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DAILY TRUST

Tuesday. December 13. 20 11

21

-_._ -----------------------' ~~~~ ess/Agric FG to expend N450bn on agric FEDERAL Gonmm~t hal Itt aside

N4SO bi.lIion 10 promoteag.ricuJture in the next twO)'ealS, through massive production offood for local use and rxporl. the ,\iinister of lnfonnation and Communication, has said labaran Ma1cu said In Kaduna at the 2nd Nigerian Union of1ournaIistJ (NUn OWman's Roundtable Meeting that the Fcdenl Gomnmerulw stgmc:nttd northern Nigeria intO\'ViOU$ zones for particu/.ar crop production. He said go'o~llunenl intends 10 grow 450,DL'() metric IOns of rice 10

stop importation oftl~ staple food and ~ n export ~oothcrcounuies. f-leblilllle:inorthem~·tmOrSand

other eliteof the North for lilt ins«urityand \iol~ thaI ha\~ peI''adtd

the region. Hesaid: .",'eare working toaddtess the unempl" pncnl in the North and theooumry through;agriculture CBN is rnt1y 10 suppan agriculrute In the: COIJIILr}'- Wr hJ\~ set askit N450 bil· lion 10 promoteagricullure.

Nigeria can produce 2m tonn es of fish' NIGERIA em produce two mil· lion tonnes of fish for loa! con· sumption. if tht r15h industry is propaly harnesst'd, the Pr~ident ohhe Assodation ofFish Farmers of Nigeria (AFFAM), Mr Gogwim Shiumanghassaid. Shiumallg said in MInna that the industry was also capable of producing Hsh for export. He' said that a mttting would be held to create awareness among roem~rs on ways 10 Impro\"e their production ttthniques to achie\'e maximum production. TIle fish farmers president said that the country was producing 20 per cent ofiLS fish need due 10 lack of government and public palronaGe oflhe industry. "'The g-:neral public pre.fers frozen chidteD, froun turkey, as opposed to Hsh produced locally, this is one factor mWtatln, agairut the growth of the industry. he said. 1be pmidentof AfFAM c:a1Ied on the gm"l!mment to provide the necessary cnvironmenllO enable the fuh funners increase their yidd. Shiumallg also urged fish farmers to always use locaJ species of fish in !hI:i! fish farms instead of foreign ones that he said "can quickly become extinct and cannot adapt to our environment"" He said thai the association wouJd pllJ'.ide adequate technical knowledgt' for more than 2.000 membersdrawn from fuh fumers, feed producers and fish processing industries in the country, H e said: ""It is important for a fish farmer to have the knowledge of the Specles to raise on his farm, the approrriale feeding method, how and where 10 ,ell ruscatch.lt is one of the importl\ltt things the association is fOCUSing rm at the moment- 'NAN)

IVegetable scarcity looms in Nigeria' THERE is an Impending scarcity of vegetables across the country because of poor stor.Jge facilities, the Secretary of Gashua Vegetables Farmm Union In Yobe, Alhaji t,.·lohammed Kaku, has warned. He said the situation was forcing farmm to abandon the cultivation of \'egetables. ""Many tomatoes fanners on the YobdKumadugu Basin and the Nguru Wetlands have abandoned their fannsdue to 1M lade ofstorage facilities. It is the same predicament facing \~ble farm~rs in Bomo. Gombe, Taraba, Adamawa, Benu~. Plateau, ligawa, Kano and aU other

states in the country,' he said. Kaku said that there was gross decline in the number of irri gation farmers growing tomatoes, onion and pepper now, when compared to previous yea rs. He said: "The farmers had in th e previous years b~en fo rced to sell thei r produce at g iveaway prices at the peak of harvests and, the refore, oper.He a t :Ii loss. Vegetables are perishab le commod ities and farmers in most cases have to sell the produ cts below production costs or risk total damage. as the y d o not have the means of

p res~rving

the ha rvests." The secretary cautioned that Nigerians might C'llperlence acute scarcity of the commodities next year, because of th~ d~vdopmenl. He said that tomatoes and o nions farmers, who lost their products lasl year due to poor storage faciliti~ had abandoned their farms, while many others were cuith'ating leu thb season_ -The Yobe basin and Ng uru we tlands alone have the capacity to meet tbe needs of the entire North-East and some other paris of the country. but farmers are leaving the trade due to

storage challenges; he said. He appealed to the federal and slate gO\'ernmenls to establish planl$ for the processing of excess vegetables to encouragl.' the farmers. Such gesture., he said, would also boost the growers' income, as well as the revenue' base of the govcmme.nt ""Government should go into public/priYllte putnership with \-egctable farmers on prC'SCf""Ylllions and processing of -vegetables In the country to encoungc farmers and boost local productJon; he said. (NAN)

FG releases vitamin Acassava to improve public health B, OiaymU R.lbrahim THE Federal Government said illw rdased three new vitamin A-rich ')'dJow' ca.s5aYll varieties that couJd provide more. vitamin A in the diets (If mme than 70 mUllon Nigeri ans who eat cas.sava every day. The yellow color (cassava is generally white) has higher vitamin A ~nI~nl Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is widely prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa. It affijcts almost 20 percent of pregnant women and about 30 per· cent o(childml under-five in Nigeria. VADc.an lower immunIty and impalrvision, which can lead 10 blindness and even death.

Childre:n and wornell will be the main beneficiaries o f these new yellow varieti~ which couJd provide up to 2S pert:ent of th~1r dally vitamin A needs. Varieties with enough vitamin A to provlde up to halfof daily needs are already in the breed· ing pipeline and should be ready for release in a few)'eatJ. These new yellow varieties were bred using t.raditiooal (non-transgenic) methods by the Internalional lnstitute ofTropicU Agriculture (UTA) and the Nige rian National Root Crops Rc$Qrcb Institute (NRCRl) and were liked by farmers during field trials. CassaYli is an extremely adaptable crop; it is

drought tolerant, requires limited land preparation, and gro....'S wdlln poor soils. The new )'d1ow varieties are also high yiddingand resistant to major diseases and ~ts. -Demand for these varieties has already started, but itll.iIl take some time before we have enough quantities to give out."" said PauJ Ilona, the HarvestPlus Manager for Nigeria. The yellow cassava is already being muJtiplied through stem cuttings. In 2013, when sufficient certified stems are a\..wable. HarvcstPlus and its partners will then distribute these to abou t 25,000 hrmingbou.seholds lnitialJy. Farmm ",ill be able 10 grow these nCYo' vitamin A varieties and fffll them to their families.


DAILY TRUST, 13 DECMBER, 2011  

FG releases vitamin A cassava to improve public health

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