livestock and agricultural inputs nationwide to
avoid food shortages and ensure minimal impact of COVID -19 on this year’s
farming season’’.

Nanono pointed out that ‘’numerous
reports have been received by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural
Development on the problem faced by transporters of food, livestock and
agricultural inputs in different parts of the country’’ as a result of the
unavoidable enforcement of restriction orders.

This he said have resulted in food
scarcity and negatively affected the nation’s agricultural production.

The Minister stated that an emergency
meeting with the Ministers of Defence, Interior and Police Affairs deliberated
and articulated a common agenda towards ensuring the minimal impact of COVID-19
on this year’s farming season in line with the directives of Mr. President and
has prompted the Joint Task Technical Team inaugurated today.

Responding on behalf of the Joint
Technical Task Team, the Committee Chairman, Assistant Inspector General of
Police, (Operations), Austin Agbonlahor, pledged the committee’s commitment to
the tasks ahead and promised to deliver on its mandate.

The Joint Technical Task Team is made
up of the following members; AIG Austin Agbonlahor, AIG P(Operations) –
Chairman, ACG Bunu Modu, Nigeria Security & Civil Defense Crops – Member,
Umar Farouk Mudi, National President, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN)
– Member, Representative, Nigeria Army – Member, Mr. Chris Isizuzo, National
Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists(NUJ), Ibikunle Tajudeen Barruwa,
National President, NURTW – Member and Zubariu Abdullahi, Director, Planning
and Policy Coordination, FMARD – Secretary and it’s Terms of Reference are as
follows:

• to work with relevant agencies in
the States and Local Government Areas to develop a window that will facilitate the
free and unhindered movement of food, livestock and Agricultural inputs without
compromising the security and health of the nation.

• to issue out clear instruction to
all the security personnel in the three internal security outfits of police,
civil defence and the army on the need to allow the free and unhindered
movement of foodstuff, livestock and Agricultural inputs to all parts of
Nigeria.

• to work with the National Union of
Roads Transport Workers (NURTW), to adequately educate its members in ensuring
that vehicles conveying foodstuff, livestock and Agricultural inputs (excluding
passengers) are allowed to pass and

• to ensure that adequate information
clarifying the controlled movement of foodstuff, livestock and Agricultural
inputs is disseminated by the media to food transporters and security
personnel.

COVI9-19 and the Food Supply Chains Inter-Ministerial Policy Response Meeting.

The meeting, which has in attendance, the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alh. Muhammad Sabo Nanono, the Minister of Defence, Major Gen. Bashir Salihi Magashi (RTD), Minister of Police Affairs, Alh. Mohammed Maigari Dingyadi and Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.

In his speech, Alh. Sabo Nanono disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is working closely with the relevant government organisations to ensure appropriate food policy responses, which include:

I. Ensuring that transportation of food and agricultural inputs are unhindered by the restriction of movements to ensure that supply chains are kept open and functional.

II. Incorporating Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS) to eliminate or reduce the risk of food surfaces and food packaging materials becoming contaminated.

III. Supporting the most vulnerable population by releasing assorted food via safety net interventions to complement food distributions in specific areas of vulnerability.

The interactive meeting involving key government institutions which are the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Police Affairs is expected to discuss issues, challenges and innovative solutions that would permit easy access for the food supply chain in the country in line with broader government’s objective of ensuring a healthy and food secured nation in the face of COVID-19 Pandemic.

COVID-19 Food Palliatives to Nigerians On Course as Agric Ministry Partners NEMA for Delivery.

Following the directive by President Muhammadu Buhari for the release of 70,000 Metric Tonnes of assorted food commodities as palliatives to vulnerable Nigerians to help cushion the effect of the lockdown on the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry has continued to collaborate with officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to ensure the seamless lifting exercise of the grains from the designated 6 Silos for delivery to Nigerians.

Breakdown of the 70, 000 MT of the assorted food grains includes Minna with a total of 12, 500 MT; 10,000MT of Maize and 2,500 MT of Garri. Lafia, Nasarawa State has a total of 6, 500 MT; 5,000MT of Millet and 1,500MT of Garri.
At Dustin-Ma, Kastina State, a total of 15,000MT; 9,000 MT of Maize and 6,000 MT of Sorghum. In Yola, Adamawa State, a total of 16,500 MT;12,500 MT of Maize and 4,000MT of Sorghum. Gusau in Zamfara State has a total of 18,500 MT; 3,500 MT of Maize and 15,000 MT of Sorghum. While Ilesha, Osun State has a total of 1,000 MT of Garri.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono had last week in company with his Humanitarian Affairs counterpart, Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq, visited the Minna Silo complex in Niger State to inspect and officially performed the handing over and taking over of the food commodities.

At the event, Nanono said, it was in compliance with Mr President’s directive to cushion the effect of the lockdown as a result of the COVID -19 pandemic and assured Nigerians that the food items were of high quality.

The Minister at the event also reiterated, “The logistics for the delivery of the items to vulnerable Nigerians was purely NEMA affairs, ours is to hand over to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs”.

The Silos have continued to be a beehive of activities, following the bagging and lifting of the grains into waiting trucks. The trucks are being escorted from the Silos by armed security personnel and NEMA officials for onward delivery to destinations.

The Ministry will continue to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to ensure food availability and security as Nigeria joins in the global efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trucks conveying food items leaving the Gusau and Lafia Strategic Grains Reserve under supervision of NEMA official and Security escorts.

COVID-19 NIGERIA: FG Fulfils Its Promise as Agric Minister Releases Assorted Food Items for Disaster Management.

To mark the commencement of the release of the Presidential 70,000 Metric Tons of assorted grains palliative response to vulnerable Nigerians,  the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono handed over 12,500 Metric Tons of food ration to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development,  Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq from the Minna Silo in Niger State, being part of the National Strategic Food Reserve.

The Minister, today, handed over 2,500 Metric Tons of Garri
which is already been evacuated by the National Emergency Management Agency
(NEMA) for distribution to vulnerable Nigerians in the three frontline states
being Lagos, Ogun and Federal Capital Territory.

The Ministry is also releasing simultaneously the rest of
the assorted food items as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari from its
silos in Gusau, Zamfara State, Dutsin Ma, Katsina State, Yola, Adamawa State,
Lafia, Nassarawa State and Ilesha, Osun State.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq,  promised that all measures will be put in place to ensure that the food items are received by the vulnerable population as directed by Mr President

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development , Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono handed over 12,500 Metric Tonnes of food ration to the Minister of Humanitarian affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq from the Minna Silo in Niger State.

COVID-19 NIGERIA: FG Articulates Logistic for Release of 70,000 Metric Tonnes of Grains.

COVID-19 NIGERIA: FG Articulates Logistic for Release of 70,000 Metric Tonnes of Grains.

Following the lockdown across some states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the resultant effect on the vulnerable population, President Muhammadu Buhari granted approval to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to release 70,000 Metric Tons of assorted food items from the National Strategic Food Reserve stock.

In compliance with the presidential directive, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has stated that of the 70,000 Metric tons, 5,000 Metric tons of Gari is readily available for immediate release while bagging of the food grains is on going for further urgent release through the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

According to the Minister, the food items are being released from the National Strategic Food Reserve Silo Complexes as detailed below
1. Minna Silo, Niger State – 10,000MTs of Maize and 2,500MTs of Gari

2. Lafia Silo, Nassarawa State- 5,000MTs of Millet and 1,500MTs of Gari.

3. Dustin-Ma Silo, Katsina State – 12,500MTs of Maize and 5,000MT of Sorghum.

4. Yola Silo, Adamawa State – 12,500MTs Maize and 5,000MTs of Sorghum

5. Gusau Silo, Zamfara State – 15,000MTs of Sorghum and

6. Ilesha Silo, Osun State – 1,000MTs of Gari.

The Minister promised that measures will be put in place by the Presidential Task Force to ensure that the food items get to the actual beneficiaries.

Nigeria Farmers to be Fully Involved in the Agric Mechanization Programme – Nanono

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has tasked the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) to Support the Federal Government in driving the Agriculture Mechanization Programme, stating that the Programme would ensure food and nutrition security, create jobs and boost the economy.
The Minister made this known while receiving a delegation of the newly elected Executive of the Association led by the National President, Alhaji Farouk Mudi in his office in Abuja, recently.
Nanono noted that the challenge of feeding the Nation’s growing population and creating a robust economy, food security and job creation would be a mirage without the Farmers being fully involved in the Mechanization of the Agricultural sector.
He observed the need for the association to be independent-minded and more focused. According to him, the association is a private organization, ‘’ it is entirely a Private Association and should be free from the influence of the Federal, State or Local Government Areas.’’
The Minister further said that in the recent past, ‘’those with little or no knowledge of farming or farmers, had hijacked the activities of the farmers for their selfish interest against the goals and objectives of the association’’.
He assured that the Federal Government will work with AFAN as major Stakeholders in the Agric sector.
The Minister also highlighted the three critical components of the Ministry’s policy thrust in which the desired transformation of the sector would become a reality to include; Mechanization, Research for Improved Seedlings and Effective Extension Services.
He appealed to AFAN to mobilize and sensitize the farmers, especially in the Local Government Areas to key into the Programme when it is implemented, adding that the Programme would be owned by the farmers.
Earlier in his address, the President of AFAN, Alhaji Farouk Mudi, appealed to the Minister to revisit and fine-tune the issue of the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GES), which he believes would boost farmers production, create jobs and increase internally generated revenue.
Mudi further said that ‘’ Agriculture should be seen as a business and not a cultural practice. It must be structured, developed and financed as a business for us to fully unlock its potentials’’.

FG. LAUNCHES NATIONAL FERTILIZER CONTROL ACT 2019

FG TARGETS INCREASED GDP FROM THE AGRIC SECTOR AS NANONO LAUNCHES NATIONAL FERTILIZER CONTROL ACT 2019  

The Federal Government has launched the National Fertilizer Quality Control Act 2019 as a vital component of the Agricultural Policy of the present Administration and the bid to repositioning of Nigeria economy from oil and gas to agribusiness. The Act will safeguard and protect the interest of the entire Fertilizer value chain players such as manufacturers, producers, blenders, importers, distributors and the end user farmers in Nigeria.    The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono stated this in his public presentation of the ACT today in Abuja. Alhaji Sabo Nanono stated that the Agric sector contributes about 21.2% of the Gross Domestic Product(GDP) as at 2018, 88% of Non- oil foreign exchange earnings, employs about 70% of the active labour and provides raw materials for the Agro-allied industrial sector.     Nanono noted that the Act would provide an enabling environment for Fertilizer enterprises to grow including the protection of investment in the Agric sector and assured that farmers will get value for every kobo spent on buying Fertilizer for their farms. According to him, “the Act therefore seeks to ensure that maximum benefits are derived from each kilogram of Fertilizer bought and used by the farmers in terms nutrients composition and levels “.   The Minister informed that ‘’the quick assent to the fertilizer Act by Mr. President goes to show the importance and commitment he attaches to the agricultural sector in general and his desire to help protect the investments of the Nigerian farmers, through the provision of this regulatory framework aimed at guaranteeing the supply and distribution of quality fertilizers and other farm inputs to farmers across the country at their doorsteps, at the right time, right place and right prices”.   He acknowledged the efforts of stakeholders including Nigeria Institute of Soil Science (NISS), International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Nigeria Agricultural Business Group (NABG), Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN), Nigeria Agro-Input Dealers Association (NAIDA) and other relevant stakeholders for their immeasurable support and inputs in ensuring the actualization of this age-long dream of establishing a fertilizer regulatory system for Nigeria. The Minister stated  that the Act is against activities such as: Operating or carrying on fertilizer business as a manufacturer, blender, importer or distributor  in Nigeria with an expired permit or certificate of registration;  Selling any fertilizer supplement that contains destructive ingredients or properties harmful to plant growth when used according to the accompanying instructions or in accordance with the instructions contained on the label of the package in which the fertilizer or the fertilizer supplement is contained; also, engaging in the  illegal sales, distribution, transportation of fertilizers, among others.   He further said that there is need to ensure that the country meets the required set standards in terms of quality by enforcing the following measures: Proper documentation and licensing of all the players in the fertilizer value chain from the manufacturers, producers, blenders, importers, distributors to the end user farmers to ensure traceability and accountability in the fertilizer delivery process, Deployment and re-training of more Fertilizer Quality Control Inspectors, among others.   In his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr.  Abdulkadir Mua’zu said that the legal and regulatory framework for Fertilizer Quality Control would enable Fertilizer Inspectors of Farm Inputs Support services Department (FISSD) of the Ministry undertake periodic quality control and assessment to fertilizer production plants, ports of discharge and market outlets to ensure compliance.    Dr Mua’zu pointed out that “this is important because the Federal Government has identified some violations in the sub-sector which includes plant nutrient deficiencies, adulteration, misbranding, underweight bagging, bagging quality, operating without certificate of registration and sometimes with expired certificate of registration”.    He thanked all the stakeholders present and who have contributed in one way or the other in ensuring the passage of the bill into an Act especially, members of the National Assembly Committees on Agriculture for championing and actualizing the long awaited Fertilizer Act, International Agencies such as IFDC, AGRA, NABG, who have been supporting and partnering with the Ministry to actualize the establishment of the Act.   In his goodwill message, Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Senator, Abdullahi Adamu noted that Nigerian farmers have suffered economic hardship based on the adulteration of fertilizer products overs the years and he also appreciated President Muhammad Buhari for passing of the bill into law in October, 2019.    

Organizing Committee of PASAE and NIAE Visit Agric Minister – Set to Host PASAE-NIAE 2020 International Conference in September.

The delegates and the Conference Organizing Committee (COC) of PASAE-NIAE 2020 International Conference led by the COC Chairman, Prof. Micheal Faborode, former Vice-Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife on Thursday 5th March, 2020 paid a visit to the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alh. Muhammad Sabo Nanono in Abuja.

The purpose of the visit was to brief the Minister on the up-coming joint conference of the Afro AgEng the Pan African Society for Agricultural Engineering (PASAE) and the Nigerian Institution of Agricultural Engineers (NIAE) focused on “Agro-industrialization of African Agriculture. This is in line with the African Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want”. They also intimated the honourable minister that both AfDB and AFREXIM Bank are sponsors with special sessions dedicated to SAPZ and AFCFTA.

President Kagame of Rwanda is expected to Chair the opening ceremony on 22nd September, of which the AfDB President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina will give the Conference Keynote. Six high-level Workshops and Master Classes to serve as Continuous Professional Development Opportunities for our Engineers will take The-Center Stage on Monday 21st September 2020.

The delegates pledged their readiness to support the laudable initiatives of the Ministry to boost farmers’ productivity and bring the youths back into farming.

In his address, the Minister welcomed the idea of the conference as being very apt, timely and well planned, pledging his personal support and that of the entire Ministry. He enumerated three imperatives on which the Ministry is focusing to lift Nigeria’s Agro Productivity, Agro Industrialization and Job Creation as:
1. Appropriate and Private Sector-led Mechanization, for which not less than 10,000 tractors will be acquired to support farming input centers in 732 LGAs and 138 agro-processing centers.
2. Provision of good viable seeds and cultivars, which requires research support
3. Effective extension service.

The Minister admonished the Institution of Agricultural Engineers to collaborate with Government to provide effective frameworks to make the new initiatives successful.

Prof. Faborode subsequently commended the Minister for his vision and forthrightness and assured that launching an NIAE Agricultural Engineering Transformation Roadmap will be one of the highlights of the conference Opening in September. That all hands of members of the NIAE are on deck to achieve Food Security and Agro-Industrial Nigeria. There is no doubt the upcoming conference will be a watershed for Agriculture in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.

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