Transforming Agriculture Via NGOs
Musa Aliyu, 55, regrets that although he has been farming all his life, he has remained a poor farmer.
He is among many rural farmers in Kogi who moved to neighbouring Edo to form cluster-farming communities with a view to benefitting from modern agronomic practices and access to farm inputs.
Aliyu attributes his plight to lukewarm attitude of some stakeholders towards modern agricultural methodology which, he says, hinders ability of rural farmers to access fertilisers and other inputs.
Analysts note that Aliyu’s case typifies the experience of many rural farmers who take farming as a way of life, but cannot be helped to become commercial agriculturists.
Mr Michael Onotu, a retired civil servant who manages a small farm in Okene, notes that Nigeria is blessed with resources to develop agriculture, but lacks capacity for modern farming.
Analysts agree that the Federal Government’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda is aimed at revolutionising agriculture and reinvigorating the morale of farmers to meet the nation’s food needs.
They say that the agenda may not achieve its targets if it is not supported by various stakeholders, especially non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the sector.
They note that NGOs are private outfits whose structure and activities are based on the initiative of individuals or institutions to complement government’s effort in good governance.
Mr Albert Alabi, an Abuja resident, says involving NGOs in the agriculture transformation programme will enhance government’s initiatives.
“Involvement of NGOs is necessary because they realise that no government can provide all the necessities of life for the wellbeing of its citizens,” he said.
In the same vein, Mr Ibrahim Anas, Executive Director of LOGADEF, an NGO, wants similar organisations and youths to be assist government in transforming agriculture for food security.
LOGADEF recently organised the “All Nigerian States and Local Government Agricultural Development and Rural Transformation Trade Fair 2013” in Abuja.
“It was organised in collaboration with the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and supported by the Federal Government. It featured many farmers from many states and local government areas,” Anas said.
According to him, produce exhibited at the fair included yams, cassava, legumes, poultry products and agro-allied chemicals, among other agricultural equipment.
The Minister of State for FCT, Chief Olajumoke Akinjide, expresses optimism that the efforts of NGOs will go a long way in complementing federal government’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda.
But critics have noted that besides organising agricultural fairs and shows, non-governmental organisations in the sector can do much more in the agriculture transformation agenda.
Mr Mohammed Abdulkadir, a farmer who exhibited produce at the fair, commended the role of NGOs, but urged them to further complement government’s efforts.
Dr Tunde Arosanyin, Financial Secretary of All Nigeria Framers Association (AFAN), says that NGOs can do better by going beyond organising trade fairs.
According to him, AFAN has taken steps to identify genuine farmers in various towns and villages, as well as collated reliable data on farmers across the country.
Arosanyin says that the association has helped government agencies to achieve success in data capturing of farmers through its farmer registration exercise.
He notes that registration of farmers and agro-allied produce dealers is a veritable way of assisting transformation in agriculture.
According to him, NGOs should serve as a link between government and farmers to ensure effective delivery of farm inputs and popularising new farm techniques and methodologies.
“When the value of agricultural produce is enhanced, the quality improves, patronage will increase; this will affect the price value and farmers will smile.
“It is only when these roles are played effectively that the Agricultural Transformation Agenda of the federal government will be meaningful to the life of poor farmers, and add value to national economy,” he said.
Experts in agriculture are of the view that Nigerian youths can be encouraged to organise themselves into community-based organisations to educate farmers on need areas and methodologies if they are trained.
They also agree that NGOs can be useful to farming communities through establishing more rural agricultural cooperative societies to provide access to loans without collateral for poor farmers.
Mr Mathew Ochu, a retired agriculture officer in Lokoja, thinks that such cooperatives will ensure that poor farmers also have access to other inputs that can enhance food production.
“I want to see many NGOs complementing government’s efforts in reviving agriculture extension services by going to rural farming communities to teach farmers modern techniques of farming, fertiliser application and food storage,” he said.
However, analysts hold the belief that farmers are among the most productive segment of the Nigerian population who deserve necessary assistance from government and non-governmental organisations to sustain food production and fight hunger.
Ahmed writes for the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
SMEDAN Begins 2023 Registration For Loans, Grants, Others
Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigerian (SMEDAN) has commenced the 2023 registration for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to make them eligible for a range of benefits, including loans, grants, government assistance, and other resources for the year.
The opportunity was made known through the Director General of SMEDAN Mr Olawale Fasanya in their website.
Fasanya said the opportunity would help to grow small businesses and also provide access to benefits that will support them, as well as make resources available to help SMEs succeed.
“Loans can provide a small business with the necessary capital to start or expand operations. Loans can be customised to meet the specific needs and goals of a business.
“Making timely loan payments can help a business improve its credit score, which can be useful when seeking a loan or future investment.
“With access to capital, businesses may be able to pursue new opportunities for growth and expansion”, he said.
He advised small and medium enterprises to take advantage of the SMEDAN support by becoming more competitive in their respective markets.
“It can help small businesses access resources, such as funding and training, that may not be available to them.
“It can provide opportunities for small business owners to connect with other businesses and industry experts, resulting in valuable partnerships and collaborations”, he said.
According to the SMEDAN DG, the specific requirements and procedures for registering a small or medium business with SMEDAN vary, depending on the nature of one’s business and its location in Nigeria.
Plays a vital role in supporting the development of small and medium enterprises in nigeria. through its various programmes, it can provide businesses with access to capital, resources and expertise that can help them grow and succeed.
“SMEDAN’s efforts benefit both the private and government sectors, as small and medium enterprises are important drivers of economic growth and job creation”, Fasanya said, “SMEDAN.
By: Lilian Peters
FG Boosts Farming In Bauchi With New Dam
The Federal Government has constructed an earth dam and provided inputs to farmers in Bauchi State.
This is in a bid to curb clashes among farmers and herders in the area.
The government also embarked on land clearing activities to boost agricultural production in the state and its environs.
Disclosing this in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday, the Executive Secretary, National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA), Paul Ikonne, said the dam and inputs were provided to farmers in Azare Local Government Area of Bauchi State.
He said the dam would cater for the water needs of over 10,000 animals, and serve as irrigation facility for more than three villages in the area, adding that NALDA would provide solar-powered pumping machines to pump water to neighbouring farms.
In the statement, NALDA said tractors and site workers were currently ensuring that the dam was completed within the stipulated time frame of two weeks.
It read in part, “In an interaction with farmers from the area in Gamawa, the Executive Secretary of NALDA, Paul Ikonne, said the project is aimed at ensuring availability of water for irrigation and animal husbandry in order to curb farmers and herders clashes across the country.”
It stated further that the representative of the District Head of Gamawa, Mohammed Babayo, who spoke on behalf of the farmers, appreciated the government for the dam.
Babayo, however, called on NALDA to further support farmers in the area with inputs such as improved seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides and access roads.
He said the farmers were willing to provide more land for clearing and were ready for more partnership with NALDA, stressing that it was the first time the villages would feel the presence of the Federal Government.
Babayo told the NALDA team that all agricultural activities in the area were based on collective efforts of the farmers.
Rice Cultivation: New Policy To Facilitate 2.7m Hectares -Minister
The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Shehuri, has said the recently launched National Rice Development Strategy II (NRDS II) Nigeria is aimed at increasing the rice area under irrigation from less than 1 million hectares to 2.7 million hectares, particularly areas under supplementary water supply to attain 2 cropping per year.
Shehuri said this while launching NRDS II in Abuja recently, noting that the rice value chain has been identified as being strategic to achieving food and nutrition security.
According to Shehuri, the document presented at the launching showed that cultivable land in the country is estimated at 4.234 million hectares, made up of rain-fed uplands at 30 percent, rain-fed lowland at 52 percent, irrigated lowlands at 17 percent and mangrove at 1 percent
He stated that the new Strategy also targets to build the capacity of 84,000 extension agents and 12 million farmers on Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) and Sustainable Rice Production (SRP).
“Part of its goal is to increase on a sustainable basis the volume of rice paddy produced, stored-up and marketed in Nigeria to meet the widening annual national demand and surpluses for export in the long run, and to improve the livelihoods of rice-dependent households in the country.
“The document further noted that the objectives of the new Strategy is to bring more of Nigeria’s potential rice areas into cultivation through land development and make more rice land available.
“Enhance the productivity of existing cultivated areas through increased adoption of GAP for sustainable rice production and closing the yield gaps existing between farmers;
“Promote the adoption and use of climate-smart technologies and practices that reduce greenhouse gas emission from rice fields and increase the resilience or adaptation to climate change impact
“To promote the adoption of SRP standards to mitigate the negative impact on the biophysical and social environment of rice production. Enhance farmer’s access to quality agro-inputs and their optimal use at a realistic cost”, he stated.
The new Rice Strategy also aims at increasing average yield to 4.0 tons per hectare for rain-fed upland, 6.0 tons per hectare for rain-fed lowland and 7.5 tons per hectare for irrigated ecology through the introduction of new high-yielding climate-smart rice varieties.
According to report, “NRDS II document is a ten-year plan which seeks to provide direction for the development of the rice subsector to achieve government’s goals of self-sufficiency in rice production, food and nutrition security, employment creation and production of surplus for export”.
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