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A GRIC

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E-milil: ag@businessdayonline.(om Wednesday 31 October 2012

BUSINES5DAY: www.businessdayonline.com

Fertilizer dealers complain of delay in government's subsidy reimbursement Until some months ago. fllormerll , especially the smallholders had difficuhy gettin! fenili7.en al reuonable prices. Cornlpt government ornclals and middlemen made II so dirncuh for them to have access 10 the produci . The e -wallel syslem , which hilS removed government hands from ferlilher dlslrlblltlon. is one of the m01l1 succes$ful projects of Ihe cunenl adminislrarlon Bul .tak,eholdeu maintlloln Ihat the only way future govern,"cnl prolecl! can be so successful 15 for Ihe accredlted agro dealenr who nusted the governmenl enough 10 enroll for the .uhlldi.ed fertilizer ule. prolnmme 10 set Ihelr

OLUYINKA ALAWOOE ro dealers who parliciplled In the accelerated progr.mme f suhldlud

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fertllh:er dlsburu~menl 10 farmers through Ihe electronic wallet S)'IIlem "ill

await reimbursement from thcf[ovemmenl, months .hl!!'

the programme ended An C'J:cculiyf' of one 01 Ih~ compilnies who spoke on grounds of IInonymlly SIt)'lllt is almo$llhn~e months

lind the company" yet to gel reimbursement from the sovernmcnl lun like Olher dealen . These agro dulers C'J:pecl Ihe money would ~ paid eventually, bUI 11f! conctmed aboul Ihe tyln5 down of capllallh;u would

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have been employed In other productlvc actlvilies. Edobong Akpablo. chief executiYe, VbionllgeAgrnlech

Fann, sayslOme dealers ha~ (hese fears of 80vernment's dehlYs in maldn!! paymenls and soopled out of sup pi yin!! fertili zers to farmers at subsidised rates during (he accelerated programme. In which farmers were Biven a few bags Ihey could buy Ihrough the e-walletlyStem Akpabio lilY' dolnl business with gOVf'rnmenl often puts businesses In a tlghI SJ)QI. a5 Ihe dealers who

~AKA MOMOH and

PETU1 OAOUKURE he tuue al IIIn8 cocoa trees has been of sreal concern 10 stakeholders In the Nigerian agriculture sectot. as the Irees produce fewer beans. AginS ~ tTee5 is • big problem because older lrees require regular chemical treaunenlloward offdlseases lucluding black pod lind swollen shoot. and protection ng.dusl paT1lSile., all of whk:h lite growing problems In Wesl Ind Cenlnli AlrIca. The depletlon of nutrienlS In Ihe soil on older plantltlons creates a nefti for Increased use of fertilizers In order to maintain production leV1!b. Mally finmendo not htwe Ihe de.;p pocket reqUired to fund these techniqut:$. For Chris Okafor ollhe In t"rnatiana! Inllitule of Tro pical Agricuillue ( IITA). the age ohhe uees ha5 crealed

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money In 800<1 time, before II lIaTlS havin8 ad vern effects on their businesses lhey also nOle th.iIliI would also encourage commercial banb to fund agricultural relaled bu s lnenu Ih a l embark on proleels dri ven by 80vemmenl J)Qli cles lhe Ministry of "grleu Itlu e has regislered 11000111 5 million farmers wilhin Ihe IR ~ t one yeaT Ten meuages wele Sent to _hue re8i s lered farmers alloeallng 10 them the numbel of fellil l:r.e n they could huy Nrlwolk problems h~ pre~nted lome from gellinfl, the lell messages. Some of 111O~ who dJd not get the mell$llges ~re liven vouchers aher belol Identified by the lelloders of thetr associaliotu..

look credll raellilies from banks to supply feTllllzers would have 10 pay up the bank or pay higher intere!lt m'~

During Ihls prOgI3mme. launched at different times In each slate for II few weeks, a bag of feflillr.er that normally sells for N6,OOO 10 N6,SOO ~s sold for NJ,OOO 10 registered farmers In the country. With the e-_lIet system, a farmer geU! an alert on his phone allocating 10 him a cerlaln amount of fertilizer he can

buy al II subsidised rate. lie could then go 10 Ihe bank 10 make payment, and hl' Is given a llip. lle then lakes the slip toacuedlted apodealers who supply him the fenill7.er at al>oul half Ihe price ll1i. WIS lor a period of lome wteksln each Slate. Al\:cndes from the fedel'lli. "Ite and local government monitored Ihe procen . Though verifiCilion on Ihe ules Is onloing. the dealers are concerned thai Iheir capilal Is belnl tlcd

down. lhe programme also allowed agro dealers 10 know farmen In Ihelr localilies and to fr'gister Ihem on their own dalaba.e Wl1h Ibe mandate from some lenilir.cr producing eompllnle!lln the counlry. Ihe agro dellier! have Ihe ruponslbllilY of seiling fertlll:r.erl 10 only those who are proven to be farmers and 10 ensure Ihey do not buy more Ihan they IClually require 10 as nOI (0 resell to olher famlen at higher nut'S.

Replacing aging cocoa trees in South West a "wid" yield gap." "Nigerian fumen IIore relllcUtnt 10 repillce IIging trees because II can lake 10 )"!ars for soils to feCOV'e-r suffidenlly 10 be abko 10 mppor1 ~ plantinp. "slYs David Onyenweaku. an B4. yeu-old farmer. In Umuabla. Abta Sla.te. Okafor 18)"$ while Nigertllo has hlgh·yieldin& Vllf'Ielle!ll of cocoa trees, farmers aren ' l cuJthflllllng Ihem. lhe CocOIlo Research !mlltule of Nlgeta. also based In Ibldao. has reporled varieties that can yIekl up 102.000ldkigrammes II heclare (2.47 aOe!ll). while the IVeI1Ige level achi~ by farm!!rs is 4SO ldIognmunes R hectlre. But II relief hl5 come 10 falmen In South We", a .n ralegic con slderali"n In the transfOrmllollon of Ihe

cocoa seclor Involvin8 the use of improved genellc ,tocks (new!y releued CRINcl - 8 . W"CRI II lIybrlds lit FJ·Amll7.1,1n) and phased repllcemenl of old unproductive stocks \Vilh nrw blgh yieldlnl Slocks 101 • boosl recentJy at ()wena. neilr Akure In Ondo 5111o[e This WIIS during the offiellil nag. oIT III lhe ~ distrihulion of improved hybrid vllorietlel al cocoa pods to farmers in the South West 10 ph,"1 .nd increase their farm sizel.. Ta stop funher use 01 poor yielding and old varletle$ and systemallClilly replace Ihe tree Slocb In Nigeria. AkLnwwunl Adcsln~, rninlslCf of agriculture. In 110 speec h read on his behllolf by lulius Oct~rnl. South West rtgkKtal


AGRIC

The fitS I farmer was the first man, and an histonc nob,lity rests on possession and use of land.

BUSINESS

-Ralph WaAdo Emerson

Wednesday 30 May 2012

BUSINESSDAY: www.businessdayonline.com

10,000 tobacco growers' livelihood threatened REMI fEYlllPO Nigeria joins the rest of the world 10 ulebralc World

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bbaa:oC~Day,

Nlgeria Independent l~ A.5:5oaaoon(NITA) has saidlhal livelihood ollo,OIIO growt:n an: um:au:ned if the proposals by the World Ilcalth Organisation" (WtIO)Prumewo.kCoovemion on Tobacco Colllrol (FCI'C)

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Also, 30 milliun tobac:c:o growers and fal1l1 wOlken worldwide would be Ihrcillened In two weeks' tllne when Ihe proposals ale favoured al the WIIO's meeting III Seou1. South iWfu.. Rasheed BaIwe. dwrman. NITA. ..00 in lsoeyul that If the drac:unian measu.reli bec:ume law, ttle)'woukI hawillreillipiK1

on the livelihood of growers in the country, lAnd 0\I'I!f NSOO nillborl beingc:onlribwed 10 the local eronomy IUUlUilIty, According to !lirn, as Wit. C'e4ebr.lle the benefil our £anru bring 10 our communities, we are alilo asking our leaders 10 slalld wilh us 10 hear our voices and live us the Opportllllll) 10 work logeU\ef to pmll!'CI uw w-'y of life. NITA, which is mar~ing the fhsl·e\·u World Growe:n [);oy, fIO(ed that the Ib>.OdaIioo SUllpolled Ihe iluenl of the

FCfC's ArUde 17 !realy, whidt _ 10 IlfDVide -t.cdutkal and financial assistana! 10 aid Ihe ecol)ol"k: tratWtion ofwbaa:o groweu and workers· as I decline in tobao:o producuon consumption J$.llted in lower demand (or our crop. "The proposa ls onder consldenlion currenlly represent a depillJlure from Ihe original loal .. they ICdc. 10 artifkinlly reduce the supply of tobacc9 Wilhoul providing growers "IY VIable alternalives 10 SUIlIK>11 their filmUlcs,· Bakare nuted. While liIIylng thaI NITA llall sent II lener 1.0 AkinwumJ Adeslna, min&5U!f 01 agrIcuIturt: and lIIlIurai resources, he asUd government 10 OllpolOe Ihe demenl$ ol the proposals that would be voted OIllhe WlIO's Fcrc. and therefore called for Ihe 1..lniiwf's uliWilvering supporl for lobacco growers ilndoppmilioolOany lMUsdllll: 'IIU1Id tlueaun their IiIIelihood. AIso.liJledficalIyttM:~

called on leaden 10 oppose

banning minimum support prlCi!S and leaf aucllons, reslriclinK producllon by reguhl.llng the $easons when tobDa:oan be grown. reducint!: the area allocated for lobacco farming, billllnlllg technical suppon fur lohacco fanners and dismantling ,II bodie$ connecling glowers wllh govcnullcuG..

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budgelary allocation 10 agriculture, the Nigerian Economic Summll GrOUII', Agricu ltu re and Food Securily Commission has c:aJled COl a mlllimum of 5 pe rcenl allocation 10 the commission, at a meeting in LagM last week, agreed 10 puRUe adllOc:k)' on Increased budg~ary provision for Ihe lector, bUI Inlisled thaI finance for agriculture will automalica.lty come from both local and foreign funding window., when the agric· privall:: sec:lor acton wolle up 10 opponwlitie5 presented.. Budgetary allocallon to agriculture in 20 13 is 1.7 pe rcent of 10lal budgelary allocalion as againlt 1.5 pe rcenlln the 2012 budget, giving a mere 2 l)erCenl blcreasestilihulden; ronsid~ poor for an i.mponam sedor m..e agriculture. On building upac:lty fo r farlller~, t h e meellng recounted that since the £annulI! communllywas boIh orthe peasanl and l.arie·scale OIlt:.r.lIOrs, Ihe Nucieu) F~tllte lulliallve w;u the aOSI,':1 fOi

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Cocoa, according 10 Adeslna, "IIIUS1beattnu::tiveIO the yumhl in oolh operallon and weahh creation.- In panneT5hip with the prlvale seClur, he added. -Ihe governmenl II ,upponlng the 1II0st vulnerable cocoa farmers' acceu to (:riti(:al yidd enh.ancinJ il'lpulS. -The targeled 5UppOU provided lhrough Ihe Cocoa - CES programme indudes a discount of 50 pe.n:cnt off Ihe <oS! of the fo ll owi n g crlticu.llnpulS: 200 5IIdleIS of approved fungicides; rIVe soq bagsofNI'KZD: IO: IOfertil.il:er wllh Skg acroly.er, and SO sadleu of insecticides. 11tb tnn$la tes uuo NO, 000.00 In 5U~lo the ~ vl..dnerabic

cocoa farmers.lie u nders co red Ihe response of the government mU5: "Olle maIn goal for (he Nigerian cocoa indusuy il Simple, Double produclion 10 500,000 metric: (On5 by 2015. To aa:orupllsh this.. dlt Cocoa Translonnatlon Team has developed a Ihree-prong Mulmlse, Rehiiibilhate and Er;palld StralegyOndoStatc'sCOlnlnlssklner (or agTlcuhure, Ademola Olorunfeml, commended the Federal Covcmmellt for the Inlef"llenlion, encouraging farmers "10 male Ihe be:sl u§c of Ihe cocoa pods: adding Ihal the ·pernor has asked all c:ommodily anociationl 10 pUI forward requesu on Ihe kind 01 intervention and suppon they require from Ihe gollemmenLAmoog ~ beneHda.ries ol the freec:ocoa pod distribution are Seglln Adewuml, an oftil%

malla,,1!1 at me hell.dquilllers office w lhe c.om. t\saociation of Nigeria (CAN), In Ature who said he was c:oUeaing Ihe cocoa pod. in Ifll il fo r fann ers who would come 10 the RCretarial for Inq uiries. Dayo O monl yl, o wne r 0 1 TEMADE Famu;, 0000 Slate, and MuitilRll ~LaItYe, among othcn..

bridgingapadly gap lor llIIali farmeB under the menton.hlp of comrnen:W farmers. The ISlue of the r:ooper.lllivcs was revisited. II was observed Ihal Ihe ooopenuiver; could bell1l1uuble as a vehide for agribusiness capacity building. if mone)' w;u nOI thrown 10 polltidse them. as II provided inctlllivt:5

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al tbe meeting said thaI lhe challenges 10 Ihe policy had been noted, explaining Ihal Ihe reuoo rOI Ihe ineffectivenell was be!:aule under the trial phase, only one service pro\;derwas UKd. but thll this had now been lucreased 10 three. The meeting wondeled why Ihe value chain of the fast moving COflliUlner goocb was running smoothly, while that for agric-inpUl~ was not. It WillS agreed IhlIIllhe pnllille seaor crealed the IOIP, and 10 mus:t be ready to till up the c:hallenge prescnh:d by Ihe opponunJties, bmld c:apaclly to tale up the iocenli~bein8 pfOVlded in the value chain 1he commlssiun therefore recOillmended th ai federal and mle govemmcn15 should step up IIIlerve1ltiOo In flooded and wllhed away fanns all over the COUlllty, and called for more effec:ll1e measures 10 Insure farmlnl ,md other agricultural endeavours. II further recomm ended Iii 11 rllmen 5houl d abo bl made 10 cr05~ lIara nle,.

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Stakeholden In the cashew Indusuyc.aUed rIM" ~·digit InlerHI rale for the sector. The fertllh:er e · wallel I)rogt"lunme was al50 reviewl-d and was considered 10 be failing The Federal Ministry of "l lure and Rural Uo::LI lIelll represenlative

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NESG calls for 5 percent agriculture budget provision

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direClor m lhe ministry, said: "We have engaged spedalised seed plOducllOn unih al Cocoa Hesearch Institule of Nlgella, Tree Crops Units (If Olldu, OSUIl and Ekiti SllI.te5 10 produce 3 6 mUllon hybnd pods ilial Wilt be glVen 10 cucua fanuers . This ha5 Ihe jlotenthlls of raising the CUrri!1I1 production on fanns from J50 kglha 10 1,000 kg! ha and also reducing time 10 malUrity from live years 10 24 30 monlhs uf field

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BUSINESSDAY, 31 OCTOBER, 2012