The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and other relevant stakeholders in the agriculture sector have called for the need to focus on the untapped opportunities within Nigeria’s agricultural sector.
They also demanded the reinvigoration of the role of millets as a key driver of economic growth, social development, and environmental sustainability.
The FAO Representative in Nigeria and to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mr. Fred Kafeero, made the call yesterday at the commemoration of the 2023 International Year of Millets, organised by the FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the World Food Programme (WFP) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Speaking at the occasion, Kafeero stated that the country can transform the narrative surrounding millets, elevating them from being a mere staple to a strategic crop that contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He reaffirmed the FAO’s commitment in offering technical assistance to the Nigerian government in its efforts to promote the cultivation, consumption, and commercialisation of millets.
“Millets, those tiny but mighty grains, have played an important role in the sustenance and nourishment of communities across the globe.
“They are resilient crops that have withstood the test of time, adapting to various agro ecological conditions and feeding generations. We recognize their immense nutritional value, and their contribution to food security, poverty alleviation, and sustainable agriculture.
“Together with all of you, and with renewed enthusiasm and determination, there is no doubt we will harness the potential of millets to combat hunger, malnutrition, and the challenges posed by climate change”, he said.
The Director, Food Safety at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mrs Sugra Mamood, said Nigeria has a long-standing history of cultivating and consuming millet.
By promoting its cultivation, Mamood noted that the country can enhance agricultural sustainability, reduce vulnerability to climate change, and improve livelihoods for farmers.
Also speaking, the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Shri G. Balasubramanian, said millet already is part of the staple diet in the sub-Saharan region and if suitably harnessed, can lead to food sufficiency in the arid regions of the world.
He noted that the government of India has been on the forefront of making millets popular and ensuring that it becomes a part of regular diet for millions through the Indian Millet Initiative, which is trying to bring efficiency in the entire millet supply-chain for better millet production, processing and distribution.
Balasubramanian stated that India has extended cooperation towards Nigeria for ensuring assistance with technical and knowledge sharing relating to Millet crops, research and development for development of better varieties.
Redeployed Customs Officers Assume Office At New Posts
Redeployed Zonal coordinators and controllers affected by the recent swapping exercise in the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) have since taken over their new posts.
Assistant Comptroller General and Comptrollers affected by the change of batons have gone into action in the respective Zones and Area Commands respectively.
As at Press time, ACG Bello Jibo, the new Coordinator, Zone A, has begun to hold forth at the Harvey Road Zonal Headquarters in Yaba, Lagos.
Comptroller Dera Nnadi, Jaiyeoba, and Shuaibu have resumed their duties as Customs Area Controllers of Tincan Island Port, Apapa and Idiroko Commands respectively.
Comptroller Timi Bomodi has also begun overseeing customs activities at Seme-Krake Border Command.
In an exclusive chat with The Tide, Chairman, Seme Chapter of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Clearing Agent (ANLCA), Chief Oyekachukwu Ojinma (aka Sule) described the outgoing Controller of the Command, Comptroller Dera Nnadi, as a very hard-working and dedicated man, while welcoming the new Customs Area Controller to the border post.
The ANLCA Chairman expressed his wish for a successful tenure of office for Compt. Timi Bomodi.
By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
‘Electricity Act Will Transform Power Sector’
Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, has stated that the recently signed Nigerian Electricity Act, 2023, will play a fundamental role in transforming the power sector.
According to him, it will unlock the potential of the energy mix and promote the integration of renewable energy technologies into the grid system.
Speaking at the ongoing Nigeria Energy Conference and exhibition in Lagos, Adelabu said the Act aims to create an environment that supports sustainable growth and investment in the power industry by focusing on accelerated private investment and the promotion of renewable energy sources.
“As a game-changer that reformed the NESI, the Electricity Act will, undoubtedly, engender increased access to electricity and regulatory oversight, clean energy transition, improved service delivery, and infrastructural developments.
“In particular, the act will stimulate economic growth by creating a conducive environment for investment and competition. It will generate job opportunities, encourage entrepreneurship, and attract foreign direct investments”, he said.
The Minister called on operators in the power sector to intensify their efforts towards improving communication with the general public, emphasising that the Nigerian masses have a lot of roles to play in safeguarding power infrastructure.
He said issues such as vandalism, passing of meters, and damage to TCN and DisCo infrastructure must be addressed holistically to make significant gains in the power sector.
Adelabu emphasised that the power sector is a cornerstone for economic growth in the country and that the gains made over the years in the power sector can only be consolidated by unlocking equity investments and funds for power development.
He said: “Of course, a lot of investment is required in the power sector. In three weeks, I’ve seen humongous investments that have come into this sector.
“But what are the steps that are required for those investment opportunities to reap the benefit of those investments, additional investments in the form of equity and capex need to come into this industry.
“The power sector is not an industry for short-term players to invest in less than two to three years and expect to make maximum benefits.
“The industry requires medium to long-term investments. Investors must understand that the moment we can break even, we will start making profits in the power sector.
Adelabu also urged operators in the NESI value chain to improve their service delivery, adding that Nigeria’s energy expansion plan of 60,000 Megawatts by 2060 is an achievable target.
He, therefore, called on gas companies, GenCos, TCN, and DIScO to showcase their success stories in generating and transmitting power to the last mile that pays for all the segments of operators in the value chain.
‘Nigeria Loses $1.5bn Annually To Malnutrition’
Minister for Budget and Economic Planning, Abubakar Bagudu, has said Nigeria loses $1.5 billion of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) annually due to micronutrient deficiencies.
Bagudu therefore called for coordinated efforts to ensure a swift response with expected positive outcomes.
A statement released by the Ministry said the Minister disclosed this, last Tuesday, while speaking at the 53rd Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria in Abuja.
In the statement, Bagudu noted that the government was determined to tackle malnutrition through the inclusion of nutrition in the National Development Plan, and the Nigeria Agenda 2050.
“It is also a commitment to achieving optimal nutrition status for all Nigerians with particular attention to the vulnerable group as highlighted in the National Multisectoral Plan of Action for Food and Nutrition”, he said.
Bagudu, who urged experts in nutrition in the country to research and develop innovations that will boost nutrition, explained that doing this “would contribute towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ensuring Universal Health Coverage, and bringing about significant positive changes in the nutrition sector in Nigeria”.
He told members of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria “to prioritise innovation and research in the field of nutrition towards the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals, Universal Health Coverage and transformation of the landscape of nutrition in Nigeria.
“Nigeria currently requires nutrition professionals who have extensive knowledge, good communication skills to address nutrition education, emotional intelligence as well and a good understanding of self-motivation and drive to address nutrition dynamics”.
The Minister urged the NSN to embrace technology, leverage digital solutions, and invest in research and development to find sustainable and scalable solutions to Nigeria’s nutrition challenges.
He assured members of the NSN that his ministry would strengthen coordination and provide the required leadership for the nutrition sector.
The Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq, in his goodwill message, said the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) had identified areas of key commitments for the realisation of a healthier citizen and country, including increasing budgetary spending on nutrition and strengthening the nutrition profile.
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