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Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammed Abubakar, has said that due to continuous movement of animals in search of pasture, Nigeria has been unable to achieve its annual production target of 1.6 billion litres of milk.
The Minister said this while flagging off the National Pasture Development Programme (NAPDEP) at Paikon Kore, Gwagwalada Area Council in Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He said the production system limits both production and productivity per animal due to lack of all-year-round availability of feeding and watering resources, thereby causing a drawback to the ability of the pastoralists to settle in a given place and produce.
The result of this continuous movement in search of pasture, he explained, has adversely affected the animals’ attainment of their optimal productivity and consistently impaired national capacity for self-sufficiency in livestock products and animal protein needs, especially the national target of 1.6 billion liters of milk per annum.
“It has eluded our national peace-building efforts through the incessant conflict between pastoralists and crop farmers along their movement routes. These have also impaired improvement in the livelihood of the pastoral families in particular and neighboring crop farmers.
“The continuous extensive system of production is not a viable option since the land area for grazing and feed availability are severely limiting factors in the high livestock producing zones of Nigeria.
“It is, therefore, very necessary and of top priority that all players in the industry focus on meeting the huge demand for pasture. This will give a great opportunity to unlock the potential of the Livestock industry and the development of its rich value chains”, he stated
Dr Abubakar continued that the launching of the NAPDEP is one of the many steps and interventions by the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) to mitigate the conflict, improve the sustainability of food security, national economy, and export of livestock products.
“The National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) is the umbrella for all the Livestock intervention, programmes and projects, such as the Livestock Productivity Improvement and Resilience Support (LPRES) and Ruminant Livestock Intervention Programme (RULIP), as vehicles for the achievement of our national aim for the livestock sector.
“Through these, we have been able to provide the enablers for improved production practices through the establishment of pasture plots, animal handling and milk collection centres, construction of solar-powered boreholes and hand pumps, rehabilitation and construction of mini earth dams, health facilities, etc. in some selected grazing reserves and communities in the States.
“This is ongoing and part of the effort is what we are here to do today as we distribute inputs for pasture production to some beneficiaries”, he explained.
He urged partners and stakeholders within the livestock industry to embrace the NAPDEP by active participation in the value chain (production, processing, and marketing) for sustainable and improved ruminant animal production in Nigeria.
“This is to serve as a panacea for reduction in conflict emanating from cattle movement, attainment of self-sufficiency in good quality pasture/forage production, and the transition from extensive grazing to a well-planned, settled form of livestock production.
“Thus, NAPDEP will focus on forage species that are cultivated for livestock feed that are carefully selected based on adaptation to ecological areas as animal feed.
“Therefore, as a way of continuous efforts in promoting intentional pasture development in Nigeria, I have endorsed the proposal that this flag-off day becomes an annual National Pasture Planting Day that is, 28th June every year, to encourage private and public sector investments in commercial pasture production”, the Minister noted.
In his address, the Director General Of National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), Dr Philip Ojo said the development of ranches, paddocks and grazing reserves for intensive/semi-intensive animal husbandry have severally been proffered as solution to this national security concern.
He said the efforts of the Ministry through the Department of Animal Husbandry Services to develop pastures is very timely and a step in the right direction as this will not only reduce the crop farmers and herders’ clashes but also enhance the productivity of livestock.
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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), said Nigeria has recorded zero capital importation or Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the telecoms sector.
Quoting figures for last 2021, the NCC stated that in 2020, it was $417,481,615.30 against $942, 863,833.96 recorded in 2019.
This, it said, translates to a decline of 55.7 per cent in capital importation yearly.
The decline was largely attributed to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic that distorted global businesses and impacted businesses negatively, by the operators.
NCC’s document showed that FDI into the telecoms industry in 2021 was $417,481,615.30 against $942, 863,833.96 recorded in 2019, showing that the industry recorded zero FDI during the whole of last year.
Meanwhile, while the telecom operators blamed the decline in 2019 on the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, no reason was given for the zero record of FDI for the whole of last year.
In the same vein, capital expenditure (CAPEX) or domestic investment stood at N408, 151,627,158.62 in 2020 based on submissions from responsive licensees.
The report said CAPEX investment declined by 18.62 per cent due to probable challenges of the global pandemic in 2020.
Operating cost (OPEX) reported was N1,720,547,371,856.01 as at last December while  CAPEX stood at N1, 124,116,990,000 as at the end of last year based on submissions from licencees.
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The Director of Co-operatives, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Rivers State, Mrs. Elizabeth Chidi-Wike, has said that Co-operatives do better in every aspect of business than individuals.
The Director, who stated this in an interview shortly after the recent 2022 International Day of Co-operatives organised by the Ministry in Port Harcourt, said the programme is expected to challenge  Co-operative  members on the achievements of other  groups, adding that agricultural businesses has great opportunities to grow.
“Agricultural Co-operatives should take advantage of the opportunities and information provided by the grogramme to better their businesses.
“I get worried when entrepreneurs, both in other businesses and agric sectors, access loans and use it to marry more wives and take tittles instead of building their businesses.
“Co-operatives play a major role in agriculture,  production, retail, wholesale, finance, housing, employment, education and social services”, she said.
Earlier, a resource person from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),  Mr. Oruveigha Stanley,   who lectured on the topic, “Intervention and the abounding opportunities for wealth  creation and poverty reduction through Co-operative Societies”, said CBN has mandated for intervention and development of  businesses.
Stanley noted that the apex bank has  over 50 financial intervention programmes that would benefit the society, adding that three out of the 50 have become very relevant.
“These are, Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP), Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme and Fertilizer initiative”, he added, stating that co-operatives can come together and take loans for their members.
He expressed disatisfaction that Rivers farmers have not shown interest in Anchor Borrowers and Fertiliser Initiative Fund, which can only be given to agriculturists that have cleared farm lands.
He called on farmers in the state to come up and partner with CBN in agricultural development, adding that communities can approach the bank with cleared lands for cassava, maize, rice and other crops.
He reiterated that farmers  and other co-operatives can access millions of naira to grow and develop their businesses to achieve food security for economic growth.
By: Lilian Peters
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All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) has dissociated itself from a portal requesting farmers to register and claim N100,000 grant.
In a statement signed by AFAN’s Director of Administration, Chief Chinedu  Agbaji, and made available to The Tide’s source, the association warned farmers and unsuspecting members of the public to be wary of scammers.
The statement said  the association is not giving grant of N100,000 to farmers, and that it was a strategy to defraud innocent hardworking farmers.
It assured members of AFAN that improving welfare of farmers through strategic business partnerships is underway and remains paramount in the association’s agenda.
According to the statement, “This is to inform the general public that All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) under the leadership of Dr. Alh. Farouk Rabiu Mudi,  are not in any way giving grant of #100,000 to farmers or opened a portal where farmers can register online for the said grant.
“We disassociates ourselves from the purported #100,000 farmers and non-farmers grant.
“We want to assure AFAN members that their welfare is paramount and we are doing everything within our capacity to improve it.
“We have started repositioning farming business in Nigeria through our strategic partnership and business relationships with stakeholders.”
He noted that soon the effort of the association in repositioning farming business of their members in the area of using modern facilities and improve seed for a better yeild.
He reiterated the need for farmers to remain focused and avoid distraction from fraudulent people.
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