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UN Agencies Warn Against World Food Crisis

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The three Rome-based UN agencies: Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and World Food Programme (WFP) have raised fears of a repeat of the 2007-2008 world food crisis.

In a joint statement issued in Rome, the agencies noted that the world food market was characterised by sharp increases in maize, wheat and soybean prices.

The statement signed by the Director-Generals of the agencies — José Graziano da Silva of FAO, Kanayo Nwanze of IFAD and Ertharin Cousin of WFP —, stressed the need for a “swift, coordinated international action’’ to prevent another food crisis.

“We need to act urgently to make sure that these price shocks do not turn into a catastrophe hurting tens of millions over the coming months.

“Two interconnected problems must be tackled: the immediate issue of some high food prices, which can impact heavily on food import-dependent countries and on the poorest people;

“And the long-term issue of how we produce, trade and consume food in an age of increasing population, demand and climate change,’’ they said in the statement received on line in Abuja.

The chief executive officers said the agencies were currently in a better position to respond to the challenges than five years ago.

“ We have developed new policies and new instruments, like the United Nations High-Level Task Force on Global Food Security and AMIS, the G20’s Agricultural Markets Information System (AMIS), which improves transparency in global markets.

“We also have the AMIS-related Rapid Response Forum, set up to facilitate coordinated policy responses by the major world producers and traders of key cereals and soybeans in the event of market upheavals.

“We have learned that not all are affected in the same way – the urban and rural poor and people in food import-dependent countries are most vulnerable to international commodity price increases, when these are transmitted to local markets, because they spend the largest proportions of their incomes on food.

“We have also learned that small holder farmers, many of whom are also poor and food insecure, can be enabled to benefit from higher food prices and become part of the solution by reducing price spikes and improving overall food security.

“We have thus adopted a twin-track approach which supports long-term investments in agriculture, notably smallholder agriculture, while ensuring that safety-nets are in place to help poor food consumers and producers avoid hunger, asset losses and poverty traps in the short run.

“In responding to high food prices, the things we must avoid doing are just as important as the things we should do.

“In particular, countries must avoid panic buying and refrain from imposing export restrictions which, while temporarily helping some consumers at home, are generally inefficient and make life difficult for everyone else. ‘’

They, however stressed that high food prices were a symptom, and not the disease and therefore, urged the international community to take early action to prevent excessive price increases, while also addressing the root causes of the price spikes.

According to the agencies, there have been three international food price spikes in the last five years, with weather driving most of it.

Other contributing factors, they said, were drought, floods, increased diversion of food stock for non-food purposes and increased financial speculation.

“Until we find the way to shock-proof and climate-proof our food system, the danger will remain. In the short term, this has costs, not only for those directly impacted, but also for the international community at large.

For instance, the World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that every 10 per cent increase in the price of its food basket means it has to find an extra 200 million dollars a year for food assistance.

Reports say that in discharging their mandate, FAO, IFAD and WFP are helping poor people to eat today, while building their resilience and capacity to feed themselves tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the agencies have underscored the importance of increased investment in agriculture and social protection, including programmes that help poor people to access food.

They added that finding sustainable solutions to food price spikes would help them to repond to the “Zero Hunger” challenge set by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of eradicating hunger from the globe.

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Eradiri Faults NDDC Leadership Structure Wants Agric As Top Priority

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The Special Adviser to the Sole Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) on Youths, Udens Eradiri, has faulted the leadership structure of the commission, saying it has not helped the cause of the Niger Delta in the last 25 years.
Describing the leadership structure of the NDDC as faulty, he said that the faulty leadership structure was the reason why President Muhammadu Buhari ordered for a forensic audit in the commission.
Eradiri who is the former president of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC)
disclosed this while speaking to aviation correspondents, last Friday, shortly on arrival at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, from Abuja. 
He said the outcome of the forensic audit would be used to do a wholistic reorganisation of the organogram of the commission.
According to him, the wholistic review of the organogram of the NDDC will help in putting the leadership structure in order, and enable things to function properly.
“The leadership structure of NDDC in the past years had been faulty, and that was why the President said there should be forensic audit, which would be used to do a wholistic review of the organogram of NDDC, so that it can function properly.
“The new board is coming soon, but the whole process will pass through the National Assembly to be cleared”, Eradiri said.
On the achievement of the present NDDC management, the special adviser said that the Effiong Akwa led administration had recorded some landmark achievements compared to the last 25 years. 
He said that the present interim management within two years completed and commissioned the headquarters of the NDDC, which had been left for over 25 years.
He also said that the completion of the East-West road project had intensified under the present management, adding that NDDC has also supported states on sanitation through donation of trucks.
Eradiri, however, admitted that the present interim management had not taken a firm stand on agricultural development even though it has been working with the Central Bank of Nigeria on the Anchor Borrowers Scheme.
“I believe that the only tool to use and get ourselves out of the quagmire we find ourselves is agriculture, and I think that the NDDC can design its own scheme on how to grow agriculture as a deliberate policy.
“This will bring change that will grow the region’s economy. We must talk about agricultural processing, and we can put palm oil into sachet, and even students can be buying them,” he said.

By: Corlins Walter

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Nigeria Lost N851bn To Oil Theft, Sabotage   – NEITI

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Nigeria lost N851.84bn ($2.78bn) to oil theft and pipeline sabotage in 2019, the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI)   has said.
NEITI said this in its latest oil and gas industry audit report.
NEITI stated that it arrived at the estimate after using an average price of $65.61 per barrel and an average exchange rate of N306.42/$ .
It, however, noted that there was a significant reduction of 21 per cent from the previous year, where 53.28 million barrels were lost.
Losses such as these are recorded by companies whose crude volumes are carried through pipelines easily compromised by saboteurs.
The report also stated that some oil terminals recorded no production. These included Aja operated by Bayelsa Oil, whose license was revoked by the government.
Others were Asaramatoru and Oyo managed by Prime and Allied/CAMAC who were reportedly inactive for the year.
Nigeria earned a total of N10.49tn ($34.22bn) from crude oil and gas sales. This was a marginal 4.88 per cent increase from 2018 revenues of N9.99tn ($32.63bn).
The total crude oil production recorded was 735.24 million barrels, a 4.87per cent increase from 701.10 million barrels reported in 2018.
A total of N2.145tn ($7.011bn) was the domestic sales proceeds in 2019 from 107.24 million barrels of crude oil. This was 0.36 per cent lower than the domestic crude sales of 107.63 million barrels in 2018.

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Residents Task New Council Chairmen On Dev, Agric Policies

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Some residents in the 23 local government areas of Rivers State have urged the newly sworn-in council chairmen in the state to come up with good agricultural and developmental policies that will transform the grassroots.
They also urged the council boss to take pragmatic steps and actions towards tackling security challenges to encourage business activities thrive in their domains. 
Some of the residents who spoke with The Tide at the weekend, noted that the local government administration in the state had not faired well in terms of real development in recent times, and urged the new council helmsmen to change the narratives. 
A resident of Emohua Local Government Area, Mr Charles Amadi, noted that no real development had taken place in the area, lamenting the dearth of companies and small scale industries in the area.
He, therefore, called on the new chairman, Dr. Chidi Lyoid, not to solely depend on the monthly allocation, but to go all out to attract small scale companies to the area so as to create employment opportunities as well as generate revenue for the council.
He also urged the new chairman to invest in agriculture, especially farming and fishing.
On his part, Mr Ebenezer Otamiri who lives in Etche, urged the Etche council boss, Obinna Ayanwu, to consolidate on the achievements recorded in his first tenure, especially by building more markets for the people, as well as initiate good agricultural policy to drive the economy of the area.
He also urged the council boss to tackle the issue of electricity and security in the area, saying electricity and security are key to the development of the area. 
In his own charge, Mr Mene Geoffrey Dekaa who hails from Bori in Khana Local Government Area of the state, called on his new council chairman, Bariere Thomas, to show capacity and competence in the area of security.
He noted that the issue of security has left native imprint in the development of the area, saying many investors have left Bori, the headquarters of the council, for other places.
“Because of security challenges, many people have left Bori to build houses and invest in Nonwa- Tai, and Eleme.
“Areas like Kono-Boweeh communities are no go areas, as people there can hardly sleep. So if the chairman can work with government recognised traditional rulers and security agents, security issues will be tackled, and people’s confidence will be restored, and business activities will move on”, he said.

By: Residents Task New Council Chairmen On Dev, Agric Policies

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