The President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina will lead his bank’s delegation to Iowa State capital of Des Moines in United States of America to attend events at the World Food Prize.
The Communication Officer of AfDB, Mr Emeka Anuforo, said this in a statement in Abuja.
According to him, the Prize is presented every October on or around UN World Food Day, adding that this year’s ceremony will take place from October 16 to October 20 in Iowa State in United States.
Anuforo said that Adesina would be awarded the 2017 World Food Prize on the evening of October 19 tomorrow.
He said that the AfDB president would also deliver the Laureate address at a luncheon on October 20.
Anuforo said that the World Food Prize had become a week-long of events drawing over 1,200 participants from more than 65 countries to address issues related to global food security and nutrition.
He listed the World Food Prize series of events as the Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium, Iowa Hunger Summit, Laureate Lecture Series and presentation of Dr. Norman Borlaug Award.
He said that the Borlaug Award was for field research and application endowed by the Rockefeller Foundation.
According to him, in June this year, the World Food Prize announced Adesina as the 2017 laureate for his work in improving the availability of seeds, fertiliser and financing for African farmers.
The prize was also awarded to Adeshina for laying the foundation for the youth in Africa to engage in agriculture as a profitable business.
“Under Adesina’s leadership, AfDB is accelerating agricultural development through its feed Africa strategy with planned investment of 24 billion U.S dollars over the next 10 years.
“The prize recognises Adesina’s work over the past two decades with the Rockefeller Foundation at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“On October 18, the AfDB President is speaking at a side event on “Making Farming Cool: Investing in Future African Farmers and Agripreneurs”.
“The event showcases the convergence of agriculture and youth employment.
“The session will draw attention to the role of policy, governance and technology in accelerating sustainable economic growth.
“A number of young African agricultural entrepreneurs supported under the Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment (ENABLE) Youth program of the AfDB would be at the event.”
Anuforo said that the AfDB President would address a session on the Transformation of the African Savanah Initiative (TASI) at the event.
According to him, TASI is an AfDB programme to bring additional 1.6 million hectares of land under cultivation to double maize, soya bean and livestock production in eight African countries.
He listed the eight countries as Ghana, Guinea, Uganda, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Mozambique and Zambia.
Anuforo said that the AfDB President would also join key nutrition actors, private sector representatives, policy makers and thought leaders at a global panel on agriculture and food systems for nutrition plenary session.
He said that the essence of the session was to push for mutual accountability on leadership, governance and investments for nutrition.
IITA Develops New Potato Variety
Empowering, Novel, Agri-Business Led, Employment, Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (ENABLE TAAT) has recently developed Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) species to tackle malnutrition and reduce diabetes in Africa.
The ENABLE TAAT Field Trainer of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Mr Murtalab Adedamola, made this known in Ibadan yesterday.
He said that the development of the potato species was one of the plans of IITA, aimed at combating malnutrition and attaining food security in Africa. Adedamola said that OFSP was different from the Irish potato, adding that it contained a lot of water, Vitamin A, high carotene and low level of sugar. “It has two varieties – King J and Mothers’ Delight, and it can be used for baking cake, snacks and bread.
“It is stress-free, its cultivation cycle is within three months; it is not a tuber but a root and it does not go deep into the soil like cassava.
“The growth continues even after harvesting, it is good for children and diabetic patients because of its low level of sugar. Farmers can plant a hectare with just 500kg. vines of OFSP, which multiplies.
“They should cut the vines together, bundle them together, weigh them and then plant them. Farmers can plant at a depth of 20 or 25 cm and at an angle of 45 degrees because the spacing can determine the yield,” he said. Adedamola advised farmers to always apply MPK fertiliser to the crop after two weeks of planting, as the exercise would go a long way to improve the yield if the crop had access to water. The field trainer said that the maintenance of an OFSP farm would not require much weeding, adding that the soil would crack while its flowers would shoot out to signal the appropriate time for harvesting. He, however, warned that the King J variety of OFSP was better grown in the northern parts of the country, while the cultivation of the Mothers’ Delight type would thrive in the South.
“In Cameroon, we have four varieties of OFSP and in Cote d’Ivoire, there are six varieties. Farmers are planting it already but the produce lacks market because people are not aware of its numerous benefits. “When people learn about its benefits, they will start patronising the farmers well; we will definitely have more varieties of it in Nigeria because it is a crop that can transform the livelihood of potato farmers perfectly,’’ he added.
Assembly Approves N1.5bn Agric Loan
The Niger State House of Assembly has passed a resolution granting approval to the state government to access a N1.5bn facility for the implementation of the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS).
The House passed the resolution yesterday following the presentation of the report of Joint Committees on Finance and Agriculture.
Presenting the report, Chairman of the Joint Committee, Alhaji Abdullahi Mammagi, said it interfaced with relevant stakeholders to ascertain the justification for the request made.
Mammagi noted that the facility was being offered at an interest rate of nine per cent per annum and 60 months repayment period by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“From the interface held, the committee found that the Federal Government had offered a window of facility to states to support implementation of AADS in states.
“The CBN, through Zenith Bank has offered to provide the of N1.5bn. The facility is offered for a period of 60 months, at an interest rate of nine per cent per annum.
“This is deemed to be highly competitive in terms of what obtains in the banking industry.
“Niger State has keyed into the programme as its implementation would stimulate and support socio-economic development in the state,” he added.
According to him, the repayment cost was manageable, adding that it would not be too much burden on the monthly cash flow of the state.
Similarly, the House commenced debate on the 2019 budget by the governor.
NGO Urges FG To Increase Agric Financing
The Fresh and Young Brains Development Initiative (FBIN), an NGO, has appealed to the Federal Government to increase its funding on agriculture, especially for women and youth farmers to increase their yields.
The Founder of the initiative, Mrs Nkiruka Nnaemego, made the call on Monday in Abuja at the Yfarm National Colloquium on Attracting Public Financing in Sustainable Agriculture for Youth and Women Small Scale Farmers.
Nnaemego said that the Nigerian government had committed to the 2014 Malabo Principles of ensuring increase in public funding to at least 10 per cent of the national budget to the agricultural sector.
According to her, this will enable the countries effectively implement their programmes to reduce hunger and increase productivity among in Africa.
She said that this commitment had not been achieved and it was affecting the productivity of small scale farmers, who consisted of about 70 per cent of the country’s farming population.
“This colloquium provides a unique platform for stakeholders in agriculture to brainstorm on innovative models and approaches for attracting public financing and government involvement in agriculture.
“From the Malabo declaration, which African Heads of State agreed to commit 10 per cent of their countries’ budgets to agriculture, it is unfortunately that Nigeria is still below three per cent.
“Agriculture is the way to go now since the country is looking for other options aside oil. We need to increase finance in agriculture.
“Although the Federal Government is trying, but it should try harder,” she said.
She explained that Yfarm project’s goal was to promote a youth/women-led agribusiness society by reducing poverty, thereby increasing active youth/women participation in sustainable agriculture by 2020.
She said that Yfarm Project had been at the forefront of policy advocacy, media engagement, capacity building and mentoring of rural and vulnerable youth/women in some parts of Africa.
“We celebrate outstanding youths and women, provide access to markets and business networking through our National and African Youth Agric Festivals and Concerts,” she stated.
The Project Coordinator, Food and Agriculture, Actionaid Nigeria, Mr Azubike Nwokoye appealed to the Federal Government to create an enabling environment to attract private investment. He further urged government at all levels to do their parts by increasing public financing on agriculture across all areas with comparative advantages.
”That is a failure in its own already.”
Soni appealed to the government to make available inputs by January not in April and May when such inputs were not needed.
The Programme Officer, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Mr Alphonsus Onwuemeka said that agriculture was in the concurrent list and urged the state governments to play their parts to lessen the burden on the Federal Government.
He acknowledged the Federal Government’s support to agriculture and urged women to take advantage of the gender unit created by government at the Ministry of Agriculture to handle women challenges.
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