10042019 - Politicians, traditional rulers aiding bandits — DEFENCE MINISTER

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30 Vanguard, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10, 2019

Israeli envoy urges investment in

agriculture technology

Mr Shimon Ben-Shoshan,

Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria,

has underscored the

need for more investment in agriculture

technology to promote

faster growth in Nigeria’s agriculture

sector.

Ben-Shoshan made the remark

at the Journalists Round

table meeting on the Israeli/Nigeria

relations organised by the

Embassy of Israel in Abuja.

He said poor investment in

the sector could hinder growth

of the economy, while calling for

prioritisation of agriculture

technology to achieve desired

goals.

“Agriculture technology is

very important and most Nigerians

miss out in the prospects

inherent in it.

“I recommend agri-tech; it

can help farmers to do better, just

as water-tech, which is another

issue globally.

“Nigeria is blessed with wide

range of arable land and all you

have to do is invest in agriculture.

•Nigeria urged to embrace new technology in transforming agricultural industry

•Oyekoya

The Managing Director/CEO

of Bama Farms, Prince Wale

Oyekoya, has identified unavailability

of timely and affordable

credit for farmers, as one of

the factors discouraging Nigerians

from going into agriculture.

“Our commercial banks need

to be restructured and mandated

to fund real farmers and not

political farmers. To ensure that

the policies succeed, government

needs to ensure adequate

budgetary allocation of at least

10 per cent of the nation’s budget;

review subsisting schemes

“It is not enough to teach

farmers, but teach the people,”

Ben-Shoshan said.

Also speaking, Mr Nadav

Goren, Deputy Chief of Mission

of Israeli Embassy, urged Nigerians

to learn from the art of turning

challenges into opportunity

to achieve targets, as Israel

did.

“We are a country that is twothird

agriculture driven; we do

not have water, we are like

Northern part of Nigeria and we

found a way to take that as advantage.

NAMEL, MANTRAC partner to open

500,000 hectares of farmland

By Gabriel Ewepu

Efforts at reducing the cost of

land preparation by smallholder

farmers received a boost

weekend with the signing of an

a Memorandum of Understanding,

MoU, to open 500,

000 hectares of farmland across

the country.

The MoU was signed by the

Nigerian Agricultural Mechanisation

& Equipment Leasing

Company, NAMEL, and MAN-

TRAC Nigeria Limited.

Speaking at the signing ceremony,

The Chief Executive Officer,

NAMEL, Dr Ahmed

Adekunle said the MoU comes

under the Integrated Nationwide

Agricultural Land Development

Scheme, INALDS, targeted

at reducing the cost of

land clearing and preparation

by smallholder farmers and

high level investors in the sector

for massive food production,

employment generation and

high revenue generation.

He said: “The Nigerian Agricultural

Mechanisation &

Equipment Leasing Company,

NAMEL, is partnering with

MANTRAC Nigeria Limited,

MNL, the sole authorized dealer

of Caterpillar products in Nigeria

to launch an Integrated

Nationwide Agricultural Land

Development Scheme, IN-

ALDS.

“INLADS is a private sector

initiative of NAMEL in collaboration

with MANTRAC designed

to open 500, 000 hectares

of unused arable land using the

appropriate agricultural land

development technology while

the payment is structured on a

flexible deferred system over a

period of one-three years. The

project also incorporates farm

management and global best

practices along agricultural value

chain to optimize the use of

the developed lands.

“The INLANDS specific target

is to open at least 13, 000

hectares of land in each state in

collaboration with Federal,

State, Local Government, and

Private sector investors. The resources

of these stakeholders

are thereby converted into a certain

percentage as equity while

the balance is spread over 2-3

years.

“The more we open more

farmland the more Tractor Owners

and Hiring Facilities Association

of Nigeria, TOHFAN,

and Tractors Owners and Operators

Association of Nigeria,

TOOAN, has job to do.

“The good reason to open

more lands is to support our vested

interest in the bank to generate

more revenue. So is not that

NAMEL likes jumping here and

there. We are involved in land

development, preparation to

mechanizing the whole value

“We feed people and we use

technology. We were at a point

where there was no water, but

look at where we are today.

“We are now among world

leaders in agriculture technology.

We are learning from the

idea of turning challenges into

opportunities.

Why government should provide farmers

credit facilities - Bama farm boss

and reforms to make them more

supportive of farm output. “

While noting that no farmer in

Nigeria can survive under the

current commercial interest rate

of over 20%, Oyekoya called for

the provision of credit facilities

to support farmers.

He added that there is the

need for farmers to be granted

repayable loans with zero interest

through agricultural banks

and provision of subsidy.

Oyekoya said the present administration

knowing the key

role agriculture can play in the

economy should implement

chain. For mechanization to succeed

perfectly we must expand

and increase production.”

Also speaking was the Managing

Director, MANTRAC Nigeria

Limited, Ahmed Ragab,

who was represented by Mohammed

Ibrahim, said this

MoU will bring about transformation

and industrialisation in

Nigeria’s agricultural history.

policies that would encourage

farmers.

“The government had only

prepared policies and increased

national agricultural

budget but has failed to put up

monitoring committee that will

ensure the implementation for

the expected result.”

He said: “The state and local

governments have to complement

Federal Government’s efforts

by developing agriculture

in all their senatorial districts, by

releasing land for farming, providing

tractors to clear the land,

plant, and apply herbicides and

insecticide and for harvesting in

form mechanised farming.

“States should encourage cottage

industries in the senatorial

districts to process our farm produce,

where the youth can participate

in the value chain, marketing,

distribution and export.

Storage facilities and electricity

in these industrial hubs is a

necessity.

He added that the government

can encourage investment

in value chain production by

banning importation of some

finished farm produce.

“The government has failed to

put necessary measures in place

in ensuring that some farm

products meet international

standards before placing embargo

on some imported products.

Flour Milling

Association

donates

threshers to

wheat farmers

The Flour Milling Associa

tion of Nigeria (FMAN)

has donated 50 units of Amar

Multi-crop threshers to the

Wheat Farmers Association of

Nigeria (WFAN) to support

the Federal Government’s Agriculture

Promotion Policy and

the vision of achieving self-sufficiency

in the production of

wheat in Nigeria

Speaking at a handover ceremony

held at Northern Nigeria

Flour Mills (NNFM), in

Kano, recently, Alhaji Sani

Umar, a representative of

FMAN, disclosed that the beneficiaries

are Wheat farmers

spread across several wheatgrowing

states in the North.

With the growing popularity

of wheat and wheat-based

products in Nigeria, FMAN as

a key stakeholder has continued

to support the development

of the wheat value chain

in Nigeria.

It will be recalled that between

the 2016/17 and 2017/

18 planting seasons, FMAN

supported Wheat farmers in

Nigeria with the distribution

of over 3,000 bags of Norman

and Attila good yielding variety

seeds and have also donated

over 2,500 units of 3-inch

water pumps to the farmers.

This is in addition to several

other laudable initiatives that

have been introduced over the

years, including the establishment

of a N20 million Research

and Development

Grant to the Lake Chad Research

Institute in 2016; to

conduct pre-season training

and workshops for Wheat

farmers, who were also exposed

to useful knowledge,

and skills into enhanced

wheat farming technologies,

proper storage techniques

and other modern agronomy

practices aimed at not just improving

wheat verities with

good yield, but reducing postharvest

losses.

Receiving the Threshers, the

President of Wheat Farmers

Association of Nigeria , Alhaji

Salim Muhammad, said with

the gesture from FMAN,

Wheat farmers are very optimistic

that wheat production

will continue to improve and

should reach 400 metric tons

by the end of 2019.

“This is another step forward

for the collaboration between

WFAN & FMAN with the donation

of another set of 50

units of threshers to support

wheat farming especially with

the lingering issues that have

been bedevilling farmers at

harvest.

The Threshers will not only

reduce harvest losses but will

also increase the quality and

quantity, as well as reduce the

cost of production. It is also a

step in the right direction because,

without this understanding,

the marketability of

wheat products will not be

guaranteed. FMAN are our

guaranteed primary off-taker

and they have kept to the MoU

agreement for almost three

years now, without any default.”

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