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FG, Flour Mills Partner On Sugar Production

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Member, Rivers State House of Assembly and House of Representative aspirant for Degema/Bonny Federal Constituency, Hon Aye Atamah Pepple, representing Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi (middle) harvesting plantain during St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Bakana, 2014 adult harvest thanksgiving service recently. Photo: Egberi .A. Sampson

Member, Rivers State House of Assembly and House of Representative aspirant for Degema/Bonny Federal Constituency, Hon Aye Atamah Pepple, representing Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi (middle) harvesting plantain during St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Bakana, 2014 adult harvest thanksgiving service recently. Photo: Egberi .A. Sampson

The Minister of Trade and
Investment, Olusegun Aganga has inaugurated a N45 billion integrated, state-of-the-art sugar project  in Sunti, Niger State.
Speaking during the  event,recently at Sunti, the Minister said the accession was a milestone in President Goodluck Joanthan’s transformation agenda.
The project which is wholly owned by the Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc (FMN) comprises a 16,500 hectare sugarcane estate and mill.
The Tide gathered that the project is part of the ministry’s investment’s approved Backward Integration Programme (BIP) for the production of local sugar in line with the provisions of the National Sugar Masterplan  (NSMP).
Already, the company has invested N16 billion while the entire project is expected to be completed and commissioned before the end of 2016.
According to the Minister, when completed the project is expected to produce  100,000 metric  tones of sugar annually.
He further added that it would also create 15,000 direct and indirect jobs and in addition generate 10 MW of electricity,  produce  animal  feed and fertilizer as by products and save the country over $50 million yearly in foreign exchange.
Aganga noted that the implementation of the NSMP  was an integral part of the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP).
“Today is another historic day as it represents another milestone in the implementation of the National Sugar Master Plan, an integral part of the Nigeria Industrial Revolution plan of Mr President”, he said.
Aganga said that the government as part of the NIRP has developed the plan as one of the sector-specific policies to diversify  the Nigerian economy.
“Because we are importing about 97 per cent of the sugar we consume in this country when we can produce sugar from sugar cane,  from this process we can produce sugar and generate electricity”, he said.
The chairman Flour Mills Nigeria, plc, John Goumantaros, in his remark, commended the president and minister for initiating and implementing the new sugar policy, even as he said the company would continue to take  advantage of the government’s investment friendly environment.

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IDH, Alluvial Partner To Help 15,000 Rice Farmers

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Alluvial Agriculture, a community farming initiative supporting thousands of farmers, is partnering IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative, to help 15,000 Nigerian rice farmers optimise their productivity over three years.
The partnership will support the Alluvial Community Block Farming Rice Project, to provide support services such as training in good agronomic and sustainable production practices, inputs, mechanization, land and market access for 15,000 smallholder farmers in Adamawa and Taraba states in northern Nigeria.
The project aims to see farmers cultivating these hectares through two harvests per year to produce 250,000 tonnes of rice paddy, worth over $121 million, within three years.
Commenting on the partnership,  the IDH Country’s Director, Cyril Ugwu, siad “IDH is pleased to partner with Alluvial in integrating 15,000 smallholder rice farmers into their supply chain and support them with best farming practices, inputs and services through the block farming model.
“It is our hope that the project will transform the business practices of the company and provide better income and livelihoods to the farmers”.
A particular focus of the initiative is on empowering female smallholder farmers, given the challenges caused by a lack of opportunities, a dominant patriarchal society, religious constraints and financial exclusion, according to a press statement.
An example of such female farmers is Keturah Joseph, a 46-year-old farmer in Adamawa state, who relies on her one-hectare farmland to provide for her four children, yet, the farm is underutilized due to financial constraints and a lack of knowledge.
“Getting inputs is one thing; knowing which are the right inputs needed for your crops is another,” says Joseph.
“When we have the funds to buy the inputs, we are not sure which ones will bring in the best yields, and this makes farming emotionally and financially draining for me as a woman. It makes it hard for me to take care of my family properly”, she explained.
A comprehensive training program has been developed for the project, which will cover land selection, preparation and nursery establishment, fertiliser and herbicide application, harvesting and storage.
According to the Managing Director and Co-Founder of Alluvial Agriculture, Dimieari Von Kemedi, “Rice is a staple crop in Nigeria but imports are robbing our farming population of their livelihoods.
“Empowering the majority of farmers who are imperative to food production is a vital first step in increasing production.
“With the right inputs and information through the Alluvial Community Block Farming Project, farmers are expected to increase their annual farm yield by at least 50 percent,” Kemedi added.
It is worthy to note that in 2021, which was the first year of the three-year project, Alluvial says significant impact has already been recorded, with a portion of the target population of farmers already getting inputs and more jobs getting created.

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Agriculture

Boko Haram, Herders Destroy Over 100 Hectares Of Farms In Yobe

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The All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) has said that their members in Yobe State lost over 100 hectares of farmlands to Boko Haram terrorists and criminal herdsmen in three Local Government Areas.
Chairman, Yobe State Chapter of AFAN, Alhaji Usman Ngari, disclosed this during an interview with The Tide’s source recently.
“Gujiba, Geidam and Yunusari  Local Government Areas are facing challenges of insecurity and also during the harvest, they face challenges with herders who destroy some of the farms with their cattle.
“More than hundred hectares of farmland was destroyed by terrorists and herdsmen,” Ngari lamented.
He said despite that, farmers in the state produced good harvest with minimal rainfall they witnessed during the rainy season.
“This year, the farmers have really done well, only in some parts, the rains stopped earlier, but overall production has been good but it is not 100 per cent”, he added.
He however said there is an on-going registration of farmers who are interested in irrigation, and that many farmers are showing interest.
Going forward, Alhaji Ngari said a meeting was held between AFAN, herders and the Federal Government to find a lasting solution to the crisis between the farmers and herders.
Ngari said it was agreed that the grazing reserve, which was taken away by farmers, would be returned to the herders so that they can keep their livestock there without encroaching on farms.
“We have made two major arrangements for the January dry season farming: firstly, we had a meeting with herders together with the Federal Government to return the grazing reserves that were taken away by the farmers to the herders, so that they will have enough grass and water for their livestock”, he noted.
On Boko Haram, the Yobe State AFAN Chairman said there is an arrangement for a joint task force comprising traditional hunters, police and military to secure farmers on their farms.
“For the insurgency, there will be a joint traditional hunters, police and military to safeguard the farmers in their farms,” he said.

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82% Of Nigeria’s Export Agro-Allied Products Rejected In Europe – Shippers

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Shippers Association of Lagos (SALS) has said that 82 per cent of Nigeria’s exported agro-alied products are either seized or rejected in Europe.
According to a statement signed by SALS President, Rev. Jonathan Nicole, the group also attributed the quest for a more conducive trade environment to the lingering effects of agitations, lawlessness and other negative consequences experienced in 2021.
He called on the port economic regulator to be more pro-active in curtailing and eliminating the root causes of maritime backwardness.
Nicole noted that the restrictions on foreign exchange would be counterproductive as a lot of industries would be grossly affected by the policy.
According to him, import trade will suffer due to foreign exchange restrictions, noting that importers could hardly pay freight charges as the approved window was $5,000 limit for 30 days.
“Freight above $5,000 will be held up until freight charges have been fully prepaid upfront. Goods will attract storage charges abroad for as long as the freight is pending and this type of restriction is counterproductive.
However, it is encouraging that President Buhari promised to provide foreign exchange for industries and manufacturers in 2022 because of the importance of local production of essential materials and for exports,” he said.
He noted that the other major challenge was that 82 per cent of the country’s agro-allied products are either seized or rejected by EU countries, reasons being that they are illegally exported without certification of government agencies.
“82 per cent of export cargo is enormous. With this in view, it might grossly affect our farmers directly or indirectly without export proceeds from the receivers abroad,” he said.
He continued that to have a good trading environment, shippers expect the Nigeria Customs Service amendment of CEMA to meet with the current realities in the World Trade Agreements. No more threats to Importers.
Currently, he said, they are seeking peaceful co-existence in the maritime sectors, urging shipping lines and terminal operators to induce development of the maritime systems, not just increasing costs as a major target.
“We expect reduction of cost of doing business in Nigeria and encourage entrepreneurship through direct investments from proceeds from our imports.
“The security of our waterways must be guaranteed. Fishing vessels should be protected to enable Nigerians to supply fish into our various markets. This is local content.
“The Gulf of Guinea has to be protected from invading pirates. Nigeria’s waters should be safe enough for ourselves as stakeholders in Nigeria,” he added.
Nicole urged freight forwarders to be closer to cargo owners who provide them with jobs rather than becoming spies to government agencies in the name of getting rich quick.

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