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.
Lagos Begins Four-Week Free Anti-Rabies Vaccination Campaign
The Lagos State Government has flagged off free anti-rabies vacination campaign and urged animal owners to keep their pets under strict control to avoid constituting nuisance or danger in the environment.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, gave the advice at the flag-off ceremony of the 2023 free mass anti-rabies campaign at Igando-Ikotun Local Council Development Area, midweek, in Lagos.
Olusanya said the state government would hold a four-week free anti-rabies vaccination for all pet owners.
Olusanya, who was represented by Mrs Olatokunbo Emokpae, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, said vaccination certificates would be issued to pet owners after the exercise.
Orgainsed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development under Regeional Diesaes Survellance Systems Enhancement, the theme of the campaign is “Rabies: One Health, Zero Deaths”.
She urged the public to take advantage of this window of free vaccination programme being carried out simultaneously at the state government veterinary hospitals and clinics in all the divisions of the state to vaccinate their pets.
According to her, this is the third consecutive year of carrying out this laudable programme aimed at achieving the Global Strategy Plan for the elimination of dog-mediated human rabies death by the year 2030.
“The Lagos State Government being piloted under the leadership of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu leaves no one in doubt that we are at the forefront of the global target of eradicating rabies in the 21st century.
“This is so, especially with the bill which regulates ownership, licensing, sales of pets as well as prohibiting and restricting people from having in custody dangerous animals in public places.
“Our goal, once again, is to achieve the global strategy plan on elimination of dogs mediated human rabies death by 2030.
“I am again using this mass campaign programme to urge all animal owners to be deliberate and intentional in keeping all their pets and animals under strict control so that they do not constitute any nuisance or danger to others in the environment”, she said.
The State Coordinator, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Oko-Oba, Mrs Olayinka Akeredolu, said the programne was orgainsed in collaboration with the department of Veterinary Services in Lagos Ministry of Agriculture.
Akeredolu urged participants at the programme to propagate that all dogs should be vaccinated against rabies.
She urged youths in the state not to play with animals they are not familiar with adding they may be unvaccinated and rabies carrier.
“If you see any stray dog in your community, please, report it to the relevant authority, we don’t want our people to die of needless death”, she stated.
Bauchi Launches 2023 Farming Season, Cautions On NIMET Predictions
Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State has flagged off the 2023 farming season in Aziare, Katagum Local Government Area of the state.
Noting that his administration has diversified the economic sector of the state to ensure food security, Mohammed assured that the agricultural sector would continue to receive priority.
“I want to draw the attention of our farmers to this year’s farming seasonal rainfall prediction (SRP) by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET)”, he stated.
NIMET had predicted that for most parts of the country, planting season would start towards the end of May 2023.
Warning that there may be flooding in some parts of the country, the Governor urged farmers to make good use of the NIMET prediction and avoid planting in areas that are prone to flooding.
Mohammed lamented the influx of armyworms which was recorded in some parts of the state at the beginning of last year’s farming season.
He said the development resulted in the destruction of crops and many farms.
The governor also said concerted efforts have been made by the State Government to control the invasion through a rapid spray.
“In order to avoid the recurrence of the incident this year, the Ministry of Agriculture has been directed to immediately make requirements and other measures to control the army worms menace immediately”, he said.
He directed that fertilizer be sold directly to farmers to guard against shylock marketers, adding that adequate fertilizer and other farming implements had been made available to meet the growing demands of farmers across the state.
Mohammed announced that the Bauchi Fertilizer Blending Company blended 200 trucks of NPK 20-10-10 fertilizer.
The Governor also said NPK fertilizer is to be sold to farmers at N15,000 against the production cost of N17,800.
In his welcome address, Commissioner for Agriculture, Barrister Jidauna Tula Mbami, appealed to farmers to adhere to the prediction of (NIMET) of low rainfall in parts of the country.
On his part, the Chairman, All Farmers Association, Alhaji Yusuf Gambo, commended the State Government for subsidizing the amount of fertilizer and other farming inputs.
He said the gesture would go a long way in encouraging large-scale farming across the state.
IFAD Backs N’Delta Smallholder Farmers With $60m
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has contributed $60million for the implementation of the jointly-funded Federal Government Livelihood Empowerment Family Enterprise Project in the Niger Delta.
The six-year project supported by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has reached about 14,500 smallholder farmers across Delta, Edo, Abia, Cross River, Bayelsa and Ondo states within three years of implementation.
The Country Director, IFAD Nigeria, Dede Ekoue, while speaking at the official launch of the mid-term review mission of the project in Abuja, Wednesday, said IFAD has contributed $60 million out of the total project cost of $97.8 million.
According to her, NDDC is to contribute $30 million while federal and state governments would contribute $0.57 million and $4.88 respectively, saying, unfortunately, the NDDC is yet to contribute its quota to kick-start the project in Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Imo.
She said the project has made significant progress, including reaching about 14,155 smallholder farmers as against the targeted 25,500 farmers. That puts the progress at 55.5 per cent
She further said the project has engaged 792 mature businesses to create and coach 6,035 new enterprises, generating gainful employment for women and youths.
Ekoue added: “To boost the achievement of a nutritional goal, a total of 2,500 community women and youths have been trained on the use and cultivation of bio-fortified planting materials – Provitamin A cassava, brown rice, fruits, orange-fleshed sweet potato and vegetable homestead establishment in over 35 schools and 150 incubation centres to improve nutrition and income generation.
The Director, Project Coordinating Unit in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Musa Bujar, commended IFAD on the implementation of the project in six oil-producing states, urging them to also accommodate the remaining states.
He assured of the ministry’s commitment to ensuring full implementation of the project.
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