The Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP), initiated by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has contributed 37.2 million dollars (about N13.4 billion) to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
IFAD’s Communication Officer, Mrs Vera Onyeaka-Onyilo disclosed this in a document presented to a news agency in Abuja, recently.
The document, titled “VCDP Summary Progress”, noted that data on the 2016 wet season farming and 2016/2017 dry season farming indicated that VCDP also contributed 58,376 tonnes of rice and 184,378 tonnes of cassava to the national food basket.
The Federal Government is implementing VCDP, which became disbursement-effective in January 2015, in Niger, Ogun, Taraba, Benue, Ebonyi and Anambra States.
The completion date of the programme, whose goal is to reduce poverty and accelerate sustainable economic growth, is December 31, 2019.
Onyeaka-Onyilo explained that from the revenue of N38.5 billion and the implementation cost of N14.7 billion, the income-investment analysis, inclusive of overhead costs, indicated a benefit of N 2.5 for each N1 invested from the sale of produce alone.
She said that going by the review, the overall achievements indicated that the VCDP had made appreciable progress in the last two years of effective implementation.
“The programme is planned to increase agricultural income by at least 25 per cent for 45,000 smallholder farmers.
“It is also expected to indirectly benefit up to 320,800 people from the production of rice and cassava along the two value chains,” she said.
Onyeaka-Onyilo said that the specific programme development objective was the enhancement of the incomes and food security of rural poor households that were engaged in production, processing and marketing of rice and cassava on a sustainable basis.
She noted that the programme had continued to invest in group and cluster development schemes as a viable value chain business model.
“It has strength working with the private sector to facilitate service delivery to smallholder farmers, identifying viable business opportunities within the commodity chains for the youth.
“It has also ensured arable land development to boost women and youth access to land, while sharing innovative agronomic practices with farmers to enhance their productivity and youth engagement in agriculture,” she said.
Besides, Onyeaka-Onyilo said that some of the participating state governments had adopted some aspects of the value chain to enhance their service delivery to smallholder farmers.
She said that the VCDP had also influenced strong state government ownership, which was reflected by the governments’ payment of counterpart funds and policy support in land development to enhance the access of youths and women to land for dry season farming.
“The programme has also facilitated an innovative Commodity Alliance Forum (CAF), which empowers smallholder farmers to engage and transact businesses with major private sector players in each state.
“The forum involves farmers and key private sector operators who meet quarterly to review the stakeholders’ engagement in the selected commodity,” she added.
Investigations by the news agency revealed that the CAF, which had been empowering smallholder farmers and restoring confidence between off-takers and farming communities, was considered a key pillar in the sustainability of VCDP.
Mrs Laadi Ngbegha, one of the beneficiaries and a rice farmer in Iye Community, Guma Local Government Area in Benue State, said the off-taker arrangement had strengthened the use of value chain action plans (VCAPs) by participating field officials (FOs).
She said that the FOs were those officials facilitating cashless credit services on farm inputs for farmers in Benue and Niger States.
Ngbegha said the programme had facilitated the establishment of group seed production enterprises by youths via a partnership with Africa Rice Centre, National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
“It has introduced the use of private sector extension schemes to promote good agronomic practices and enhance farmers’ productivity.
“The VCDP has demonstrated that value chain is a sound economic investment model for Nigeria,” she said.
Some of the beneficiaries in Benue noted that smallholder rice and cassava farmers were now having new market opportunities.
They said that the development marked the farmers’ first steps out of poverty through a contract farming scheme in which farmers were guaranteed markets for their crops.
They emphasised that the VCDP had been able to link over 3,603 rice farmers in Benue to Olam International, an agribusiness company, to buy paddy from rice growers.
“Last year, Olam International bought around 997 tonnes of paddy from rice farmers in Benue; the rice was later processed and sold in the Nigerian market.
“Olam also provided the farmers with necessary inputs, certified seeds, fertilisers, and agrochemicals with a guaranteed `buy-back’ of the produce at prevailing market prices at the end of the season.
“Olam International extended financial credit to farmers to meet their equity contribution to the VCDP matching grant through a commercial bank,” they said.
A young rice farmer in Omor, Ayamelum Local Government Area of Anambra State, Michael Afune, said that empowering young people through agribusiness was a success story.
He said that in line with the Federal Government’s commitment to reducing youth unemployment and poverty, the VCDP had been creating a new generation of young farmers in Anambra State, with sound training in techniques that could generate new economic opportunities and boost income.
“I have been cultivating rice for years with poor yields, but learning modern methods of rice farming through the VCDP has led to better yields and better incomes,” Afune said.
Eze Michael Ogbonnaya- Ukwa, the traditional ruler of Igbeagu, Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, noted that the VCDP had constructed 134.5km roads in the six benefiting states.
He said the newly constructed road and bridge in Igbeagu community, for instance, had positively impacted on the social and agribusiness activities of the residents of the community.
“The primary purpose of the road, constructed under the VCDP, is to create access for farmers to transport produce from their farms.
“The road is also facilitating the efforts of large-scale produce buyers to reach farm gates to buy produce directly from the farmers.
“Prior to the construction of this road, our farming experience had been horrendous and we couldn’t do much. We are happy that the road has eased our burden,” Ogbonnaya- Ukwa said.
A rice processor, Hadiya Hajara Mohammed of the ZokoYegborolo Multipurpose Cooperative Society in Bida, Niger, said that the VCDP had significantly increased the quantity and quality of the rice produced in the neighbourhood.
She said the “false bottom” parboiling technology was introduced by the VCDP to enhance the quality of locally grown rice and make it to compete favourably with imported rice.
“`More than 1,623 participants across the project six states were trained on the use of `false bottom’ parboiling technique and it has changed how we process rice.
“We’ve been in rice business for more than 20 years, with nothing to show for it, but within one and half years, IFAD-VCDP has made us rich.
“We are now expanding our business and employing people to work and get paid,” she added.
In a nutshell, IFAD-VCDP has been supporting smallholder farmers in the six benefiting states of Benue, Anambra, Ebonyi, Taraba, Niger and Ogun States in rice production.
It has also signed 1,106 agreements with major off-takers in rice and cassava value chains, while supporting farmers to increase their production, in efforts to improve Nigeria’s food security.
Ogun State Coordinator of VCDP, Mr Samuel Adeogun, said, “There has been increase in the number of people having access to land, especially women and youths.
“Land development has also provided room for farm mechanisation. We believe that the use of farm mechanisation increases efficiency; reduces cost of production and improves farm yield.”
A cassava farmer in Aiyetoro community in Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun State, Mrs Folashade Arijogbade, said that through the VCDP intervention on land development, her group now owned a 30-hectare farmland, up from the previous 0.5 hectares.
She said that the land development scheme of the VCDP required land owners or communities to sign a land-leasing agreement for a minimum of 10 years.
“The lands are sourced from either the communities or the government.
“By this, they will be able to recoup their investment on the lands because land development is a capital intensive venture which is beyond the capacity of smallholder farmers,” she said.
It was learnt that the land development project of the VCDP has facilitated improved mechanisation among the farmers, while creating services for farmers and jobs for farm mechanisation service providers.
It has also developed 1,292 hectares in the six participating states and provided mechanisation at a 50 per cent subsidy to boost farmers’ participation.
In the programme that has a budget of 104.4 million dollars, IFAD is providing 74.4 million dollars, while the Federal Government is contributing 9.9 million dollars.
The state governments are contributing 10.4 million dollars; the local government councils are providing 4.3 million dollars; the complementary financing is 2.8 million dollars, while the beneficiaries are contributing 2.1 million dollars.
Lawal is of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
Customs Accuses Embassies Of Encouraging Smuggling
Another mode of vehicle smuggling through the land borders hiding under diplomatic cover of embassies has been uncovered by the Nigeria Customs Service at Seme Border in Lagos.
The Customs Area Controller, Seme Border, Comptroller Bello Mohammed Jibo, disclosed this on Tuesday when briefing newsmen on activities of the command between January and September.
Jibo displayed four exotic vehicles with diplomatic number plates that were seized by his men.
He said that the smugglers in an attempt to bring in dutiable vehicles into the country without paying Customs duty hid under the pretence that the vehicle belonged to a diplomat.
Jibo said that upon scrutiny and investigation, the claims that the vehicles belonged to the embassies and that diplomatic officials were traveling in them were discovered to be untrue.
The command, according to him, also intercepted contrabands worth one thousand, two hundred and forty four (1,244) smuggled items with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of eight hundred and eighty six million, four hundred and twenty eight thousand, one hundred and sixty three Naira, forty one kobo (N886, 428, 163.41) only between January and September this year.
The command added that it collected the sum of seven hundred and eighteen million, eight hundred and twenty eight thousand, five hundred and twenty nine Naira, eighty five kobo (N718, 828, 529.85) only as revenue during the period under review.
Within this period, the command also processed and exited exported trade volume of six hundred and thirty five thousand, one hundred and forty nine Naira, twenty three kobo (635, 149.23) metric tonnes, with the Free On board (FOB) value of fifteen billion, five hundred and sixty four million, one hundred and thirty thousand, five hundred and eighteen Naira, nine kobo (N15, 564, 130, 518.09) only, and the NESS value of seventy eight million, two hundred and three thousand, seven hundred and seventy nine naira, eighty one kobo (N78, 203, 779. 81) only.
Under ETLS, the command treated and exited one thousand, three hundred and fourteen (1,314) trucks of goods under the scheme.
Explaining some of the items seized, Jibo said in July 2021, the command made a huge seizure of three thousand, one hundred and eighty six (3,186) parcels of cannabis sativa concealed with sharp sand along Badagry-Seme road.
“Furthermore, in our last press conference, the command handed over two hundred and thirty two (232) parcels of cannabis sativa to National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Special Command Seme.
“Securing our borders is a collective responsibility; the Nigeria Customs Service ensures inter-agency cooperation and coordination among all the other security agencies at the border”, he said.
The command, however, lamented that the economic policies of the Benin Republic was affecting its revenue drive, saying all goods transiting through Benin are mandated to pay some duties and levies by the government of Benin Republic which is contrary to ECOWAS protocols and international transit agreements.
By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
Nigeria Owes N35.5trn, As Local Debt Stands At N21trn
The nation’s public debt stock stood at N35.465trillion as at June 30, Director-General of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Ms. Patience Oniha, has disclosed.
Total public debt is composed of the domestic and external debt of the Federal Government, the 36 state governments and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Nigeria’s total public debt stock was N33.107trillion or $87.239billion, as at March 31, 2021.
This indicated a N2.358trillion rise in the debt stock from the end of the first quarter of the year to the end of the second quarter.
A breakdown of the public debt figure under review indicated that that external debt was N13.711trillion, representing 38.66 per cent.
On the other hand, domestic debt was N21.754trillion, representing 61.34 per cent of the total stock.
The Federal Government accounted for N11.828trillion of the external debt and N17.632trillion of the domestic debt.
States and the FCT’s external debt stood at N1.883trillion, with a domestic debt stock of N4.122trillion.
The breakdown of the external debt showed that the bulk of the debt is owed to multilaterals (World Bank Group and the African Development Bank Group), which accounted for 54.88 per cent.
The next highest category is the commercial debt (Eurobonds and Diaspora bonds) which accounted for 31.88 per cent; while bilateral (China, France, Japan, India and Germany) stood at 12.70 per cent.
Promissory Notes represent 0.54 per cent.
Oniha explained that the nation had several benefits from going to source funds which included showcasing Nigeria in a positive light in the international financial markets where large pools of capital are available.
In addition, she said, “The sovereign Eurobonds serve as a benchmark on the back of which several local banks have issued Eurobonds. Amongst them are Zenith Bank, Access Bank, UBA, FBN, Ecobank Nigeria and Fidelity Bank. This window opened by the sovereign enabled these Nigerian Banks raise Tier-2 Capital to meet regulatory requirements and enhanced their capacity to lend to, and, support local borrowers.
“Issuing Eurobonds has been a potent tool for building up Nigeria’s External Reserves. A healthy level of External Reserves supports the Naira Exchange Rate and Nigeria’s sovereign rating.
“Raising funds externally through Eurobonds to finance budget deficits reduces the level of sovereign borrowing in the domestic markets. The benefits of this are many: mitigates the risk of crowding out the private sector (more funds available at moderate rates for other borrowers in the domestic economy).
“The Eurobonds are also listed in Nigeria’s two securities exchanges: The Nigerian Exchange Limited and FMDQ Securities Exchange Limited. This increases the size of these exchanges and diversity of instruments listed.
“The Eurobonds are actually issued as part of approved Government Borrowing Plans, usually in the FGN’s annual budgets, for financing capital projects thereby reducing the infrastructure gap.”
The D-G explained that the issues of rising debt, high debt service to revenue ratio and utilization of borrowed funds were germane.
She said that members of the public should not lose sight of the facts which necessitated borrowing which included, “Huge Infrastructure Deficit , Recession (twice in the last six years), Consecutive Budget Deficits, Low Revenue Base, compounded by dependence on one source – crude oil which prices crashed and at a point, at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic had no buyers.”
Oniha stressed that Nigerians must challenge themselves and support the Federal Government on the need to raise revenue.
She noted that the 5 per cent tax as a percentage of the Gross Domestic product (GDP) was too poor for Nigeria and that concerted efforts must be made to increase the nation’s revenue.
The D-G disclosed that work has already started on this, adding the Federal Government debt to the Central Bank of Nigeria which was at about N10trillion at the beginning of the process.
She said, “We are working towards recognizing it, getting the proper approvals to include it in the public debt stock. Where we are is to get the necessary approvals to convert it into a tenured debt.”
On the foreign exchange implications for debt service, especially the fall in the value of the Naira, in recent times, the DMO boss said, “we have initiated actions towards managing that risk.”
85,265mt Of LPG Supplied In August, PPPRA Claims
The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), yesterday, reported that 85,264.803 metric tonnes (MT) of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) were supplied nationwide in August.
The Executive Secretary of the agency, Abdulkadir Saidu, made the disclosure in a statement.
A breakdown of the supply report shows that 38,040.457MT was sourced locally by Ever Oil, Stockgap, NIPCO, 11 Plc, Greenville Natural Gas, PNG Gas Ltd, NPDC and Ashtavinayak Hydrocarbon Ltd, while 47,224.346MT was imported by NIPCO, Matrix, Algasco, Techno Oil, Prudent, AA Rano, Stockgap.
Additional analysis of the data on importation in the month of August shows that 21,606.301MT was imported from the USA, while 13,044.266MT was imported from Algeria and 12,573.779MT was brought into the country from Equatorial Guinea.
The volume of LPG supplied in August suggests a decrease of about 21,959.781MT compared to the 107,224.584MT supplied in the month of July.
In addition, 102,787.234MT was also supplied in the month of June.
On the other hand, out of the 38,040.457MT sourced locally, 7,042.058MT was sourced by Ever oil, 9,429.761MT by Stockgap, 7,687.112MT by NIPCO, 4,761.626MT by 11 Plc and 440.380MT by Greenville,Rumuji, Rivers State.
Also, the PNG Gas Ltd in Ebedei, Delta State supplied 651.490MT into the market, while NPDC, Oredo, Benin State provided 1,055.310MT and Ashtavinayak Hydrocarbon Ltd Kwale, Delta State, discharged 6,972.720MT.
Similarly, 11,262.04MT of propane was sourced locally and supplied into the energy market by NPDC and Ashtavinayak Hydrocarbon.
“It is worthy to note that since the declaration of the “Decade of Gas” by President MuhammaduBuhari, and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, the nation has witnessed a significant increase in the volume of LPG produced locally. This is due to the commitment of the Federal Government in promoting gas penetration, to ensure a clean source of energy for cooking, power generation and transportation,”Saidu said.
The Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) as the first law that recognises the oil and gas midstream sector will promote and protect gas-based investments and optimise the nation’s enormous gas potentials while ensuring that Nigeria transit to become a net-zero emission nation.
The PPPRA boss reiterated the agency’s continued support for the Federal Government’s policy to deepen LPG penetration in the country and create a healthy life for Nigerians.
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