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Agriculture

Nutritionist Warns On Children’s Lunch Packs

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As children return to school after the long vacation, parents should make vegetables, fruits and water their wards’ diets, a nutritionist said.

The Principal Nutritionist at KubwaGeneral Hospital, Abuja, Mrs Victoria Eze, gave the advice in an interview with newsmen on Monday.

She said that consumption of fruits, vegetables and water would ensure a balanced diet and help in boosting the rate of assimilation and intelligence of  the child.

Eze urged parents to select the appropriate fruits and vegetables for their children from the variety of fruits available in the market.

According to her, nutritionists have started an enlightenment campaign among parents with the aim of making them to see the nutritional benefits of giving fresh fruits and vegetables to their wards instead of packaged juice.

She further advised parents to abstain from feeding their children with packaged juice as it was a major cause of obesity among children.

“They shouldn’t lack in a food pack, no matter how small, make sure that there is fruit, even if it is one orange, banana, garden egg, make sure you create a space and drop one for the child to take to school.

“If the child doesn’t eat well, whatever is being taught, the child might not understand because the brain would not be functioning well because the child did not take enough energy giving food.

“We are discouraging children from taking drinks to school. Most of our children are becoming obese and the problem with obesity in children is that by the time they are getting to adulthood they are already developing diabetes which is dangerous.

“The fruits should be prepared at home but orange and apple they will be taking one everyday to school instead of all these packaged fruit juices’’.

Eze also advised parents to ensure that the foods their children took to school contained a lot of protein.

She identified beans, fish, eggs, beef and chicken as some foods rich in protein and necessary for healthy living.

She said that foods rich in carbohydrate should be combined with vegetables or eggs with a lot of water because of their heaviness.

“Beans should not be too much or else the child could sleep in class,” Eze said.

She condemned the feeding of children with fast foods, such as noodles as they were not healthy.

“We don’t advise parents to feed their children with noodles everyday because it would have gone soggy before lunch-time.

“The best time to take noodles should be immediately after cooking and anytime after one hour, it is considered poison.’’

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Agriculture

FG Charges Agric Colleges On Vocational Trainings, Skills Acquisition

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The Federal Government has directed Federal Colleges of Agriculture to devote more time and resources to vocational and skills acquisition training programmes to boost food production and ensure food security in the country.
Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, gave the charge in Abuja at the meeting of the Executive Directors of the National Agricultural Research Institutes, Provosts of Federal Colleges of Agriculture, and Directors of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria.
The Minister, who was represented by the Minister of State for Agriculture, Dr Aliyu Sabi Abduallahi, charged them to focus more on practicals and less on theories to enable the beneficiaries of such trainings to have practical and working knowledge of agricultural businesses.
Furthermore, Kyari directed the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) to work with key stakeholders in the agricultural education sub-sector to actualise the directive.
The Minister further charged them to use the available lands within the various agricultural research and training institutions for agricultural production.
He said, “You will recall my earlier directive that available lands within the various agricultural research and training institutions should be channelled toward agricultural production.
“I therefore wish to reiterate that all of you should key into this initiative of the ministry aimed at promoting food production in the country”.
The Minister, who underscored the importance of agricultural research, noted that to “drive agricultural transformation, research and training plays a pivotal role.
“Agriculture is the singular most important sector that can transform the economy of our great country to meet the growing demands for food, nutrition, industry and jobs.
“Accordingly, increase in agricultural productivity is the key determinant for socioeconomic transformation and thus livelihood improvements in Nigeria.
“Improvement in agricultural productivity has been proven to take millions of people out of food insecurity and low-income status to food security and improved living standards.
“It is the engine room for agricultural development and our priority as a Ministry is, therefore, to reposition the National Agricultural Research system for greater productivity”.
Kyari, while revealing the reason for the Federal Government’s insistence on the implementation of ARCN Act, said the amendment of the Act has made provisions for “efficient management of research and training, including the establishment of spin-off companies to commercialise research products and innovations generated by our institutions”.
He, therefore, urged them to strengthen the platform as a means of increasing the internally generated revenue of their institutions to augment the available fund for research, training and extension activities.
In his welcome remarks, Professor Garba Sharubutu, Executive Secretary of ARCN, commended the Minister for his contributions to the development of the council, recalling that the minister was one of those who initiated the amendment of ARCN Act 2021.
Sharubutu noted that the meeting was convened for various stakeholders to deliberate on the content of the amended ARCN Act as well as consider the issues of revenue generation, performance based evaluation system and the restructuring of ARCN.

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Agriculture

Don Advocates Tech-Driven Approach To Agric, Food Production

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The Secretary-General, Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, Professor Yakubu Ochefu, has called for a technology-driven approach to modern agriculture and food production in Nigeria.
He stated this while delivering the 31st convocation lecture of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) titled, “From Baby Boomers to Generation Alpha: Interrogating Generational Dynamics and Agricultural Education in Nigeria”, held recently in Abeokuta.
The former Vice Chancellor of Kwararafa University, Taraba State, outlined the transformative potential of precision agriculture, drones, robots, driverless tractors, Artificial Intelligence, Algorithms, soilless farming and vertical farming (urban agriculture).
The lecture delved into generational dynamics, tracing cycles from the silent generation (great-grandparents) through the Baby Boomers (grandparents), Generation X (parents), Millennials (young adults), to Generation Alpha (teenagers).
Ochefu highlighted the 25-year generational cycle in African societies, emphasising three generations co-exist with distinct experiences and pre-occupations.
Describing the Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) as the architects of the current technology-driven world, Professor Ochefu stressed the need for Nigerian universities, particularly higher institutions, to embrace the virtual reality of Generation Z.
He urged them to shed conservative traditions, acknowledging that universities play a dual role—offering ideas that shape society, while also holding onto traditions that may no longer align with current realities.
Earlier, the chairman of the occasion, Professor Saka Adelola Matemilola, the Olowu of Owu Kingdom, had commended the relevance of the lecture, noting the significant shift from crude agricultural practices to a technology-intensive era.
The traditional ruler stressed the importance of encouraging technology-savvy individuals born in the age of digitalisation to take interest in agriculture.

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Agriculture

Potato Harvesters Applaud Agric End Point, Production

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The harvesters of a local Potatoe farm in Rumuepirikom Community, Port Harcourt, have described the joy associated with harvest as commendable, compared to the stress put in during the farming processes.
The harvesters, who spoke to The Tide in a chat in their farms, said the only thing that cushions the stress and challenges of farming is good harvest.
One of the farmers, Mrs Oluchi Sunday, said potato yields well if it is planted on a good soil where there is enough sand.
She noted that the problem with farming and agriculture is lack of funds to purchase good seed and vast farm lands.
“Farmers need grants and not loans. We cannot meet up with loans which would be required back even before the crops mature for sales.
“This is why the loan applications are embarrassing most farmers who borrowed money from them to put in their farm businesses”, she said.
Another harvester, Mrs. Chimereodo James, said potato is very easy to plant and harvest, adding that one cannot compare it with vegetables that die at the touch of little flood.
Responding to the issue of mechanised digital farming, she said the State is lagging behind in agriculture, compared to other States, especially the Northern part of the country where government takes agriculture very seriously and even provides lands, tractors, seeds and funds to lure youths into mechanised farming.
She called on the Governor of Rivers State to execute the agricultural programmes as promised, adding, “his moves towards alleviating the plight of the people so far has been very encouraging”.
Another farmer who pleaded anonymity said the State is capable of diversifying her economy through agriculture, noting, “Etche alone if empowered can produce what can feed the State and also exports”.
He also called on agricultural associations to emulate what their counterparts in other States are doing to help their States and the nation at large.

Lilian Peters

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