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BusinesSWEEK 30 AGROBI%

JUNE 25/ 2012

Rice production: Ogun to cultivate 25,000 hectares

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Ofs~~~.~thecountryatJarge. ~,I Agric c.i!y: Kwara signs MoU WI til C0 rneII ~.ty arsl

u State government bas located 25,000 hectares

of land for use in the pro-

duroon of paddy to food the rice mill In he installed by the Federal Government in the state. The state Governor, Seoalor lbikunle Amosun, made this known on Thursday in Abeokuta at the flag-<>ff of the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS).and official roll-out of the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) programme under the Agrieultural . Transformation Agenda. Senator AmoS\Ul explained that ooncerted efforts would be made to increase the land allocation to 40,000 hectares,. maintaining that agnculture remamed a focal point on his administration's agenda and would be used to drive the ceonamy of the state. The governor described the GES programme of the Federal Government as an attempt to minimize interference of middlemen in ensuring that subsidy given by govemmenton fertilizer and other farm inputs reach genuine farmer.; in the State. He added that his government had demonstrated support for the GES programme through the prompt payment of coWlte'1'art funds, which has made it possible for over 40,000 farmer.; in the State to benefit from the programme. He encouraged farmer-beneficiaries of the GES and CACS to maximize the different benefits they have received to ensure increased production of food in the

Earlier,

the Minister for Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, disclosed that agriculture could be used to diver.;iJY and grow the economy of the country and create jobs. He listed the Federal Government's support for Ogun State in agriculture to include the implction of a ooo-stop agIO i路put center, the establishment of an agro industrial estaIe, support for cassava IFOwer.; and produ""," of high CjUality cassava flour and upgradmg of infrastructures for garri producers. The minisrer added that 200,000 bundles of improved high yielding, cassava variety would be distnlr uted to cassava farmer.; to increase YIeld and that the Federal Government was set to distnbute 236,000 tons of improved cocoa variety seeds that would increase production of graded cocoa from Agnculture>-

10,000 metnc ton to 18,000 metric

tons y~y. In .his address, the state ~,onerforAgricuJ~,Ayo Olubon an engmeer explained that the thrust of the GES scheme was to transfonm 20 million fiumers nattonWl~e fro~ subsistence to commercIal limning by providing re!l"tcred resource-poor fanners WIth two fertilIzer types and five seed types at half pnce.. He added that though the unplementaUon of the programme cov-. ered36statesmciudingtheFederai CapItal Temtory, Ogun was onc of the 14 states benefiting from the fm;t phase of the sehcme in Scuthern belt of the COlIDtry.

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~~ State s bold lUI-

tia~ve on commercial

gnculture got a hoost recenUy with the 1 presentation and signing 1 of a Mem?randum of i Uoderstanding betweeo 1 the state governmeot and ; the CorneD University of New York, on the. Kwara i State Agnculture i Masterplan (!<AMP). ; Governor Abdulfatah i Aluned, who led the state i delegation to the prese11tai tionoftbeKAMPdocurnent i and the signing of the MoU ; U1 New York, signed On i behalf of the state while ~ Professor W. Ronnie i Collinan, ComeU's d.iro:tor ~ o.f intemati01'l3:l p'rogrammc.. ~ Signed for the tmiversity. . 1 The document presents a ~ clear road map Jor the ~xpansion, fimding. and ; unpact of commercial agri! culture in the state 路for the 1 next five years. It is the J product of a three-month i collabol1ltive research by ; ComeU professors and their ! Nigerian counterparts, led i by the Vice Chancellor of 1 Kwara State University i Professor Abdulrasheed i Na' Allah ! Explai~ing the signifii canceoftheMoU Profusso i Collinan said K~ara ;

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history by being the lim state government in the world to succood in partnering with the ' university, which is renowned globally for its expertise in agriculture. '1t is the lim time this university is signing an MoU Wlth any state government We are proud of this pannership and we are confident that the MoU will produce good results, ''he said. Governor Aluned, in his address, pledged to imple路 ment the document to the

letter, stressing that his administration would go beyond the conventional sys路

tern of measuring input and output to measuring the unpact of the measures being taken to ''make Kwara the agriculture hub of West Africa" The governor lauded the pioneering . efforts of his predecessor, Senator Bukola Saraki, in COInIJICICiai agriculture. noting that the opportunity of continuity in governance in the state has made it possible for him to build on the fOlIDdation laid by the fonner governor. In his goodwiU message Senator Saraki commended the Aluned administration

for producing KAMP expressing confidence thai Gov. Aluned , having """,ed IIDder the inunediate past administration as Commissioner for Finance and later Economic DevcloproeD~ under.;tands the vision and benefits of the agricultural revolution in Nigeria being championed byKwara Impressed by the lofty ideas of KAMP .and the signing of an MoU to drive its implementation, the Director of USAID in Nigeria, Ms Sharon Pauling, who personally attended the ~igning. ceremony, pledged immediate support for the programme. U W e are looking into haviog a partner.;hip with kwarn on rice and fish production. We are expecting to see Kwara as a leader in our drive to support food production in Nigeria." the USAID chief said. The signing ceremony was also witnessed by members of the diplomatic commWlity in New York and leading member.; of the kwara state association of Nigeria, North American chapter (KSANG) and the leading members of Cornell Univer.;ity.


lilA and WACCI partner to increase plant breeders in Africa

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e International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (UTA), thadaa, and tbe West Africa Center for Crop Improvement (W<\CCl), Gbana, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at training plant breeders in Africa - a strategic move to boost the number of plant breeders on the continent Under the agreement, WACCI, a center at the University of Ghana. will send postgraduate students to !ITA for three years, to carry out research in plant breeding. Students will haveacc"", to lITA facilities and will be supervised by senior lITAscientists. WACCI and !ITA see this

• L-R: Mr. Anga Sotonye, National

PlJblic Rela60ns

Officer; Tole Foseru, No6onal

President; chief Olusegun OOOsanio GCFR, ond Former Segun Osile.>o,during the preseotarion rJ Nigerian Coshew Ambassador award to chief Obasanjo by the ,National Coshew Anociarion rJ Nigeria

alliance as a panacea that will halt the dwindling number of plant breeders in Africa, "African breeders will train on the problems facing African crops with the hope that they will remai n i!1 Africa," Prof. Eric Danquah, direclor of WACCI, said recently in !hadan. "We need an African approach to address Africa's food productivity challenges," he added. Over the years, a dearth of capacity in plant breeding bas hit Africa with the best breeders training abroad but never corning back to the continent. Breeders on the continent are equally getting old and most of them are entering retire- plethora: of problems ' intlud-. Africa needs seeds that will ment age. Africa, which ing biotic and abiotic stresses 0ver(,'Ome these stresses. "This means breeding desires to have its own Green that limit productivity. To Revolution, is plagued by a address these ' problems, seeds that will perform well and give f-armers better returns in the face of these challenges," Danquah said. "To get the manpower that will be able to do the task requires ~ew thinking and new strategies," he added. TIle alhance wi\h WACCI will boost liTA's role in building capacity in Africa, In its 4,5 years of existence as Africa's leading research partner, more than 74,000 P"'lple in Nlica and else' where have received t:rain..ing in lITA Some of these beneficiaries today.occupy strategic positions in Africa. Dr Kenton Dashiell, Deputy Director General (partnerships and Capacity Building), said that building capacities of breeders would

• L~ Prof. Sam Kwame Offei, associate director of

the West Africa Center for Cr:op Improvement (WA~Cf),

Ghana; Dr Ken10n Dashiell, deputy director general, Pai-tnMhi and Capacity Ps . I Build·'ng, 'ntemaliana Institute for 'Ii • I Agriculture Prof. Eric Danquah, director rJ WACO, and Dr. Robert Asiedu, director for West Africa (UTA!. after the signing rJ the Mol)

pr,

in lbadan, recenlfy. .

help in ensuring food security in Africa. He welcomed the alliance with WACCI, noting that IITA alone cannot do it all, hence, the need for partnerships . WACCI was established in 2007 as a center for crop improvement similar to the Africa Center for Crop hnprovement (ACC!) aI the University of KwaZuluNatal. Both centers receive fund-

'African breeders will train on the orobIems facing

~~-~~swith the hope that they will remoin in Africa'

ing support from Rockefeller Foundation and the Alliance for Green' Revolution in Africa (AGRA). The centers recruit students from national agricultural systems of 15 countries across Eas~ West, and Southern Africa. To date, 42 PhD students from II countries have graduated from ACCI, 128 students have been enrolled in both centers, and a further 30 will be enrolled in the next '2 to three years. Graduates have already released 23 new crop varieties in Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, and Burkina Faso, and have published 85 research papm internationally. Prof. Danguah visited UTA with Prof. Sam Kwame Offei, Associate Director of WACCI and Provost of the College of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences.


DAILY SUN, 25 JUNE, 2012