The Federal Government has been called upon to make available more food to flood victims in Rivers State in general and the rural communities in particular.
Traditional ruler and chief of Abi family in Owerewere Community of Abua/Odualko, Chief Tony Muzan Ekpelu who made the call in a telephone interview with our correspondent said what was done in Taraba State among other northern states should also be replicated in Rivers State.
According to Chief Ekpelu, the federal and states governments “pumped massive funds and food in Taraba state and elsewhere” and said it should also be done in the South-South states of the country.
Ekpedu who is also the chairman of Owerewere Council of Chiefs said his community only had 100 bags of maize.
He regretted that since the maize was primarily meant for consumption it was inadequate for a large community reputed to be the second largest in the old Ahoada Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Chief Ekpelu, retired Assistant Controller of Customs said maize was not even a staple of the People of Abua as a whole, and wondered how effective the maize has helped in checking hunger among the people.
He further opined that the federal government should provide food for the people that would last till June when they were expected to be harvesting what they (farmers) have replanted.
He lamented that the people were suffering so much given that more than 90% of them are agrarian.
On efforts he has made to bee to the alleviation of the suffering of the farmers, the former customs boss a said “I called on the chairman of Abua/Odual local government area, Hon Udi Odum and Hon Betty Apiafi who is representing us at the federal level.
“They both said they don’t have plans that they were waiting on whatever the federal government provides”.
“That is what Udi told me and that is what Betty Apiafi told me” he said.
Corroborating Chief Ekpeluis claims, the paramount ruler of Owerewere Chief T.K.D. Ezikwas said “we wrote to the authorities about the inadequacies of food to the people.
“Although they brought maize and garri but the garri was bad already so nobody ate it” he said.
According to Chief Ezikwas a former management staff of The Tide Newspapers nothing else was brought to Owerewere Community as a post flood relief materials.
As at the time of going to press, efforts to speak with Hon. Apiafi and Hon Udi Odum was not successful.
Association Tasks Poultry Farmers On Improved Biosecurity Measures
The Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Lagos State Chapter, has urged local farmers in Nigeria to always ensure improved biosecurity measures in their farms.
Making the call in an interview with The Tide’s source in Lagos, Chairman, Lagos State PAN, Mr Godwin Egbebe, said the group had insisted that its members adhere to strict biosecurity measures in their farms at all times, to prevent frequent disease outbreak among the flock.
“We have always sensitised local poultry farmers on the need to improve biosecurity measures on their farms, to prevent frequent disease outbreak.
“As an association, we have partnered with Animal Care, a veterinary laboratory, to help our farmers in biosecurity measures from the hatcheries.
“Biosecurity measures starts from the hatcheries. The farmers are advised to take new birds to the laboratory for tests, before mixing them with their flock.
“It is good to know the health status of any bird before mixing them with prior flock,” he said.
Egbebe also called on the poultry farmers to restrict access of people to their farms, to forestall disease spread among their flock.
He also reiterated the need for basic sanitation service in all poultry farms and proper disposal of litters.
“We also encourage our farmers to discourage constant traffic in their farms. People should not get random access to the farms to prevent disease outbreak.
“Poultry farms should also have sanitation facilities at the entrance of their farms such as water, soap and sanitisers, to avoid bacterial transmission to the birds.
“It is also important that bird litters are properly disposed of because indiscriminate disposal of the litters will increase disease proliferation across farms,” he said.
The PAN boss noted that to promote biosecurity measures in farms across the state, Animal Care gave members 30 per cent discount for their laboratory services.
Institute Seeks Sustainable Research In Food Security
The Executive Director, Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), Dr Patrick Adebola, has stated the need for Federal Government to assist the institute in sustainable research toward ensuring food security in Nigeria.
Adebola said this on Tuesday in Ibadan at the In-house Research Report Meeting of CRIN with the theme: “National Economic Empowerment Through Sustainable Research and Development of Cocoa, Cashew, Coffee, Kolanut and Tea”.
He said Nigeria and the rest of the world had been experiencing crisis, which has adverse effects on availability of food.
“We, at our in-house research review meeting, specifically chose this topic, so as to address the issue of food security.
“Addressing the issue of food security has to be through research, because if there is no research focus, there is no way we can increase food production or ensure that the food we are producing are nutritional and increased yield by farmers.
“Sustainability in terms of our research because research has to be continuous as we have to keep producing new varieties of crops to sustain the economy and food production in the country,” he said.
Adebola identified lack of extension services to farmers as a huge gap.
“But, due to the fact that the farmers are scattered all over the country and dearth in the number of Extension Officers, they were unknown to farmers.
“To bridge this gap, CRIN from time to time organises a lot of training and workshops to reach the farmers.
“But, I will enjoin the government to still support us so that we will have more extension officers that can take all the technologies back to the farmers for them to be able to adopt it,” he said.
Also speaking, Dr Rasheed Adedeji, the Director Programme Leader in charge of Cocoa Research Programme, CRIN, said Nigeria has hope, “but all the stakeholders have to come together and face the issues in Cocoa production squarely to achieve results”.
Adedeji traced issues in agricultural production generally in Nigeria to the discovery of petroleum products.
Fish Farmers Urge Govt To Boost Aquaculture In Nigeria
Fish Farmers in Port Harcourt have urged the State and Federal Governments to assist in boosting Aquaculture in the country.
Director of Albert Farms, Mr. Albert Adindu, made the call yesterday in an exclusive interview with The Tide in Port Harcourt.
Adindu, who said the call has become necessary, noted that the cost of feed has become higher than it should be, saying that many farms have closed down due to the high cost of production.
The Albert Farm’s Director said most times the farmers operate at a loss, just to retain their customers.
He noted that urgent attention need to be given to agriculture as a whole by the three tiers of government in the nation to enhance the poor economic situation of the country.
“Agriculture can serve as a safe landing for the bastardised Nigerian economy. The sector alone can settle the problem of unemployment and food security, if leaders would do the needful”, he said.
Another farmer, Mr. Harold Ekeke, who has a poultry farm in Oyibo, Rivers State, said: “Agriculture would not yield the needed result of saving and boosting the economy, if government refuse to play her role in supporting farmers.
“It requires either long term loan or grant to survive the heat in the system. Majority of farmers here are still using the old method of farming, while mechanised system has become the order of the day.
“This is the only way to have food security and stop importing almost everything into the country that can stand on its own.”
It would be recalled that the National Liaison Officer of Catfish and Allied Fish Farmers Association of Nigeria (CAFFAN ), Abuja Chapter, Mr Adamu Gambo appealed to the Federal Government to boost the sector for maximum productivity.
Gambo urged the Federal Government to assist fish farmers in the country by subsidising fish feed, saying that the high cost of feed had affected the price of fish in the market.
According to him, fish feed consumes between 70 and 80 per cent of the financial investment in fishry, thereby making it more expensive to rear fishes.
He said fish, the commonest source of protein for the masses, was no longer easy to come by due to high cost of feed.
Gambo, therefore, urged the Federal Government to subsidise and allow local production of fish feeds.
He said that soya beans, maize and groundnut cake meals were the three main ingredients making up the feed, but were also very expensive.
“If the cost of production does not drop, there is no way the price of fish can drop,” Gambo said.
He, however, commended the government for its efforts in safeguarding healthy consumption of fishes in the country through agencies such as SON and NAFDAC.
By: Lilian Peters
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