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Agropreneurs Want Commercial Vegetables, Fruits Farming

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Experts in the vegetables and fruits subsector have bemoaned the huge loss accruing to the Nigerian economy due to a lack of knowledge and willpower to harness the potential of vegetables and fruits for commercial gains.
The Chairperson, Agriculture and Allied Group of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Mrs Edobong Akpabio, said vegetables and fruits are capable of sustaining Nigeria’s economy.
According to her, the country was losing huge revenue because of lack of food agronomic practices.
The agropreneur, who spoke in Ado Ekiti alongside other experts during the ‘3rd Speak Agriculture for the Future Economy’, with the theme, “Value addition in the vegetable value chain: The sub-Sahara Africa prospect”, said Nigeria is blessed in vegetables and fruits.
“In Nigeria, we are blessed with an abundance of vegetables/fruits, but because we have never harnessed our fruit strength into commercial gains, we lost the knowledge of fruit farming”, she said.
Akpabio continued fruits could be planted for domestic, commercial and industrial purposes. For commercial fruit farming, she said there are principles for productivity and profitability of that activity.
“There are measures to avoid pests and measures to ensure uniformity in terms of taste, colour, yield. But regrettably, our people do not consider these. That is why you see hotels import fruits.
“We need to now consciously and intentionally cultivate our fruits such that they are satisfactory to our market. Right now, we just take our fruits to the major markets and expect that people will buy them.
#We need to now get back and ensure that we work on our capacity to produce fruits such that they also add to our productivity and profitability as a country,” she said.
SAFE Summit Convener and the founder of Raise a Farmer Initiative, Mayowa Ekundayo, explained that Africa lost over 65 per cent of her vegetables and fruits to post-harvest losses.
He noted that value addition to the end produce remained a viable way out of the losses and means to enhance farmers’ economies.

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Agriculture

SMEDAN Begins 2023 Registration For Loans, Grants, Others

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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

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Agriculture

FG Boosts Farming In Bauchi With New Dam

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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.

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Agriculture

Rice Cultivation: New Policy To Facilitate 2.7m Hectares -Minister

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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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