Oil Palm Mills Stakeholder Urges Oil Mills Reactivation
A stakeholder in the
Oil Palm Milling industry, Mr. Gospel Iwori has called on the Rivers State Government to reactivate the various Oil Mills scartered around the State in other to boost production.
Mr. Iwori who came up with this during a chat with our Correspondent in Amalem in the Abua/Odual local government area of the State recently said the oil Palm Mills at Emesu and Otari all in Abua were intact and what needed to be done was reactivation.
He said the two Oil Mills used to be sources of employment in the area in the past.
He said the State government through the Ministry of Agriculture should set machinery in motion to reintroduce the Palm Produce Purchasing board.
He said this would encourage financial benefits to local producers of Palm Produce and save them from exploitation of middle men.
According to him, crude milling of palm oil was tidious and capital intensive.
He urged government to make soft loans available to full time farmers in the area not to relent in their activities as “that was their major means of their livelihood.
On the need for co-operative groups, Mr. Iwori said the local people were poor and what they produce was only for consumption.
Naira Scarcity: Catfish Farmers Bemoan Low Patronage
Due to the cash crunch across the country occasioned by the cashless policy and naira redesign of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), catfish farmers have lamented low patronage and its effects on them.
Speaking with catfish farmers in an interview with newsmen recently in Lagos, the Chief Executive Officer of Simple Aquaculture and Standard Resource Farms, Mr. Anthony Hammed, lamented the low demand for catfish despite the acceptance of the cashless policy.
“The issue of low demand for catfish in recent times is of real concern to us. The people are no longer buying catfish; fishes are just in the water consuming feeds and increasing our cost of operation.
“Although we accept mobile transfers, we noticed that sales just dropped suddenly since the Naira scarcity.
“Even now, we are slashing our prices just to sell our products even though the cost of ingredients and fish feed is skyrocketing daily”, Hammed said.
He noted that despite the high cost of feed materials, they had to slash prices to stay in business.
“Groundnut paste (GNC) soya fish meal is getting very expensive now, and people are not buying.
“Just to sell, we have to drop the price, we do not break even, but we still have a little margin of profit with which we keep body and soul together and to be in business”, he said.
Another farmer, Mrs Kemi Egbucha, said many farmers had closed their farms due to low patronage.“In fish farming presently, many farmers opt out of the trade due to increased price of fish feed.
“Most times when fish farmers order feed from companies, they have their supplies delayed for up to a month, resulting in losses.
“We used to buy a bag of fish feed for N11,000 before but now it goes for as high as N20,600 per bag.Even at that, we still experience low demand”.
Also, the Poultry Association of Nigerian(PAN) members lost more than N30 billion worth of over 15 million crates of eggs due to the effect of naira scarcity in the country.
The National President of PAN, Mr. Sunday Onallo-Akpa, made this known in a statement issued in Abuja.
“The poultry farmers in the country have lost over 15 million crates of eggs being unsold and are damaged; the average loss to the poultry industry as of this press release is more than N30 billion”, he said.
Onallo-Akpa described the poultry industry in Nigeria as one of the most consolidated subsectors of Nigeria’s agriculture, contributing about 25 per cent of the Agricultural Gross Domestic Product (AGDP) and employing over 25 million Nigerians direct and indirect.
He said the poultry industry had been a major employer of labour and a great source of financial empowerment and livelihood for many families, especially women, and youths.
Centre Partners Agric Agencies, Others To Support Aged Mothers
The National Senior Citizens Centre (NSCC) says it is partnering with relevant agriculture agencies, health sector and traditional leaders to provide conducive work environment for aged mothers.
The Director-General, NSCC, Dr. Emem Omokaro, stated this in Bwari earlier this week during a town hall meeting on the implementation of its programme tagged: “Grandmothers Arise for Good” initiative, an Economic Tree-Crops Planting Project in Bwari, FCT.
Omokaro said the centre was determined to support senior citizens, especially aged mothers to boost their agricultural business and ensure decent living.
“We took time to develop a wide sector intervention for communities; we call them grandmothers arise for good. Principally, the focus is for all the women who we know are assets in their communities.
“Most of them who are farmers and engaged in crafts have been doing their businesses individually, not really making a headway in terms of breaking even but at least, mitigating multidimensional competition.
“So, we call in the royal fathers to work with the community to end open defecation through the primary healthcare to institute a national health insurance and access to health”, she said.
The NSCC boss said the essence of the partnership was to converse with the senior citizens in the community, support them and organise their farming to attract more fund for them.
“And we bring in all the agencies to fulfill our mandate which is to improve the quality of life”, she said.
According to reports, the participants at the meeting include representative from the Federal Capital Territory Primary Healthcare Board, Water Aid, FCT Head of Agricultural Services and Sanitation; and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency.
Wet Season: Farmers Begin Yam Cultivation
Farmers in Benue, Niger, Nasarawa, Taraba, and other states have started preparing their fields for cultivation with the start of the first rain.
This comes amid complaints that a severe financial shortage is weighing heavily on many of them, making it challenging for them to buy seed, herbicides and other inputs.
Although the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) had predicted early rain this year, experts advised farmers not to sow their crops with the arrival of the first rain, which is predicted to start in April or May in the central regions of the country.
While most farmers in Benue, Taraba, and Nasarawa States began planting their yams on March 10 with the arrival of the first rain, others are now building their heaps in preparation for planting as soon as the second rain comes.
According to the Chairman of the Yam Farmers Association in Benue State, Mrs. Scholarstica Amua, some people have already planted while others are in the process of doing so.
Those who prepared their heaps in September last year have already planted. Those of us who didn’t make it are just clearing our lands. We have the challenge of inputs – are so costly—herbicide, fertiliser, and labour.
In his contribution, Comrade Aondongu Saaku, state chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), emphasised the necessity for those who planted in September to heavily mulch their heaps so that as the rainy season gets underway, the crop would germinate more quickly and avoid going bad from the intense heat.
Many farmers in Nasarawa State, however, reportedly switched from early planting to late planting due to worries about animal destruction of heaps, extreme heat, and theft.
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