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Killings: Benue Gov. visits Buhari, rejects colonies for herdsmen

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Agriculture

We’re no longer neglecting agriculture, Buhari says as he praises farmers

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President Muhammadu Buhari, commenting on the state of agriculture in the country, said that although Nigeria had once neglected the sector, the Federal Government was wiser now as it makes new investments in the industry.

Buhari made the remark at the weekend through a video presentation at the 23rd Farmers’ Day Celebration tagged: ‘Farm and fortune’ at the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC-Green River Project (GRP) Plant Propagation Centre(PPC) Obie, in Ogba/Ebema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State.

He stressed the need for the country to make adequate investments in the agricultural sector, saying that farmers “are our authentic healers now and years ahead.”

The President commended NAOC for investing in farmers in the four states of their operations in the Niger Delta and urged farmers to make good use of opportunities in the agriculture sector.

“I commend the Nigerian Agip Oil Company for its efforts in repositioning agriculture. I urge others to emulate the examples set,” the President said.

“I urge you, the farmers, to make good use of the investment made by the company. We want to make farming our bedrock.

“We neglected to farm in the time past, but we are wiser now as a nation. We will also take precautions for a bad harvest.

“Agriculture is a veritable tool for economic recovery. It engenders better living standards and ensures food security. Agriculture will improve food security and provide jobs. Farmers are our authentic healers now and years ahead,” the President told the audience.

The General Manager, District, Tiani Alessandro, promised that NAOC would continue to build sustainable projects and development in its host communities.

“Eni will continue to build sustainability into all its activities, focusing on the development of people and reorganising the great opportunities embedded in the Green River Project.

“As a company, we will continue to pride ourselves with the Green River Project (GRP) being one of our company’s most impactful projects as an integrated programme of agricultural entrepreneurial development, created to promote a path of autonomous development in the Niger Delta,” he noted.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Managing Director, Mansur Sadiq Sambo, following on the theme, urged oil companies to develop the communities where they operate.

Ben Halliday, who represented Sambo, said: “It gives me great pleasure to be here to celebrate with farmers. NNPC before was in the business of oil exploration only, but we don’t want that again. We want that the companies should develop the areas they are operating.”

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Cross River produces 48 million metric tonnes of rice, cassava per hectre, says CRADP

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The Programme Manager of the Cross River State Agricultural Development Project (CRADP), Mr. Etim Eden Bassey, says that the state currently produces 8 million metric tonnes of rice, in addition to 40 million metric tonnes of cassava per hectare.

Mr. Bassey said that the tripling of the state’s rice and cassava production is as a result of its partnership with a Japanese backed group, the Sasakawa African Association.

Speaking during a meeting with officials of Sasakawa Africa as part of the 2019 media field activity, Mr. Bassey said the partnership with Sasakawa has been of immense benefit to the state and its farmers as evidenced in the production quantity of cassava and rice.

“Through the partnership and the introduction of improved farming processes, the state now produces 8 million metric tonnes of rice per hectare, as well as 40 million metric tonnes of cassava per hectare,” Mr. Bassey said.

“From 2.7 metric tonnes of rice per hectare for instance, we now produce 8 million metric tonnes per hectare for rice as well as 34 mi!lion metric tonnes of cassava.

“Good agricultural practices are key, with the Sasakawa Africa Association having supported rural farmers within local communities, and our capacity has improved, including livestock production.

“Also, before now, we went to Ibadan to source for cassava cuttings but we now have enough for local cultivation and now supply adjourning states,” he stated.

He said the initiatives put in place by the Sasakawa group aligns with the vision of state Governor Ben Ayade to ensure food security in Cross River, even as he called for sustained support.

Speaking earlier, the Country Director of Sasakawa, Prof Sari Miko, said the essence of the media field day was to provide a platform where farmers can interface with the media to highlight the progress of the partnership.

Prof Sari, who spoke through the Head of Communications, Gambo Abdulhamid, said Cross River has recorded tremendous growth in rice and cassava production as a result of its value chain development project.

He said the media field day will enable primary stakeholders (farmers) to interface with the media so as to highlight the progress that has taken place over the years.

He said the state is hosting this year’s media field day in view of the success of the project in the state as well as the high level of acceptance of Sasakawa programmes.

He added that the project started in 1999 with a primary aim of improving the income of small-hold farmers across Nigeria, with Cross River being one of the twelve benefitting states working on the SPSC 2000 Programme.

-Sun

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Obaseki tasks stakeholders on a shared commitment to sustainable palm oil production

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The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has urged stakeholders in the palm oil industry to work towards ensuring a shared commitment to sustainable palm oil production in the African continent, calling on them to be part of the solution to the challenges facing the industry.

The governor said this at Africa’s third Sustainable Palm Oil Conference, hosted by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and Proforest, in Ghana, to discuss the long-term sustainable development plan for oil palm production in Africa.

Obaseki, who harped on the need for a sustainable plan to improve the livelihood of the people while addressing the delegates and the industry, noted, “If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. Let me congratulate all of you here today, for demonstrating your commitment to a solution. It is in the interest of all of us in Africa to make sustainable palm oil the norm.”

RSPO’s Assurance Director, Salahudin Yaacob, called for a “long-term sustainable development plan” in the region, stating that “RSPO can only achieve its vision of transforming markets to make sustainable palm oil the norm through collaboration with all stakeholders, from growers to governments, financial institutions to Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).”

Africa Regional Director for Proforest, Abraham Baffoe, said: “A sustainable oil palm industry in Africa is something we are deeply committed to – and it is wonderful to have so much interest from companies and other stakeholders. We look forward to seeing these connections deepen as a result of this conference, as we all work together towards an industry which contributes to the economic development of African countries, whilst preserving the crucially important biodiversity of the region.”

The event played host to high-profile dignitaries, growers, NGOs, financial institutions and consumer goods manufacturers, who acknowledged the need for African palm oil-producing countries to convert from net-importers to net-exporters to significantly increase palm oil production.

“In a region where livelihoods are intricately connected to both the palm oil sector and natural resources, and where oil palm growing areas overlap areas of international conservation importance such as High Forest Cover (HFC) countries like Gabon, it is vitally important that any development is done sustainably, ensuring a balance between palm oil production and nature conservation,” the group said in a statement.

According to them, the conference covered the regional implementation of the 2018 RSPO Principles and Criteria; the role of financial institutions in promoting sustainable agriculture; how governments can mainstream sustainability; and opportunities to change the deforestation narrative in African palm oil-producing countries.

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