The Partnership Initiative in the Niger Delta (PIND) has assured oil palm producers of value addition, best practices and profitability in the oil palm value chain.
A consultant on oil palm value chain and co-facilitator in the oil palm intervention, Dr Samuel Dare gave the assurance at a stakeholders meeting in Port Harcourt.
The meeting, organised by PIND for oil palm producers, processors, finance institutions and related equipment fabricators in the state, was initiated to renew confidence in the oil palm value chain.
Dare, who is also a representative for market development on oil palm in the Niger Delta, said that PIND as an organisation and facilitator in the oil palm value chain, had brought together expertise in order to address the endemic constraints in the sector.
“For effective results, we have introduced access to improve and certified seedlings because we have discovered that there are lots of adulterated seedlings that our small holder farmers are getting.
“And as a result of poor yield by these seedlings, farmers end up being discouraged after investing over seven years of their business lives using wrong inputs,” he said.
Dare said that as part of measures toward ending the unfriendly farmers experience and once again bring the oil palm agriculture business to limelight.
He said PIND had decided to set in its corrective measures from the beginning which is the introduction of improved and certified seedlings.
“PIND has had several agreements with Sprouted Hybrid Tenera nuts producing companies to ensure that improved sprouted nuts could be available to small holder farmers across the oil palm producing states in the country.
“Presently, the global value for palm oil stands at 500 million dollars, of which initially Nigeria was the highest contributor as at the 1950s and 1960s.
“At that time, Nigeria was producing about 570,000 metric tons but currently, Nigeria now produces about one million and fifteen thacting ousand metric tons, in spite of all these, we contribute only three per cent of the global production,” he said.
According to him, the record is not encouraging, especially that Nigeria has the climate and soil which is why most of the oil palm estates in Nigeria are owned by foreign investors from Indonesia, Thailand or even Malaysia.
“Some palm estates owned by Nigerians have been sold out to foreigners who are managing them very well with best practices, a strategy which is lacking among the small holder farmers and which is also one of PIND’s interventions.
“Harvesting, processing equipment and access to agricultural loans were also key to the intervention,’’ he said.
Reacting, one of the participants, Mr Godwin Akandu, Representative for PIND and Chairman, Oil Palm and Cassava Producers in the state, expressed satisfaction on farmer’s participation in the oil palm business.
Akandu commended PIND for introducing improved tenera seeds, equipment and financial collaboration with the CBN and Money banks, adding that the measure would add value in the entire oil palm business.
He urged state government and farmers to invest more in the sector.
Wike, Driver Of Nigeria’s True Federalism -Nsirim
The Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, has described the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, as a man whose vision is to place Nigeria on the path of true federalism.
Nsirim, who said this when he appeared as guest on a live radio programme in Port Harcourt, last Wednesday, as part of the ministry’s second phase advocacy campaign programme, #OurStateOurResponsibility, emphasised that Wike has remained the face of democracy in Nigeria today.
“The point I would want every Rivers person to understand first is, today we have a Governor Wike, a visionary leader beyond Rivers State and beyond the shores of Nigeria.
“What you have seen with the VAT issue just clearly shows that we have a man at this time in history who has taken it upon himself to right the wrongs and place Nigeria on the path of true federalism,” he said.
He said the second phase of the campaign would encompass issues evolving around the developmental strides of Governor Nyesom Wike’s administration in the areas of infrastructure, healthcare delivery, education, agriculture, rehabilitation of the less privileged, security architecture and sports.
“Remember, and I like making this point because people need to know where we are coming from. In 2015, this man was told they would see where he would see money to pay salaries and do projects.
“He inherited four months’ unpaid salaries. He inherited five months’ pension arrears. This was the only administration in Nigeria that did not get a handover note from the previous administration, but look at where we are. We are in a place of glory.
“Development here has entered a golden era. I also make the point that because Governor Wike is a people-oriented governor, even the less privileged feels the impact of his administration. The Rehabilitation Centre we have at Iriebe today is the best in the country”, Nsirim said.
The commissioner said that the governor would always welcome constructive criticism from the public, and would treat them legitimately but regretted that some of the criticisms, which he said, emanate from the vocal minority, were armchair criticisms.
He emphasised that the ultimate desire of the governor was to make Rivers State the destination of choice.
He said the second phase of the #OurStateOurResponsibility campaign would, therefore, focus on enlisting citizens’ participation in the policies and programmes of government.
“The second phase is now citizens’ participation. We have done advocacy, let us feel the pulse of the people. How much have they internalised the message. So, we are starting first with essay competition and the target group is between 16 and 25 years.
“We really want to feel the pulse of the younger people because those are the leaders of tomorrow. Then we have a team song competition.
“We want to develop a team song for the campaign and the skit competition. That too we want to use to get everybody involved. The grand finale will be the film competition,” he said.
He said winners of the competitions would have prizes, consolation prizes and would be celebrated as the face of the ministry’s #OurStateOurResponsibility campaign.
He said the competition would also be used to set the right values in place for people to begin to showcase merit, hardwork and integrity in society.
Jonathan Wants NARD To Suspend Strike
Former President of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Jonathan had appealed to the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) and the Federal Government to quickly resolve the ongoing industrial conflict to save lives in the country.
Jonathan made the plea during the 57th annual conference and scientific workshop of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria in Yenagoa, capital of Bayelsa State.
He stated that the importance of the medical profession could not be over-emphasised, just as he commended members of the Medical Laboratory Science Association for their steadfastness during the pandemics which had taken place recently in the nation.
The ex-president charged the Medical Scientists to continue investigating the causes of diseases,with a view to also working on prevention mechanisms and possible cure for it when ever they occur, saying that if the country must develope, the medical sector has to play a pivotal role.
In same vein,the Bayelsa State governor, Douye Diri has charged the Federal Government to work on an harmonised salary structure for all medical workers in the country.
He said if there had been an harmonised salary structure for all personnel of the medical profession in Nigeria, the issues of unending industrial strikes due to wages-related matters would have been a thing of the past.
Diri, represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, said all personnel in the healthcare delivery chain were important and therefore should be treated fairly on the platform of equity.
According to the governor, medical laboratory scientists are indispensable to the physician’s ability to properly diagnose and treat ailments in the health system.
He pointed out that although the medical laboratory profession is at the forefront of investigating diseases, it has not been accorded the recognition it rightly deserves in Nigeria.
Governor Diri, who urged the Federal Government to carry out a holistic reform in the health sector, suggested that states and local governments should be given more responsibilities and resources to provide services to the people, just as he said the Federal Government was currently being overwhelmed by the challenges in the health sector, hence there is the urgent need for devolution of power to save the sector from total collapse
“I want to call on the Federal Government to carry out a holistic reform in the health sector of our country. The salaries and allowances for all categories of health personnel in Nigeria should be harmonised.
“All personnel in the health sector are important and should be treated on the platform of equity. The medical laboratory scientists are involved in the proper investigation of diseases, but they are least recognised in Nigeria.
“Only an harmonised salary structure in the health sector will bring about equity. Experience has shown that if you satisfy the medical doctors, the nurses would complain”, he said.
“If you satisfy the nurses, then the pharmacists will complain; if you satisfy the pharmacists, the environmental health workers would complain and come up with their own fresh demands.Let’s reflect on this issue of disparity of pay package in the health sector in this conference. However, here in Bayelsa State, the challenges facing the AMLSN are being addressed by government, as follow up to our health summit. We are working on the legal framework, and also to incorporate task-shifting to achieve better results and outcomes”, he added.
In a keynote address, Dr. Azibapu Eruani, Group president,Azikel Companies called for effective collaboration in funding and promotion of research in preparing against the outbreak of any pandemic in the future to forestall its attendant human, social and economic losses.
The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Adeleke Mamora, said the AMLSN was in the forefront of building capacity for guiding medical doctors in the handling of clinical cases and treatment of patients.
Represented by the Chief Medical Director, Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, Dr. Dennis Alagoa, the Minister said President Muhammadu Buhari had set up the health sector reform committee to address challenges facing the sector and improve healthcare delivery in the country.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa
Delta Revokes Asaba-Oko Road Contract
Delta State Government on Tuesday announced that it had revoked the multi-million naira contract for the construction of Asaba/Oko-Amakom/Oko-Obiokpu/Oko-Anala Road over poor performance.
The road contract which was awarded in 2018, transverses Oko communities in Oshimili South Local Government Area of the state, and has been a major challenge to the state government over the years due to the peculiar topography of the area.
Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, told journalists at the end of the state’s Executive Council meeting in Asaba, that the meeting presided over by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, revoked the contract because the contractor was not working in line with the speed expected by the government after collecting mobilisation funds
He explained that government would check its records and evaluate the contract performance with a view to finding out if the contractor would refund some money to government or not.
He disclosed that the state government would engage another contractor with adequate capacity to complete the job in line with the speed required for the completion of the project.
On the other decisions of the Council, Aniagwu disclosed that as part of efforts to provide potable water and reduce communicable diseases, the state government had approved the construction and reticulation of a major water scheme in Okerenkoko in Warri South Local government Area.
He also added that the council approved the inclusion of certain erosion sites in Warri as part of efforts to address flooding in the twin cities of Warri and Effurun.
“On education, Exco approved the demolition and reconstruction of a two-storey building not in best of shape at West End Grammar School, Asaba.
“The project includes expansion of the building to 20 classrooms to enable the school run one session instead of the morning and afternoon sessions it was currently operating and the provision of a conference hall for assembly as well as toilets.
“Exco today also approved the renaming of Ogini Grammar School, Oghara to Ogini Model Secondary School, Oghara and the approval of training and acquisition of starter packs in ICT for youths in the state for the Ministry of Science and Technology.
“At today’s Exco, we also discussed the provisions made for the various ministries in the 2022 proposed budget and the possibility of a supplementary budget for 2021,” he stated.
On Covid-19 pandemic, Aniagwu said Exco has directed that a massive sensitisation of members of the public be carried out again on measures being taken to control the spread of the pandemic.
“With the return of the third wave and Delta variant, a number of persons have paid the supreme price on account of the attack including members of government.
“The Governor has directed that there was need to continue sensitisation on members of the public to continue adhering to the non-pharmaceuticals of regular hand washing, wearing of face masks and social distancing.
“Government is not considering another lock down in view of the hardship the pandemic has posed to the economy.
“We however, appeal to everybody to be personally responsible in helping to curb the spread of the virus
“Beyond that, government has asked everybody to come out for vaccination because we have made at least six points available in every local government and markets across the state,” he further stated.
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