The Federal Government is to establish two additional Gum Arabic processing centres in Kano and Borno States, according to the Director of Agriculture, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Mrs Karima Babangida.
Babangida, who made the disclosure in her opening remarks at a capacity building workshop on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) for Gum Arabic farmers, in Dutse, yesterday, added that the centres are to be established this year as part of the ministry’s efforts at improving the production of the commodity.
The director said the ministry had earlier refurbished the Gum Arabic testing laboratory at the Rubber Research Institute of Nigeria (RRIN), for quality assurance, and also established a cottage processing centre in Damaturu, Yobe.
Babangida noted that the ministry had continued to build the capacities of Gum Arabic farmers on GAP, as well as supported research and development of the commodity.
“In recent years, the ministry has made various efforts to provide Gum Arabic farmers with improved seedlings, fertilizer, herbicide, tapping knives, storage bags, hammer mill with cyclone, prushers, colour sorting machines and digital moisture metres, so as to improve its production”, she said.
She pointed out that Gum Arabic, otherwise known as ‘desert gold’, was one of the Commodity Value Chains being promoted by the ministry for its many industrial and pharmaceutical uses.
“In food products, it serves as stabiliser, emulsifier and binding agent for chewing gum, ice cream and textile industry.
“Also, the trees are important for combating climate change, mitigating desertification, reducing soil erosion and improving soil fertility,” the director added.
According to her, the ministry was mainly promoting Gum Arabic in 15 states of Northern and Central parts of the country, where the agro-ecological factors were suitable for its production.
Babangida listed the states to include: Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Taraba, Zamfara, Gombe, Adamawa, Yobe, Plateau, Niger and Nasarawa.
She added that, the crop provided opportunities for trade, employment and livelihood improvement for rural dwellers, particularly women and youth, involved in gum collection and other value chain activities.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr Ernest Umakhihe, Mr Dipo Adegoke, the workshop was organised by the Gum Arabic Value Chain of the ministry, in collaboration with RRIN, to build the technical capacities of farmers on current techniques.
Represented by Mr Ukattah Bernard, Deputy Director, Tree Crops, Umakhihe pointed out that the global demand for Gum Arabic was valued at $373.1 million in 2018, and estimated to expand at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5.9%.
“So, Nigeria can key in into this global trend to boost our foreign exchange earnings, create employment and improve the livelihood of farmers.
“It is sad to note that Gum Arabic production is on the decline due to the insurgency and insecurity in the Northern region of the country”, he, however, said.
Also, an Assistant Director from Federal Ministry of Industries, Trade and Investment (FMITI), said the ministry had been collaborating with relevant stakeholders to develop and make Nigeria’s Gum Arabic Africa’s number one.
A participant, who is also the National Publicity Secretary of the National Association of Gum Arabic Producers and Exporters of Nigeria (NAGAPPEN), Malam Muhammad Bello, on behalf of other participants, thanked the organisers for the workshop.
Senate Urges NDDC To Complete Okitipupa Power Sub-Station
The Senate yesterday in Abuja urged the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to complete the installation of a transmission power sub-station in Okitipupa council of Ondo State.
According to the Senate, completing the installation of the transmission power sub-station is urgent in order to restore electricity to Ondo South Senatorial District comprising Okitipupa, Ilaje, Ese-Odo, Irele and Odigbo Local Government Areas (LGAs).
This was contained in a statement signed by Mr Olumide Akinrinlola, the media aide of Senator Nicholas Tofowomo, representing Ondo South at the senate.
He said that the senate acted on the motion filed by Tofowomo on, the urgent need to restore power back to the affected area before the end of the year.
The Senator, who is of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), lamented that the Southern Senatorial District was hosting the Omotosho Power Plant in Okitipupa LGA with a capacity of 512.8MW and 451MW Net since 2005 without residents benefitting from power supply.
“The situation is embarrassing because I continue to wonder if Ondo South is part of Nigeria because suffering from electricity blackout for about 14 years has grounded many economic activities.
“Almost 90 per cent of my people have been deprived of electricity since 2007 and since put them uninterrupted darkness.
“The district is hosting the Omotosho Power Plant in Okitipupa LGA with a capacity of 512.8MW and 451MW Net since 2005 without the people benefiting from the distribution of electricity.
“The intervention came in 2012 by NDDC in a contract; 132KV transmission and 132KV/33KV sub-station and line were awarded in Okitipupa LGA.
“As at today, 85 per cent of the job has been completed and all the 145 Transmission Line Towers from Omotosho Power Station to the Sub Station has been completed.
“The sub-station’s outstanding works remain 15 per cent of which can be accomplished without delay if all the necessary machinery are put in place.
“The substation can be ready for transmission to the federal feeders in Irele, Odigbo, Ilaje, Ese-Odo and Okitipupa LGA within the shortest possible time,” Tofowomo told the senate.
Delta Assembly Passes Anti-Grazing Bill
The Delta State House of Assembly yesterday passed a Bill for a Law Prohibiting Open Grazing, Indiscriminate Breeding, Rearing and Marketing of Livestock in Delta also known as “Anti Grazing Bill”.
The passage of the bill followed a motion for the third reading moved by the Majority Leader of the House, Mr Ferguson Onwo, during the plenary of the Assembly in Asaba.
The motion which was unanimously adopted by the house, was seconded by the Minority Leader of the Assembly, Mr Innocent Anidi.
Earlier, the Chairman of House Committee on Special Bills, Mrs Pat Ajudua, had presented the report on the bill on the floor of the House, which was received and adopted.
Ajudua, while presenting the bill, said that inputs of stakeholders formed part of the proposed law.
She noted that the bill when signed into law would prohibit the carrying of firearms, either licensed or otherwise, by residents or individuals in the state, just as it seeks to address the arbitrary rearing and movement of livestock.
In his reaction, the Speaker, Chief Sheriff Oborevwori, expressed happiness over the development, saying that the people and residents of the state would be very happy that the bill was passed.
“Dear colleagues, I congratulate all of us on the passage of this very important bill.
“Today, the house has fulfilled the commitment of our dear state to the agreement reached at the South-South Governors’ meeting held here in our state capital, Asaba.
“By virtue of this bill, this house has demonstrated its resolve to protect the people of the state from the menace of clashes between herders and farmers.
“I must therefore, commend all the sponsors of this bill, for recognising that the security of lives and property of the people of the state as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) are sacrosanct,” Oborevwori said.
Oborevwori said that with the passage of the bill, well-meaning persons who seek to carry on the business of breeding, rearing and marketing of livestock should do so within the boundaries of the law.
“Also, farmers can now go about their businesses without fear of anyone grazing on their crops.
“This for sure will boost food production in the state; dear colleagues, this Bill is a right step in the right direction as our women can now go to their farmlands without fear of molestation.
“Once again, I thank you all for your untiring support as always and for your resolute commitment in the passage of people oriented bills, such as this.”
FG Tasks Media On Fight Against Fake News, Misinformation
The Federal Government has urged the media to complement the government’s efforts in the fight against fake news and misinformation in the country.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha gave the advice yesterday at a training of “Communication Managers on Fake News and Hate Speech’’ in Abuja.
The training was organised by the Bureau of Public Service Reforms.
Mustapha, represented by Mrs Veronica Agugu, the Director, Public Affairs Department in the office of SGF, described fake news as false and misleading information presented as news.
He urged media practitioners and managers to assist in bridging the divide between governments and citizens in terms of implementation of government reform policies and programmes.
“Strengthening transparency in governance will require public sector to public communication as a tool to systematically raise citizens awareness which in turn would reduce the potency of hate speech in the country,’’ Mustapha said.
Dr Bala Muhammad, a lecturer at the Department of Mass Communication, Bayero University, Kano State, described media managers as media literates.
He urged them to unite against fake news and misinformation to promote peaceful co-existence in the country.
Muhammad said that most of the users of social media were not media literate, hence they easily fall for fake news and misinformation in the country.
Mr Yushau Shuaib, one of the resource persons, expressed concern over the huge number of social media users who were not media literate.
Shuaib stressed the need for relevant stakeholders to redouble their efforts in regulating the activities of social media in the country.
Mr Dasuki Arabi, the Director-General, Bureau of Public Service Reforms, said the training was to tackle the growing incidences of fake news, and hate speech occasioned by internet technology in the country.
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