FOOD SAFETY & QUALITY CONTROL: Hon. Minister Convenes Stakeholders Meeting in Abuja

Hon. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has convened a meeting with relevant agencies and stakeholders involved in food safety and Agric produce quality regulation to discuss the challenges of indiscriminate use of chemicals in agricultural produce preservation and storage.


Present at the meeting were the Beans Farmers and Marketers Association; the National Food Safety Committee; Consumer Protection Council, NAFDAC, SON, NOA and relevant FMARD agencies including the Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute – NSPRI; NAQS and development partners – FAO, WFP and UNIDO.


The purpose of the meeting was to review Nigeria’s National Food Safety Policy and to strengthen regulatory interventions in this regard.


“Our focus is on immediate action through high level public enlightenment on the dangers of inappropriate use of chemicals in food production, provision of safe storage materials and preservation methods in collaboration with relevant agencies and our development partners” – Chief Audu Ogbeh

Honourable Minister Holds Breakfast Meeting With Agricultural Donor Working Group

Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has held an interactive breakfast meeting with partners and donors in the Agricultural sector in Nigeria.


The meeting which was facilitated by the Projects Coordinating Unit, PCU of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, was held to review strategies to effectively utilize resources in development partner supported agricultural projects.


The interaction also provided an opportunity for the Minister to hear from the partners first-hand, some of the challenges they currently face and how to effectively address them to ensure optimal impact of their support in the sector.


Agricultural development partners in attendance include: the African Development Bank; European Union; Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Synergos; IFAD, IFPRI, UNDP, USAID, IITA, FAO etc.

FADAMA GUYS Programme: Revalidation Exercise Held Nationwide

As part of the pre-disbursement process in the FADAMA Graduate Unemployed Youth and Women Support – FADAMA GUYS programme, the project has held a re-validation exercise across the 23 participating states.


This is a verification and screening exercise designed to ensure that the candidates who would be supported are those that have undergone the relevant training and are still willing to become agri-preneurs.


The FADAMA Graduate Unemployed Youth and Women Support – FADAMA GUYS is an initiative of the FGN-World Bank FADAMA Additional Financing III, in line with its development objective and the Federal Government’s Agricultural Promotion Policy, the Green Alternative.


The FADAMA guys programme has trained 5,916 candidates, competitively selected in 23 states in collaboration with 60 training institutions across the country. These candidates have adopted simple and fundable agricultural enterprise modules in various agribusinesses ranging from poultry, fishery, small/large ruminant fattening, crop production, processing, extension services etc.


Primarily, the programme aims to introduce a pool of unemployed graduate youth and women to new agribusiness ideas thereby leveraging their energy, motivation, and innovation to strengthen the drive for the diversification of the economy and social change, and enhancing national food security.

Mechanization: NAMEL, TOOAN & TOHFAN Sign PPP Memorandum of Agreement

The Nigerian Agricultural Mechanization & Leasing Company (NAMEL) has signed a joint Memorandum of Agreement with the Tractor Owners & Operators Association of Nigeria (TOOAN) & the Tractors Owners & Hiring Facilities Association of Nigeria (TOHFAN) on a private sector-driven mechanization programme.


The key objectives of the NAMEL/ TOHFAN-TOOAN joint MoA is to effectively make mechanized services available, accessible and affordable to Nigerian farmers through a public private partnership; to increase yields per hectare and move closer to attaining national food security.


Speaking at the event, Hon. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh said: “The government cannot manage a tractor hiring business as effectively as a Public Private Partnership – PPP initiative such as the NAMEL and MSPs Partnership. We are giving NAMEL every support to ensure they succeed. And let me reiterate that until we sort out our food production problem, nothing will work”


CEO, Nigerian Agricultural Mechanization & Equipment Leasing Company, NAMEL – Dr. Ahmed Adekunle in his Address stated: “Through this partnership, we hope to not only deliver equipment to our farmers but to also build local capacity to operate, maintain and maximize their use. We remain committed to this and together we can change our mechanization narratives”


Also speaking, President, TOOAN, Engr. Bitrus Yakubu said: “With Nigeria’s increasing population/food demand, traditional farming methods are inadequate hence the need for innovation. The efforts of this administration to enhance mechanization service delivery to Nigerian farmers is commendable”.


“In 2003 when we started, we had only 9 tractors, today we have 552 tractors and we hope to increase the number through this PPP. We are happy to play a part in the revolution happening in the Nigerian Agricultural sector”, added Alhaji Danladi Garba, President of TOHFAN.

WAAW 2018: World Antibiotics Awareness Week Observed In Abuja

The Nigeria Center for Disease Control in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, FMARD and the Federal Ministry of Environment held activities to commemorate this year’s World Antibiotics Awareness Week.


As part of activities to mark the  Week, observed from 12th – 18th, November, 2018,  an Antimicrobial Resistance – AMR Awareness Walk was held in Abuja.


The objective of the Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness Walk was to sensitize the general public on the dangers of misusing Antibiotics in humans and animals, which often lead to drug-resistance in circulation among humans, animals and the environment.


The Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, FMARD in collaboration with relevant organizations in the sector also embarked on the “One- Health approach” sensitization and advocacy to some Vet Clinics in Abuja during World Antibiotics Awareness Week.


The aim of the “One-Health Approach” was to sensitize the general public on the dangers of misusing Antibiotics in humans and in animals. During the sensitization, personnel of the clinics were sensitized on the need for responsible and prudent use of antibiotics and also the need for them to educate their clients on preventive measures against unnecesary use of antibiotics in their animals.


The One-Health team was led on the advocacy by Dr. James Balami, a Deputy Director in the Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, FMARD.

Lokpobiri Declares Open The 7th Meeting of West African Task Force on Fisheries

Honourable Minister of state for Agriculture and Rural Development – Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri recently declared open, the 7th meeting of the West African Task Force (WATF) on fisheries governance of the Fisheries Committee of the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) in Abuja.


The 3-day meeting which had in attendance high level stakeholders in the fisheries sector from the West African and Central Gulf of Guinea region deliberated on and reviewed proposed strategies to combat illegal transhipment at sea, communication, fisheries transparency and anti corruption measures in the (FCWC) region.

“Stop Using Sniper To Preserve Beans” – Audu Ogbeh Appeals To Nigerian Traders


The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has expressed displeasure at the use of chemicals for food preservation and fruit ripening.


“Sniper is very dangerous; people also use carbide to ripen bananas and some other fruits; people do all kinds of things, and suddenly, people are developing different diseases, something is wrong”.


The Minister was reacting to the reported use of 2,2-dichlorovinyl dimethyl phosphate, otherwise marketed and known as sniper, to preserve beans by retailers. He appealed to foodstuff and fruit sellers and others Nigerians to adopt natural means of preservation.


The minister said that the ministry would collaborate with the National Orientation Agency to create more awareness on the need for citizens not to use chemicals for food preservation and fruit ripening.


“We appeal that they use natural means such as pepper to prevent weavils in beans instead of sniper. We are going to work with the National Orientation Agency and state ministries of agriculture to create awareness on the need for people to desist from these acts. We just have to keep educating people,” he said.


The National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has also warned citizens against eating and buying foodstuffs and fruits preserved or ripened with chemicals. NAFDAC also advised that sale of grains or beans suspected to be preserved with chemicals be reported to the agency.


The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has also advised consumers to extensively parboil beans before consumption. CPC’s Director-General, Mr Babatunde Irukera, gave the advice in a statement in Abuja, adding that consumers should make sufficient enquiries before buying beans.  “Thorough washing of food items before consumption or preparation for consumption is a generally accepted method of protecting and promoting safety. CPC has recently confirmed by credible information that retailers, mostly in the open market, are using a pesticide to preserve beans. The use of 2,2-dichlorovinyl dimethyl phosphate (DDVP compound), otherwise marketed and known as sniper to preserve beans, and more particularly to protect them against weevils, is dangerous,” he said.


*Additional information culled from NAN

Honourable Minister Ogbeh Distributes Farm Machineries To Farmers

The Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has distributed some farm machineries to farmers in Benue State.


The exercise which took place at Oja Village, Okpomaju in Otukpo Local Govt area recently, aims to ease farmers’ burden and gradually bring an end to farmers-herders clashes in the region.


Speaking during the exercise, the Minister said making the handy machinery available in a village like Oja is in line with the Ministry’s duty of taking life to the rural areas through agricultural mechanization; thereby boosting their economic potentials.

Agricultural machineries distributed include reapers, threshers and cattle feed mill machines, all locally fabricated in Nigeria.


The Honourable Minister was also honoured with a chieftaincy title by the Ocho’Otukpo, Chief John Eimonye. Chief Ogbeh was conferred with the title the “Ogleji ko’Otukpo” meaning “The great farmer of Otukpo”.

GROUNDNUT: FG Adopts Innovation To Reduce Drudgery In Post-harvest Processing

A motorized groundnut thresher is reducing drudgery for women farmers in rural Nigeria. Introduced in 2015 by the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, ICRISAT in collaboration with the Institute for Agricultural Research, IAR, over 50 threshers have been distributed to farmer groups and cooperatives.


Recently at the National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) fair, Hon. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, was impressed by its demonstration and ordered more units to benefit women in Cross River State.


Nigeria produces 7% and 29% of the world’s and Africa’s total groundnut production respectively. In West and Central Africa, groundnut is a key cash crop for smallholder farmers. While on-farm operations are primarily carried out by men, post-harvest operations are mostly done by women and children.


Shelling groundnut (for seeds, grains or both) is not only an expensive operation, it eats into a substantial chunk of women’s valuable time. READ MORE… ICRISAT…/

FG Launches National Gender Action Plan For Agriculture

The Federal Government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development – FMARD has launched the National Gender Action in Agriculture in Abuja.


The Action Plan is based on targets and commitments contained in FMARD’s policies: The Agricultural Promotion Policy (Green Alternative); the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprise – LIFE and the Food Security and Nutrition Strategy.


Generally, the focus of the Gender Action plan is to clarify the entry points and action required for maximizing the transformative contributions of as many women farmers as possible by focusing FMARD’s pragmatic work on improving gender equity and reducing the constraints to access and opportunities within the sector.


The National Gender Action Plan – NGAP in Agriculture is structured around three pillars derived from the Green Alternative namely: Food security, Value Chain Upgrade and Sector Governance.


Unveiling the plan in Abuja today, Hon. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, represented by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry – Dr Abdulkadir Mu’azu said the plan which would facilitate the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1 and 2 and help improve the fortunes of women in the agricultural sector.


The minister noted that women farmers make up more than 65 per cent of farmers feeding the nation but have access to only about 20 per cent of the productive resources and finances in agriculture, identifying some challenges faced by women in agriculture to include lack of farm inputs, farm machinery, inadequate access to land, insecurity, among others.