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IITA Establishes 136 Cassava Weed Demonstration Farms

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The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has signed an agreement with 136 farmers to set up cassava weed demonstration plots for weed control in four states.
The Communication and Knowledge Exchange Expert, IITA, Mr Godwin Atser, disclosed this in a statement in Abuja last Monday.
Atser explained that IITA led the Cassava Weed Management Project (IITA-CWMP) team to sign the agreement with Abia, Benue, Ogun and Oyo states.
He quoted Dr Alfred Dixon, Project Leader for the IITA-CWMP, as saying that the acceptance of the project by farmers would be a welcome development, which would address the weed control problem.
”Under the agreements, participating farmers will make available plots of land for on-farm demonstrations.
”They will also ensure that adequate security is provided on the land during the research duration to prevent theft and cattle invasion.
”Hence the demonstrations are farmer-led; farmers will keep records of the farm activities and share these records with the nominated authorized representative of IITA-CWMP.
”They will ensure application of all inputs such as fertiliser, herbicides, and planting materials provided by IITA-CWMP and in the prescribed manner.
”Farmers will be responsible for all the cost of the farm operations like the slashing, burning, ploughing, fertiliser application, herbicides application and harvesting of the plot.
”They will notify IITA-CWMP when the harvesting period is due and both parties will carry out harvesting of the crops.
”We see high enthusiasm from the farmers, meaning that we are addressing development needs,” he said.
Atser said the IITA-CWMP partnership will provide fertilisers, herbicides, and planting materials to be used on the on-farm demonstration plots at no cost to the farmers.
He said that the project staff will carry out harvesting on the land in conjunction with farmers and will be responsible for collating all necessary data on the on-farm demonstrations.
A farmer-participant, Mrs Afusatu Akinware, said the on-farm demonstrations would help the community to learn better and improve weed management practices for cassava production.
”I am glad this project selected our community to gain from the knowledge on improved weed control,” she added.
The Tide source reports that in 2016, the project established 58 on-farm trials across the cassava producing zones of Nigeria.

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Agriculture

AFAN Demands Incentives For More Food Production

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As the world’s population is predicted by United Nations to hit 8 billion by November 15, 2022, with Nigeria standing at over 210 million, the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), has demanded incentives to produce more food to feed the population.
This was the reaction of the National President, AFAN, Arc Kabir Ibrahim, over the fast growing Nigerian population, as food production is at an arithmetic dimension.
Ibrahim said on Tuesday that without proper incentives for farmers, the over 210 million mouths will face severe hunger if deliberate efforts are not made to boost farmers’ capacity to produce food.
He said: “The smallholder farmers should be properly boosted to produce more by ensuring security, the provision of readily affordable seeds, fertilizers and other inputs as well as adequate mechanisation and encouragement to adopt relevant technologies and innovations.
“The existence of large arable land, abundant water resources, other land resources and mineral resources should help to bolster agricultural productivity in Nigeria.
“Other areas to exploit to feed Nigeria’s large population include: adoption of all year round cultivation of crops, enhancing the livestock sector, adopting Climate-Smart agriculture, fully embracing agricultural Biotechnology and making serious investments, as well as promoting agribusiness generally.
“The abundant very good policies largely on paper should be properly implemented by appointing capable hands at all levels to drive Agricultural production, storage, processing, distribution and even consumption in order to evolve a veritable food system that should sustainably feed our large population.
“Research findings should be made readily available to our farmers to enable them optimise Agricultural production too.”

The AFAN boss also called on Government and the private sector to employ effective strategies in mobilising the young population to the agricultural sector.

“Agriculture should be treated as a business by creating an enabling environment to make it thrive. The enablers are: Address the power issue to enable processing and cold storage, thereby elongating the shelf lives of otherwise perishable crops and value addition generally”, he said.

He also called on the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to deploy huge number of corps members to the agricultural sector.

“It will be wonderful to fully engage the youth corps members in Agriculture because we will evolve an educated critical mass to turn it around.

He noted that with the current situation in food production, the government and private sector should collaborate to establish more agro industrial areas for food production and employment generation.

“I’m in support of the idea of encouraging Private Public Partnership (PPP) model of agro-industrial development as it will definitely generate employment for our otherwise unemployed youth”, he added.

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Agriculture

Embrace Climate-Smart Agriculture, NABG Urges Stakeholders

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The Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG) has reiterated the need for stakeholders in the agricultural sector to reduce climate change impact on agribusiness with Climate-Smart Agriculture approach.
Director-General of NABG, Dr Manzo Maigari, who stated this  during a  two-day workshop on “Developing a National Framework for Climate-Smart Agriculture” in Abuja, noted that  the workshop was an eye opener.
Maigari told The Tide’s source that it had become incumbent on all stakeholders to embrace climate-smart agriculture.
He said this was because of its added value to productivity and its potential to reduce the risks faced by farmers due to climate change.
Maigari advised that stakeholders should imbibe practices that have minimal damage on natural environmental systems to make it  sustainable.
“So, we must either stop or begin to imbibe practices that cause very minimal damage to environmental systems, and natural environmental systems so that it is sustainable.
“In order for the environment to be regenerative enough for us to hand over something to our children,” he said.
Maigari said farmers in Nigeria needed to adopt Climate-Smart Agriculture as solution to crop cultivation, mitigating post-harvest losses, improving crop yields and restoring soil nutrients due to climate change impact on the ecosystem.
He said the  use of fertilizers, felling trees, burning grasses and trees and  saturation of carbon leads to disruption of the environment, which caused climate change affecting farmers’ productivity.
On tackling climate change in the agricultural sector, he said, “it would bring all the Farmers Associations, Non-Governmental Organisations  and government together, embarked on an awareness campaign to re-orient  farmers to know all the procedures and problems.”
Maigari noted that the idea of having a National Framework for Climate-Smart Agriculture was to be able to come up with a draft document that nourished the resilience document that had been developed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“The whole idea is to be able to come up with a draft document that nourishes your resilience (to climate change) document that has been developed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“This is to support and  enrich that document, that resilience framework from Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, such that it can be upgraded into a policy document that can be approved by Federal Executive Council.
The programme was themed, “Cleaner, Safer, Rewarding Agriculture”.

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Agriculture

Traditional Ruler Cautions Against Using  Chemicals For Fishing

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A traditional ruler in Nasarawa State,  Alhaji Usman Abdullahi, has advised the residents of his area and other Nigerians against the use of chemicals for fishing.
Abdullahi, the ‘Ehimega Opand’, said it was to avoid water pollution and in the interest of the health of the people.
The First Class tradtional ruler gave the advice while addressing his subjects when they paid him Sallah homage in his Palace in Umaisha, Toto Local Government Area of the State.
He lamented the pollution of the area’s river through the use of chemicals for fishing and called for attitudinal change.
Abdullahi called on his people and other Nigerians not to be idle but embrace farming, fishing and trading, to be self reliant and contribute positively to societal development.
He said the call became imperative due to the importance of agriculture to human and societal development.
“Agriculture and trade provide food, employment and improvement on the standard of living of the people, “ he said.
He commended the State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, for his efforts in enduring security of lives and properties in the area which, he said, had improved tremendously.
He said the governor had done a lot for the people in terms of security which had been the major challenge in the past.
“But now with his tireless efforts, our people are secured and you can travel both day and night without any fear of attack: we thank him for that,” he said.
The traditional ruler urged Muslims and other Nigerians to  use the Eid- el- Kabir occasion to pray for the nation’s security and other challenges facing the country.

Earlier, the Overseer of Umaisha Development Area, Mallam Iliyasu Miriyam said that the visit was to rejoice with the people on the Sallah celebration.

He has commended the traditional ruler, Gov Sule and the speaker of the state legislature for their tireless efforts in securing the people and attracting development to the area.
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