Ogbeh Receives Course Participants of the Institute of Security in Abuja

The Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh on Tuesday received course participants representing security agencies and practitioners from within and outside Nigeria, and members of faculty, who paid him a courtesy visit in his office in Abuja.

The delegation, led by the Institute’s Deputy Director of Studies, Dr. Abdulwahab Wale was made up of participants enrolled in this year’s course, with the theme: “Transhumance and International Migration, Challenges to Peace, Governance and Development in sub-Saharan Africa”.

Speaking on the purpose of the visit, Dr. Abdulwahab Wale said it was to acquaint the Honourable Minister with the programmes and activities of the institute as they relate to creating a peaceful and enabling environment for the current agricultural development programme of the Federal Government of Nigeria to thrive.

“The Institute of Security Studies has continued to provide professional resources and tools to help security agencies and practitioners expand their knowledge and skills and have introduced courses to bring security agencies together to rub minds, share ideas, and be better skill-equipped in modern ways of tackling insecurity. We have also added a new module on Agro terrorism to build security skills around the present challenges being faced in the Agricultural sector”, Dr. Wale told the minister.

Welcoming the delegation, the Honourable Minister stated: “The intellectual analysis of the security problems confronting the nation is very important; and security studies is absolutely vital if we are going to get anywhere in this country. The work you are doing is extremely important for the country, especially your focus on transhumance and international migration. The transhumance problem is one that will require joint action from ECOWAS and Nigeria is eager to engage in the sub-regional conversation on the subject to find a lasting solution to the current security challenges”.

The minister thanked the delegation for the visit and expressed the readiness of the ministry to collaborate with the institute in relevant areas of capacity building for agro-investment security.

RURAL PROJECTS: Bayelsa Communities Agog as Agric Ministry Commissions Projects

Rural communities in Bayelsa were excited as the Hon. Minister of State,  Dr. Heineken Lokpobiri, inspected an on-going road project and commissioned Solar Powered Boreholes and Street Light in Toru-Ebeni, Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.


This is to improve the wellbeing of the people in that community. The facilities are ready for use and the road will be opened within the next two weeks.

More so, the Minister was in Akeddei, Okunbiri, Agbere and Odoni, all in Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa State to commission Solar Powered Boreholes and Street Light provided for the communities.


These projects were executed as part of the rural development projects of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.


During the Commissioning, the Minister reiterated the commitment of the current administration not to neglect any part of the country. He encouraged the people of the benefitting communities to protect and maintain those facilities so that they can enjoy it for long.


The paramount rulers together with numerous residents of the communities expressed gratitude to the Federal Government for not forgetting them in the creek and promised to keep such an administration that brings them welfare in office so that they can consolidate on what they have started.

IN KADUNA: Minister Ogbeh Commissions 30MT/Day GB Tomato Processing Plant

Hon. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh on February 4th, 2019 commissioned a 30 Metric Tonnes per day processing facility, an investment worth over N2billion established by GB Foods in Kaduna state.


The pilot tomato farm which sits on a 30 hectares space is growing over 15 varieties of tomatoes with an expected average yield of 40-50MT/ per hectare.


Speaking during the event, Honourable Minister, Audu Ogbeh who was in the accompany of the Central Bank Governor, said the Federal Government is committed to encouraging local production and processing of tomato and would place a ban on the importation of tomato paste to encourage massive local production.


He added that Nigeria is targeting the next two years to attain self-sufficiency in Tomato production.

USDA partially admits wrong data on Nigeria’s rice imports | Business Day

The United States Department of Agriculture, USDA has partially adjusted its data on Nigeria’s rice imports, which was found to be flawed in a fact check published by Business Day in November, 2018.


The USDA in its December 2018 report titled “Grains: World Markets and Trade”, had to make elaborate explanations on Nigeria’s rice production and importation even though it failed to respond to questions about its methodology and data sources.


Caleb Ojewale of Business Day writes that the adjusted data which now acknowledge increasing rice production in Nigeria, are however still flawed.

Read the full story on the attached image.

Minister Ogbeh visits Nigerian Air Force, encourages their participation in agriculture

The Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development – Chief Audu Ogbeh was on February 1st, 2019 received at the Nigerian Airforce Headquarters in Abuja on a courtesy visit.


The Chief of Air staff – Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar and Senior Officers of the Force were on hand to receive the Minister and his entourage comprising of Directors in the Ministry of Agriculture and Senior Technical Advisers.


Speaking, the Minister said the purpose of the visit was to first, say “Thank you” to the Air force for their efforts in securing the lives of Nigerians especially in the face of the Boko Haram insurgency and to acquaint the officers and men with the opportunities in the Agribusiness sector.


“I thank your officers and men for the work you do. I also want to use this opportunity to let you know that we are giving agriculture a serious attention and to acquaint you with the opportunities in the sector which your officers and men can gainfully engage in to improve their livelihoods especially in retirement”. The Minister then highlighted some of the Agricultural programmes of the present administration designed to diversify the economy and create wealth for Nigerians.


Responding, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar said “We are extremely delighted and profoundly honoured by your visit today. Thank you for all the efforts you have made in the Agricultural sector which has greatly added value. We at the air force have continued to improve on our operations to secure the lives and property of our citizens. We are commited to protecting our farmers who are producing the food we eat so they can work on the farms peacefully and go home to rest. That’s why we have created formations in troubled location to restore peace in places where we have had the herdsmen/farmers crisis”.


On agriculture, he continued “we have identified efforts to involve our officers. We have the Barrack Youths Employment in Agriculture, they are into fishery and various crop productions which have improved income generation for their families. So, we are keying into Agriculture and we want to do more. We want to inculcate in the minds of our youths that agriculture is very important”.


The Minister was accompanied on the visit by the Director, Agribusiness, Processing and Marketing – Alhaji Azeez Musibau; Director of Rural Development – Engr. Daniel Udo; Senior Technical Adviser on Investment Promotions & Agribusiness – Mr. Irede Ajala; Consultant/Technical Adviser on the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprise, LIFE programme – Ms. Keke Bongos and the Technical Adviser on Media – Mrs. Aishat Onusi.

RURAL DEVELOPMENT: Yobe Community Visits Minister, Appreciates FG for Landmark Projects

The Honourable Minister of State – Senator Heineken Lokpobiri has assured the people of the North East geo political zone of the country that the Federal Government is committed to the development of the region despite the insecurity challenges posed by the activities of the Boko Haram sect.
The minister stated that the development of the region is in line with the electoral promises of President Muhammadu Buhari to the people, which informed the citing of a number of agricultural development projects by his ministry in the region in the 2018 budget.
Lokpobiri made this disclosure when a delegation from the district head of Degubi, in the Nangere Local Government Area of Yobe State paid him a thank-you visit in his office in Abuja on January 28, 2019 to show appreciation for the execution of a number of development projects in the community by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
The minister used the occasion to appeal to the people to ensure that they vote President Buhari and the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) in the coming elections to guarantee more projects to the region.
He urged the people to ensure that they guard the projects safely to avoid theft and vandalization.
Said Lokpobiri, “The President is committed to developing the Northeast. These projects are done at the directive of Mr President.


“Irrespective of the difficulties of the terrain or security challenges, development must extend to all parts, he said.


Continuing, the Minister said, “But the important thing you can do for yourselves and to encourage the government is to be able to take care of the projects because they are done for the benefit of the community. I am saying this because people destroy project meant for their development.


According to the minister, “If these projects are sited for your development it is important that you can also see how you can manage them by setting up a committee to manage them.


Lokpobiri regretted that Yobe State is the least in the northeast states in terms of the number of projects the Federal Government and his ministry is embarking on in the region but assured the people that in the next budget, this shortcoming would be addressed.


In a letter of appreciation signed by the district head of Degubi, Alhahi Mohammed Sambo and General Secretary, Danjuma Baba, but delivered by the leader of the delegation Mallam Bah Abubakar, the community said, “The Degubi community of Nangere Local Government, Yobe State wishes to express its profound appreciation to the Honourable Ministe for the honour done to us through the provision of two number (2) solar boreholes and 15 numbers solar street lights. The gesture has transformed the community, thus lessening the hardship in assessing drinking water.”
The letter added, “Like Oliver Twist, we cannot but ask for more of the solar lights as well as a feeder road because its inhabitants find it difficult to reach the community more especially during the rainy season.” They assured minister of the unalloyed support and loyalty to the vision and mission of Federal Government as encapsulated in the people-oriented programme of the current administration.

TOMATO SUMMIT: Stakeholders in the sector converged in Kano

Stakeholders in the tomato industry on Januray 25th, 2019 gathered in Kano state at the 1st National Tomato Summit to discuss “Strengthening Opportunities in Tomato Value Chain towards a National Self Sufficiency”.


The summit organized by the Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG) and Grow Africa in collaboration with the Tomato Growers Association of Nigeria (TOGAN) had in attendance, Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh.


Speaking at the event, NABG Chairman, Mr. Emmanuel Iwejere, said the aim of the forum was to identify some challenges bedevilling production in the tomato value chain and proffer solutions towards the attainment of national self-sufficiency.


Country Director, TechnoServe, Larry Umunung, said the summit was timely in view of the loses recorded in tomato production in Nigeria. According to him, Nigeria loses about 45% of tomatoes produced annually, noting that, “this summit will help in sensitising stakeholders to device means of achieving effective and profitable production.”


Honourable Minister, Audu Ogbeh pledged Federal Government’s support in the provision of solar-powered cold rooms in Kano state for tomato preservation.


Key issues examined by the summit included tomato value chain development and post-harvest processing, mobilizing more private investment to increase production, improving quality and standards, building of storage infrastructure and encouraging best practices in preservation to minimize post harvest losses.

FOOD SAFETY: Rally against indiscriminate use of chemicals on food & illegal importation of staple foods

A sensitization rally against illegal importation of staple foods and indiscriminate use of chemicals on food was held in Abuja on January 18, 2019.


The sensitization rally organised by the Federal Department of Extension Services in Collaboration with the women wing of the National Association of Nigerian Traders, was enroute Utako Market, Wuse Market, Eagle Square and terminated at the Headquarters of FMARD and where they were received by Honourable Minister of State, Dr. Heineken Lokpobiri and Management.


The aim of the rally was to create awareness and sensitize people on the effects of illegal importation of food on our economy and on investments of Agricultural value chain actors especially farmers. The rally also aimed at creating awareness about the dangers of improper use of chemicals on food, such as serious implications on the human health.


The sensitization exercise was in fulfillment of one of the ministry’s mandate – to educate value chain actors agains such harmful practices.


Stakeholders that participated in the rally included the Nigerian Customs Service; certification agencies including the SON and NAFDAC to talk about standards and security agencies (Police, DSS, Civil Defence and Road Safety Corps) to maintain law and order.

FG, IFAD Pledge Partnership for Food Security

The Federal Government of Nigeria and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have agreed to work more closely to ensure food sufficiency in the country by funding and supporting the nation’s rural farmers.


Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri and IFAD’S regional Director for the West and Central African region, Mr. Lisandro Martin made this joint commitment when the Director paid Lokpobiri a visit in the minister’s office in Abuja on Tuesday.


While describing the value being added to the nation’s agricultural sector by IFAD as very significant, the minister pledged that the Nigerian Government would give priority to its partnership with the fund and would also do whatever that is needed to be done for the partnership to flourish.


“As a government, what we have decided to do is to say we will give priority to our partnership, whatever that is needed to be done on the part of the government, we would endeavour to do,” the minister assured.


Lokpobiri disclosed to the visiting director that besides feeding its rapidly growing people, Nigeria ensures that all the value chain support by IFAD also trickles down to our West African neighbours, noting that if Nigeria is unable to support the West African region, and in fact Africa the consequences would be very catastrophic.


According to him, “Whatever we do here essentially feeds the whole of West Africa. The seeds that we produce here essentially service the whole of West Africa, the grains that we produce here services the whole of West Africa. Whatever happens here affects the whole of West Africa. So, whatever support that you are giving to Nigeria is essentially the support given to the whole of West Africa.


The minister further disclosed that with the support of IFAD, the Federal Government has not only been able to increase food sufficiency and create jobs for the teaming youths, but has as well made many millionaires from the farmers.


“What we are doing as a government is to encourage young men, instead of looking for government job where they will be paid peanuts, should go into Agribusiness, not only to plant but in the entire value chain. These are the things we can achieve with the active support of IFAD,” Lokpobiri said.


Continuing, the minister stated that, “So many millionaires have been made from this partnership and we intend to create more and more millionaires so that this issue of unemployment that is a fundamental problem to Nigeria would be tackled.”


Lokpobiri said the Federal Government would be approaching the fund from time to time to seek for more financial support to enhance agricultural yield in the country and urged IFAD not to be tired of coming to the aid of the Nigerian Government each time such requests are made. IFAD’s total financial support to the nation’s farmers is currently about $500 million.


“The value that is being added by our partnership is so significant that from time to time, you will be getting additional demands from us for more financing,” the minister said, pledging that, “I want to assure you that for whatever support we get the story will be always a success story so that our people will continue to get value for what this partnership is about.”


Responding, the visiting Director who came in company of the country representative of IFAD to Nigeria, Nadine Gbossa, informed his host that IFAD was already strategizing on how to expand its Nigerian office, not only in terms of increasing their support but also increasing their ability to provide more technical guidance and to the implementation of its projects in the country.


“We are working with our team to bring additional staff to Nigeria because this is clearly a country that is almost like a continent where we realise that the capacity we have at the moment is not sufficient,” Martin said.


Reacting to the request by the minister for additional funding, the director disclosed that one of the key elements of the fund’s formula is that the resources a country gets is linked to further disbursement, noting that, “So, the faster you use the money, the more money you get, which is a common sense principle.”


George Oji

SA, Media to the Hon. Minister of State

Lokpobiri Lauds IFAD over Huge Agricultural Investment in Nigeria

Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri has commended the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) for supporting the nation’s agricultural value chain development programme with the sum of $500 million.


Speaking when he received Ms Ndine Gbossa, the new country representative of the fund in his office in Abuja Thursday, Lokpobiri assured Gbossa that the Federal Government takes the partnership with IFAD very seriously because the fund has played critical role in making Nigeria the highest producer of rice and cassava in Africa.


Lokpobiri said, “We take our partnership with IFAD very seriously and we appreciate the investments and the support that we are getting from you. Today, Nigeria is rated as the highest producer of rice and cassava in Africa, courtesy of IFAD intervention and the Anchor Borrowers Programme and Nigerians answering the clarion call of this administration to go back to the farms to produce what we eat and eat what we produce.”


Recounting the success story of the current administration in the area of agriculture, the minister disclosed that an average Nigerian farmer is now a millionaire, noting that in those days, people used to send money from the townships to their relatives in the rural areas, but right now, it is those in the villages that are sending money to their relatives in the townships.


Lokpobiri said if more people get to see the results the Federal Government and her partners like IFAD are making in investments, they will be encouraged to go back to the rural areas instead of being in the townships constituting nuisance, committing crimes, going into drugs.


The minister disclosed that Nigeria used to spend a whooping sum of $5 million for the importation of rice every day, but that through new policy programmes by his ministry and the intervention of partners like IFAD the figure has drastically reduced.


Lokpobiri regretted that Federal Government efforts to reduce the importation of foreign rice into the country is being frustrated by the activities of our neighbouring Benin Republic through the abuse of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocol.


“The challenge we have with our neighbours is that because of the extant ECOWAS protocol, people will dump their rice products in their region and re-bag them and bring them into Nigeria. The reason is that under the ECOWAS protocol, any goods produced within the sub region can have free access to any market within the region.

“Based on that, those from Thailand would go to Benin Republic with their par b oiled rice and then re-bag them as though they were produce in Benin Republic and then smuggled them into Nigeria thereby denying the people of Benin the opportunity to grow rice and then benefit from the Nigerian market. Because of that, we have engaged the government of Benin Republic, up to the presidential level.


“The President had to invite the President of Benin Republic to engage him because we are neighbours; let’s see how we can work together and curb this issue of smuggling.”


The IFAD representatives in her remarks disclosed that the Executive Board of the fund recently approved additional financing for Nigeria in the Value Chain Development programme to the value of $89 million, which brought the total investment in this programme to $228 million, for supporting rice and cassava production. This, she stated was in addition to another $60 million for supporting the Niger Delta Youth known as the Alive for Niger Delta fund.


She stated that Nigeria remains a very important partner of IFAD and has also attracted the highest investment in Africa, noting that, “Altogether, we have investment in Nigeria that is worth half a billion dollars. Nigeria is one of the biggest investment countries for IFAD, so it is a very important country.”


Gbasso further disclosed that IFAD has set aside another $100 million for investment in Nigeria for 2019 but is applying caution to know the outcome of the coming election before putting pen on  paper for the fund.


George Oji

S.A. Media to the Minister of State