The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has unveiled an agro-challenge programme to enhance the rapid growth of Nigerian agricultural sector.
The UNDP said the programme was aimed at developing AgriTech startups, AgriBusiness Entrepreneurs, Engineers, Innovators and solution enthusiasts across the country.
The UNDP, which made this known on its website, said that it would carry out the programme, which is called Agro-Hack, in collaboration with First City Monument Bank (FCMB).
It explained that the programme, tagged; “Agro-Hack Challenge and Summit 2022,” would seek innovative ideas across the value chain of the country’s agriculture industry.
The UN agency said: “The aim of the programme is to create opportunities for young Nigerians to enhance rapid growth in the agricultural sector and provide jobs.
“The AgriBusiness and AgriTech challenge aims to crowdsource innovative solutions to challenges that are faced across the Agricultural ecosystem, in Benue State particularly, and Nigeria at large.
“These challenges, mainly in the agricultural value chain, cut across many sub-sectors, such as the production of fertilisers, irrigation, greenhouses, vertical farming and many more.”
The UNDP further explained that the other challenges included processing, storage, agricultural finance, agricultural commerce supply chain, among others.
It said the programme would provide agricultural value chain players in Benue State, particularly, and by extension, Nigeria, with the resources to grow and scale up their agri-businesses.
According to the UNDP, the programme will also provide entrepreneurship coaching and mentorship, incubation, startup ideas, validation and access to local and international markets.
It added that other benefits included access to digital tools and infrastructure, grant funding and follow-on investments.
Participants At Experience-Sharing Workshop On Child Marriage In Kaduna
The Kaduna State Government has reiterated commitment to end child marriage by improving access to education, food security and economic growth.
The Acting Governor of the state, Hadiza Balarabe said this at the inauguration of a two-day experience-sharing workshop on child marriage in Kaduna yesterday.
She said child marriage has been identified as one of the key challenges affecting northern part of the country which portends negative consequences on education, sexual and reproductive health.
According to her, child and forced marriage are harmful and a violation of human rights, stressing the need to change the narrative towards ending the menace in the country.
“This will require that we terminate the root cause of the problem which has been proven that it will evolve, leverage and harmonise instrument of law; and will need the good intending of leaders, all socio-cultural institutions and stakeholders,” she said
Balarabe said the state government accorded premium to human capital development as panacea to the root cause of the social problem, adding that government had introduced 12-year free and compulsory education for all in the state.
She said, “many girls in the northwest often got married before the age of 18 which called for concern.
“While some are between 15 years and taken out of school and become pregnant with complications due to long labour and undeveloped pelvic”.
The Kaduna state Commissioner for Human Services and Social Development, Hajiya Hafsat Baba described child marriage as a global issue and harmful practice to the society.
She advised parents and guardians not to push children under the age of 18 to early marriage, adding the practice caused devastating end to the life of a child.
SON Moves To Curb Substandard Products
The Director-General, Standards Organisation Of Nigeria (SON), Mallam Farouk Salim, has said for Nigeria to curb the menace of substandard products, the nation must surmount the challenge of low disposable income that drives purchase of substandard products.
Salim stated this during the 50th Anniversary Celebration of SON in Abuja, Monday.
Salim, who identified the challenge of foreign trade policy of some governments that actively encourage exportation of substandard products said “while acknowledging the modest achievements and strides of SON in the last 50 years, my vision for the organisation in the next 50 years is to be the foremost standardised body in Africa and among the top ranking globally.
“While this vision is achievable, the organisation will need to surmount several challenges such as changes in government policies like the often removal of the organisation at points of entry. Huge population growth with limited resources giving rise to communal restiveness.
“Limited research and development activities to keep pace with rapid innovation in the society; the likelihood of harsh weather and increased natural disaster occasioned by global warming; increase in litigation against activities of the organisation”.
He continued, “to mitigate the expected challenges, we need to evolve as a dynamic and innovative body, investing in the following critical areas: efficient workforce with the required skill set, cutting edge technology, appropriate and strategic infrastructure, and enhanced meaningful collaboration with stakeholders”.
In her keynote address, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Maryam Katagum, said SON played a crucial role in the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA.
Katagum assured the Organisation of the Ministry’s continued support in achieving this feat.
FG Recommits To Lift 100m Out Of Poverty
Minister of State for Power, Goddy Jedy-Agba has reiterated the Federal Government’s determination to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030 through its Energy Transition Plan (ETP).
Jedy-Agba disclosed this at the 2022 Nigeria Energy Forum Day 2, Virtual Edition, held in Lagos, Monday .Earlier at the Day 1 physical event, President Muhammadu Buhari had unveiled government’s plans to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Ms Kachollum Daju, said this when she addressed newsmen in Abuja.
According to the Minister, ETP will lift about 100 Nigerians out of poverty and drive economic growth of the country.
“It will also bring modern energy services to the full population and managing the expected long-term job loss in the oil sector due to global decarbonization.
“The plan focuses on the rapid build out of sustainable energy systems to tackle energy poverty in the nation,” the Minister said.
He said in designing the plan, key targets from relevant policies and initiatives such as the 2020 Economic Sustainability Plan, the Nigeria Electrification Project, the National Decarbonization Programme and the Presidential Power Initiative was employed.
“The ETP is geared towards low-carbon development of Energy systems across 5 key sectors; Power, Industry, Cooking, Transport, and Oil and Gas.”
Jedy-Agba said the plan had been approved by the Federal Executive Council and adopted as National Policy.
“An Energy Transition Implementation Working Group (ETWG) has been established to drive the implementation of the ETP along with key International Partners.
“The ETWG is chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and comprises of several key ministers, including the Ministers for Environment, Finance, Works and Housing, Petroleum Resources, Foreign Affairs and Power.
“The Working Group and its secretariat, the Energy Transition Office, have been engaging with in-country stakeholders, development partners, financiers and the international community for the delivery of the plan,” he said.
He said the ETP analysis shows that delivering Nigeria’s net-zero target requires 1.9 trillion dollars spending up to 2060, including 410 billion dollars above business-as-usual spending.
Speaking on the plan, the Team Leader, Green Economy Co-operation Section, EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms Inga Stefanowicz, said Nigeria was not standing aloof on the ongoing transition.
According to her, EU will contribute some 400 million Euros worth of projects and programmes to the ETP.
“This amount may seem modest when compared with the needs and the ETP estimates, but it is also the role of our funds to act as catalysers of change, reforms, private sector and international development finance investment.
“We are proud to have achieved such positive spillovers for Nigeria already and we look forward to working together more,” she said.
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